Beginning the process of choosing a new CRM system involves much more than that “Eureka” moment when you realize you can no longer move forward with your legacy system. You must also build a sound financial case that shows why a new CRM is a necessity, not a luxury. Getting everyone on board and rowing in the same direction is the the key ingredient to success.
At SugarCon this year, I was fortunate enough to hear how Landor, global brand consulting and design firm, performed an exhaustive analysis of its CRM needs before choosing Sugar. Here’s some best practices from their story:
Understand the needs of your CRM users
Before selecting a new CRM, you need to answer the question: “Why do we need a new CRM?” Most columns will tell you involve all senior stakeholders in the decision making process. However, to really examine the root cause of the problem, you need to involve employees at all levels, locations and departments who will be affected by the project. When Landor decided to replace its custom-built legacy CRM, they conducted one hour interviews with more than 70 employees in three different departments. They asked what employees liked and didn’t like about their current CRM, what customizations they had made, and asked them to name the features and capabilities they wanted in a new CRM.
Detailed analysis likes this will give you a comprehensive view of how your organization works. From there ,you can define an ideal state of how the new CRM system should work to meet your business goals. That means you can create a checklist of what your perfect CRM would feature and match that list against what the leading CRM vendors offer.
Understand the requirements of your organization
After speaking to employees and organizing all the feedback (Landor created a detailed spreadsheet), you will have a very good idea about what your organization wants in its new CRM. Keep in mind, if you ask for feedback on an initiative like this, you will get a lot of it. It’s a good idea to prioritize and rank all the wants of your organization. Some features are must-haves, but others might delay implementation or be too expensive. Once you have a good idea about what you want, share that with potential CRM vendors. Ask them what is feasible, what is available out of the box, and what they simply can’t do. During this phase, you’ll also get a good idea how trustworthy each vendor is.
Understand the financial benefits of a new CRM
When you present your case for a new CRM to your executive team, you’re likely competing with other information technology projects for funding and attention. When your company’s decision-makers gather to assign spending priorities for the coming year, they’ll assess costs, benefits and risks of each project against the others.
Building your business (financial) case is critical. This means understanding the benefits of a new CRM in monetary terms. Common benefits of a modern CRM are:
- faster sales cycles
- better reporting
- increased customer loyalty
However, be mindful of how you build an ROI case around those benefits. In Landor’s case, they separated the benefits into two categories: tangible and intangible.
The tangible benefits included the time savings that allowed its employees to bill more hours, and the cost savings of having to spend less time fixing and troubleshooting their old CRM. Those were fairly straightforward in assigning a dollar amount (time savings = monetary value). The intangibles – benefits like better collaboration, centralized processes and data-driven decisions are more difficult to align to exact dollar amounts. An educated estimate is key here. In Landor’s case, they estimated a new CRM would make their reps 2-5% more productive.
After calculating the increased revenue and the cost savings, you can put that into a summary that includes the short and long term financial benefits to the organization. Even if you’re conservative, you’ll likely find that a new, modern CRM has the potential to provide a huge boost to your organization. With an idea of how much ROI you expect to get from your new CRM, you can match that figure up with the quotes you get from CRM vendors.
If done correctly, the only question you’ll get from your executive team is, “How soon can we start?”
To learn more about how Landor built a financial case for a global CRM rollout, please watch their presentation at SugarCon.