I need to look smart talking about CRM.
April 2, 2007 4:57 AM   Subscribe

Web-based CRM. Give me something smart to ask the vendor.

I have to be on a conference call with our various sales offices and a client relationship manager (CRM) software vendor. I don't know much about the product other than it is web-based. I am struggling to think of anything to ask them. My boss is on the call and so I need to lsound as if I give a damn. Could someone please provide me with something interesting to ask the vendor.
posted by priorpark17 to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Why are you included? IS/IT? Sales manager?
posted by DU at 5:14 AM on April 2, 2007

Best answer: Heh. Ask if it's single tenant or multi-tenant. Say you don't trust them and you will want all your data back in 2 years - can they do a bulk data export? Ask about the disaster recovery plans. Ask if there has ever been cross-client data contamination. Ask if they do marketing automation - say you have some extensive lead generation efforts and that their system will be great for keeping notes but that it doesn't help with doing any program execution. Ask if it can be used offline because you have sales reps who work without a network connection frequently. Ask how much you'll be able to customize it. Ask if it has an API - you don't have any specific use for it right now, but it's an important strategic issue to be able to access your CRM data via an API.

I could probably come up with more. Email is in profile if you have any more questions.
posted by GuyZero at 5:18 AM on April 2, 2007

Best answer: What are the SLA guarantees? Will they pay you (or discount your payment to them) when their site is down? Can you show me an example of integration that has been done using the published API?

When are your maintenance windows? How long are they? When was the last time you had downtime outside of a window? What caused it?

Can they do an automated bulk data export? Screw getting it back in two years, I want to take a snapshot once a week to include with the rest of our (offsite) archival backups.

What does your solution do that I can't do with SugarCRM?
posted by toxic at 5:27 AM on April 2, 2007

A few random thoughts:

- Client workstation requirements. Some CRM software have ridiculous requirements.

- Constraints on customisation etc so they can sell a generic solution.

- Branding for you (if that matters)

- Cost model

- Client data protection

- Upgrade plans
posted by kaydo at 5:41 AM on April 2, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, Thanks, Thanks, I feel a promotion coming on. Didnt understand a word of it but I will by the time of the call.
posted by priorpark17 at 5:53 AM on April 2, 2007

If you want to get picky/pissy about competitors, just pick a random competitor and ask why you shouldn't buy their solution. SugarCRM is a good choice, but you could use any on-demand CRM competitor: Salesforce.com, RightNow, Microsoft Dynamics, NetSuite, Siebel OnDemand or something obscure like SalesBoom or HighRise (from 37 Signals).

Or, better yet, ask your sales rep to compare them all for you.

(I am usually on the other side of this discussion so I think I may have heard every annoy-the-vendor question ever)
posted by GuyZero at 8:52 AM on April 2, 2007 [1 favorite]

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