Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software providers are is stiff competition these days. There are hundreds of competing companies vying for your business. Not all of them will follow the same process when it comes to selling you their product. This post is meant to give you an ideal outline of what the process should be, looking out for both you and the vendor. It will begin at the first interest and end with the sale if you decided to pick this vendor.
Stage One: The initial reach out
This is the easiest way to get the ball rolling. After finding CRMs that you would like to learn more about, go to their website and fill out their contact form. You can also call them directly or send an email as well.
Stage Two: Initial conversation
When you can speak to the vendor, this is the first step of qualification. They should be able to give you pricing, review your requirements to make sure you are a good fit for each other, and look for any down the road concerns. They also should be getting back to you within a day of your original request. If they do not, I would not recommend sticking with them as it is an industry standard to not leave inquiries go unanswered that long.
Stage Three: Demo
After you qualify each other, and determine the fit is there, the next stage is to see a demo of the CRM. The vendor should be able to tailor it to your needs and give you time for Q&A so you can better drill down exactly how well it fits. If you are willing to share your data, they can plug that in as well so you can see exactly how you would use their CRM. It is your responsibility to get decision makers and power users in on this stage so it can be thoroughly analyzed.
Stage Four: Final decision
At this stage, you should have the list narrowed down to a top two or three providers. If there is no clear-cut winner, asking for contracts from each vendor might help shed some light. Compare the terms as well as both short- and long-term costs.
If need be, you can do another demo with other people or with more detailed information to get the absolute 360 view of the CRM and how you can use it. The more people that will be using it you can involve, the better as well. The more the merrier when taking a look as it is a significant investment that will affect multiple departments.