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How to select the right CRM system for your business

As published in Idealog Magazine - October 2015

Click here to read the article on the Idealog website.

The customer, they say, is king. But as the mobile revolution takes hold, and takes company reps further and further away from the office, tracking and accessing that important customer data can become an issue. So how do you keep the flow of information open? Technology writer Bill Bennett takes a look at the importance of choosing the right software for managing those ever important customer relationships.

Making the most of every personal relationship is the secret of a successful sales operation. To do this well you need more than a shared address book or contact list.

The answer is customer relationship management. CRM systems organise and record organisational knowledge so you can spot opportunities and act fast. The challenge is finding the right CRM system that suits the way your business operates.

Modern CRM has moved beyond just tracking and maintaining contact information. You can use CRM data with analytics software allowing your marketing team to better target key segments. Or you can use the data to identify unmet customer needs and opportunities to expand your scope. Customer service staff can sniff-out recurring issues from analysing incident reports.

The best place to start is by finding a CRM system that is at home in the cloud. Although you can host CRM software yourself, or in your own cloud, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is simpler, faster and more cost-effective.

You’ll get considerable cost savings with a SaaS CRM system. You also get flexibility. If your business is growing fast, cloud means you can scale up to meet demand without the need for large capital expenditure. If your business is mature and stable then cloud will help you contain costs.

Nick Mulcahy, CEO of Soltius, New Zealand’s largest SAP provider, says there’s another advantage with SaaS CRM. “If you run CRM on your company’s premise, it won’t always be available where you need it most. You won’t get 100 percent coverage.

“A lot of New Zealand companies need to be able to talk to customers while on their site. In this country that often means wearing gumboots and standing in a paddock. Because SaaS CRM works on mobile devices, you can use it at the sharp end of your customer’s business”, he says.

The biggest barrier to getting results from CRM is that once installed, sales staff fail to make the best use of systems. Mulcahy says: “These days everyone in business has a CRM system. Getting the sales team to use it can be a challenge. For that to happen you have to make it as easy as possible to work with the software. Get that part right and you’re halfway there”.

Mobility is part of the answer. Not only are sales staff more likely to use CRM software on the spot when at a customer site, but fresh data is best. Leaving updating records until returning to the office can mean staff miss important facts.

Mulcahy says the SaaS systems Soltius is implementing using SAP Business ByDesign emphasise ease-of-use. He says the end-user tools look good, which is half the battle when it comes to getting staff to the use the software.

To help, Soltius is building gamification into CRM systems. This is a technique that turns using business software into something that’s fun, like playing a computer game. It helps that sales people are by competitive by nature. Gamification turns that competitive spirit into a way of enabling co-operation.

Run like never before and manage your entire business with a single Cloud solution. With all of the power and scalability of SAP, and the flexibility and lower cost of Software as a Service, SAP Business ByDesign from Soltius gives you a platform for growth. Learn more today at

As published in Idealog Magazine October 2015.


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