CRM Buyers Guide for the Checklist Consumer
The Checklist Consumer
The checklist consumer is motivated to find the best solution for their business. This is no simple task because they may not have documented requirements to guide them, nor do they have a lot of experience as software evaluators. As such, the best solution is typically the one with the most features.
Uses a Point System
The checklist consumer’s process consists of documenting a list of all features then comparing vendors using a point system, one point for each feature. The vendor with the most points at the lowest price quickly becomes the front-runner.
This evaluation process is based primarily on features and functions, many of which may be irrelevant to their actual business requirements. This results in the selection of a solution with comprehensive functionality that, more often than not, never gets used.
Reads CRM Reviews and Feature Comparisons
Checklist consumers do not want to make a mistake so they are going to take their time and review a laundry list of products. They do not initially rule anyone out. They are looking for the perfect solution – the one that stands out among the competition. They are often frustrated when they can’t find it, but they won’t give up because this is the only way they can feel comfortable that they are making the right decision for their company.
Often Runs out of Time
The checklist approach takes so long that business requirements often change during the evaluation period…
Checklist consumers always feel like they are compromising. They have not been able to find the perfect solution, but they continue the search month after month frustrating the administrative, sales and service staff who have been waiting for a decision. The checklist approach takes so long that business requirements often change during the evaluation period, adding to the frustration. Everyone wants a decision so they make one even though they are not comfortable doing so. This often ends up being one of the more popular solutions or simply the last one they evaluated.
Feeling overwhelmed? Out of time? Let the checkmarks make the decision.
Where the Checklist Consumer’s Process Falls Short
The checklist approach is a popular one and is built around the concept of more is better. This results in the purchase of a comprehensive and costly solution that may never fully be implemented.
Industry surveys indicate that most companies use between 30 – 60 percent of the CRM functionality they purchase. I believe this is an accurate assessment that has nothing to do with the consumer’s lack of commitment or the vendor’s product being too hard to use. It is the result of an evaluation process that often overlooks the following:
- Functional requirements – Do the product features match the functionality we need? Do they address any of our specific documented business requirements?
- Best Practices – Does the solution provider offer best practices for the successful implementation and utilization of their solution?
- Change management – What internal changes need to take place to improve things, and who is going to manage them?
- Value added services – Does the solution provider have an experienced staff that can provide the training and support services required for our success?
The next article of this series will be a “CRM Buyers Guide for the Commodity Buyer“
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