How to buy ... B2B CRM software

Business-to-business (B2B) CRM is all about delivering to the customer, and selecting the right tools for your business that will also help to retain customers is key, says Paul Pitman.

Consider your users

Users of B2B CRM systems are very different from the users of your ERP (enterprise resource planning) or accounting systems. Don't assume they will be happy to fill in forms of data just because a vendors' solution requires them to do so. Select a solution that will provide the users with tools they want to use, tools that deliver a benefit to the user, that work with their client and prospect lists in the way that they are used to working.

Recognise that delivering quick, high-value wins will secure you more user buy-in than all the project documentation in the world, and that buy-in is the real secret of success.

Be aware of the end customer

Good CRM is about how the customer perceives their relationship with you - not how you perceive it. Check that the solution provides tools to facilitate customer interaction. For example, can customers subscribe or unsubscribe from a campaign? Make sure the solution works in all the different ways your customers interact with you - e-mail, post, telephone, face-to-face, and via your web site.

Provide sufficient access

For some users a PC connected to a local database server is a powerful tool that allows them to complete their job. But while web-based access may be a wonderful, cost-effective solution for IT professionals, for a sales person in their car between meetings, it won't be accessible.

The way you deliver the information to the user is key - if they cannot get access when and where they want it, then usage will drop. Remember users will only put data into a system in direct relationship to the benefits they extract from it.

Check your supplier's credentials

Surrounding yourself with expensive consultants and complicated methodologies will not ensure the success of your CRM project. Check that the supplier has experience that is relevant to you and your business.

Spell out the returns

For each item of data you plan to store within your CRM system, calculate the costs of acquiring that data and updating it. For each of these cost items, demonstrate the return that using this data will provide to the company in the time period for which the data will be current. Are the benefits relevant to the user and what is their payback?

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Ritz returns to UK TV screens after 30-year hiatus
Mars creates chief health and wellbeing officer role
Brands make the most of Germany's dramatic victory over Brazil
Adios Justin King! Watch our video tribute as he leaves Sainsbury's after a decade
Nike calls time on 13-year Manchester United kit deal
Three TV ad banned over misleading 'free' call claims
GNM boss David Pemsel: 'The Guardian has got its mojo back'
M&S has missed a massive opportunity to put digital strategy at its heart
Google partners with the Barbican to show coders are artists
Samaritans encourages men to talk about issues with #DownNotOut campaign
Lego's partnership with Shell 'not awesome', according to Greenpeace viral
Chevrolet launches £350m Manchester United shirt deal with nostalgic video
Warburtons rebrands to 'Warbeartons' in Paddington Bear movie tie-up
M&S blames new website as non-food sales fall again
Top 10 skills for young creative talent: The Mad Men era of on-the-job learning is long gone
Pepsi Max calls on fans to take part in Kelly Rowland video
From mutton chops to manscaping, Gillette takes a trip through 100 years of male grooming
Digital democracy creation: how the marketing industry made its voice heard
Three prints spoof apology letter to hapless holiday-less consumers
Sponsors congratulate Novak Djokovic on Wimbledon win
Cristiano Ronaldo launches CR7 fashion range and website
How eBay drove awareness of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for Sony Pictures
Lidl plots 'more British' brand in drive for customers
WeChat-owner Tencent on China's impact on international marketing - not vice versa
Imperial War Museum releases film announcing WWI exhibition
Why brand and music collaborations need to work for the fans, not the brands
Viral review: Star Trek's Zachary Quinto has Independence Day fun with Newcastle Brown Ale
Why brands should beware of Facebook's emotional engineering
Beats by Dre turns up the heat ahead of the France v Germany World Cup game
Top 10 ads of the week: Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul helps XBox reach top