Choosing the Right CRM Vendor

By Lars Helgeson

Part of CRM For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Picking the right CRM vendor is important. Be careful when picking software that requires you to integrate many other tools to make your vision work. Software engineering as a rule costs two to three times the estimate you will receive.

  • Make sure the vendor can handle your requirements for sales, marketing, and operations. Find out how the vendor accomplishes what can’t be done out of the box from its software.
  • Understand the pricing model. Are there limitations in usage? Do you get support? Can you afford the software?
  • Calculate total cost of ownership (TCO). How many hours of training time are estimated for your team? If software needs to plug in to your CRM, how much does that software cost? If you must use APIs to connect your CRM to other software, how much will that cost? What happens if external software interfaces change?
  • Get a demo and trial account of the software. See how easy or difficult it is to accomplish important tasks. How flexible is it in adapting to your needs?