Start with a prioritized list of your firm's business requirements. A requirements analysis involving sales, marketing, service, and finance will typically generate a long wish list that will then need to be categorized and prioritized by function and category. You can turn each requirement into a question. For example, if you have a requirement to capture customer interactions, your checklist question becomes "does the application capture customer interactions?" Develop an approach for rating each response against your needs and priorities.
To get started, think about the likely function set you are looking to automate and then drill down from there. Potential functions might include: Sales Force Automation, Telesales, Help Desk, Order Entry, Web Self Service, Marketing Automation, and Customer Analytics.
Finally, there are many good books that can provide more detailed guidance. For example, you might want to purchase "The CRM Handbook" by Jill Dyche. This and other related books can be purchased from Pearson Technology Group ( www.pearsonptg.com). Their online store is located at www.informit.com/sales/ar