Choosing a new CRM – Part 1

When it becomes clear that your existing database isn\’t meeting the needs of your organisation, choosing to move away from it and finding the right database can be overwhelming.

This is the first of two articles highlighting some key things that you should consider when making your decision.

Let\’s dive in.

The first thing you should ask is: How will the organisation use it?

Typically in the not-for-profit world, when we think of a CRM (or database), we think of it as a way of keeping track of the interactions we have with supporters. Mostly it\’s transactional, people that have donated. Other information like Newsletter sign-ups, or event invitations or volunteering are often held in different systems or on spreadsheets.

Our supporters may have many different touch points with the organisation and if only one or two teams are using a CRM, data is siloed and you’ll never have a complete picture of your supporters. The risk with that approach is you aren’t adequately able to nurture the relationship and won’t be able to communicate with them in a way that is meaningful.

So the first step in scoping out the requirements for a new CRM is to consider how it will be used and what information you need to support organisational growth in the future.

If you can\’t answer this, and if you are simply looking to replicate what you have right now, then a question you should be asking is: why is the organisation looking to change?

Take the time to meet with different stakeholders and end-users across the organisation. Ask them what is working for them now, what their ideal is, what would help them in their day-to-day jobs and how those things will help the organisation achieve its mission.

During those conversations or workshops, look for common themes such as accessibility, data integrity and efficiencies. From there you’ll narrow down the options available to you which will help with the next point.


Budget will inevitably play a role in your decision making. So it\’s important to understand, first of all, the costs involved. You can’t do that without understanding how the organisation plans on using the database so that first step above is pretty important.

To get budget approval, take the time to research and probe what you’ll get out of a system. Sounds obvious, but it’s very easy to under-budget which leaves you with limited implementation options which will likely affect the success of your CRM adoption and roll-out when the time comes.

While it can be tempting to go with the cheapest quote you really need to interrogate what you’ll receive. Time and time again, we hear from organisations that have implemented their CRM but aren’t able to use it or are only using the basic functionality which makes it hard to roll out. So that initial cheaper quote ends up costing a whole lot more.

Some of the costs when setting up a new CRM include licence fees, customisation and integration with other systems. While licence fees can be pretty standard and a little easier to plan for, most organisations will engage a third party vendor to help with the set-up and customisation, and the costs here can vary significantly.

When interrogating a quote, questions to ask include:

  • What exactly will you get. Will they take the time to understand your requirements? Will there be a solution design document that you can refer to, to ensure that the end product ticks off your requirements.
  • Is User Acceptance Testing built in to the plan prior to Go Live? You shouldn’t underestimate the value of this, as User Acceptance Testing (or UAT) is the first opportunity to see how your requirements and data have translated into system. Are there business processes that hadn’t been considered during scoping or do they need adjusting. Does the solution deliver on the requirements you’d highlighted.
  • Will there be a user guide and/or training at the Go Live stage? Is there any post Go Live support? If you are an organisation with limited internal resources, this is incredibly important, especially when you roll the system out.
  • What will you (your organisation) be able to do yourselves once the system is live? If you need to go back to a vendor each time you need to make a change – do you have the budget for that? Will you need a fully fledged coder on the team to make simple changes?

In the next article… Configuration v Customisation

It\’s really important to understand the distinction between these two terms. Because understanding them will help future proof your CRM and ensure that you budget correctly.

Thinking of switching to Salesforce?

Why NobleCX is your best choice

NobleCX is an Australian-based cloud solutions specialist. We partner with organisations of all sizes and industries to deliver customised system solutions – so you can work faster and smarter.

Our certified team is committed to helping you get more from your investment with Salesforce.

We take the time to listen to your unique business challenges and then respond with the best possible solution.

Some of the benefits of partnering with NobleCX:

  • Our extensive range of services ensures we can support almost any business challenge.
  • Direct support from Australian-based Salesforce Certified Consultants and Administrators.
  • Maximise your investment in your systems solution. By partnering with NobleCX, we can help you take advantage of features and functionality of your system to increase your ROI.

Which solution suits your organisation? has a range of CRM applications to help your organisation based on your needs.

Salesforce Sales Cloud is the most common and popular app.

You may have a need for a robust Customer Service solution, Salesforce Service Cloud can help.

In addition, the Foundation has a set of managed packages called Non-Profit Success Pack (NPSP) developed and maintained by and made available for free via the Salesforce AppExchange. It allows nonprofits to better manage some common nonprofit business processes.

Choosing a new CRM – Part 1