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Return On Investment – CRM Compatibility
Blog / Sales Management / Jul 30, 2013 / Posted by Nikolaus Kimla / 5048

Return On Investment – CRM Compatibility

As we’ve seen in this series of articles, there is quite a bit to take into account when evaluating the return on investment (ROI) for a CRM solution. It must be evaluated for its usefulness and empowerment of sales, its accessibility and usefulness by other departments in the company, its ease of use and learning curve, and numerous other factors.

One of those factors is its compatibility. Ideally, any software application purchased and implemented by a company—including a CRM application—would dovetail right into a company’s existing automation with little to no fuss. Everything would work with everything else and all would run smoothly.

Unfortunately this is rarely the case—and incompatibility can extend well beyond simply a company’s existing software solutions. In addition to issues with those, incompatibilities can run from hardware issues such as not enough memory or computing power, to not working with a company’s regularly used third-party applications, to various operating system issues, to conflicts with backup and other utilities, and even to incompatibility with other devices.

It well behooves any company evaluating ROI for a CRM solution to include compatibility as one of the primary factors in the evaluation. The more work IT personnel are going to have to do to make CRM compatible, the longer it will take for the company to earn back its investment.

Hardware Requirementsfunnel-filter

It can be a real wake-up call to discover upon purchasing software that you don’t quite have the hardware requirements to run it. That may seem like a “stupid mistake” but it happens often enough that hardware requirements should always be checked before purchasing a CRM solution. Make sure your company’s computers have enough memory (of the right type) and enough CPU power for CRM to perform smoothly and fast for all users.

Operating Systems Supported

Most CRM solutions will be supported on the latest Windows version, but many (maybe even most) companies are not running it or only running it on some of their systems. It is far more common to find companies running older Windows versions as well as mixing in any one of the UNIX varieties, and even Mac OS. The CRM solution you choose should be able to run on any OS used within the company, on computers that will be accessing and using CRM.

Of course, the above two requirements are moot if you are going the truly modern way and utilizing a web-based CRM solution hosted in the cloud.

Other Major Applications

Usually the first concern from company personnel regarding a proposed software purchase is, “Will it be compatible with what we have?” This means, will data that has been available to company personnel from databases, accounting packages and others now be accessible through CRM, and interweave with CRM data? This is quite a valid concern and should be thoroughly addressed when evaluating CRM ROI.

Many companies are utilizing applications of various kinds created in-house. CRM will probably not be compatible “out of the box” with them—but leading CRM developers work with companies and inexpensively tailor their CRM solution so that it is compatible with a company’s “homegrown” applications.

Third Party Applications

While attention is almost always paid to compatibility with other major applications, it often happens that commonly used third-party applications such as MS Word, Excel, Outlook and others are not taken into account when evaluating software packages. But with CRM this is especially important because these applications are commonly used by sales personnel and others to generate quotes, create contracts, communicate with customers and other such functions. A CRM solution should be able to accommodate all such applications in use by a company and allow for their use and document storage within CRM. This is another factor for evaluating CRM ROI.

Mobile Devices

A great many sales reps—and even tech support and other personnel—conduct considerable business outside the office. Most of them utilize handheld devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android devices and others. In considering ROI for CRM, it is vital to take into account whether or not the CRM application has apps for such devices. Otherwise CRM will not be fully utilized, and important data that should be recorded will be missed.

When evaluating return on investment for any CRM solution, make sure to take compatibility fully into account. The more compatible it is in each of these various ways, the shorter the payback will be.

Watch for more articles in our series on CRM and return on investment.

About Author

CEO and partner of pipelinersales.com and the uptime ITechnologies, which I founded in 1994 and has since played a significant role in the development of the IT-environment. pipeliner is the most innovative sales CRM management solution on the market. Pipeliner was designed by sales professionals for sales professionals and helps close the gap between the requirements of C-level executives for transparency and the day-to-day operational needs of field and inside sales. I am also the founder and Initiator of the independent economic platform GO-AHEAD!, which orientates itself on the principles of a free marketplace in terms of liberal and social responsibility. Connecting people, the trust of business leadership in terms of values such as freedom, self-responsibility, and entrepreneurial spirit, and strengthening their awareness in order to create a dynamic boost within the economy triggered through spontaneity, all stand for the initial ideas surrounding GO-AHEAD! I studied in Los Angeles and Vienna and received my Masters's Degree in 1994. I am married and have 3 children My Specialties are in: Sales Management, Sales CRM Software, CRM Cloud Solutions, SAAS, Business Strategy, Software Development, "Pipeline Management", Social responsibility, outbound sales, b2b sales, inside sales, sales strategy, lead generation, sales process, entrepreneurship, coaching, mentoring, speaker, opportunity management, lead management, Austrian School of Economics

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