What you need to know BEFORE you buy a CRM Database


Worried about how CRM will deliver for you? Already have a CRM that isn't delivering?

This course has been designed for you

This course has been developed for two sets of people. Those who want to know that their investment in CRM wont be wasted and those who have already invested in CRM, which isn't delivering. We recommend that you follow this course BEFORE talking to vendors of software.

Along the way, you will find links to videos and other resources that have inspired me and I know will give you some ideas. This course is free, but I would be very grateful for any comments or thoughts you have on how to improve it - [email protected]

Nick Bird

MA, BSc(hons), MIDM

What is this course about

What you will get from this course

What is the goal of this course?

If you Google why CRM projects fail, you will see nearly a million posts. Most of the experts agree that, between 60% and 70% of these projects do not deliver what was hoped for them. When you think about it, that is worse odds than putting all the money you are about to invest in this project on Black in a casino. The odds of you winning there are 37.5%.

But if you get this right, you can win and win big. It will help you to consistently out perform the rest of the market, protect your business for the long term and share this success with all your stake holders; employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers and community. 

So what makes some CRM projects a success, while 70% of businesses waste their money. The key is understanding that CRM is not a piece of software that can be implemented, but an approach to business which requires organisational and even cultural change. Of course, technology is part of that journey, but it only plays a supportive role.

So what will you get by the end of this course?

You will know what CRM needs to deliver

This may seem strange but thinking through exactly what return you want from the CRM project and what needs to happen to bring that about is not as straight forward as you imagine. Its not implementing software - so what is it? You will know by the end of this course

You will know what needs to be done

You will find out what is stopping you be the exceptional business you could be now. You will also know why you have not already solved this problem and how a CRM approach is going to help you find permanent answers

You will know how you will bring this about

This isn't going to happen just through implementing a bit of software. Its going to take thinking about how you need to change your business. It also means engaging the people you need to make this happen.


This is not an easy process where you will learn a magic bullet that will solve all your problems. Its not about quick steps to becoming another Virgin Atlantic. It is difficult and requires a lot of work 

How this course is structured

The underlying structure 

This course is deeply routed in delivering a return on the investment you are about to make in your CRM project. It then breaks this goal down into a set of objectives you need to achieve that will bring this about. That means you are not achieving these objectives now so why not? This question identifies the opportunities you have for change. If you know about these problems then it is likely that you are already doing something about them at the moment. But, presumably this isn't working. So how will you need to do this differently to achieve your objectives. Lastly how will you make this happen.

These are the six areas that we will cover in this course.

Here are the six areas around the way the course is structured. Can you match them up with the descriptions provided

  • Goal
    What Return on Investment do I need the CRM project to deliver
  • Objective
    What do I need to happen that will make the CRM project a success
  • Opportunity for Innovation
    Why am I not already doing the things I need to that will make the CRM project a success
  • What am I doing now - As is
    What am I doing now to do the things I need to do that will make my CRM project a success
  • What do I need to do - To be
    What do I need to do to make my CRM project a success
  • What do I need to change
    How will I bring about the change that I need to in order to make my CRM a success

What you will need

What you will need to follow this course

This course helps you to generate ideas about how your CRM project will deliver the exceptional results you hope for. While you might do this on your own, it is going to be much more interesting and richer if you involve other people and collaborate. I cover stakeholders in the next section.

All this means that you need some where that you can explore these issues and potentially collaborate and share them with others. So here are some of the different approaches you could take -

Post It notes 

Personally I have had some great results with post it notes, which can be stuck on a wall or white board. I use this approach in my workshops and it really engages people.

I have a specific way to set these out, but you may develop your own approach.

Mind Mapping 

You may already have your favourite platform for this. Again I am a bit biased.

I like to use Mind Genius for Mind Mapping but have used iMind as well. iMind is visually interesting but Mind Genius is much easier to use - for me

Realtime Board

This is a great bit of kit I often use with my clients. Its a virtual whiteboard that you can share asynchronously and across geography

What that means is, people can add and contribute at different times wherever they are

Remember Mind Mapping can be free

There are also a lot of free mind mapping software tools around. the best known is FreeMind so you could try that which is very Open Source. Alternatively, you can just draw mind maps and this can be an intensely creative exercise if you are a very visual person. You may just prefer to do this, even if you could afford the fancy pants software I have suggested

Who should be involved

Stake Holders

Ideally you want to include and collaborate with the Stakeholders for the project. Our preference is to think about this in terms of an Agile approach, which is based on developing highly motivated teams that deliver specific outcomes within a short period of time - generally 3 weeks.

