Before you hire the first CRM consultant recommended to you, you ought to bear in mind certain aspects of the CRM products and the industry itself that will affect (or should affect) your choice of CRM systems to avail of.
First of all, CRM product applications should not be perceived as a business cure-all or magic bullet that will raise sales figures to the level that your organization becomes the leader of the pack. By definition, a CRM application is a software program that is used to manage contacts, prospects and current customers so that the people in your sales team and organization can handle the same information but for specific needs by users.
Your ideal CRM application should have features categorized as, respectively, contact management, automation of marketing management, automation of sales force management, and lastly, service management. It might also have other features added into it like, e-commerce, knowledge management, business intelligence, help desk and call center functions.
With this in mind, you should realize that CRM application use does not translate automatically to better operational or business performance. When implemented the wrong way or for the wrong reasons, CRM can even hamper business or operational performance.
Some vendors now offer CRM packages that are tied up to or integrated with enterprise-wide solutions. This helps tie together the front-line work of sales teams with back-office functions that should really be able to work together to assure that the entire enterprise will function cohesively.