Importance of CRM Systems in Modern Retail Banking

"Central banks don't have divine wisdom. They try to do the best analysis they can and must be prepared to stand or fall by the quality of that analysis.” This quote from Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay cosmetics shows the key to the wisdom of banks – analysis. Like central banks, retail banks today recognize they must identify, attract and retain profitable customers. The question is how to do this.

Banks, historically, have taken a non-holistic approach to customer management and customer service, offering products and services which satisfied the banks rather than the customer’s needs. Retail banks today recognize that this can no longer be the case. They must be able to react to the individual customers requirements for flexible, customized services and products that can be accessed through multiple channels. In other words, they must be competitive in a competitive market.

Historic entrenchment, however, has made banks reluctant to enter into the banking CRM world which would allow front line branch personnel the ability to manage the customer with a holistic product package. Knowing the customers’ needs at the initial point of contact allows for the ability to up-sell as well as cross-sell a full range of financial products and services.

Within the past decade the move from physical branch to e-branch has been significant. No longer is your banker behind the teller’s window or behind the desk in the office. Your banker may be your mobile phone, home computer or any other electronic device – faceless and nameless. Generally, over one-half of a retail banks’ customers use some form of e-banking. It is not unusual for a customer, once an account is opened, to never have to visit the branch again. This begs the question: How do you increase the ROI on the “electronic customer?” How can you cross-sell or up-sell to an unseen customer?

Though, a bank's senior decision makers fully understand the branch process and the necessity for it, they have somewhat less understanding of their electronic customer base. It is this gap in knowledge that in many cases causes a reluctance to institute a CRM system. There are concerns about expenses associated with the system, the ease at which the system can be accessed by front line personnel and the relinquishing of authority to the front lines. Even more frightening to the entrenched bank establishment is the relinquishing of choice to the customer themselves.

How then, can a CRM system assist these retail establishments in increasing their ROI? CRM success in retail banking depends on measurable ROI over a short period. Expenditures and prospective earning over an established period of time must be defined. With this information the return from a CRM system can be measured.

One significant issue for physical retail banking is the shifting peak periods–the need to reallocate idle or untapped branch resources during peak periods will have a positive impact on ROI. An integrated CRM system can help to shift these resources through equal access to customer information. The concept of the process driven workflow in a retail bank needs a CRM system which can:
  • Capture customer data at the point of entry into the banking system – the branch. Ensure that all customer information and history are accessible – allowing the branch to foster the corporate identity of the organization. 
  • Provide quality information on each customer interaction that can then be accessed by senior management in timely reports which allow more refined analysis than previously available. 
  • Enable bank marketing to easily identify customer contacts by market segment and target correspondence to those customers most likely to acquiesce to the product or service offering. 
  • Ensure that the customers experience within the system is consistent across all channels.
The Banking CRM system also integrates the electronic customer identity into the organization. No longer is the face-to-face bank contact required to cross-sell or up-sell products. New product introductions, based on the current electronic customer profile, can be offered though the e-marketing channels.

Managing the customer is what CRM is all about – it allows the banking establishment to look at the full basket of products offered by the institution and based on customer profiles offer the most profitable product to the most profitable customer.

Optimizing Customer Service Touch Points to Deliver Great Customer Experience

With the new wave of digital revolution, analysts, strategists and forecasting groups are laying immense pressure on businesses to use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to combat their recent challenges. Both small and large businesses believe that their basic challenge lies in maintaining a consistent and growing consumer base in the highly competitive and global market.

Considering the economics behind CRM strategies, companies are investing heavily in software that assists them in keeping track of consumers. A lot has been written regarding approach towards CRM analysis, however it is interesting to advance this field from a creative frame of mind. After all, the field of consumer behavior is more emotionally driven than logically concluded.

