Shared Success - Guaranteed Results
July 03,2012 by nicole.bunn • Leave a Comment
Workbooks.com Guarantees Success For SME CRM Projects
Cloud CRM software provider guarantees return on investment
Workbooks.com, a web-based CRM provider for SMEs, has turned CRM investment on its head, with a new approach that guarantees success. Customers pay half project fees upfront and if objectives are not met, they do not pay the remainder. SME CRM projects often fail because businesses struggle to set goals; Workbooks helps set objectives and, as the CRM system is its own, tailor the technology to meet the desired outcome.
Workbooks is participating in CRM Idol 2012- a competition run by CRM influencers, which sets out to champion the next big thing. Paul Greenberg, a CRM Idol judge, said: “We are in the middle of a growth period in the small business CRM market. That means businesses looking for a new CRM system are going to be flooded with offers for new systems. It can become difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, businesses need reassurances that they are not just throwing money down the CRM drain.”
In the Workbooks Shared Success program, customers pay an initial 50% of the services up front, and the rest in stages against progress. Typically, 25% of the fee is paid once the first set of agreed business goals have been achieved, with the remaining balance settled at the project’s conclusion. If objectives are not met, customers simply do not pay the remaining balance.
“Workbooks.com delivers a joined-up, Cloud-based CRM system that brings businesses together at a time when many of them have drifted apart, using a wide range of apps and programmes. A system that can be accessed from anywhere, by any employee, unlocks the true power of information held within a business. By offering SMEs this Shared Success option, Workbooks is committing to improving their business, not just delivering technology,” said John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks.com.
For the process to be a success, Workbooks.com takes time to understand the business’ needs. Initially the team gains an understanding of the customer’s “Current State”: what systems are being used and what the current pain points are. Then the “Future State” is drawn up: where would the business like to be once the project has been successfully implemented?
With a common understanding of the SME’s current position and where it would like to be, successful CRM implementation is a tameable beast. With stakeholders and leaders sharing a common vision, the Workbooks.com team invests time with the customer’s team ahead of any financial commitment from them.
The CRM Lottery
May 23,2012 by ixisit • Leave a Comment
‘Will you get the outcome you expect or will you be one of the losers?’
By Ian Moyse - Sales Director, www.workbooks.com
Eurocloud UK Board Member & Cloud Industry Forum Governance Board Member
Workbooks Automation in Action
March 09,2012 by jkay • Leave a Comment
Since we released support for the automation of Workbooks processes we have had a lot of interest from customers, and we have used it extensively internally as well. It has been interesting to see how many different uses customers have come up with for these features.
To recap, the Process Engine allows you to run scripts which are hosted in the Workbooks environment. Scripts are built using PHP and the Workbooks API and can be used to automate a series of processes such as updating fields on a record or creating new records. Scripts can automate pretty much any task in Workbooks. Processes can be scheduled or run on-demand by users.
I'd like to highlight just some of these processes here: often we have been able to replace something far less effective with a supportable, 'clean' and most of all, intuitive, solution using the Process Engine.
- Email to Case: a very flexible solution which customers can configure to their own requirements; this uses IMAP to read emails which are used to create or update support Cases.
- We implemented our integration with MailChimp using the Process Engine: this was a great way to prove the capabilities of the system: it uses multiple scripts, included scripts, parameters, scheduling and a range of Workbooks APIs. You can take a look at the code in the Script Library within Workbooks.
- Lead assignment: a scheduled process which assigns leads automatically to the right partner or account manager based on a configurable set of rules.
- Using subscription information from Contracts via resellers to end-user accounts to get a clear view of which contracts were active, lapsed and cancelled - and which were due for renewal. This was done on both on a scheduled basis and on-demand using a Process Button and it transformed the customer's visibility of their customer base.
- We've streamlined our internal order-creation process so that our sales staff are presented with the appropriate set of options when an order is placed and we automatically generate the appropriate line items and charges: this has eliminated a lot of potential for error.
- Engineering status update: our Case management system and our separate defect-tracking system are now linked so we be more responsive with customers as issues are addressed.
- Automation of the case closure and case escalation processes.
- Extending the product: customers have asked us for special features - the list is long but an example is a button on the Organisation form which creates a Marketing Campaign and makes that Organisation a member of the campaign.
4 Tips for Improving Cash Collection
February 10,2012 by jcheney • Leave a Comment
4 Tips for Improving Cash Collection
Cash is king, every small (and even large) business owner knows this is true. Yet for most organisations cash collection and chasing aged debts is seen as the responsibility of the finance department.
