Are You Stating Your Organization’s CRM Requirements in Sufficient Detail?

Are You Stating Your Organization's CRM Requirements in Sufficient Detail?In order to receive a realistic estimate for CRM services and avoid cost surprises, it’s important to state your organization’s business requirements to would-be service providers in as much detail as possible.

Some RFQs (requests for quotations) for CRM implementation services that we’ve seen are very high level and contain more of a list of CRM functionality than specific requirements as they relate to solving user pains and improving business processes.

The reason that these requirements can be high level is that the person or people who assemble the requirements have many responsibilities other than CRM – and they are doing their best to catalog what they think their organization needs in a CRM system to support the business needs.

A high level list of CRM requirements can look something like this:

  • The ability to add custom fields
  • Workflow
  • Escalations
  • Reporting and dashboards
  • ERP integration
  • Mobile access
  • Security

However, if a CRM service provider was to provide a quote based solely on this level of information, they are likely have to submit one or more change orders after delving more into the detail of business needs.

Even without knowing the architectural details of how your company’s requirements would be delivered within a CRM system, you can still state your company’s requirements in a way that’s based on your knowledge of the business and not on a technical knowledge of CRM.

Examples of Detailed CRM Requirements

Even a narrative presentation of your organization’s requirements will give a CRM services company a much better idea of the level of effort that will be required to set up your company’s CRM system. Here are several examples of more detailed versions of the above requirements, stated in non-technical terms:

Custom Fields

Our inside salespeople are responsible for qualifying website leads. For each lead, the assigned inside salesperson needs to capture the following information during an initial conversation with the lead:

  • Can they afford a minimum of $5k per month spend for our services?
  • How many in-house servers are they managing?
  • Are they currently using a third party provider?
  • If they are using a third party provider, what’s the date of the contract expiration?

Workflow Rules

When a lead requests a 30-day trial, an inside salesperson has to first request that the trial be set up by our lead sales engineer. Once the trial has been set up, we want the salesperson to be able to indicate in the CRM system that the trial has started. In addition, the following should occur:

  • The start date of the trial should be automatically logged
  • Five days before the end of the trial, an email should go to go to the salesperson who is working with the lead, informing them of the pending trial expiration
  • On the 30th day, the salesperson working the lead and the lead sales engineer should get a second email, informing them that the trial period has expired


If a high-priority Support Case remains in an open status for more than 24 hours, the case should be reassigned to our support manager and the manager and the VP of Customer Service should both receive an email indicating that the Case has been reassigned to the manager.

Reporting and Dashboards

We need a report and a corresponding bar chart that shows the number of converted leads compared to the total number of new leads.

  • The report should show information for the current quarter and for the previous quarter
  • The information should be grouped by month, such that there’s a separate bar in the chart for each month

We also need a detail report that shows all opportunities with a close date within the current month.

  • The report should be filtered for only opportunities for which an approved quote has been sent
  • The report should be grouped by salesperson and should display the projected revenue for each opportunity

ERP Integration

When viewing a customer record in CRM, we need our field salespeople to be able to view the following ERP data. This information should be updated nightly.

  • The customer’s sales orders for the previous 12 months
  • The line item detail for each sales order, including the price for each line item
  • The customer’s available credit amount
  • The customer’s current, outstanding balance

Mobile Access

Our sales team uses a combination of iPhones and Androids. Our salespeople need to be able to easily dictate the results of each meeting from their mobile phone. The salespeople should also be able to see customer QTD and YTD revenue on their phones.


Our regional sales managers should only have access to their own accounts, but they should be able to share certain accounts with our national accounts team. All inside salespeople should have access to all Leads.

”But We Don’t Know Where to Start”

For some of those who have not been through a CRM implementation before, attempting to define detailed CRM requirements such as these is akin to a writer staring at blank piece of paper.

If internal conversations include phrases such as “we don’t know what we don’t know” or “we need to find out the CRM best practices for a company like ours”, it can often make sense to engage an experienced third party in the requirements definition phase of your company’s CRM initiative.

A third party can elicit needed information from stakeholders and end users. They can make suggestions about how to improve business processes and enforce those processes in a new system. In many cases, engagement of a third party in order to fully define CRM requirments should occur before commitment to a specific CRM vendor.

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