'Product-wise complaints/ requests' report
An interesting approach towards effective use of CRM is to understand its use in delivering a delightful customer service experience. The term customer service is often associated with call centers. Many companies lose their customers to cold and often ineffective customer service. In today’s virtually connected society, consumers prefer reaching out to companies and the customer support system via email, messages or twitter. If companies are really listening, these avenues can prove to be a valuable touch point to build and regain trust through service oriented strategies.

In order to realize this approach effectively, it is necessary for the company to treat their customer service strategy as an experience provider. Additionally, they need to consider a touch point as a stage, to communicate values and thereby build trust with companies.

James Gilmore, in his book ‘The Experience Economy’, provides companies a measurable tool to alter their experience through a customer service centric approach. The tool is expressed as shown below (The Experience Realm)-

Experience through any touch point with the consumer can be placed spatially on an axis using two important dimensions – level of absorption of communicated message by consumers, and level of participation of consumers with the brand. On placing these dimensions on axis, the area is divided into 4 quadrants, namely-
  • Educational: High absorption of information and active participation 
  • Entertainment: High absorption of information but passive participation 
  • Esthetic: Low absorption or immersion of information and passive participation 
  • Escapist: Low absorption or immersion of information but active participation
A company can gauge its performance for participation and absorption of information through the following methods-
  • Customer feedback channel: comments on website, Facebook, Twitter, complaint box 
  • Surveys: provide incentives to consumers in order to fill out surveys 
  • Study consumer generated content on social media 
  • Preserve and analyze consumer testimonials and referrals
Through the above listed research tools, companies can spatially place its existing position within the Experience Realm. As per James Gilmore, the most memorable experience for a consumer is attained when the experience provided the company reaches the intersection point of the axis i.e. when a company can achieve an overlap of Educational, Escapist, Entertainment and Esthetic quadrant of the tool. The approach can be studied in depth through the following examples-

Company A uses Twitter to provide customer service to consumers. They are able to converse one on one with the specific consumer, but are unable to extend that conversation beyond two point feedback loop with the ability to be quoted or re-tweeted. In this scenario, Company A provides more absorption of information but a weak active participation. It can fall under the Education quadrant of the tool. In this case, the company can retweet the satisfied consumer’s reply as a testimonial and use it as a conversation point with other consumers. Thus, it will not only project the company’s brand identity as being a quick and effective customer service provider, but also inculcate a community to interact with each other on their Twitter page.

Company B uses a message system in-built on its website to provide customer support. In this manner, there is no way to build a participatory environment around a complaint filed through the one to one feedback loop. On solving the consumer’s issue immediately, Company B can offer a promotional offer as a way of apologizing to the consumer for the inconvenience caused, incorporating a referral button for consumers to share their experience and generate trust among other users.

A similar approach can be applied to phone, email, Facebook and other touch points that can offer customer service.

An effective customer service solution can allow companies to recognize their strengths, weaknesses, and optimize the strategy to deliver a great customer experience. Customer Relationship Management in its essence can be guaranteed through this creative face over in customer service management and above the analytical deductions. Customer service is necessary to retain the trust of consumers, and can be effectively used to combat growing competition.



CRM in Insurance: Trends in 2012

In the current challenging economic environment customer relationship management strategies have become very critical for the struggling market. Working through telecom and banking sectors, it has recently hit the shores of the mass body called Insurance. Thankfully, the insecurity brought about by the financial crisis has increased consumer spending on insurance and pension plans.

Insurance CRM solutions primarily enables companies to target their marketing, sales and customer service resources at profitable customers from an existing database of millions of consumers. It can be a critical tool for planning strategies by analyzing the trends reflected through consumer spending. However, this strategy has immense untapped potential in creating long term emotional bonds with its customer base, create competitive advantage and eventually increase their market share in this industry.

The following market trends in the year 2012 pertaining specifically to the insurance industry can be closely studied, and CRM solutions can be applied to each, for higher ROI.