Why is this the case? Often the finance department has no first-hand knowledge of your customer, they haven’t met the people paying the bills and they weren’t involved in negotiating the deal.
Yet they are left to chase up the cash. Why? Because the finance team are normally the only people with access to the invoice information and know which customers haven’t paid their bills.
If all of your customers pay their bills on time and nobody ever quibbles over an Invoice, maybe this approach is fine. However, if like most organisations you are investing time and effort in chasing your customers for payments, maybe you could consider involving the people who know your customers best – your sales team.
I’m not suggesting you could get your expensive sales team chasing every invoice, however by following some of the advice below you could significantly improve your cash flow.
Tip One: Commission on Collection
Consider only paying commission when your invoices are paid, not just when you bill your customer. The sales team will moan, but it is the most effective think you can do to improve your debtor days. If you don’t want to move to paying the entire commission of collection, consider 50% on invoice and 50% on collection.
Tip Two: Make sure the sales team know about outstanding invoices
Sales teams can’t help with cash collection if they don’t have the right information. Make it easy by ensuring that your sales team can see what each of their accounts owes in a simple dashboard. If you use the Business Edition of Workbooks then this is really easy, because all the data is in one place. If not, consider how you get the information to your sales team in way so that they may actually use it.
Tip Three: Make it part of your sales management process
When you run your regular sales meeting, make time for a review of debt. If you have some customers who haven’t paid, the sales team may know why and more importantly they will be able to find the right contact at your customer to get the issue resolved.
This could be just 10 or 15 minutes at the end of your weekly sales review, but could make a real difference to your cash flow.
Tip Four: Sales incentives for early payments
You commission your people on sales, so why not structure their pay plan to incentivise them to get prompt payment? You could offer an incentive for 50% upfront payments or for payments made within 15 days of invoicing. If you are selling recurring contracts (like us), offer additional incentives for customers willing to pay for multiple years in advance.
January 2012 Release
January 12,2012 by kwells • Leave a Comment
We're excited to announce that we will be releasing the latest version of Workbooks this coming Saturday, the 14th January.
Our latest release includes some much anticipated functionality, including Workflow and Automation Features and Mailchimp integration.
Read on to find out more about the new functionality...
Workflow and Automation Features
Workbooks now includes the ability to automate common processes using a combination of the Process Manager and the existing Workbooks API.
This release include the following features to support automation:
- Scripts: Workbooks allows you to run scripts which are hosted in the Workbooks environment. Scripts are built using PHP and the Workbooks API and can be used to automate a series of processes such as updating fields on a record or creating new records. Scripts can automate pretty much any task in Workbooks.
- A Scheduler: This enables you to run Scripts on a defined schedule. e.g. hourly, daily, weekly, or Monday-Friday.
- Process Buttons: Process buttons allow you to run a script in the context of a specific record. A new button is added to the top of the record which can run one or more scripts when the button is pressed by the user. You might for example add a process button to a case, which closes the case and automatically sends an email to the primary contact using the relevant email template.
- Script Library: You will be able to install example scripts into your database which can be tailored to your requirements. We will publish example scripts over the coming weeks.
These features are included in all editions of Workbooks, excluding, however, the free edition.
Improvements to Custom Fields - Linking Records
We have added the ability to create a new type of custom field which links one Workbooks record to another, this is called a Dynamic Linked Item. This new field type looks like a pick list, but instead contains a list of records that already exist in Workbooks.
The list presented in a Dynamic Linked Item is actually created using reports, so you can use the full power of reporting to select which values appear in the list. As well as joining the two records, you can also 'pull through' values from one record to another.
Examples of where you might want to use this functionality include:
- Creating a primary contact on an opportunity. You could link a specific person and also populate their contact details such as email, phone number and address onto the main opportunity record.
- Adding a partner onto an Invoice. The invoice already contains the details of your end customer, but you could add a Partner field and pull through the relevant organisation record and contact details onto the Invoice.
The Dynamic Linked Item can link any records in Workbooks together to suit your business need.
These improvements are included in all editions
Many records in Workbooks such as Cases, Opportunities and Activities have a status value . These values can already be customised to meet your needs. We have extended this for some records so you can map each status to either an Open or Closed state as well.
For example you can now map each Opportunity Stage to either Open or Closed. This simplifies reports and views, enabling you to run a report or create a view of all 'Open' opportunities without having to specifically include each Stage.
