There is no magic, most of the reputable vendors have developed their own version of a "how to guide.." and these are available for the simple cost of registration on their respective websites. The point being is that if your company is truly serious about implementing or upgrading a CRM system, it is wise to listen to the experts. My experience is that most vendors, although passionate and bias about their products, are quite professional when it comes to fairly representing the functionality of their offerings.
I would like to emphasize that the single most important evaluation tool is the references provided by the vendor. Some questions:
- How close is the operation of the reference site to that of your company?
- Willl it be used mostly for sales or for post sales, customer service?
- Does it truly reflect and/or facilitate the sales process and/or the interactions with customers for that company?
- How difficult was it to adapt or customize?
- In the same light, how flexible is it to modify after initial installation?
- How well has it been accepted by the users, specially the sales team?
- What was the selection criteria? Investment? TCO? Total Cost of Acqusition? Time to deliver/implement?
- Does it allow for self-service?
- Is it premise based or web based?
- Is there a demo version available for download?
I am sure that the reader will probably have many more requirements than these. CRM buyers have written, if not thousands, of RFPs that can be used as templates for developing a selection criteria. Any reasonable CRM vendor can provide you with one or two without violating the confidentiality of their clients.
These three should keep you bussy for a while and good luck.