Direct Marketing
CRM solutions objectifies the use of various touch points in order to focus minutely on customer needs. However the most effective way of reaching out to a customer is by letting them know that as an insurance provider you care about their individual needs. Direct marketing, personal selling and one to one feedback channels are the upcoming trends for this industry. Through the database generated through CRM software, it is necessary to study consumers as ‘need pockets’ rather than as bulls-eye target approach. Using SEO search words as criteria for sorting data, it becomes easier for companies to track needs of consumer as per frequency, depth and continuity of certain expectations. This data can then be tailored in order to manicure insurance pitches and service packages that resonate with consumer values. Through digital and traditional direct marketing means, CRM can strengthen the emotional bond customers share with the company.

Multi-Channel Experience
Insurance, as a service industry has always been focusing its budget on increasing service capabilities. The competitive advantage in this industry lies in breaking through spam mail perceptions, relapsed premiums and extensive paper work. Therefore, it thinks minimally on its advertising front. Previously, insurers would invest in single channel mediums such as direct or online or agent portals that would allow the companies to maintain one brand touch point with consumers. This would obviously mean simpler management on behalf of the company. However, today’s consumer is a lot more informed, feels powerful in making informed choices, and is blessed with a variety of options that are just a click away. The entry of digital marketing in the field of insurance, has increased competition and thereby caused clutter.

In such a dynamic market environment, CRM solutions provides company with valuable data and trends to provide consumers plenty information in a multi-media, cross-media format .i.e, it allows companies to stage a multi-face experience through a variety of touch points. Consumer profiling w.r.t insurance needs and their preferred media channels to receive information can be analysed and executed. This leads to higher resonance, positive brand perception as well as creates a deep engaging experience.

SIC-Simplification, Integration and Consolidation of Operational Systems
Insurance CRM solutions have evolved over time, and to stay abreast of competition, companies need to integrate CRM with their core systems. New solutions need to accelerate claims management system, seamlessly handle regular premium collections and help resolve customer complaints rapidly. Using data mining tools to induce cross-selling, event triggering to monitor incoming transaction and using profiling to recognize changes in a customer behavior or profile in real time allows the company to reach or trigger actions and alerts. Through the new age CRM software, these functions can be integrated and consolidated in a single window in order to simplify the process for customer service representatives. With a deep understanding of the complicated yet dynamic life cycle of this service, CRM can allow representatives to prioritize, manage leads and eventually accelerate the conversion rate.

Targeting Emerging Markets
With the digital revolution, a proliferated world has started shrinking. Information and exploration have become a norm and boundaries between nations are evaporating as the global outlook takes the driver’s seat. 3rd world countries and emerging markets within Asia- Pacific, Europe and the Americas are being focused to build revenue for the insurance industry.

In the Asia-Pacific market, demographics and consumer buying patterns are shifting.. Additionally, business growth is accelerating and regional hubs are evolving themselves by attracting attention from the developed global leaders.In case of emerging economies especially the BRIC nations, distribution flexibility and support systems are developing, forcing the industry to effectively gauge critical capital requirements and risk management.The demographics of these economies, especially India, with the largest population in the age group of 25-55 in the world, insurance sector offers a very lucrative opportunity.

Pertaining to these global yet local developments, analytics need to be leveraged to effectively drive growth agenda. Insurance CRM solutions is an obvious answer for solving the hurdle of transitioning to newer, effective growth strategies and regulatory processes.


Why Collaboration is the Key to Success for Insurance Companies

On an average, uncertainties have doubled over a decade for customers in the year 2011. The fear of loss of stability and general anxiety has increased after the economic downturn of 2008. As a result, the number of people opting for insurance such as auto, home, health, life, renters and even travel, have increased manifold. Not only has the insurance industry expanded and proliferated into individual service providers, but the packages have become more competitive and they face challenges in loyal customer retention. In this age of myriad options, insurance companies are looking forward to a holistic strategy for increasing revenues.