The functionality is available with the following records
- Activities (Activities Status)
- Leads (Leads Status)
- Opportunities (Opportunity Stage)
- Cases (Case Status)
- Campaigns (Campaign Status)
These improvements are included in all editions
The existing security framework has been extended to include Products. This means you can restrict which products are available to users using the existing Permissions model. Each product now has a 'padlock' and you can set the permissions using sharing policies.
These improvements are included in all editions
Workbooks is now able to audit every change to a Workbooks record. Using Audit you can see a history of who changed which record, including the specific 'before' and 'after' values of each field.
You can use Audit not only to track record changes, but to measure your performance against SLAs. For example you can write an Audit report which shows all cases which haven't been processed within a specific time period.
Audit is an additional Extension costing £36 per user, per year (£3 per user, per month). For existing customers we will add the Audit Extension to your account for free, until the end of your existing contract term on request. If you would like Audit enabled let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
The MailChimp Integration is now completed. This enables customers to synchronise records between Workbooks and MailChimp automatically. Within the campaign screen you can 'connect' a Workbooks campaign to MailChimp and all campaign members details will be synchronised with a MailChimp List. You can also see the MailChimp activity within a Mailchimp tab on the person or lead record.
Watch the following video to learn more about how the Workbooks/MailChimp Integration works:
Is Google Adwords a good use of your cash?
November 16,2011 by jcheney • Leave a Comment
10 years ago, advertising was the preserve of large businesses with big marketing budgets. In fact a whole ecosystem of marketing and advertising agencies would make money designing, testing and implementing expensive advertising campaigns.
Today however things are vastly different and you can spend much less money, and still reach millions using search engine advertising. In line with these changes, Google and Bing, in particular, have made online advertising easy to use and available to all businesses, even those with smaller budgets.
In fact I would go as far as to say that being 'On Google' is increasingly seen by many businesses as something they need to do to be credible and Adwords is the quickest way of getting there.
But does search engine advertising actually work? Does it create more sales opportunities and drive more business? According to a recent survey we ran with YouGov, only 18% of SMEs who use Google Adwords can actually recoup the cost of their investment. 82% either don't make enough sales to cover the cost of advertising or just don't know.
This chimes with our own experience. Last year we spend £36k on Google Adwords, which generated around 13'000 visits to our website, which you might is feel is good. Indeed our Marketing agency was pleased with the results, especially in a market which is pretty competitive. However because we actually track the number of leads we generate, along with the lead source, and which of these actually convert into sales, I know we actually made sales of just £5k from our Google Adwords campaign, by far the worst performing marketing activity in our business.
What was most interesting in the survey we put together was that over half of businesses really didn't have any idea if their online advertising was working or not. This indicates that these organisations are just spending money, not knowing if it is worthwhile or not. Considering the vast number of tools available to businesses today, this is just foolish. By implementing a CRM tool like workbooks.com it really is very easy to track which leads are generated from online advertising and then measure the return on investment. If you are using Workbooks already and want to understand how to track online leads, we would encourage you to read this article. (http://www.workbooks.com/forum/integrating-workbooks-crm-google-analytics-web2lead)
If you are spending any significant money on Google advertising you really need to look beyond the data you get from the Adwords tools, to see if the leads generated really turn into sales.
If you use a marketing agency to run your Adwords (or SEO) challenge them to justify the spend and really measure ROI. We even provide a free 2 user version which allows agencies to use our service for free so they really have no excuse.
The ROI on our Google Adwords campaign this year is better, we are now getting about x1.5 our investment, not great but definitely an improvement.
Our latest, Autumn 2011, release has been successfully deployed!
October 24,2011 by kwells • Leave a Comment
Friday evening saw the successful deployment of our Autumn 2011 release, which included some major new functionality, addressing a number of customer enhancement requests and making Workbooks even more flexible to use.
Some of the new areas of functionality include:
Custom Page Layouts
It is now possible to customise the appearance of Workbooks records and share the customised layouts with specific Users or User Groups. This is particularly useful if the same record is used by different Users for different purposes as you can specify which fields appear on a record and their position on the form, as well as specifying a default value. For forms with editable grids, such as transaction records, you can control which columns are shown, hidden or excluded. You can also specify which tabs are displayed. This functionality will help Users to focus on the parts of your business process that are most relevant to them.
If you want a particular record, Landing Page or other form to be displayed on your desktop every time you open Workbooks you can ‘pin’ it so that it’s automatically displayed when you login. You can pin more than one window, giving you instant access to the areas of the system that are most useful to you.
