Why Support Matters When Choosing an Online CRM Provider

by | Aug 28, 2009

Online CRM Provider – If you’re considering an online CRM or web based contact management system, then you’re probably focused on features and pricing.  Dashboards, analytics, automation and cost of your SaaS or Cloud based CRM system are what most businesses focus on during the selection process.

You’re looking to automate and better manage your marketing and sales operations.  So its natural that you’ll be looking closely at the features that will get you there.  Plus the fact that your prior experience with software vendors of all stripes has probably taught you to keep your expectations pretty low regarding help desk or support services provided.

The SaaS CRM and Online CRM marketplaces are full of companies making it seem as easy as possible to get started.  If you believe the demos, you just sign up, logon and suddenly your sales process is automated and dashboards start showering you with insightful metrics.

In fact, most online CRM providers simply email your logon credentials as soon as you put in your credit card and point you to various online training options and you are on your own.

You’re expected to import data, customize fields, lists, processes and reports.  And by the way, you’re a sales person.  Odds are figuring out how to configure software and databases is not one of your strengths.

This is why there are so many online CRM consultants running around.  ACT! Certified Consultants, Salesforce.com VARs, etc.  They’re all in business because you’re not likely to get the help you need from the CRM software provider.

So once you sign up, you find yourself struggling to get things working the way the sales person told you they would and meanwhile you’re spending time on the computer and not in front of customers hitting your sales quota.

And here’s the kicker – when after hours of frustration, you reach out to the software company for help, you spend hours on hold or wait days for a response.  If that’s not fast enough for you, you’ll learn that you can get faster service if you’re willing to pay for it.

Premium support will cost your $150 to $300 additional per year per user.  Here’s an example – Salesforce.com commits to respond to your request for support within 2 days.  If you need it faster, you’ve got to pay for their Premier support.  Here’s a link to the particulars on the Salesforce.com site – https://www.salesforce.com/services-training/customer-support/
You’ll need to factor in these costs or allot much more time to configure things and get users trained.

The biggest challenge in implementing a online CRM is getting the sales team trained and using the system consistently.  Ask yourself – is your typical sales person going to take the time to figure things out on their own?  when they have questions, is waiting two days for an answer going to work for them?

Here are a few things to check into before you sign on the dotted line:

  • Data import – who will do it and how much of my data will make the transition?  Notes, reminders, information that’s unique to your business…
  • Customization – who’s going to do it and how much time will it require?
  • Training – how will you teach the sales team how to do the specific things that you want done in this new system?
  • Response time – when you need help, how long should you expect to wait for it?

The good news is that there are some exceptions!  In fact, at least one online CRM company publishes their typical support response times on their website for you to review before you buy – https://salesnexus.com/support.php