Your organization’s CRM buying process has been moving in fits and starts. You’re personally frustrated because you want to get a new CRM system in the hands of your team and the buying process has stalled out once again. Is the problem some elusive notion such as “group inertia”, or is it something that’s clearly identifiable?
How can you get the process moving again? More important, how can you prevent another stall out once the process starts to move forward again?
It often makes sense to take a couple of steps backward in order to take a greater number of steps forward. This can be accomplished by clearing your collective minds of distractions. Here are five things to temporarily forget about in order to get your stalled process moving again.
1. Forget about product features
Focusing on product features may have become a distraction. CRM applications have thousands of features. With the appropriate configuration, customization and add-on products, a CRM app can automate practically any business process. So, forget about products and product features for the time being. The products will still be there when you’re ready to dive into features, and they’ll probably have even more features at that point.
2. Forget about demos
It’s best to avoid scheduling product demos too early in the process. It’s better to start by telling the vendor reps your story about your company and about how you’ve historically handled CRM-related tasks and processes. The vendors need to understand your story so they can put a demonstration in context. If a vendor demos without knowing your story, you’ll end up sitting through a one-sided show-and-tell session.
3. Forget about vendor sales reps
You like all the vendor sales reps with whom you’ve been working with so far. They’ve been informative and have bent over backwards to get you the information you asked for. However, don’t be afraid to tell them that you need another month or two months to regroup. They’ll probably appreciate a definitive time to circle back rather than a vague “check back in a bit”.
4. Forget about price
There may be an arbitrary maximum amount that senior management is willing to spend on CRM. By focusing on this price ceiling, you can end up focusing the price question far too early in the buying process. A focus on price distracts from a focus on value. Begin by defining the value points you want from a CRM system and then circle back to price.
5. Forget about deadlines
The pressure of “we have to be live by April 1” can have the ironic effect of stalling a CRM buying process. A frequent answer to “when do you want to go live on your new CRM system?” is “last month”. In other words, initial deadlines are almost always missed. Yes, you don’t want an open ended go-live date — but the exact date should not be one of the first parameters to be defined.
Once your team is free of distractions, you can set the focus on defining your requirements, on setting priorities and on determining the value points that you want to achieve with a CRM implementation. After you and your team have clear direction, it’s once again time to think about features, demos, pricing and timing.