Landing Page Views
We’ve added functionality to the Landing Page views including:
- Default Views - You can control which of the views in each Landing Page opens by default when opening that Landing Page, which gives you quicker access to the records that you use most frequently.
- Sharing Views - If you’ve created a view of records that you want other Users to see you can choose to share the view with them rather than them having to login and recreate your view.
- Managing Views - Individual Users can manage saved views more effectively and can now rename them, rearrange the order in which they’re displayed and ‘hide’ any that they don’t want to see, rather than deleting them.
Custom fields on Products can be added to Line Items
Now when you add a custom field to a Product you can add the same custom field to the Line Items within Opportunities and other transaction records and the values entered on the Product will be pulled through onto the transaction record. This will make displaying information such as a part number, nominal code and so on, much easier.
Re-ordering Line Items
Sometimes when you’re adding Line Items to a transaction record you need to see them displayed in a different order from the one in which they’ve been entered. The new release enables you to re-order Line Items easily by amending the number in the Display Order column.
Re-ordering Picklist values
Previously Picklist values have been displayed in alphabetical order so it’s been necessary to prefix the value with a number in order to control the order in which they are displayed. We’ve improved this functionality so you can now specify the order in which the values should appear, which is helpful if you want to force the most frequently used values to the top of the list.
Depending on your sales process, you may want to prohibit users from being able to ‘downgrade’ an Opportunity (ie, move its Opportunity Stage backwards). We’ve added a capability which allows you to control which, if any, of your Users can downgrade an Opportunity in this way.
This release includes two enhancements to the security features of Workbooks:
- Exempt from Password Expiry - It’s now possible to exempt specific users from having to enter a new password after a specified time. This will be particularly useful for API client users to ensure that access to Workbooks doesn’t fail due to an expired password. Of course, we recommend that general Users are not exempted from password expiry.
- Lock down access for users to a set of IP addresses - Whilst one of the benefits of using a CRM system delivered via SaaS is that Users can login anywhere, some customers have requested that they can retain control over where their Users can access Workbooks so we’ve added the ability to restrict Users’ access based on the IP address they’re using. This restriction can be applied to just some or to all of your users (except System Administrators).
Assigned To Field in Campaign Membership
When managing Marketing Campaigns it can be useful to see who the Person / Sales Lead / Organisation is Assigned To so we’ve added this to the columns that can be displayed within the Campaign Membership tab. You can sort, filter and group the records based on assignment making it easy for the relevant person to follow-up the campaign members.
If you have any questions about this new release, please don't hesitate to get in touch and as ever, please continue to help drive our roadmap by contributing your suggestions to the ideas section of our community site.
5 legal issues to consider when moving to the cloud and choosing a vendor
October 11,2011 by kwells • Leave a Comment
Philip James, Partner, and Carolyn Butler, Solicitor at Pitmans LLP examine some of the legal issues you should consider when moving to cloud computing and selecting a vendor.
1. Know the Flight Plan (negotiation and contract)
Carefully review the terms on which you are intending to contract with your cloud provider. Is the contract open to negotiation or are you expected to contract on the cloud provider’s standard terms? If the former, consider your specific requirements, and ensure your contract:
- Adequately reflects your requirements in unambiguous language in a layout that's easy to follow (in other words, don’t bury your specifications across numerous schedules);
- clearly delineates the roles and responsibilities of both the cloud provider and your organisation; and
- has quantifiable metrics or KPIs to verify the performance of your cloud provider.
If the latter, review the terms carefully to ensure, firstly, that they are fair and that there are no unpleasant surprises lurking and, secondly, that they cover everything you need them to. If not, seek to vary the
- What limitation should apply?
- Are there risks for which liability should or should not be excluded? E.g. does the supplier exclude liability for loss of data (this is not much good if you are outsourcing your CRM database!)
2. First Class, Business Class or Economy Class? (service levels)
Service levels need to be agreed upfront, and should be expressed in the service-level agreement in terms that are both clear and measurable, including maximum periods of downtime, the relative importance to the business of different elements of the service and processes for remedying defaults. While many businesses look to cloud providers as part of their business continuity strategy, it is also necessary to consider what would happen if the cloud provider’s operations become disrupted. How does your cloud provider manage its response to incidents such as natural disasters or security breaches to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum?
Before you sign up, ask your cloud provider about any extra costs and charges, work out which of these are relevant to your business and budget accordingly. You should also ensure your future as well as your present needs are taken into account: find out how quickly and by how much your cloud provider can scale up the services it provides, and, if you plan to expand your business abroad, whether your provider has the capabilities to meet your needs in other jurisdictions.
