Two Common Mistakes SMEs Can Avoid When Selecting CRM Software

One of these is not like the otherI think we can all agree that most company executives are not professional software evaluators and as such often overlook some of the key decision criteria that are critical to making the right or the wrong decision.  Selecting the right CRM software requires you to first identify what business challenges you are trying to address and what resources you are willing to invest in to meet those challenges.  Most executives of small to mid-size companies simply do not appreciate that CRM software is not an electronic device that simply addresses your requirements once plugged in.  Those that are unwilling to invest the time to identify their requirements and engage in the decision process with their staff traditionally end up with a common CRM disease called “buyers remorse”.

Buyer’s remorse is the result of executives being part of one of two camps which I call Camp “A” and Camp “B”.

Mistake #1 – Camp  “A” Executives believe the following:

All CRM systems are alike.   So let’s simply select the least costly one.

What management is really saying here is that a CRM solution is just not that important to the business or they just don’t have time for a lengthy evaluation.   There may be no specific business challenge that they are trying to address, but the staff says they need a CRM solution so they are willing to approve one as long as it’s inexpensive and does not tie the company to a long term contract.  Companies that take this path traditionally have very low utilization rates and often discontinue their utilization of the system within a few months.

Executives that are in  Camp “A”  often  discover that they have  gotten exactly what they paid for; a solution with limited functionality, poor customer service and perhaps even uncertainty with regard to where their data is being hosted or how they can  get it in case of an emergency.

Mistake #2 – Camp “B” Executives believe the following:

All CRM systems are alike.  So let’s just pick the most popular one.

What management is saying here is that all CRM solutions are pretty much the same so let’s not waste too much time evaluating systems that we have no interest in. Let’s pick the two most popular ones, the ones with all the “BUZZ” and marketing hype.  I call this the me-too decision. Camp “B” executives make the common mistake of assuming that if everyone else is talking about a specific solution then it must be good and the best one for our business.

The fact is that all CRM solutions are not all alike, but you need to know where to look to uncover the differences.  Most people spend too much time evaluating features, functions and price which is fine, but there’s a lot more to know before selecting the right solution.

Let me offer two examples.  Today’s most popular CRM solutions are hosted or cloud based. Do you know the difference?  Well they are quite significant, yet most vendors utilize the terms interchangeably and get away with it because the consumer just doesn’t know the difference and doesn’t know what to ask.

What about a product’s architecture?  Do any of you remember the popular CRM system called Entellium?  This low cost offering was very popular a few years ago until customers discovered that the system was not designed for scalability.  Generating reports for example, took so long that the vendor instructed customers to only run them at night.  Entellium eventually closed their doors and many customers lost all their data – Ooops!

So what can you do to ensure you don’t get buyers remorse?  First, don’t be a Camp “A” or Camp “B” executive.  CRM software is not a toy.  You will need to invest the appropriate time to identify your business challenges then assess which products can functionally address those challenges. Once this is complete, you are ready to ask the tough questions and narrow down your final selection.  I have written a white paper which I believe will help you with this process and ensure that you don’t get “buyers remorse”.

The attached link will take you to my white paper:

Don’t Make a CRM Buying Mistake – 7 Points to Consider
7 Points to Consider LC2

About the Author: Larry Caretsky, is the president of Commence Corporation, a leading provider of web based CRM software for mid size companies and small enterprises.  Caretsky is the author of several white papers on the subject of CRM software.  They are accessible via the company’s web site at www.commence.com.

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