Picking the right tool and the right vendor is the most important first step to effective use of a customer relationship management, or CRM, system, according to Mark Dancer of Channelvation, featured in MDM’s recent episode of Executive Briefing. You have to pick a solution that is aligned with how you want to use CRM.
“If you use CRM for lead generation,” Dancer said, “you’d want to pick a vendor that has a great lead generation platform.” Or if you plan to use it primarily for pipeline or territory management, focus on that as the priority.
Here are Dancer’s tips for finding what’s right for your company:
Try it out first. “It’s very easy today to go online, visit the vendors you think you might want to use, download a demo and give it a shot,” Dancer said. Give the tool to a couple of salespeople and have them try it out, as well. If possible, do this before you actually reach out to a vendor to spend time with your company.
Ask non-competing distributors what they’re doing. “Find out where they found real value in CRM, what the barriers were and how they were overcome,” Dancer said.
View the vendor as a partner for the long haul. Distributors are encouraged to start small when starting out with CRM; use just a couple of features with a couple of salespeople to build credibility and skills in your organization. Distributors that approach implementation this way will be working closely with their vendors, who will help them expand their use of the features to get more out of it. This is why it’s important to think long-term.
Listen to more on CRM in the clip below from this month’s Executive Briefing. Watch or download the full program (25 minutes) at www.mdm.com/executivebriefing.