It is important that the ramifications of failing to meet the agreed service levels are clearly set out (often a service credits mechanism is used) and that the parties agree a process of escalating remedies in the event that problems supplementary to the agreed remedial mechanisms arise. The resolution of disputes can be a costly and time-consuming exercise, and it is in the interests of both parties to have workable and effective escalation processes in place to ensure problems are worked out amicably, the business relationship is preserved and any disruption is kept to a minimum.
3. Security Checkpoints (security and data protection)
It is essential to verify with your cloud provider what responsibilities for security lie within the remit of your organisation and which are their responsibility.
While your cloud provider may be unable to give you precise details about the security measures it has in place (since a detailed disclosure of the systems in use could impair their integrity), a high-level description of those measures should be given, for example, the extent to which data encryption is used, whether anomaly detection systems are applied, the protocols in place to deal with the theft of user credentials and the physical security used to protect the locations where data is stored. Your cloud provider should also be able to tell you whether it meets any of the existing web standards and give you details of the security features on offer for users, such as user authentication and authorisation/administration controls. Find out whether your cloud provider offers any guarantees that customer resources are fully isolated from one another, and to what degree data, metadata or other traces of use by your organisation is erased before machines are reallocated. You should request sufficient information to allow you to make a sensible judgement about the adequacy of the security measures offered by your cloud provider, whether additional measures are required and need to be agreed in your contract.
Further, your cloud provider may intend to outsource or subcontract any of the operations that it is contracted to supply to you, and, if they do, find out who those third parties are, where they are based, what procedures are used to verify and monitor the quality of services they provide, and the security controls in place to protect your data. For instance, it is not much use having contractual protections in your agreement with your provider if the ‘subbie’ to whom the service is sub-contracted is not subject to the same terms agreed with your supplier (you may also not have conducted due diligence in respect of that subbie).
4. Final Destination (location)
Just as importantly, find out where your cloud provider will physically hold your data. Your data should be stored in a jurisdiction where an acceptable level of protection is mandated by law. Data protection standards vary from one jurisdiction to another and, although efforts are being made to harmonise the requirements across the EU as a whole, outside of the EU they may be non-existent. Nevertheless, if you are a business based in the UK, and the data in question is being processed in the context of that business, the full extent of the UK rules will most likely apply.
Further, if you are intending to store personal data in the cloud, such as HR records, take note that the transfer of personal data to a country or territory outside of the EEA is prohibited, unless equivalent protection in that country or territory is assured (and in this respect, if it is to be stored outside the EEA, seek specific legal advice on this issue as there are a number of compliance requirements which may need to be dealt with). Where this is concerned, it is always easier from a data privacy compliance perspective to engage a supplier whose data centre is located in the UK or Europe than enter into an arrangement with a supplier whose servers are in the US or China (or worse still, in a virtual data centre i.e. you don’t know where it is stored!).
Note also that, where HR data is concerned, it is also likely to contain sensitive personal data. As such, there are a number of more stringent restrictions as to how this type of data may be processed and specific consents may need to be obtained from the data subjects (i.e. the person to which such personal data relates). Ideally, find a cloud provider based in your jurisdiction that can provide assurances that data (and at the bare minimum, personal data) will not be transferred outside of the EEA.
It is important to ensure your contract with your cloud provider clearly states the choice of territorial jurisdiction (that is, the country in which any dispute in relation to the country will be heard) and the choice of law that the courts will apply in determining any dispute. Ideally, this should be a jurisdiction in which your organisation operates. If a dispute arises, and the choice of law and jurisdiction has not been specified, under EU law a defendant may be sued where they live, or where the contractual obligation was performed. The applicable law, however, will be the law with the closest connection to your contract. It is easy to see how this can create problems in a cloud computing environment where there are cloud providers all over the globe eager for your business, and where your data could potentially be stored anywhere in the world, so explicitly state in the contract what’s intended.
5. Take a Moment to Find the Nearest Exit (transitioning)
Although it may feel like a remote prospect, before you enter into a cloud contract it is necessary to anticipate how you intend to exit those arrangements. Care should be taken to ensure the portability of your data, including your metadata. Review your contract to determine what events could trigger a right to terminate the agreement by either you or your cloud provider. Ask what procedures are in place to export your data (in an orderly fashion) if you change cloud providers or in the event that the agreement is terminated. Find out whether those procedures are regularly tested to ensure that they work.
