Answer

How do I compare cloud CRM vendors?

Every CRM vendor I look at is selling the same thing -- social, mobile, customer experience management and analytics. How do I compare them? How do I figure out which one is right for my company?

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Start by not evaluating any of them until you evaluate your situation. Really, this is a big mistake that I see over and over. Don’t assume you know your needs because you’ll only assume the technology needs. What business objectives do the proposed cloud CRM applications need to satisfy?  Build a list of those objectives and try to translate them into technology needs, and then evaluate vendors.

If your business need is more closed deals and more qualified leads ask yourself how many leads per unit time you need or what the pipeline value of those leads needs to be. Is there a preferred channel you want those leads to come in from?  Answering those questions will start you on a journey to evaluate social marketing solutions and you’ll discover some techniques you might not have considered before, such as inbound marketing. Then it would be a matter of evaluating inbound marketing companies to see how they meet your needs and your objectives. You might also need to apply a similar process to your staff -- sales and marketing. What is their work style and how adaptable are they?

This was first published in November 2012

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