9 Questions to ask before making a CRM investment
Few investments will have as large and lasting an impact on the success of a sales organization as its CRM. Yet an astonishingly high failure rate among CRM implementations indicates that we are appallingly bad at making this investment.
While the choice of CRM is only a part of the problem, it is an important one. Many leaders believe that any CRM will do and often choose the most popular or least expensive option without taking the time to ensure that option is the right one for their organization.
Choosing the right CRM sets a proper foundation and is an important first step in ensuring effective implementation.
This whitepaper will explore the reasons many organizations make a bad choice and guide you through nine questions that will help you make the right choice.
At the heart of every bad CRM investment decision lies a fundamental misunderstanding of what exactly a CRM is, and the criteria by which it should be chosen.
Two common assumptions are:
Both false assumptions lead to an unfortunate tendency to select a CRM based on the wrong factors. Before we get into the questions you should ask before making a CRM decision, let’s correct these assumptions.
A Google search for “What is CRM?” returns an overwhelming 244 million results. Wikipedia defines it as: “a system for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers.” Many sales directors and managers think of it as a “strategy to keep customers happy” or a “tool to help salespeople manage business relationships.”
At its heart, however, CRM is actually very simple. It is a database with tools attached to help employees and their managers and executives, including a user interface.
In other words, by definition, CRM is not designed as a tool to improve sales team effectiveness. It is simply a catch-all for customer and sales data, with a user interface that can be either easy to use or extremely frustrating.
It is only when the CRM database is integrated with the right set of tools and interface that it becomes the effectiveness tool it should be. Many commercially available CRM suites are designed for reporting and management and fail to support the sales team to improve performance.
When the CRM is combined with the right tools, however, it becomes much more than a database. It becomes a sales enablement platform.
The most common mistake organizations make is assuming that they should purchase a CRM package based on the size of their organization. But a 100-person inside sales team in a high-volume transactional setting has vastly different needs from the same size sales team in a complex B2B sales environment. Likewise, a 10-person team in a transactional environment has more in common with the first team than it does with a 10-person team in a complex environment.
In other words, it is better to choose a CRM and its associated tools based on how you sell, rather than how much you sell.
The first three questions discussed in this paper are designed to guide you to a clear understanding of your organization’s unique CRM needs. The remaining six questions will help you evaluate whether a particular solution is right for you.
Purchasing a CRM for your organization is an important decision. You can’t afford to default to the generic industry package without first evaluating what your organization needs in order to achieve effectiveness. You need a complete sales effectiveness platform that will support a thriving environment and ongoing sales growth. We hope the questions in this paper will help guide you in making the right choice for your organization.