The most common solution as propagated by industry gurus for an effective CRM in insurance sector is COLLABORATION. Often quoted, the capacity of this solution is misunderstood and gravely underutilized by most insurance companies. As a business strategy, collaboration is the effective use of the network of agents and intermediaries to increase visibility of sales processes, reduce cycle time and prevent loss of revenue. It involves building a multi-source eco-system to effectively utilize the USP of a specific carrier and add value to another carrier’s offerings. Collaboration helps in reducing competition and accentuating effective use of monitory and human resources.

The auxiliary benefits of this strategy include indirect marketing through advertised options by comparison portals, advisors, corporate alignments, etc. Through the inductive effect of faith and belief that customers have in one carrier, its collaborated carrier feeds off on the popularity of the prior. Ultimately, customers receive a more valuable package, functioning as a one-stop solution to their insurance needs.

The above outlined benefits are extensively communicated and perceived by insurance companies. However, the challenge lies in effectively realizing and executing strategies to attain these benefits as the end result. To begin with, companies need to perform an intensive performance review and dedicate their resources to capitalize on their USP. For e.g. an Auto Insurance USP can be as niche and specific as providing their customers support within 30 seconds, over a phone call or by providing customer claims for insurance through one-stop, one-point contact facilities. This internal analysis requires efficient data management tools to assess previous customer data, relationships and complaints.

The next step requires companies to analyze the above mentioned data and outline the services that could add value to their USP and offer a package deal to their customers. The target audience’s collective needs can be better fulfilled through a customized deal strategy that can also increase the ability of the company to demand a premium price for their insurance. Incorporating other features such as quick access to call centers, instant messaging and expert locations can provide more assurance to customers over other competitors. However, integrating and marketing these features in a one-stop browsing page over web, mobile and smartphone applications are essential to today's digital customers.

Addressing customer needs such as quick and effective support, transparent communication for product details and easy self service system for payments allows companies to develop a growing loyal customer base.

Eventually, the result depends on a high impact CRM in insurance companies that facilitates development of ideas and products. It needs to foster collaborations that support automated end-to-end business processes. Additionally, these real-time collaborations through a CRM solution need to be augmented by responsive support environments that allow customers to take advantage of the available facilities. Collaboration as a tool is ineffective when used as a short term goal. The real benefits of collaboration can be reaped from mutually beneficial relationships that allow each collaborative partner to feed off the brand identity, USP, customer information and market perceptions. A 360 degree view for collaborations provides companies opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell their products through multiple channels. Through the above outlined avenues of accomplishing a successful collaborative venture, insurance companies can leverage their power for easy market penetration, effective utilization of resources and increasing market and revenue share. Conclusively, collaboration is an effective and essential tool for the insurance industry and has immense untapped potential that can increase the bottom line of these companies.  


4 Key Reasons for Implementing CRM in Insurance

Insurance is a volatile sector. Reputations can be damaged and restored within a span of months and government imposed regulations can make margins appear and disappear almost magically. The sector however is one of the most dynamic in the Indian business landscape and the keenness of international players to invest in it bears testimony to the massive potential it holds. In the domestic space too, there have been some massive transformations, LIC faced competition for the first time in decades in the life insurance segment with the pie in the non-life and health insurance segments being shared equally. These developments in the sector have made it even more important for companies to be abreast of the latest tools and solutions so that they can be a part of the race where some of the best names in the international market have already made their presence felt. With the lobbying for removal of the FDI cap of 26% in insurance getting more intense by the day, it is clear that the sector is on an upward incline for a major boom. Streamlining business operations and managing customer data therefore have assumed more importance than ever - the role of CRM in insurance sector is now crucial.

The winning factor
While the banking sector’s business does not completely depend on the customer database, the insurance sector cannot exist without a solid set of databases that include existing customers as well as prospective ones. Procuring these databases is also a major challenge in this sector and therefore optimum utilization and proper management of the data could well be the winning or losing factor for a player. In an industry where the competition is so intense, making customer related data accessible to the sales, management and customer service team in the most efficient, cost-effective and timely manner is a challenge for any CRM solution provider.

