I love my iPhone; I play games, check emails, text friends, get directions, etc. The thing I probably do the least is call anyone. The smart phone has become such a diverse tool I sometimes forget the feature in its name: phone.
The CRM is in a similar place. There are many options out there with so many bells and whistles that we forget about the word in its name: customers. Customers are the reason you have a business. Without customers you are a person with an idea or product. When investigating a new CRM, think first about how it will help you improve your customer relationships and not your prospect relationships. Here is a great piece by Kissmetrics that highlights the main reasons customers leave and the true cost of losing a customer. Can your CRM help you shore up these items?
Before looking into a new or first time CRM solution, review your own business process. A CRM doesn’t create a process for you, it helps automate and connect departments. If you go in with a broken customer service system, the CRM alone will not fix it. Don’t overly concern yourself with what system your IT department loves or which software would make Big Brother blush. Look for your current customer relationships failings and find a CRM that can help your company improve.
Unfortunately, just buying a product doesn’t produce results. If that were true, my gym membership would have produced a six-pack by now. So remember, a CRM alone doesn’t do anything, it is what you do with the CRM produces results.