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  • Writer's pictureThinkCap Advisors

Relying Solely on CRM Demos – A Flawed Approach to CRM Selection

Navigating the CRM Selection Process

Most companies searching for a CRM heavily rely on demos to make their decision. Typically, this process is led by the CXO group, and facilitated by the IT team. A list of different CRM options is prepared, vendors are contacted, demos are organized, and products are evaluated primarily based on the features they offer. However, after months of implementation, the CRM fails to gain traction as most users including the top management don't use it. In some cases, a CRM is chosen simply based on the brand name, ensuring that the evaluation group is protected even if the project fails. As an experienced CRM consulting services firm, we advise to do much more in order to select the right CRM software.

1.Defining the Why: The first step in the CRM selection process is to clearly define your specific business requirements. Identify the challenges your organization is facing and the functionalities that are critical for streamlining and improving your business processes (An area where a CRM consulting firm can help). By understanding your unique needs, you can ensure that the CRM you choose aligns with your goals and objectives.

2.Establishing a CRM Committee: To avoid overlooking key perspectives, assemble a diverse CRM committee comprising top management, end users, and representatives from mid and junior levels. This committee will work together to define the CRM requirements, ensuring that the needs of all stakeholders are considered. Including end users in the decision-making process is crucial as they possess valuable insights into daily operations and will ultimately be the ones using the CRM system.

3.Prioritizing Effectively: Instead of being overwhelmed by an extensive list of requirements, prioritize the most critical ones. By focusing on the functionalities that will have the most significant impact on your business, you can streamline the selection process and avoid unnecessary complexities. Grouping secondary requirements into subsequent implementation phases allows for a more manageable and focused approach.

4.Gaining Buy-In: Engage with the user group and communicate the need for implementing a CRM system. Clearly articulate the benefits it will bring to their work and address any concerns or resistance. Conducting surveys to assess CRM readiness and gather user feedback on previous CRM experiences can provide valuable insights and help build consensus among stakeholders.

5.Defining Integration Points: Identify the systems that require seamless integration with the CRM. A smooth flow of data between platforms is essential for generating comprehensive insights and leveraging the true value of CRM. By defining integration points early in the selection process, you can ensure that the chosen CRM can effectively communicate and exchange information with other key systems. It is advisable to involve your CRM consultants in this step as they understand the logic & benefits of integrating business systems. Also, as part of their CRM consulting services, they can define the data flow of information amongst various systems

6.Conducting Discovery Calls with Vendors: During the evaluation process, engage in detailed discovery calls with potential CRM software vendors. Provide them with a clear understanding of your requirements, challenges, and any relevant business flow documents. Inquire about their experience in implementing solutions within similar industries and seek their insights on best practices. This will help you assess the vendor's expertise and determine if the CRM solution aligns with your specific needs.

7.Requesting a Proof of Concept (POC): Instead of relying solely on generic demos, request a proof of concept (POC) from shortlisted vendors. A POC allows you to evaluate specific elements of the CRM's functionality, workflow capabilities, and the vendor's understanding of your requirements. It provides a more hands-on experience and a deeper insight into how the CRM solution will work in your organization.

8.Preparing a Budgetary Estimate: Before proceeding with active evaluation, it is crucial to prepare a budgetary estimate that includes product subscriptions, implementation fees, and other associated costs. Seek budgetary estimates from potential CRM consulting partners to align with your financial plans and ensure transparency in the selection process.

Having led CRM selection & implementation projects across industries one thing is clear: relying only on CRM demos will lead to flawed CRM selection resulting in failed implementation. As stated above a lot of work needs to be done even before reaching the stage of CRM demonstration. It won’t be a bad idea to engage with a CRM software consultant who can lead the CRM selection initiative.

Infographic Critical Steps of CRM Selection

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