While there are several players in the market, only a few have made a solid market presence that looks sustainable for the next decade. It is also important to note in this case that the total market share of the private players doubled as recently as the last six years. Though most of these players boast of state-of-the-art CRM software, the solutions have evolved with the market. Today, cold calling is no more quintessential for cross-selling and up-selling, customer relations is no longer about the person that walks into the office but about long term relations built through wealth advice and high quality service. Ensuring that the firm is in line with the IRDA regulations and there is ample scope for the launch of a new marketing strategy is no longer a decision made randomly by the board, but a logical deduction from the CRM data that is on the table today.
 

Integration and segregation
Two of the biggest functions of CRM in the present market scenario are therefore integration and segregation. Integration of the data from across the various departments and technical, meticulous and efficient segregation of this data related to claims, policy holders, expired/ new policies, corporate clients, prospective clients, third party policy sellers and agents among others is thus essential. A company choosing to upgrade their existing CRM or implementing a new one to keep up with competition should therefore look for high levels of customization when it comes to these two processes.
 

Customer grievances
No matter how good an enterprise’s CRM solution, sales, marketing and customer service department, grievances will remain. While 100% customer satisfaction and claim settlement is an illusion, companies have no choice but to strive for it.
 

Some of the common complaints against insurance companies remain delays in claim settlements, inefficient customer care officers, cumbersome paperwork and opaque claims processing routines. Insurance players in the health and life insurance space have to be doubly careful when it comes to handling customers, sentiments can run high and the media can be quick to spread disrepute. Single point of contact for most departments related to customers, easier navigation, interactive online and telephonic presence with friendlier call center executives are some of the solutions that can be implemented apart from high-end CRM solutions.
 

Changing landscapeThe customer today has more money and knowledge than ever before. Impressing them with typical CRM tools like seasonal and birthday greetings is no longer effective. The need of the hour is comprehensive KYC packages where personalized and customized services are provided. With the rapid expansion of the customer base, risk management has also emerged as a major challenge and CRM solutions can go a long way in helping companies implement effective measures to manage risks. Solid portfolio management used to be a manual process even a few years ago as there was a great deal of analysis and inference involved. Today, however, CRM solutions have the power to replace the analyst and come up with inferences that can help the sales team make clear decisions.

New changes such as health insurance portability and the emergence of social media and RTI have made the insurance sector a large yet competitive terrain. Foreign investors know that a majority of the 121 crore population in India is yet to be insured and it is one of the biggest in the world. Solution providers for CRM in insurance sector are likely to look at the potential of this market and therefore come up with better-customized, efficient, real-time and cost-effective solutions for the insurance sector with special features for Big Data, social CRM, email syndication, two-way SMS and more.


10 Tips to Enhance Cross-Selling

At one time or another we have all felt on entering an automobile dealership or furniture showroom floor, we were descended upon by vultures; those hungry salesmen hoping to score another commission! It is almost worth it to go somewhere else to buy what you need, where making the sale isn’t so obviously the reason the salesperson wants to help! This is made worse when the salesperson is not trained and launches into a memorized spiel.

A salesperson must remember that when customers call or visit their place of business, they have come to buy something they want not to be sold something you sell. In most cases, they want the best value at the lowest possible price, especially nowadays when pockets are thin. There are a few reasons customers are willing to pay more, making it imperative for those hoping to establish a loyal customer base to learn how, and when, to cross-sell.

Cross-selling does come with some risks, but it also comes with benefits. The products or services your customer service representatives attempt to add on to the sale must be of value to the customer. There is always the risk that the item you sell does not work out for a customer and they may decide to never come back because of their negative experience. A CRM solution that displays the cross-selling products a particular customer is most likely to buy based on carefully planned analysis of that specific person's prior purchases, feedback and complaints history, preferences and budgetary limitations ensures greater success with conversions and reduces customer churn.

