Innovative businesses outperform those who fail to remain up to date with changes in the market and with technology. Here we look at CRM partnerships that provide you with the foundations to innovate…

As explained on ComputerWeekly, “Businesses that are seemingly well established are facing new threats at an accelerating rate from previously unencountered opposition using technology.” The evolution of technology, including the development of CRM solutions is enabling businesses to extract data that can be converted into intelligence. Furthermore, through CRM partnerships businesses can gain access to an extended pool of knowledge and expertise that enables them to create innovative strategies and focus on activities that add value.

Infrastructure Services Consultant, David Bullock, from Xperience Group explains, “When a customer partners with highly-skilled technical consultants they get the full benefit from innovation in its purest form. After all innovation – according to one dictionary definition – involves deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative. Interestingly each of the key words in that definition begins with “I” so – if you pardon the pun – the more innovative the “eyes” you get looking at your business IT the more information, imagination and initiative will result.”

CRM adoption is projected to grow at a 14.7% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) according to Gartner. David Beard, CRM principal at Sage CRM, explained the reason for this on ComputerWeekly, “…people are now focusing on the disconnected front office, and they are looking at their spreadsheets and disconnected Outlooks and the tiny copy of some bespoke database they built three years ago. You can join these things together – and that’s driving a lot of change.”

What to look for in a CRM partner:

CRM specialists

Look for CRM partners who specialise in solutions for your industry. Do you research to find out how much experience they have, and whether they’ve won any awards or accolades in recently years’.

Trust

When you outsource, there is a transference of trust to an external provider, and often where there is no existing relationship. However, you must trust your chosen implementation partner to ensure they completely understand the inner workings of your business and can provide the best quality service possible. In order to mitigate risk you should read reviews, case studies and testimonials or even ask to speak to their existing clients. Added to this, you should check out guides, articles, blogs and other content they provide to identify how well they demonstrate their expertise.

Support services

CRM implementation partners should provide a range of services to ensure your solution is integrated seamlessly and continues to work correctly. As David Curtis, Sales Manager at Xperience Group explains, “A partner is not only responsible for steering an implementation to a successful outcome but providing ongoing customer support and innovation advice.” Your partner should provide a consultation service, whereby business processes, strategies, activities and goals are outline to enable partners to understand how your business works. Innovative partners will know how to use the CRM software to provide what your business needs, enabling you to identify key business data that can fuel your strategies and increase your ROI.

Customised and developed CRM

Software partners that provide customisation and development can help you get the most out of your CRM solution, tailoring it to your unique business needs. As David Curtis explains, “Custom CRM solutions help a business by automating mundane tasks that would otherwise need to be completely manual, thus reducing staffing costs that can be reallocated to innovative revenue earning activities. xRM, for example offers a completely innovative custom solution.”

Integration with existing systems

If you need your CRM software to integrate with existing systems, your partner should be able to provide an innovate solution. They will ensure that your CRM solution is integrated smoothly, streamlining processes for increased productivity.

Options for deployment

The option to change how your solution is deployed can be incredibly important, as it may be that you later require greater access to your data. Be sure look for a partner that provides SaaS and a solution that has on-premise, cloud and mobile deployment models that will help you create an agile business model and implement innovative ideas quickly.

Driving Innovation

Innovation is about staying relevant as business markets and technology changes and it’s important to note that partnerships are reliant on all parties involved. CRM suppliers and integrators need customers to provide feedback in order to further develop their products and services to help customers capitalise on new functions.

For more information, download our CRM buyers guide.

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