How to Decide if You Really WANT or NEED a CRM System

by Corie Kaftalovich

November 2, 2010

Though buying a product because you really want it provides a sense of satisfaction unlike buying things we need, purchasing a CRM system simply because you want one offers nothing more than a wasted investment. As CRM increasingly ties itself to the social and becomes a popular catch phrase, companies are quick to assume that they NEED a CRM system in place before really understanding why.

Let it be because their industry peers or competitors rave about their success with CRM or because they want a quick fix, some companies are unaware of how to really assess whether they need a CRM solution. As a CRM vendor, it would be in my best interest to convince anyone to invest in CRM, however, I propose that before pulling out your wallet, pin-point your pain points, create a plan of attack and then assess whether CRM is the answer.

 1. Pin-point Your Pain Points

In my blog post, The Difference between a CRM System and a CRM Strategy, I outlined how crucial it is for companies to create a strategy before beginning their Quest for the Ideal CRM. In order to begin distinguishing whether you truly need a CRM solution in place, I recommend for companies to create a corporate strategy; one that assesses where their company currently stands and where they’d like it to go.

Any strategy should begin with the company’s pain points in mind. By pain points, I mean the specific elements of their business that need improvement and therefore cause them ‘pain’. Pain points could range from their salespeople not making quota to their marketing efforts not driving enough online conversions. Regardless of what specific area of their business needs to be improved, being able to pin-point the pain points is the first step in uncovering what is the best and most optimal solution.

2.  Create Your ‘Plan of Attack’

After unveiling the areas of the business that proposes problems, the next step is to formulate how the company will overcome them and achieve the desired end goal. In other words, the company needs to begin strategizing. The more thorough and well-thought-out the strategy, the more accurate the solution the company will choose.

A company’s strategy should act as a blueprint, guiding the company from point A to point B, addressing each roadblock along the way. Once created, the company will have a better understanding of their requirements and needs, allowing them to identify if adopting a CRM solution plays a role in achieving their specific goals.

3. Assess Whether CRM is the Answer

The creation of a solid strategy must be followed by a thorough evaluation of potential solutions. If a key factor in a company’s strategy is to make their employees more customer-centric, implementing a CRM solution is not the answer, hiring the right employees is. If a company wishes to keep up with their competition by adopting a CRM system, that demonstrates nothing more than a mere want and not a defined need.  In order to recognize whether a company needs to put a CRM solution in place, they need to assess whether their defined needs can be matched and supported by a CRM vendor’s capabilities. Moreover, they need to assess their company as a whole and see whether their internal processes will work in harmony with a CRM system because otherwise their customer-focused efforts will fall sh ort.

Identifying the pain points is the first step in assessing a company’s need for CRM. From there, companies can begin creating their ‘plan of attack’ or strategy, which will highlight whether their next steps should involve a hunt for a CRM solution. Companies must ensure that their specific needs can be sustained by a CRM system’s capabilities and then the evaluation of vendors can begin. I hope that this post will highlight how important it is for companies to not be so quick to jump on the CRM bandwagon, otherwise they better prepare for a bumpy ride.  

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