So from an Agile perspective, it would be a good idea to think of this training course being completed within a specific time frame, with the known result of having the information you need to develop a journey plan for your CRM project. The right team (Scrum Team) will include the Product Owner, the Subject Matter Expert and people with the knowledge and skills you need.

It could be that you are fulfilling all these roles. On the other hand you may have a large team. If so, you need to restrict the numbers involved to about the same size as a Dinner Party  - perhaps 7 people as a maximum number. These are definitions of the roles:

Product Owner

This is the key stakeholder in the project and can determine what is and isn't done. They need to be connected with the business and understand it so that they can help direct the project and the way it is done. Ideally, this would be an active senior sponsor.

Subject Matter Expert

This person is someone who has experience of running this sort of project and also has a high degree of technical skill.

In Workshops I normally play this role, but you may have someone in your organisation who can do the same thing.

Team members

These will be drawn from across the various areas of the business concerned and normally includes representatives from; Marketing, Sales and Service. Ideally though, it would include representatives from any part of the business that touches clients. It should also include IT.

Links and resources

We believe in Agile as an approach 

This course and the underlying STEER methodology it is based on, is designed to be radically Agile. The reason is, that we see CRM as a journey you go on. To get and keep momentum on that journey, you need to start getting success fast and keep getting it. But it is also a journey that involves learning, which means that you need to have flexibility baked into the way you approach this. 

All this may not be obvious through this course, but many of the elements are inspired by concepts like Story Mapping. You will also notice that you can easily use the results to develop specific projects (sprints) which have specific outcomes. 

CRM is not about technology

You need to start off thinking about how you can develop profitable customer relationships and use technology to help you do this. These are some videos and links which explain the approach followed in this course

What is my Goal?

The most important question - why am I doing this?

Why the answer is crucial

You are about to invest £2000 per user in this project, so you had better have a great reason. That reason isn't that you want a shiny bit of software, or shouldn't be. It needs to be about what return you expect on this investment. 

If you are a business leader, then you had also better believe that the return is vital for your company and is tied into your objectives. If you have been commissioned by the Board to "look for a CRM", then you need to make sure that the answer is one that will excite them. 

If you don't give a great answer to this question, the CRM project wont happen. You wont believe in it enough as a business leader to make the change that is necessary, or you wont get the buy in and ACTIVE senior level sponsorship you need to drive the change.

It is possible that the value you want as a return is about something you deliver to your community, employees or suppliers, especially if you are in a non for profit organisation. But normally the driving force is the delivery of an increase in profit for shareholders. So we can start there

Getting to that answer is what this section is about

(Did I hear you say that there is no way you will be investing £2000 per user? Well think about it. We aren't just talking about software and perhaps consultancy. We are also talking about a great deal of your time and others in your business. When you add all that up this is a conservative estimate.)

Solutions and Reasons

Its not software

When I ask people about why they are investing considerable sums on their CRM project, they normally tell me about the solution they want, rather than the reason for the investment. Usually this solution is a technical one such as - "we want a database that does...." The distinction between these two is very important. 


Reasons are why you are doing something. If we are rational people, the reason why we are going to do something describes how this will  benefit us either directly or indirectly.


Solutions are how we achieve some benefit e.g., using a piece of software. These things have no benefit in themselves - they are a means to an end. It is sometimes easy to confuse the two things and it can be a matter of levels. 

Why this is important

I know that this is going to seem a bit of a clever distinction, but it is crucial. It is why Steve Jobs was a genius - he understood the reason why people wanted something and then found solutions which they had not thought of, or even dreamed about. Another famous example is Ford "if I had asked people what they wanted they would have said a faster horse".  This is why you need to forget about technology when you start thinking about CRM and focus instead on the reason you are doing this. 

  • We need to upgrade our old CRM system
  • We need to increase the profitability of our client engagements by 40%
  • We need a better way to automate our marketing process
  • We need a system that captures all the information in one place
  • We need to increase our bottom line by 20%
  • We need a better way of managing the way we service our clients
  • We need to secure the long term future of the company in a very competitive environment

Which of these, are reasons why you are going to invest in CRM

Below are a list of things people say when you ask them why they are investing in a CRM database. Select those which you believe are reasons why you would invest several £000's in this project.

