Select and Implement a Customer Relationship Management Platform

Vendor Evaluation


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Your Challenge

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) suites are an indispensable part of a holistic strategy for managing end-to-end customer interactions.
  • After defining an approach to CRM, selection and implementation of the right CRM suite is a critical step in delivering concrete business value for Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service.
  • Despite the importance of CRM selection and implementation, many organizations struggle to define an approach to picking the right vendor and rolling out the solution in an effective and cost-efficient manner.
  • IT often finds itself in the unenviable position of taking the fall for CRM platforms that don’t deliver on the promise of the CRM strategy.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • IT needs to be a trusted partner in CRM selection and implementation, but the business also needs to own the requirements and be involved from the beginning.
  • CRM requirements dictate the components of the target CRM architecture, such as deployment model, feature focus, and customization level. Savvy application directors recognize the points in the project where the CRM architecture model necessitates deviations from a “canned” roll-out plan.
  • CRM selection is a multi-step process that involves mapping target capabilities for Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service, assigning requirements across functional categories, determining the architecture model to prioritize criteria, and developing a comprehensive RFP that can be scored in a weighted fashion.
  • Companies that succeed with CRM implementation create a detailed roadmap that outlines milestones for configuration, security, points of implementation, data migration, training, and ongoing application maintenance.

Impact and Result

  • A CRM platform that effectively meets the needs of Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service and delivers value.
  • Reduced costs during CRM selection.
  • Reduced implementation costs and time frame.
  • Faster time to results after implementation.


12 Anonymous Contributors

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Guided Implementation icon Guided Implementation

This guided implementation is a seven call advisory process.

    Guided Implementation #1 - Launch the CRM project and collect requirements

  • Call #1: Identify organizational fit for the technology.

  • Call #2: Create the project plan.

  • Call #3: Plan requirements gathering steps.

  • Guided Implementation #2 - Select a CRM solution

  • Call #1: Discuss the use-case fit assessment results and the Vendor Landscape.

  • Call #2: Review contract.

  • Guided Implementation #3 - Plan the CRM implementation

  • Call #1: Create an implementation plan.

  • Call #2: Discuss roll-out of processes and hand-over to operations.

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Launch the CRM Selection Project

The Purpose

Discuss the general project overview for the CRM selection.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Launch your CRM selection project.
  • Develop your organization’s CRM requirements. 

Activities: Outputs:
1.1 Facilitate activities from the “Launch the CRM Project and Collect Requirements” phase, including project scoping and resource planning.
  • CRM Procurement Project Charter
1.2 Conduct overview of the CRM market landscape, trends, and vendors.
  • CRM Use-Case Fit Assessment
1.3 Conduct process mapping for selected marketing processes.
1.4 Interview business stakeholders.
1.5 Prioritize CRM functional requirements.

Module 2: Plan the Procurement and Implementation Process

The Purpose

Plan the procurement and the implementation of the CRM solution.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Select a CRM solution.
  • Build a plan for implementing the selected CRM solution. 

Activities: Outputs:
2.1 Complete marketing process mapping with business stakeholders.
2.2 Interview IT staff and project team to identify technical requirements for the CRM suite, and document high-level solution requirements.
2.3 Perform a use-case scenario assessment, review use-case scenario results, identify use-case alignment, and review the CRM Vendor Landscape vendor profiles and performance.
2.4 Create a custom vendor shortlist and investigate additional vendors for exploration in the marketplace.
  • Vendor Shortlist
  • Vendor Evaluations
  • Selection of a CRM Solution
2.5 Meet with project manager to discuss results and action items.
  • CRM Projected Work Breakdown
  • Implementation Plan
  • Framework for CRM Deployment and CRM/Marketing Management Suite Integration

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CRM, Sales, Marketing and Customer Support Map


  • 821bf97a3e183c9e207be3a8a2e1fe3e comment
    Camille Pagee | 06-13-2016

    Lots of ERPs now roll in CRM functions with their 'core' product. This material is equally useful for evaluating and selecting how to use those built-ins, or how to compare ERPs if CRM functions are a core requirement.

    • 426e6a61afe4879716f692371d4c6552 comment
      Suanne McGrath-Kelly | 06-17-2016

      Excellent point, Camille! The requirements and templates cover the key requirements for CRM whether stand-alone or as a module of ERP. We have a similar situation with HR functionality - it can be assessed as a stand-alone HRIS or as a module of the ERP. Note: our upcoming ERP research will discuss this concept as well.

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