Finding Your Perfect Match

Finding the right software is like finding the right partner. You wouldn't just marry the first person you were attracted to, right? You must be certain that what they offer matches what you need. The same is true for CRM.

Before you "tie the knot" with a CRM solution, it's crucial to understand not only what you need today, but where you plan to be in the future. Which are your must-have features? Which features can you live without? Establishing this list not only helps narrow your possible options, but it also increases your likelihood of a successful, long-term relationship with the software you choose.

We're here to guide you to your CRM best-fit based on criteria that aligns with your goals. We'll help you define and rank your features to find your perfect CRM match.


The Strategy of Selection

CRM selection involves more than just the analysis of basic features. It's crucial to go through the entire strategic selection process to ensure you make the right choice for the long-term. How will the features support your strategic objectives? Is the CRM you're considering compatible with your existing software architectures? Will you need to customize out-of-the-box features to match the way you do business, or do you plan to alter your business processes to match the CRM? These are the types of questions our experts can help you answer.

CRM Selection Workshops

The most effective way to gather requirements in the form of user stories are through workshops. Workshops allow your team to brainstorm and exchange ideas to agree on processes that are both customer and internal facing. The outcomes of the workshop define the list of user stories we use to create the selection criteria.

User Stories

While requirements are function-focused, user stories are process-focused. TAI creates user stories to determine the functional criteria for your selection process. Well written user stories have an added benefit: they help produce validation requirements that can be used later to drive test cases.

Evaluation Matrix

There are hundreds of CRMs in the marketplace and no one can evaluate all of them. So, how do you know you’re picking the absolute best CRM? TAI built an evaluation matrix to compare some of the market's top CRM products, and we're adding new ones every day. By mapping the functions defined in the user stories to the evaluation matrix, you can quickly create a subset of products that are well suited for your organization.

Structured Demos

Once you narrow your CRM options, you must keep the final vendors focused on what you need your CRM to do. That's why TAI created a structured demo script. Forcing all vendors to present the same information prevents selection of a solution that simply highlights a requirement you don't need.

Weighted Selection Criteria

Some criteria is more important than another. Weighting the criteria by ranking it with a score is the only way to prevent the selection of a marginal product. TAI uses a “sum of product” weighting system that highlights your most important criteria for final selection.

Selection Considerations

Structured Demos and weighted criteria will provide a selection that is functionally correct. However, we must also consider many intangible items, like the depth of the provider's marketplace, their reputation in the market, long-range viability, and so on. TAI helps you navigate these intangible items to make sure your selection will last.

Download our CRM Requirements Checklist

Use this requirements checklist as a guideline for your CRM selection. There are three tabs in this Excel document - one for sales features, marketing features, and services features. Rank the features in each set numerically to reveal your most important and least important criteria.


Download the Checklist

Frequently Asked Questions

While it is possible to select on your own, it is not recommended. There are thousands of software systems on the market. A good CRM consultant knows the best-practice strategies for narrowing your options based on their knowledge of what's available and what's possible for each system. Working with a CRM consultant eliminates the extensive and time-consuming research and demo process you would otherwise have to perform. No system is demo'ed to you until the consultant first establishes that it is the proper fit. Your project is more likely to succeed and your solution is more likely to be the right one for your business when you work with a consultant on CRM selection.

Integration with existing systems is highly dependant on the technology the system has or was built upon. Systems with open databases like SQL servers can be integrated by going direct to the database to pull data into your CRM. Most Web based solution have APIs or Web services which can be used to extract and insert data. But, until you do the system requirements you don't know the level of integration you will need.

"Best fit" criteria are tied to your user stories. Prior to performing a selection process, you need to document your users stories which in turn will define the features you need to look for in your CRM. The trick is not to document the current user stories but to envision how the future state should be by performing things like customer experience workshops or customer journey maps to make sure your long range needs are being met.

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