What Type of CRM Buyer are You?

The CRM software sector is an explosive market. The introduction of cloud based CRM solutions that no longer require the implementation of computer hardware or software, coupled with a large number of low cost offerings for small to mid-size businesses, have fed the global growth of this industry.  Growth predictions for this sector indicate that businesses are going to continue to buy CRM software to automate and streamline their internal business processes.  Despite the rapid deployment and ease of use of web-based systems, the CRM software sector continues to suffer from low utilization levels and unmet expectations.

Consumers often point to the solution providers for over engineering the software, making it too hard to use. Vendors could argue it’s the consumers who are at fault, having not made the proper commitment to training and best practices necessary to ensure the successful implementation of their software.  The blame game continues year after year yet for some reason very little changes.

Why the evaluation process can make or break your CRM success

A high degree of unsuccessful implementations have more to do with a flawed evaluation and selection process than anything else.  It’s not the vendor’s fault nor is there a lack of commitment by the consumer.  What I discovered is that very often companies are ill equipped in their approach to the evaluation of CRM software.  Here is what I mean.

Management decides they need CRM software to improve how they market, sell and provide service to their customers. That’s great! But very often their specific objectives are not well-documented. They may not have given enough thought to the internal and external resources needed to ensure their success. Their staff is told to “Go out and evaluate CRM solutions.” In many cases, they are not clear on the business challenges they are trying to solve or what approach they need to take to complete their assignment.  At this point going out and selecting a CRM system is not the answer to the problem, IT IS THE PROBLEM.

Easing the CRM Buying Process

Very few people are experienced software evaluators.  As such, they may feel a bit apprehensive interacting with software vendors and they may not know the right questions to ask.  Now you have a group of people who are not experienced software purchasers, looking for a CRM solution to address unspecific requirements.   This is not a formula for success.

100177289 Businessman Holding Paper by pakorn

What are the right questions to ask when selecting a CRM?

So what does this team do?  Well, they are not at all comfortable with the process so they instead head down a path that they are comfortable with, and become what I have termed the checklist consumer or the commodity buyer. Let’s take a look at these evaluation processes. Later we will compare these to a process that is quite a bit different but delivers much better results.

Stay tuned for the next article in this series:  “CRM Buyers Guide for the Checklist Consumer

Image Credit: “Businessman Holding Paper” by pakorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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