Also, if there is a specific format in which you expect to receive your ported data, you should try and specify that (to the extent that is possible) in your contract with your supplier. Please note: there may be additional costs associated with ensuring your data is in a format which is compatible with your systems. The ownership of intellectual property (IP) can be a particularly contentious issue in the cloud environment. Examine the IP provisions in the agreement with your cloud provider to determine how data ownership is dealt with, and whether those provisions are acceptable to you. IP is a technical area of law; as such, therefore, if in doubt, always seek specific legal advice to ensure you are adequately protected.
PLEASE NOTE: This note has been prepared to provide general guidance on the benefits as well as some of the risks associated with cloud computing. As such, it should not be relied on. Always seek specific legal advice in relation to your specific circumstances in questions.
Workbooks CRM and Google Apps
September 09,2011 by • Leave a Comment
Over the past few months we have been integrating Workbooks with Google Apps.
The 1st phase of the integration is now done and we have put together a little video to showcase the functionality.
We hope you like it.
10 Considerations before you purchase CRM
August 30,2011 by kwells • Leave a Comment
With so many CRM vendors available, offering broadly similar products, choosing the right solution for your business can be an overwhelming task. We look at 10 questions you should ask yourself before committing to a CRM system.
1. Should we choose a web-based or on-premise solution?
Before committing to one or the other, you should consider several factors, including how much you want to spend and how accessible you want your CRM solution to be. Although on-premise solutions can have advantages, a web-based system will make it much easier for your sales team to enter data remotely, and web-based solutions also have the advantage of being much less expensive, as they do not demand large up-front investments that on-premise solutions require.
2.What does it cost?
For any organisation, cost is an important consideration and achieving a balance between functionality and affordability is one of the biggest challenges of all. Before you begin comparing CRM vendors, firstly consider how much you want to spend as well as the ‘must-have’ features you need to solve your problems and achieve your goals. Once you have this clearly set out, you will be in a position to identify vendors that can deliver the features you need, within your price range.
3. Is there scope for growth?
Having a solution that is well equipped to deal with your needs as a ‘one man band’ is great, but does it have the flexibility and capabilities to meet your needs as your business grows? For instance, can you easily add new licenses? Are you likely to exceed the data storage limit? The last thing you want to be doing is starting the process of implementing a new CRM solution all over again once your business outgrows your current solution.
4. How easy is the solution to customise?
Although you should be open to change and new ways of working, a solution that uses your terminology, reflects your business processes and therefore seamlessly integrates into your current working practice is priceless. Before committing to a new CRM solution, you should make sure the system can be easily customised and that it enables you to capture all the information you need it to, without having to change your working processes too much.
5. How easily can I import and export my data?
Most organisations have existing customer data and information somewhere. Whether this be in the form of Spreadsheets, a current CRM solution, or even just business cards, it is probable that you will want at least some of this data imported into your new CRM system. With this in mind, a solution that supports an easy import of data is crucial. Similarly, the ability to export your data, at any time you like and into a useable format such as Excel or .CSV is vital. In the future, should you want to change CRM vendor or simply take a back up of all your data, your chosen CRM system should enable you to do this, quickly and whenever you please.
6. How intuitive is the system?
An easy to use and intuitive system is likely to require less training, and therefore less money spent on ensuring your CRM deployment is a success. An intuitive system enables your salespeople to become competent far quicker, which in turn helps your company benefit from a quick return on the investment.
7. Can the system integrate with my current systems?
Particularly for smaller organisations, it is common for them to run their business across multiple applications, using, for instance, a combination of Microsoft Outlook, Google Apps and Sage Accounting packages. Take a look at the systems you currently run your business on, and consider whether you want your CRM software to integrate with these applications, to help create a streamlined approach.
8. Does the system allow me to easily create reports?
Reporting forms an essential part of a CRM solution, helping you to make better, more informed decisions. Make sure the CRM solution you are considering not only allows you to quickly and easily create reports, but also allows you to generate and view the data in a useable format, such as .XLS, .TXT or .CSV.
9. Is there sufficient training available to me and my team?
Regardless of how intuitive your chosen CRM solution is, many of us are naturally somewhat reluctant to change, and therefore training is key to ensure quick adoption throughout your workforce. It is important to identify whether training is available to you, and at a reasonable cost.
10. What support is included within my contract?
Some CRM solutions can be deceptively inexpensive. Carefully consider the level of support that is included within your contract and make sure you are comfortable with the costs associated for any support that falls outside of your contract. Too often organisations are lured in by low prices, and are shocked to discover several months later that they have to pay extra when they run in to a problem they need help with.