CRM Software ProcurementI have been preaching for years that only about 10% of CRM is about technology; the rest is culture (60%) and process (30%).  This means that the traditional method of software procurement (typically an RFQ process) is inconsequential in determining CRM success.  There are three simple reasons for this: 

1) The RFQ process usually drives CRM to look like what you already have.

During the RFQ process, someone internally at a company makes a list of what they do and then asks CRM software vendors if they can do that.  The result is CRM software purchased on a set of features and functions, rather than a CRM strategy designed to address key business initiatives.

2) The RFQ process assumes all CRM systems are created equal and that you are comparing apples to apples

Let me be frank, there are several CRM systems that will work for you.  What is important is whether the CRM facilitator understands your business and can clearly address your CRM needs beyond simply installing software.  This usually is not revealed in the RFQ process.

3) The RFQ process assumes that you have someone familiar enough with CRM to appropriately judge which CRM system will be best for your company

It is interesting to watch a committee sort through a pile of RFQ responses and brave an onslaught of CRM demos; especially when no-one on the committee has any expertise in the field of CRM.  All they are able to do is check off a series of “looking fors” in a feature/function list.  After reviewing RFQ responses and viewing demos it usually comes down to a gut feeling.

If not RFQ, what then?

No RFQInstead, CRM strategy implementation becomes a process of developing a relationship with a trusted advisor.

1) A CRM expert that can assure you that your future does not mimic your present

CRM experts see beyond your current situation based on their interaction with other companies.  They know what is possible and can guide you into directions you hadn’t even thought about.

2) A CRM specialist that can guide you to a system that will most appropriately fit your user and technology needs.

This is especially true when selecting a CRM facilitator that is not tied to one particular CRM software package.  Once they understand your CRM direction, and the connectivity desired by all users, they can recommend a package that best matches your needs.

3) A CRM facilitator will ensure earlier CRM success

There are those that sell CRM software and those that facilitate CRM implementations.  The first leave the lions share of user adoption and process integration to you.  While this may seem to be more budget-friendly, it usually ends up in years of CRM underperformance, and user frustrations.  Let’s face it, there is probably no-one in your organization that has facilitated a CRM strategy.

The second, a collaborative partner, will bring together all aspects of culture, process and technology and ensure every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed.  A CRM facilitator will help to assure CRM is an investment, not an expense.

Luke Russell 

Resolv, Inc.

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