Friendzoned: Misunderstanding the CRM Sales Relationship

Friendzoned: Misunderstanding the CRM Sales RelationshipIt’s not uncommon for CRM buyers to feel a sense of surprise when they discover the true nature of their relationship with a CRM vendor.

After a long period of courtship, followed by a quick marriage (the sale), they’re often surprised to find that the CRM vendor is no longer a major part of the relationship.

This isn’t a fault with either the buyer or the vendor, simply a misunderstanding of the nature of the CRM sales process. Buyers often expect the vendor relationship developed during the sales process to remain the same after they make a purchase.

When that relationship changes after the sale, buyers can feel as though they’ve been jilted while still standing at the altar.

However, buyers should understand that this is no last-minute abandonment. The CRM vendor isn’t taking the money and running– this is simply the next step in the natural progression of the CRM sales process.

The Business Of Romance

The Dating Scene

When a buyer starts looking for a CRM vendor, there will be a lot of anxious suitors that come knocking. They’ll shower the potential buyer with attention, and proudly demonstrate why their system is the one to choose. They may offer free trials, demonstrations, and other gifts to woo the buyer. During this time, the buyer will enjoy a lot of attention from a lot of vendors.

The Courtship


This is the stage when the competition for the buyer’s affections is fiercest, and the vendors will make a tremendous effort to close the deal.

After the buyer has selected a few vendors to move forward with, the relationship becomes even more personal. They’ll be working elbow to elbow with the CRM vendor, learning the ins and outs of the system, and how it can work for them. This is the stage when the competition for the buyer’s affections is fiercest, and the vendors will make a tremendous effort to close the deal.

The Wedding Day

So, it’s time for the big day. The buyer has chosen a vendor, and it’s time to start buying licenses and rolling out the new software. There’s a lot of hand shaking and paper signing, and everybody in the room is all smiles. After weeks or months of testing and trials, it’s time for the buyer and vendor to finalize the arrangements– this will usually involve a credit card instead of vows.

The Honeymoon

CRM buyers might find themselves unpleasantly surprised when they discover that there is no honeymoon. Once the sale is finalized, the CRM vendor goes back into the dating scene and, unless there’s an issue, is no longer a big part of the relationship. After all of the attention of the dating and courtships phases, this can come as a shock to the buyer.

What Happened?

First, understand that nothing went wrong. This is how the CRM sales process is supposed to progress. The CRM vendor is selling a product, not a long-term relationship. They will support the product, fix the product when things go wrong, and improve the product as they can. However, using the product, and using it correctly, is up to the buyer.

Why It Works

After the wedding is over, the buyer will have a lot of options for making sure that the CRM system works the way they need it to. The CRM vendor can put the buyer in contact with certified implementation specialists who will walk them through every phase of the rollout. Vendors may offer paid support options, giving buyers priority access in the event of issues.

Understanding this basic aspect of the CRM sales relationship will help the buyer avoid that feeling of unpleasant surprise. Knowing from the beginning that the vendor is there to sell a product, and that the attention will drop off considerably after the sale, can help the buyer prepare for life after the wedding day.

The buyer should enter the CRM sales process knowing that they’re buying a product that will, ultimately, be their responsibility. They can start working with implementation specialists, their own IT staff, and the vendor’s support personnel early in the process, ensuring a smooth transfer after the deal is closed. Remember, the relationship isn’t over, it’s just moved on to the next stage– as it should.

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