These days, customer relationship management software is a “must have” for almost every business–no matter the size. For many, CRM strategy is the most important component to drive and manage the success of their business. And a successful strategy requires a robust and great-fitting CRM software solution. But with so many solutions available, it can be difficult to sort out what’s being offered and what you really need. A good approach to ensure you select the right CRM solution is to create a CRM RFP (Request For Proposal) to send out to a shortlist of vendors.
Many people start this process by looking for CRM RFP templates that contain a list of key CRM criteria they can customize. This is a great place to start, however, there is more to the process then just downloading and customizing an RFP template. To successfully pick the right CRM, we recommend following this RFP process:
Step 1: Compile, Collaborate and Prioritize CRM Requirements Internally
The first step in selecting a CRM is knowing what your organizational requirements are. Further, get all decision makers involved to help prioritize your most important CRM software requirements. Getting your key CRM requirements right will help you make the right choice the first time, saving you substantial money and time. A CRM requirements knowledge base is available as part of the requirements tool here:
Step 2: Create The CRM RFP
Once you’ve defined and ranked your specific CRM requirements, you’ll want to integrate these into the creation of the CRM RFP. You are going to ensure that the vendors you submit the RFP to respond to the CRM criteria you’ve created with the requirements template from the previous step.
Make sure the RFP for your CRM selection project is well organized and professional looking. Ideally you’d submit your RFP project through a technology selection management platform so that vendors responses (see Step 4) can be auto-computed and easier to analyze.
Step 3: Shortlist and Solicit CRM Software Vendors
Once you’ve defined key requirements and imported them into an CRM RFP template, you’ll select a shortlist of vendors and submit the RFP to them. It’s ideal to use submit the RFP online through an RFP management tool as it makes it easier for vendors to reply and for you to manage their responses.
Soliciting CRM vendors to respond to a RFP can be a time consuming process so make sure that you’ve articulated your requirements well and make it as easy as possible for vendors to reply in kind.
Step 4: Evaluate RFP Responses
In the past, technology buyers have generally waited for all responses to come in before evaluation. This was primarily due to the manual processes required to compile all of the data/responses.
Now with the new tools available to buyers (and vendors), as you get your responses to your RFP, you can evaluate and compute the responses as they come in. The benefit to this is manifold, including: alleviating decision maker bandwidth issues, uncovering and responding to vendor questions, eliminating vendors that don’t match up with key requirements and more.
Step 5: Post-Evaluation
Ultimately this RFP process is going to lead you to selecting a CRM. There are other steps that occur beyond the RFP including: engaging in a pilot/proof of concept with vendor finalists, requesting vendor customer references, negotiating contract/pricing terms and executing the agreed upon contract with the chosen vendor. However, this article was to outline the more specific steps to run a RFP for CRM.
For more help evaluating CRM solutions, see our CRM Software Selection Quick Start Guide.
SelectHub has built this entire process on a cloud based platform that helps you manage your CRM selection requirements and create RFPs. Further, we let you export your Requirements and RFPs as needed. Running RFP events through SelectHub saves organizations 50% of the time normally spent on a start-to-finish RFP.