Some of them are not reasons but solutions. That isn't to say that these may not be important BUT, they are not valuable in themselves.

Why ARE you doing this?

So what is your reason for investing in this project

Gartner and others have identified for years, that the main reason for CRM projects failing is because, there is lack of commitment to drive the change that is needed for it to be effective. This commitment often relies on getting active senior level sponsorship.

Active senior level sponsorship is easier to get if the goal of the CRM project is aligned with the objectives of the business. Normally, this is going to be an acceptable level of ROI, but it could be about some other less tangible value. 

This is the Reason you are investing £2000 per user in a CRM project

Please write this down in the box provided. Does it excite you? Will someone on the Board sleep easier in their bed if it is achieved. Are you or they prepared to have "skin in the game" in achieving whatever this is?

Resources and Links

What are my Objectives?

What is going to make your CRM a success

You now know why you will invest but what is going to make that happen?

In this section I am going to look at how you should go about setting objectives that will get you to your destination, the ROI or other less tangible goal you have defined. Most of us are familiar with  SMART targets, so I will assume that you know these objectives have to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and over a specific Time Frame.

These objectives break down the destination of the journey into manageable chunks. That means we are not yet at the stage of thinking about solutions and we are still dealing with the reasons for the investment. So however tempting it is, don't slip into talking about some specific software functionality. That might be part of how you will achieve this objective, but it isn't the objective itself.

If you do find you are talking about software, ask yourself about what benefit you think this software will have. That will take you back to the objectives you need to define. 

What are CRM objectives

Why a CRM objective is different

A CRM SMART objective has a specific meaning based on its underlying approach to business. To be relevant for CRM, an objective must increase the value of your business or organisations relationships. This orients the types of objectives that are appropriate and defines how the return on investment will be made. If you don't do this then you are not doing CRM.

Here are some examples of how it might change things for you:


You could say that one of your targets is to increase the effectiveness of your conversion process from leads to sales.

But not all sales are good sales. Some will be more profitable than others and some you may not want at all. A CRM objective would be about increasing the contribution sales make to the bottom line.

It is pretty obvious from this, that we are talking about much more than a piece of software here. But if you think this through, then as a Board member, the bottom line is what counts - turnover is vanity and profit is sanity.

You don't want a lot of bad business you want to drive the quality up. But that means profound cultural change.


You might say that a relevant marketing objective would be to increase the number of meetings booked for the sales team

But not all meetings are good and actually sending the sales team on a succession of wild goose chases, could not only demotivate the sales force, but cost the business a lot of money.

So a CRM objective would be around delivering an ROI on marketing measured by the profitable revenue gained from the additional sales. Quality of leads becomes much more important.


You might say that one of the objectives you could have, is to increase the number of calls handled by service staff. Greater efficiency would drive down costs and contribute to the bottom line.

You could also think that being client friendly means that the service team should contact them more frequently.

But not all clients are profitable and the number of service calls doesn't necessarily lead to greater loyalty and a better customer experience.

So a CRM objective would be around retention and references from the most profitable clients and increasing their life time value. Perhaps measured in terms of NPS score

  • Increase Net Promoter Score in target demographic
  • Increase social media brand profile
  • Generate more enquiries from our focus demographic
  • Reduce case resolution time
  • Increase our Net Promoter Score
  • Achieve a dominant position in our chosen market
  • Increase number of products used by existing clients
  • Ensuring all clients gets at least four touches

Which of the following are CRM objectives

Here are some examples of the sorts of objectives people set. Can you identify the CRM objectives?

What four CRM Objectives will help you meet your Goal

Think about your goal and what needs to happen to achieve it. Then make these objectives SMART and relevant for CRM - how do they increase the value of your client relationships. Can you think of three and then see if you can add just one more.

Links and Resources

What are the opportunities for innovation and change?

What this section is about

Identifying your opportunities for change and innovation

This section is all about identifying where CRM can deliver the most valuable contribution to achieving your objectives and through them your goal. These are the opportunities you have for innovation, or to put it another way, the problems which are preventing you from reaching your objectives now. 

So why is it that you are not already achieving this objective 

The answer is still decidedly not, "because we have not got ****** software. That could be part of the solution to the problem but is not the problem in itself. 

