How To Properly Choose a CRM Solution
If you go to CRM trade shows, you will find that many of the vendors place an emphasis on slick packaging rather than a powerful product. While you would think most companies would avoid falling for such marketing tactics, you would be surprised by the number of companies who have lost millions of dollars buying data warehouses, ERP systems, and other tools.
In most cases, both vendors and companies fail to look at the big picture. They make the mistake of thinking that technology alone will allow them to achieve success. When the fail to reach their goals after implementing the technology, they are quick to point their fingers at the vendors who sold them the product. As you can imagine, this is not very productive at all.
There are a number of ways a company can fail when purchasing a CRM solution, but there are only a few successful methods. Many companies purchase Customer relationship management tools before they have picked a well defined objective. Many of these same companies also fail to prepare their employees for the many changes that will need to occur when the solution is implemented. It is important to realize that change is an important part of CRM. All the members of the organization must be willing to make the necessary changes that will allow the product to succeed. If they do not, the company will fail. When a business person comes from a trade show, this can be one of the most dangerous moments in the life of their company.
It is a grave mistake to fall for the hype. Too many companies pay attention to the advertising, and they fail to decide if the software is truly something they need. While a Fortune 1000 company may be able to lose a few million dollars like it is pocket change, one mistake by a small to medium sized company can put them out of business. If you are going to purchase a CRM tool, it is important for you to make sure it is purchased the right way. It is not simply enough to have a list of requirements. If you have a powerful competitor that is utilizing a specific CRM tool, this may be a good reason for you to consider using it. When technology is used to push CRM, this is referred to as being the bottom-up approach.
There are a number of risks involved with using this method. When the bottom-up approach is used, this will typically means that one individual will decide to use it. Many companies use this approach because they feel it will be too tedious to go through the requirements that would be necessary if more than one entity was involved. The risks involved with this approach can be disastrous, so companies will want to weigh them carefully before attempting to use them. First, the consensus is limited, because very few people are involved in the decision to use it. A company could find itself wasting money on a system that does not focus on what the company needs the most.
Another major risk is a failure to integrate the CRM system with existing technologies available in the company It could be argued that this is the most dangerous risk, because it could lead to a situation where the company implements a product that does not work well with the tools it already uses, and this can cause a number of problems.
One risk of the bottom-up approach is that the company could become dependent on specific features within the CRM tool, and these features may not give the company the growth it needs. With CRM, it is dangerous to assume that if you "built it, they will come." In reality, this scenario may not occur.
When you pick and implement a CRM tool, you will want to focus on using a "requirements-driven" approach. By doing this, companies will create a consensus within the organization that will allow multiple individuals to participate in it. They will have a say in what they think about the system, and though this process can be tedious, the rewards are much greater, and the risks involved are much lower.