Step 1: Define your CRM Requirements
STEP ONE in any CRM Evaluation is to gather a checklist of CRM Requirements
If you aren’t careful, the process of gathering requirements becomes tactical and not strategic. Obviously every feature costs money. So it pays off to initially determine what you are trying to accomplish as a business.
CRM is not just Sales and Marketing
Often CRM is seen as a sales or marketing tool. At it’s heart though, CRM is a strategy and philosophy: We want our entire company to be customer-centric. Not just our sales force. We want our accounting and manufacturing to also be customer-centric.
Process for Developing CRM Requirements
Typically, it is recommended to get your staff together and develop a requirements list. Normally this takes place by department.
In the vast majority of cases, this will result in a wish list that is extremely long. Often the wish list is too long and must be pared down. Typically a ballpark estimate is requested, followed by in-depth needs analysis meetings. Often, department members view this as their golden opportunity to get all of the features they’ve ever desired. But this shoots the price upward – so the list must eventually be pared down. A good partner will tell you which of the desired features are (a) useful for immediate implementation (b) should be postponed for a future phase (c) probably won’t be needed at all for various reasons.
Bringing in CRM Professionals
Often the internal staff does not know how to really assess their own needs. It can prove very valuable to pull in a partner to figure out your needs. CRM Experts can point you in the right direction and keep you on track, so that your CRM implementation doesn’t take on a life of its own.
I’ve read some articles that claim all needs and requirements should be assessed before searching for a partner. We don’t agree to this at all. Although it is good to perform due diligence ahead of time, a sense of humility can be very helpful regarding your own CRM knowledge and experience limitations.
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