By the end of this section you will be able to go through each objective and generate 3 or 4 opportunities. This isn't as easy as it looks and I usually need to help my clients through to get the insights that are involved. But it is so rewarding when they do.

What sort of problem does CRM solve

What does CRM try and do

Most CRM projects fail according to respected consultancy groups like Gartner, because businesses think of CRM as a tactical answer to a business problem, which is achieved by implementing a database. Actually it is a strategic approach which involves organisational and cultural change. I think this was indicated above. So what is CRM and how does it work.

What is CRM

The concept of CRM is to develop the value a business has in their client base - one person at a time. The idea is to forget about market dominance and think instead of developing an unassailable position in the mind of each client.

This idea was first put forward by Martha Rogers and Don Peppers in the US during the 1980's. Obviously doing this was made easier by technology and the development of the relational database in the 1990's. This technology was designed to find relationships in data and to manage it more effectively than the flat file structures used previous databases.  

How does it work

Rogers and Peppers identified four key elements which enable a business to Manage Client Relationships so that they develop the value they have in them.

  1. Know more about your clients (prospects) than anyone else
  2. Use this knowledge to identify them as individuals
  3. Listen to what these individuals say about what value they want and how they want to get it
  4. Deliver exactly what they want when they want it, in a way that is profitable to the business

  • We don't know enough about the prospect to identify that they are ready to talk to the sales person i.e., they have reached the right stage in their sales cycle.
  • The sales people don't seem to be able to convert the enquiries marketing generates into sales - maybe they just aren't trying hard enough

I have given you two statements below.

One of these statements is an approach that a CRM focused business would take to the problem of not converting enough of the leads that are coming into your business, into sales (true). The other is a more traditional approach (false). Which do you think is which.

What are the problems you need to solve?

So what problems do you need to solve to achieve each of your CRM objectives?

You may need to do this on a whiteboard or mind map (see links in the introduction). I use post it notes in my workshops and that can work really well especially if you are doing this as a team - which I highly recommend

Please indicate below when you have finished doing this.

Links and resources

There aren't many resources about identifying problems

Actually I find this probably the most difficult area in this process and in life. Much the hardest thing is to identify what the problem is rather than what the solution needs to be. There are various techniques you can use such as Five Whys to get to the underlying problem/opportunity.

However, here are two videos which I thought you might be interested in. The first is about why you need to understand what the business problem is before you start defining a technological solution - from a CIO. The second is the importance of not defining problems which are too big.

The underlying approach we take in out Workshop is informed by something called Outcome Driven Innovation so I have also included a video clip from someone who explains what this is.

What am I doing now?

What this section is about

Well done you!

If you have followed this so far, then you have a potentially large number of opportunities for CRM to add real value to your business, i.e., a number of problems that CRM can solve which will help you achieve your objectives and through these deliver a meaningful return on your investment.

This is a tough process, but one of the key reasons that CRM projects fail is that people haven't done this work. So well done you! 

So what are people doing about this now

It is likely that people in your organisation are already trying to solve the problems and opportunities you have uncovered. If they are still problems then obviously whatever they are doing is not working as well as it could. So try and encapsulate what these people are doing now.

How are people really doing what they do

Why what you do now isn't going to be about using  software

It is so tempting to think about the software you use at the moment, when you describe how you solve problems. If you are not satisfied with this resolutions, that would lead you to think the answer is, change the software. But you would be wrong. 

Software is really the enabler and it may not be doing a good job. Actually it may be forcing you to find a solution which is inefficient. And that is what we need to know - what you are doing now.  The reason that is important is because, the way you do things now, will have to change and that might involve altering the way things are managed, the staff you need, their skills and whether they would buy into some new approach. All these are true even if the software isn't very good. 

Another factor is even old out of date software has probably become embedded in the way things have always been done. In this situation, changing it will have a profound impact that will need careful handling even if everyone acknowledges its short comings.

  • We use an old lead management system and use this to capture information about our prospects
  • At the moment we send the sales force all the leads we get as soon as possible irrespective of the information we have so they can start following them up - our job is done

What best describes what your people do now

It may be helpful to take a common opportunity and then look at two descriptions of how people are trying to solve this problem right now.

Many people I speak to about CRM say that one of their objectives is to increase the number of leads that they convert into sales. One of the problems that they could identify, which is preventing them from getting the conversion  rates they need, might be  that they don't know enough about the prospects to identify that they are ready to talk to a sales person - what stage they are in the buying cycle.

