Choosing the best CRM software – seventeen classic CRM technology selection mistakes – part three


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Photograph courtesy of Warloofer

Following on from my last post the next set of classic CRM technology selection mistakes:

Assuming that big is better – there’s a tendency when assessing implementation partners to assume bigger is generally better. In reality it’s considerably less clear cut. In principle bigger organisations should have greater resources and durability, though I recall painfully one project where we saw the seemingly blue-chip, market-leading implementer we had contracted, bought out and dismembered such that virtually the entire project team was made redundant during the course of the project. A lot of buyers have made the mistake of assuming size will guarantee quality and have come badly unstuck as a result. Smaller implementers are often able to work more flexibly, cost effectively, and provide higher levels of performance and service. The key is to take size as just one factor in the decision making process and to ensure other perhaps more impactful considerations are fully taken into account.

Forgetting the services – it’s easy in a CRM market where there’s such an abundance of software options to forget about the importance of supporting implementation services. This issue has become more prominent in recent years particularly with the rise of software as a service (saas) options sold outside the traditional CRM reseller channels. The problem that many software purchasers discover is that implementing CRM technology, regardless of whether it’s saas or on-premise, is considerably more complex than first thought. A lack of appreciation of the amount and range of services required has often made it difficult for organisations to harvest the potential of the technology. It’s key therefore to make sure that the areas such as system configuration, customisation, integration, data migration, training, administration, and project management are fully catered for.

Rushing – as I noted in a post called truncating the fuzzy front end ‘Most spend the vast majority of their life meandering through the pre-commitment phases, but are suddenly plunged into a sprint for the line when the project gets sanctioned’. In response to a project being green-lighted there’s often a temptation to try and speed up the selection process based on the false premise (that I mentioned in the first post in this series) that the quality of implementation partners is uniformly high. As I pointed out, in my experience the quality of implementation partners is highly variable, and left to chance there’s a high probability of selecting an inappropriate technology or vendor – an error from which many projects simply don’t recover. Defining an effective acquisition approach, coupled with sufficient time and resources for it to be expedited, is critical.

Don’t get too committed too soon – just as it would seem a wise policy not to tattoo the name of a prospective partner based on the result of a first date, it’s also wise to exercise caution in the size and timings of commitments to an implementation partner. A lot of organizations sign up for the entirety of a project up front and in so doing lose potentially vital leverage over the supplier – leverage that can be vital in keeping a project on track and on budget. A more effective strategy is to make commitments one step at a time. For example, undertake the design phase but make no further investment until prices are fixed; from a software perspective you generally only need a small sub-set of licenses during the implementation phase rather than purchase them all at the beginning of the project; support and maintenance contracts don’t need to start until you have a live system. Managing the level of engagement in this way keeps the supplier focused and gives you much greater control of the project.

To be concluded…..

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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