Let’s take a look at the following example of a customer’s negative experience with cross-selling:
A young woman named Elaine entered a tire repair shop with her five-year-old son. She was already weary of being taken advantage of because her knowledge of cars was limited, though she had tried preparing for her visit to the tire shop.

Elaine had learned enough about rims to know some were extremely expensive but the cheapest; all black, ordinary rims would not help her at all, should she ever want to resell the car. Elaine also learned some tire rims were made of solid aluminum and some were not. If her new wheels were solid aluminum they could be sold as scrap metal for $60. She had also called a different repair shop earlier that day and received a “bottom-line quote” for an “out-the-door sale” on four new rims that were one step above the standard black rims, in order to bargain or at least match the competitor’s price. The repair shop manager agreed to match the price of $325.00 out-the-door for four new rims. Elaine also made sure she told the tire shop manager from the start that all she had was $325.00 and no more.

The new rims were put on the car quickly. Elaine was happy she did not have to wait too long, but when the mechanic came out, he had with him one of the tires that had been on her car. Elaine thought she had made the appointment to have her rims replaced, NOT her tires! Before she knew it, the mechanic pushed down on the rubber tire to show some cracks on the side walls and started with a show of concern for Elaine’s safety, especially since she had children, while smiling at her son. He went on to say two of the tires were in this state of disrepair and he couldn’t in good conscience let her leave without replacing them. After an awkward silence, he added, “I’m a sucker for kids.”

Elaine’s first red flag went up. She had come to the repair shop to have her rims replaced, NOT her tires. She had come with an out-the-door quote that the repair shop had agreed to match, but suddenly she was concerned about the tires! Elaine looked the mechanic in the eye and repeated what she had stated when she first arrived; that she had only the $325 to pay for her RIMS to be replaced, and that she didn’t have the money to buy anything else. Elaine believed the man wanted her to leave the shop only after ensuring her car was safe to drive.

In response to her statement she had just $325, he said, “That’s okay. Since you bought the tires from us and they are in a poor condition, (another red flag went up) I will give you a deal. I have a couple of used tires- I can put on that are in better condition than your current set.”

He entered all the information into his computer at the front counter. Then he approached the young woman, and said in a whisper, “See, I saved you over $100.00.”

Red flag number three.

The invoice showed an additional amount of $114.00 to be paid. Immediately, she reminded him that she said she did not have any more money than the $325.00 for the rims.

The mechanic replied, “That’s okay. You can pay it the next time you come in,” as Elaine found herself signing for something she had never intended on buying from the shop.

The mechanic told her it would take just a moment to put the “new” used tires on her car and she would be free to go, but as she waited, the very person came out with a different, larger tire. She thought he was going to tell her the other two tires on her car were spoilt too, but instead, the stood in front of another customer, a woman sitting two chairs down! He pushed down on the tires showing the other woman the cracks in the wall of the tire, just as he had with her.

Confused and feeling SURE she had just been conned, Elaine left the repair shop glad to be done with the whole uncomfortable experience.

As she drove home, Elaine pondered over her experience and red flag number four arose larger and more obvious than the res - she may have agreed to pay $114 for tires that would wind up in terrible condition just as fast as the last ones! Elaine could not be certain she didn’t just buy her own tires all over AGAIN! Also, she had not asked to be present when her rims were installed and tires were replaced – an expensive mistake!

What could have been a helpful and reassuring sales experience had turned into what felt like an opportunistic sale, causing the young woman in the story, to be suspicious of the mechanic’s tactics and integrity. Elaine made the decision to have her car repairs done elsewhere in the future. Her bottom-line quote had turned into an “end-of-the-line” sale that resulted in the tire shop losing a customer's loyalty.

