NEHANET Corporation

The 5 Critical Steps to take Before Investing in a CRM System

There is so much focus on sales processes and selling that it would be nice to take a break and look at the sales cycle from the buyer’s perspective instead. Buying a CRM system (or other BPM system) can be a confusing and often frustrating task. So many options, too many promises, and no guarantees.

As a potential customer, you have the power; you control the selling process, and it is up to you to ensure that you cut through the marketing and sales pitches and gain enough tangible information to make the best decision for your company. As buying a CRM system is not an everyday task, it is important to understand what to expect and what to demand from the selling/buying process.

Rule number 1: Complete a Gap Analysis, for without one you cannot be sure you even need a CRM system — let alone set up a criteria for buying one. In the blog, Use Gap Analysis to Understand Where You Are; Chart a Path to Where You Want to Be, I discussed the different stages involved in completing a Gap analysis. The results of the gap analysis will provide you with the following:

  • Prioritized list of processes you need to transform to reach your desired destination
  • Detailed list of changes that need to be implemented to transform each individual process
  • Potential options for implementing those changes. (ranging from changing internal reporting structures to introducing new processes, such as a sales process to implementing a CRM system etc.)

Now, as you enter the buying process, there are 5 key steps:

  • Narrow down your list of potential CRM vendors. Start with your top priorities, from your prioritized list of processes you need to transform and work your way down through the list. For example, if run-rate forecasting is your top priority, eliminate any CRM that does not provide a good solution for run-rate forecasting. If it is call center management, eliminate vendors based on that criteria etc. You should try to leave this step with no more than 3 – 5 vendors remaining.
    ** Note: At this point, you can create an RFP or evaluation plan to share with the remaining vendors on your list, so there is transparency as to what you require as the buyer. The following steps as a minimum should be included in that document.

Continue reading for the next 4 critical steps in the CRM selection process.

The 5 Critical Steps to take Before Investing in a CRM System