Over the past few months at BottomLine we've been evaluating various different CRM (customer relations management) programs for our Calgary marketing initiatives. We've been struggling to find what suited us the best and have had increasing frustration towards finding a program!
We've evaluated and are re-evaluating Sales Force, Sugar CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Maximizer, all of which have different price tags and functionalities.
There are two different types of CRM programs, hosted and desktop based software. At BottomLine we're needing to have mobile functionality so a hosted solution seems to be the most effective option. Cost has also been a consideration and we've favoured programs that allow monthly payments opposed to annually as I like to evaluate things as I go and don't enjoy being locked into a contract. Although all programs we're evaluating have trials, the month to month option works better for our business.
For marketing in Calgary a business needs to have several functionalities: managing contacts and lists, customizable fields within the lists, email marketing functionality or integration, offline marketing campaign tracking such as direct mail campaigns and the list goes on and on.
At the end of the day, what we've concluded is this: every business is different and every business has different needs, even marketing companies. A company that is based on a monthly retainer will operate so much differently than a business which bills per project.
Here are some tips on how to choose a CRM program that best suits your Calgary marketing needs:
1. Make a list of what your company requires from a CRM. Make sure you include a list of wants and essential needs.
2. Do your research. Chat with other professionals and find out their suggested programs. Allow yourself more than sufficient time to evaluate each option carefully.
3. Set a budget. CRM programs are not cheap and at times can be a large investment. Knowing what your budget is ahead of time can help gauge which program best suits you.
4. Do a trial. Once you've narrowed down your options make sure you do a free trial. During the trial period ensure you ask any and all questions about the programs functionality.
5. Track your experience. Ensure that you keep track of which features you like, don't like and questions you have. This way nothing will be forgotten and you're able to objectively compare each product.
Questions about how to use a CRM program for your Calgary marketing? Give us a call: 403 464 7559
visit us online www.bottomlinemarketing.ca
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