When looking at CRM buying decisions, I compare CRM buyers to home buyers, specifically first time buyers and previous home owners. Previous home owners (in this case CRM owners) make decisions based on their previous experience (in most cases with a previous organization). Veteran CRM users know what they need and cut to the chase with a short list of top requirements. First time CRM buyers are like first time home owners wishing for a fully loaded house; pool, media room, spa, etc. and a bunch of features they’ll rarely use.
Here’s the problem, in most cases, and as I see it from our own experience. When a good leadership team is involved in planning to implement technology like CRM or ERP, their first priority usually is based on what the ‘company needs’ in order to a) make them more efficient in their current processes, b) deliver additional value in areas they have minimal or no capabilities, and c) become an investment for the business that either helps increase revenue, provides a savings or does both. Of course there are other areas of consideration, but we’ll keep it basic.
The 4000 questions in the RFP process usually begins when you appoint the wrong person to lead the project, specifically someone who isn’t part of the leadership team and doesn’t have a holistic perspective of the company’s operations, workflow and ultimate requirements. Usually you end up with ‘Mikey’ (the person in the office who will eat anything) assigned to the project. Rather than identifying in detail what the company’s needs are, he walks around the office asking the users what ‘their ‘ needs are, just as if he was taking lunch orders. When you ask people what their opinion is on a company related matter, they often feel obligated to participate they’re going to provide information based on their personal experience and individual requirements, and disregard the overall company needs. Relevant or not, you’ll get an answer and your list. Not to mention that a lot of that list was created beginning with the words, “It would be nice if it…” rather than, “It absolutely must…”
While a CRM solution is designed to streamline workflow and ultimately make the jobs of the employees easier, the solution is really for the business. Between personnel needs and the company’s needs, the company is the only constant in the equation. Something leadership teams should remember when creating their RFPs.