The next stage is to find out what they are doing about this now. I have given you two responses below. Which do you think is the best description of what people do to solve this problem (true) and which isn't (false)

Updating each opportunity with what you do now

Update your white board

By this time you are going to need a mind map or whiteboard to contain all the important information which will feed into your CRM project and ensure you get a return on your investment. You have covered a lot of ground already - you know what problems you need to solve to achieve the objectives that make up your goal.

Now we need to look at each opportunity and find out what your people are doing now using the insights above. This describes in consultancy speak the "As is" and is the base line we can use to understand what journey of change you are on.

This is tough and requires a lot of thinking.

Choose the image which best describes how you feel now

If you have completed all the opportunities and can describe how you currently try and solve them in a way that doesn't talk about technology, you should be feeling pretty smug

Links and reources

What do I need to be doing?

What this section is about

What we will cover in this section

In the previous section you identified how your people try and solve the problems or opportunities that are preventing you achieving your objectives today. This enabled you to identify the base line or starting point for your journey of change which will end in you achieving the goal you have set for the CRM project.

In this section you will identify how you need to solve each of these problems, using a CRM approach. Just to remind you of what this is:

Knowing more about your clients and prospects

 The CRM approach is knowledge driven rather than data driven. So it is not just about having a database, but what this tells you about the people in it. 

So that you can understand who they are as individuals

A key concept is building relationships one person at a time. The reason for this is that you need to build an emotional connection with each person. 

In order to listen to what they want

CRM understands communication strategy about capturing what your clients say and hearing it - active listening

So that you can deliver value in a way that is profitable - one person at a time

The reason you need to listen to each individual is because you want to hear what they say about what they want and find a way to deliver this IN A WAY THAT IS PROFITABLE TO YOUR BUSINESS. This last criteria is important and often confusing to the uninitiated. CRM is not about pleasing or relating to clients or prospects as something that is a good thing to do in itself. It is about building profitable long term relationships. Not all client and prospect relationships are profitable. 

So putting this together

CRM is about understanding who your profitable clients are (and likely to be), knowing them as individuals and listening to what they want, so that you can deliver the things they value in a way which increases their profitability and value to you. Here we are talking about life time value - what they spend, how long they are likely to keep spending this and who else they bring to your business (people like them who they refer to you).

What does a CRM solution look like

  • We need to know more about how and why people buy and when so that we can develop marketing approaches that are more likely to be effective and encourage people to ask for a consultancy visit when they are ready
  • The sales force give up to easy. We need to make sure that they are contacting the leads we send them at least 7 times and don't take no for an answer.

How would you need to solve this problem?

Following our example through we know that the way that the business currently addresses the problem of not getting the conversion rates that they should is that the marketing department gets rid of the leads as soon as possible to the sales force for them to sort out. May be they are measured by the number of enquiries and quality doesn't really come into it.

So how would you approach this problem from a CRM perspective using the four principles that we have discussed above. I have presented two answers below. Which one do you think would be a classic CRM approach (true) and which is not (false)

So how are your people going to solve the problems

Its still about people

Go through all the ways that your people currently try and solve the problems that are preventing you achieving the objectives that will help you achieve the return you need to make this CRM project worthwhile. Then specify a CRM solution for each of these.

What we are doing here is establishing the "To Be" or future position in consultancy speak. We are seeking a CRM solution to achieve the return you are looking for from this project.

By now you have started to get a pretty busy whiteboard or Mind Map. When you have completed this please just note this in the panel below. If you are having problems just leave this blanks

How will I bring this change about?

What this section is about

Journey of change

It is clear from the literature that a CRM project is a journey of change and not an implementation. Change is difficult to achieve and involves a number of elements.

The respected McKinsey consultancy group identified 7 key areas which are involved in change and these interact together. In this section we will follow this model in identifying how you get from where you are now to where you need to be.

If you manage this change, then you will not only achieve your objectives and deliver a  return on your investment, but you will in the process become an exceptional business

7 Areas of change

Style - how does "the way we do things around here" need to change to solve the problem in the way you need to?

Structure: how will you manage the different way of doing things and who will mange who?

Skills: what new skills will your staff need to have, so that they can solve this problem effectively?

Staff: do you have enough staff of the right type to solve this problem?

Shared Vision - do these people share your vision about what needs to change and why?

Systems - what systems and processes will you need to support staff in the changes they need to make?

