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Don’t Buy CRM Based On Buzzwords

Don't Buy CRM Based On BuzzwordsIt happens to the best of us. Though the CRM buying process is very different than buying consumer products, one of the common denominators is the tendency of both vendors and salespeople to pitch their products with buzzword-heavy lingo. When we, as buyers, get caught up in the pitch and start relying on fancy language and the occasional bit of sales hyperbole, it’s easy to get carried away and make a purchase that’s not entirely based on our needs.

The CRM industry, and the vendors in it, certainly have their fair share of product lingo and feature buzzwords. Those about to embark on, or currently in the middle of, the evaluation and purchasing path will undoubtedly encounter a fair share of product jargon and enthusiastic sales reps eager to explain their respective products using whatever flavors marketing has cooked up that week.

Top Ten Sales Buzzwords

For those wading into the waters of buying CRM, either for the first time or as a seasoned enterprise software purchasing veteran, LinkedIn has recently published a list of the top 10 sales buzzwords used in 2013.

It’s probably safe to bet on hearing some, if not all, of these words when your CRM buying process moves from the research phase into actual product evaluations and sales reps are brought into the mix.

Looking just at North America, the top ten buzzwords are:
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  • Driven

  • Strategic
  • Effective
  • Responsible
  • Competitive

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  • Positive
  • Creative
  • Organization
  • Innovative
  • Patient

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Though LinkedIn’s list is not specific to the CRM industry, it’s not hard to imagine how the terms above might be applied to a product like CRM.

For example, “(Insert CRM product name) allows your organization to effectively drive sales and be competitive in your vertical by establishing focused business processes that increase ROI.”

Another, “We’ve integrated an innovative marketing suite into (CRM product name)’s core feature set that allows your creative team to develop strategic messaging based on social media monitoring and push positive brand awareness.”

For the record, I have fabricated the above examples entirely. They are not copied from or based on any particular CRM vendor’s sales or marketing material, and are meant only to serve as an example of the kind of language those in the CRM buying process might reasonably expect to hear.

Using Your Own Language

The best way to avoid falling into the trap of buying CRM based on fancily-worded feature sets and overly enthusiastic marketing hyperbole is to come ready with your own buzzwords, so to speak.

By going through a careful planning and evaluation process, your business will develop a detailed list of core features and functionality that you can use to evaluate each CRM vendor on your terms.

Choosing a CRM system is all about your business, it’s processes, and it’s needs. No one knows those three things better than the people that run it.

By taking the time to develop a comprehensive CRM plan and strategy, before you charge into the vendor jungle, you’ll be far less susceptible to being influenced by well-meaning reps eager to tell you about the latest strategic innovation that will allow your business to “be an effective communicator of positive brand messaging to your prospects and strategically drive creative organizational responsibility”.

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