SaaS companies are often implementing customer relationship management (CRM) tools and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems that help them manage their customer relationships and other aspects of the business. But before you jump in, there are a few questions to ask first! This blog post will give you some insight into what you should be asking when considering CRM or ERP software as a SaaS company.
What Is CRM Implementation?
CRM software is used to manage customer relationships. CRM allows businesses to track their customers’ interactions with the company, and then use that information for analysis and insight into how they can improve their business processes.
It allows companies to:
- Track interactions with a prospect,
- Enhance customer interactions,
- Gain insight into their clients’ needs and preferences,
- Gather data about customers and prospects,
- Improve the quality of leads coming through the sales funnel, and
- Analyze data to determine the best ways to refine business processes
CRM implementation is a step-by-step process of deploying a new CRM tool or platform across your organization. According to SoftClouds’ CRM Cloud Survey Report, 82% of businesses use CRM systems to monitor sales information and improve customer interactions.
What CRM Implementation Questions Should You Ask?
CRM software can be implemented as either on-premise software or SaaS. While both software types have their own benefits and drawbacks, this blog post will focus on the questions companies should ask when considering SaaS CRM software.
Here are five outstanding questions you should be asking before implementing a new CRM software solution:
1. What Features Do You Need From a CRM Platform?
Any business solution should meet your company’s current and future needs. CRM tools are no different. Your software should be able to grow with your business as you implement new processes and tasks.
Depending on the size of your company and the complexity of your sales process, you may need custom features, but your CRM should at least have the following features:
- Contact management,
- Opportunity tracking,
- Account management,
- Record linking,
- Tasks and reminders,
- Multi-user log in,
- Team management,
- Customizable pipeline,
- Reporting, and
- Customer support
When comparing platforms, look for ones that offer these features across all price levels.
2. Will This Software Work With Your Current IT Systems?
Compatibility is one of the biggest concerns when implementing any software. No one wants to invest in a resource that can’t be used on their operating system or devices. The software should be compatible with the operating system of your choice. You also want to make sure that any data or information imported into the CRM software is transferrable if necessary in the future.
If you’re considering software as a service, check to see if the company has the ability to export your data and whether it offers an Application Programming Interface or API. It is software that allows you to connect with other software or systems within your IT environment, such as email applications and CRM software.
If your staff works remotely, you should consider a solution that works across different devices, for example, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
3. Does the Software Integrate With Other Software You Use?
Be sure that any CRM solution you consider can easily integrate with the other systems in place across your organization, such as email marketing software, productivity software (like project management tools), and analytics software.
For example, if the CRM software can’t easily link contacts from clients in an email marketing software or past interactions in a project management tool into the contact history of that client, it will end up costing more time and money down the line.
The best way to find out if a software is compatible with your current systems and integrates successfully is by searching, making a list of your software and hardware specification and properties. Then, when you start researching, you can narrow down the search faster by looking for solutions that work with what you have.
4. How Many Users Will You Need?
CRM software is typically designed for a certain number of users, which you should find out before implementing software.
For example, you don’t want to buy software that only works for five people if your team is made up of 15 employees. And some CRM tools may offer different pricing levels based on the number of users included in your subscription plan.
When considering how many licenses are available with a software platform, it’s important to consider how many people will simultaneously be using the software at any given time. Not only that, but you need to consider your company’s growth and future needs in terms of staff size when making this decision.
5. Do You Have Enough Time and Resources to Train Everyone?
It’s important to find software that is easy enough for everyone in your company to use. All users should be able to perform core functions, such as adding and updating contacts or creating opportunities, with the software.
For example, software that is easy to use and doesn’t require a lot of training may save you money in the long run.
Software shouldn’t be complicated or frustrating for employees to use. If it takes up too much time or requires extensive training, then your staff won’t use it, and you’ll end up spending more money on software that is underutilized.
You also want a platform that has self-paced tutorials or courses your employees can take, so you don’t have to plan a create a training session from scratch.
What Is ERP?
When most people think of enterprise resource planning (ERP), they often think of large corporations with complex systems in place to help them operate. While that may be true, small businesses can also benefit from using software to help manage their company’s financials and inventory.
ERP software is typically made up of eight modules:
- Customer relationship management (CRM),
- Project management,
- Engineering and production,
- Finance and accounting,
- Sales and marketing,
- Supply chain management
- Human resources, and
- Warehouse management systems (WMS) for inventory management.
ERP software typically includes customer relationship management (CRM) features, which is a key function of CRM software. But ERP software also offers a lot more. Whereas CRM software helps manage your interactions with customers and leads to close deals faster, it’s only one part of the equation when you consider how an entire company functions.
ERP software, on the other hand, provides a centralized view of information related to your company’s entire function — not just specific aspects of how it interacts with customers. It also ensures all departments within the organization are working together seamlessly toward common goals like improving customer service or boosting sales.
Why Choose a SaaS ERP Platform
With a cloud-based ERP software provider, you get the benefits of cost savings and increased productivity with little need for new hardware or software licenses. And because it’s hosted in the cloud, your software solution is always up-to-date and ready for use.
SaaS software is a more affordable option, and it’s also more flexible. On-premises software can be cumbersome to set up and maintain. Plus, you’ll need dedicated staff members on hand with the necessary expertise to keep everything running smoothly at all times — and if they work for your company full time, that means taking them away from other key parts of your operation.
With SaaS software, you get the same benefits, plus 24/7 support and around-the-clock access to software updates. That means your staff can always benefit from new features or functionality that will help streamline their workflows further when they need them most.
Questions to Ask Before Choosing A New ERP Platform
A software implementation process can be time-consuming, and it’s important to take the right steps at every stage in order for your software solution to work properly.
Here are eight questions you should ask about an extended enterprise resource planning (ERP) software implementation:
- What is the software vendor’s implementation process like?
- How will the software vendor support and train your staff?
- How much does the software cost, and what is included with that price?
- Will you receive self-paced tutorials or in-person training sessions at our offices?
- Can they handle everything, or do you need to hire a separate software consulting firm?
- Will your company need to purchase new hardware or software licenses to use this software?
- What other costs will you incur after implementing the software (including additional training or consulting services)?
- What is their process for helping you implement the software correctly so that all departments within your company can access any information they need quickly and easily when needed?
If you’re looking for a more holistic approach to managing your organization, ERP software can provide the depth and breadth of features that will help make your company run smoothly. Keep in mind, though, that while CRM is one part of an ERP system, it’s not all there is to offer. We have decades’ worth of experience finding custom solutions for our clients — and are ready to get started for yours.
Contact us today if you want someone on your side who knows what they’re doing when it comes to enterprise resource planning systems!