Strategy - how does this change affect the strategy that you are currently following. Do you need to review it? 

How do you apply this to planning your CRM project?

That is what this section is all about. Finally we will start to talk about what your solution looks like to you and you will see in systems that we are now starting to talk about technology. BUT this is only in order to support the people who will need to change what they do to deliver the CRM that will deliver results for your organisation. It is only part of 7 change issues you need to think about and plan for.

Some ideas to help you think about change

Can you match these up

I have listed the principles of CRM and then created four phrases that identify some of the change elements that might be involved. McKinsey would say that any change will require thinking about change across all 7 areas. However, that may mean navel staring so the intention is to get you thinking. These are not definitive answers

You will notice that there are no answers which suggest the technology needs to change. That is deliberate because the technology is just the enabler to make this change happen.

I cover this separately below - but please remember as Peter Drucker said:

Culture eats strategy for breakfast

  • Increase the knowledge we have about our clients
    Relies on getting buy in from the staff who may be asked to make sure they are entering accurate data  which may have no short term benefit to them. This might also impact on the way that they are managed and the skills they need.
  • Treat our clients as individuals
    Relies on changing the way we do things when clients make contact and we contact them. It could also impact the way our people are managed and their ability to take autonomous action. Will they buy in to taking on this responsibility?
  • Actively listen to the what our clients are telling us about what they want
    Relies on leveraging all contacts a client has at each touch point which will not only impact on what is done but could involve people across the organisation. That will require buy in from people not currently involved and the way they are managed
  • Deliver what clients want in a way that is maximises our value to them in a way that is profitable for us
    Relies on change in the way that the sales force is managed and rewarded. This may not suit all sales people and they could need to develop different skills. It could also impact on how they are managed and by whom.

Selecting the right tool for your change


The technology is just a tool and most CRM software does a reasonable job. If you look at the comparison sites (and remember vendors often pay to be on them and provide the information you read) you will see that virtually every package has fans who are prepared to swear that they are the best they have ever used. I am sure you could equally well find detractors and negative comments.

You may also be tempted to either develop your own CRM in house or get someone to make one specifically for you. There may in rare occasions be a reason that this makes sense. BUT this is very rare indeed, because most proprietary software is easily configured to virtually any requirement you have. AND the downside risk is especially high when you consider that a CRM software package could be  mission critical, which means if it stops working your business stops at the same time. So think very long and very hard before going the bespoke or internally developed database route.

Here are three (plus one) main things you need to consider

(you can find the right CRM software for you by using my knowledge base of the top 50. See the links section)

Does the software fit with your current IT

These days most software is provided in the cloud as a service. That means your server architecture is pretty irrelevant.

However occasionally there may be a reason why you want a locally installed database (this could be because of some compliancy issues in your Industry, security issues or the need for complex integrations.) This is getting very rare. But if this is important then you need specialist advice. Generally though, most databases like this will work with Active Directory and will also connect to the outside through a web server.

One area you do need to think about is how it integrates with your email and other communications platforms (potentially telephony).

Will it be easy for your user population

What sort of user community are you likely to have and what are they use to.

Quite often CRM software is installed by the IT department who are very familiar with technology. That is fine if the community is similarly adept. But there could be significant user adoption issues not to say a large impact on BAU for the IT department if they are not.

Some CRM software is much lighter touch than others and you need to bear this in mind. It is quite a good idea to involve a representative of the user community in the decision about the platform - and listen to their advice.

But you need to remember that any new software will be different and unfamiliar.

Does it have the functionality you need

To be honest functionality is not a great problem for CRM Software and there is normally a whole host of what we sometimes refer to as Wiz Bangs. The market is known for it, which is why people get confused.

My advice here is to not look at demos and just focus on the functionality you need.

Quite a lot of CRM software these days is designed for some specific purpose - Contact Management, Sales Automation or Marketing Automation are common.

There are also a number that include additional modules in areas like Project Management, Event Management and more. That can be important if this is a requirement for your business.

My advice

First go through each problem and the "As is" and "To be", filling in what needs to change about - the way you do things, the way people are managed, the skills they need, how many there are of what type and how you will get them to buy in. Then decide what functionality you need to support this (if you need help then perhaps the Starting Point workshop would be useful where I help you define that). Then develop a short list based on the knowledge base I provide of the top 50 CRM platforms - see link in last section.

Links and resources