The moral of the story is that cross-selling comes with risks. The salesperson must look at cross-selling as an extension of customer service that solves whatever problems the customer may have first and then look for an opportunity to enhance the customer’s experience. There is a point, be it a fine one, that the salesperson must cease cross-selling at the risk of losing the customer for good.

The following tips will teach your customer service representatives to listen to the customer and to be sincerely interested in what the customer shares, asking questions along the way to learn more, but to also build a relationship with the customer that lasts.

10 ways to optimize cross selling with effective customer relationship management-
  • IDENTIFY which customer has called or come into your place of business. 
  • LISTEN to the customer and clearly establish the reason why the customer has called. 
  • PINPOINT what the customer needs, whether or not the customer realizes these needs at the time. Watch body language and signals of interest or disinterest. 
  • ENSURE CLARITY by making sure any issues the customer had before have all been taken care of and that the customer understands any and all agreements. 
  • INQUIRE if the customer has any questions to show you care enough to be thorough and ensure that the customer is happy.
  • BUILD RAPPORT to listen for any signs of reluctance, discomfort, or uncertainty, to discern whether or not the customer may be open to cross-selling. 
  • TRANSITION into cross-selling with investigative questions to find out if the customer has any additional needs. Observe the customer. 
  • SUGGEST products or services that will meet the customer’s needs, if the customer is receptive. 
  • EXPLAIN the product or services in a manner that shows how much they will help the customer. If receptive, a salesperson can suggest additional products or services. If the customer rejects, the salesperson should avoid pressuring the customer. 
  • RECOGNIZE the customer’s body language and responses, close the sale after receiving a confirmation from the customer. 
A happy and satisfied customer can be free advertising for your company, and someone who will recommend your services to others, who, in turn, will tell still more. Similarly, an unsatisfied customer can spread negative feedback about your company and choose a competitor’s product or service, negatively affecting that strong and loyal customer base you have worked so hard to maintain. Establishing a strong relationship with your customers that allows for open, real, and honest communication will generate an environment more comfortable for sales transactions for both the seller and the customer. A successful salesperson can sense when a customer is not interested in additional products or services at a particular time. These should be observed with respect for the ongoing protection of the customer base and continued business of your company.

In today's competitive world of retail and customer support, the most successful products and services are those that are created by incorporating the needs and lifestyles of customers. This translates into only cross-selling those products that are beneficial for a customer and provide added value that will transform them into loyal customers.

Hard-selling is not a viable option in today's highly competitive market where similar products are manufactured by manifold businesses. Cross selling opportunities generated by an intelligent CRM solution can help your customer facing teams to establish a strong relationship with your customers that allows for open, real, and honest communication that will generate an environment more comfortable for sales transactions for both the seller and the customer.

Jeanette Krueger

6 Important Factors to Evaluate When Selecting a CRM Solution

With uncertainties created by consolidations and increasingly similar looking products, the process of selecting a CRM solution has never been more difficult. It is critical to evaluate, both, the product and the solutioning capability of the vendor to match the organisation's vision.
Important factors to evaluate while selecting a CRM solution:

Product Quality
·         Multi-tenant architecture
·         Pure Browser based
·         Scalability benchmark
·         Integration capability
·         Ease of configuration
·         Seamless upgrades
·         Product roadmap
·         Functional features

Business Impact
·         Vision alignment
·         Process improvement
·         KPI measurement matrix
·         Stakeholder buy-in

Implementation Process
·         Requirement validation
·         User involvement
·         Data migration and integration
·         Time to go live

Production Management
·         Security Management
·         Trouble-shooting

Ownership Experience
·         Support Process
·         Training
·         SLAs
·         Guaranteed uptime
·         Client Feedback (Min. 3)

TCO (Over next 3 years)
·         Hardware
·         Bandwidth Requirement
·         Software Licenses/Services (SaaS)
·         Implementation and Training
·         Enhancements
·         Cost of Upgrades
·         AMC

For a detailed evaluation guideline, please email me at rahul.r.sheth@crmnext.com