5 Red Flags When Buying a CRM

It was true 15 years ago and it’s still true. 50% of CRM implementations fail to meet management’s goals.

 

Don’t get discouraged! The reasons for this high failure rate are primarily in your control. The following five red flags can serve as warning signs you’re
heading for the ditch.

 

Hopefully what follows helps you prepare to select and implement a CRM successfully!5 Red Flags When Buying a CRM

 

  1. 1) When the vendor asks you for your requirements and you’re not sure what to say.

 

Imagine talking to a realtor when moving into a new city and when they ask how many bedrooms you need or what part of town you want to be in, you just
say “I’m not sure, let’s just take a look at some things.” You’re going to waste a lot of time looking at things you’d never buy. But, more importantly,
you’ll be easily excited by things that aren’t crucial to your decision but, grab your attention because they’re cool, like a really nice neighborhood
clubhouse or pool. It is nice to have but, how often will you really use it? Is it more important than the location of the home or the proximity of
the laundry room to the baby’s room?

 

With technology decisions, this is even worse. We all get “shiny new thing syndrome”. We
see cool features and we invent ways we could use them. Sure, sometimes they could be very valuable but, most often they sound a lot neater than they
turn out to be in practice.

 

Many companies make the list of cool features the primary means of deciding on a solution. This is a big mistake!

 

You have a business. It’s running. You don’t just throw pretty technology into the middle of it and expect the technology to produce results without disrupting
what’s already working.

 

The first step in any CRM search is to decide exactly why you need one! What processes need improvement? What are you not doing now that you’re sure will
drive results? What results do you need to see to know it is working? How, exactly?

 

Write all of this down. Then give it to vendors as step 1. They can tell you if they meet your requirements right up front and save you a LOT of time.
And of course, you’ll be able to make your decision based on what’s most important to your business. Not the shiny things.

 

Do this before the first demo, it will save you time later!

 

2) When you ask the vendor about a lot of specific features and if the system can do lots of things specific to your world and they never say “no, it won’t do that”.

 

Sure, this CRM selection process is a distraction from your actual responsibilities so, when you hear what you want to hear, you tend to believe it. But,
it’s very easy for salespeople to say yes to most of your questions. With CRM technology, the answer is often really more like, “Yes, under certain
conditions.” But, the salesperson doesn’t want to complicate the presentation with lots of confusing details.

 

What goes left unsaid is often things like “Yes, you can do that but, only if it’s done in this very particular way that isn’t anything like the way you
do things.” or “Yes, if you sign up to our ultra-expensive premium edition”. Believe me, I’ve sat in on presentations by other vendors and what should
be a simple question and answer volley gets obfuscated like this: Customer Question: “Do you have same day email support response?” Vendor response:
“Yes.” What they don’t say until you’ve made your decision and the proposal is on the CEO’s desk is “You only get same day email response if you sign
up for our premium support package which is a couple hundred dollars additional per person.”

 

The point here is that you need to have a sense of when its getting too good to be true. In fact, I recommend that you prepare a couple of questions in
advance to test for this. If you’re getting “Yes” to everything you ask about, then ask “We have a department that uses MadeUpSoftwareCompanyName.com.
Will you system integrate with that?”

 

If you get a yes, then you know what to do 🙂

 

3) When you bring it up in a staff/mgmt meeting and members of the sales and marketing or executive team say “what’s that about?” or “oh, we’re getting one of those?”

 

Obviously, this indicates that you haven’t been thorough enough in informing your team about the need for this solution and how you expectthis to benefit
the business and each and every user.

 

This is crucial and it gets overlooked or minimal focus more often than not. Customers are the core of your business. So, any system that will be involved
in many of the interactions they have with your business have to be viewed as a strategic change. If its strategic, you should be able to articulate
to the entire staff how it will improve the customer experience,make the team more efficient and enable growth in revenue.

 

This communication of the point of this exercise to the staff sets the foundation for success. They’re going to have to change their daily habits to make
it work. That means they have to be on board. If they use the CRM as intended 80% of the time, you may think you’re doing pretty good. Wrong!

 

If the CRM is going to be useful as an information system, it has to have the right information all the time. Otherwise, your management reports are only
80% right. And your team stops using it in crucial situations because they can’t be sure they’re seeing the entire picture. And that’s the beginning
of the end. Watch this video for some ideas on how to get the crm project back on track.

 

4) When sales reps hear about it and say things like “oh shit!” or “What a waste of time”.

 

This is another indicator that you’ve overlooked getting the team on board. As above, you’ve got to make sure they know why its important to the business
and you’ve got to make sure they’re on board for making it work, even if it takes some adjustment of their daily routine.

 

Overtly antagonistic statements like “waste of time” or “pain in the ass”, etc. are signs that not only are you going to have a struggle to get the team
on board but, you probably have some team members that will go out of their way to undermine the effort.

 

Cancel all demos. Return to step 1. Do not pass go.

 

5) When team members ask how they’ll be expected to use it and the answer is “we’re not sure yet” or “we’ll see”.

 

Just as knowing the technical requirements is crucial in choosing the right solution, knowing how each user will be expect to use the system in their job
is paramount.

 

Far too often, the roll out to the sales team goes something like this: “Look guys, marketing needs this to work. We don’t want this to be a distraction
for you so, just try it out and let’s see what happens.” Or “Just trying put your new leads in the system” and we’ll see how that works out”.

 

You’ve just said to the team that they’re not required to use the CRM. Guess what’s gonna happen! You’ll end up with some users that love it, hopefully.
And some that just never use it. That means you can’t run meaningful reports, customer service can’t rely on it, marketing can’t use it for executing
campaigns and so on.

 

The worst part of this random use of the system is that most of the time, its the top producers that don’t use the system. Sometimes that’s because they’re
the older members of the team and they’re just not “early adopter types” or maybe they’re just more independent that others on the team. Actually,
very often its because they already have their own system. That’s how they got to be top producers. They’re organized and they work their system.

 

The top producer’s system may not be high tech but, it works for them. Believe it or not, that’s where your requirements for the entire system should start.
Document what your best reps are doing to stay organized and be effective.You have just documented your best process for sales!   Here’s a video that will give you some idea on how to identify your sales process.

 

Your CRM selection should help them do the same thing faster. Oh and by the way, when you do this, when you train the team to use the CRM, you’ll be training
the entire team to follow the system of your best reps! This will also ensure that you have your best reps involved in the process and on-board early
in this journey. Their influence in the organization is the magic ingredient that can turn CRM into exploding sales and profits.
Now you know where to start… Not with a demo but with the results in mind, with the process defined and with the expectations shared. Now you
will be successful in choosing and adopting your CRM.

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