Guest Post: contributed by Jennifer Hazen of What a Business!

1. Develop a CRM plan, before you look for an application. Then research application choices

2. A free trial is not a free version of an application:

a) A free trial is a free limited time offer of a product or service. Occasionally, a credit card is required to sign up, install or activate the trial offer

b) A free version is a product or service available at no cost to the user; but then again it might not have all the bells and whistles (features) of the paid version

3. Think about the learning curve attached to any new technology or application. Will your staff or team members need training?

4. Make sure there is good technical support available. Look for training sessions, an online forum, a help section or instructional videos to ensure a seamless transition

5. How safe and secure is your data? Review the company’s policy and details about the security of the application, server and data

6. Are data backups and/or data storage included in the package?

7. “Social Media CRM” is a new trend. Here are two small business CRM applications with social media components, Batchbook and Nimble. For more on this topic, here’s an article of interest.

Have you implemented a CRM or Social CRM strategy? Please share your knowledge, tips or comments.