Blog details

CRM Software Demos

CRM Software Demos

How to Evaluate Which Solution Is Right For You

 

If you’re interested in CRM software, you’re probably planning to schedule an online demo. If you want to get the most out of it and be sure to make the right decision, read on for some tips.

 

Gather the Right People

Do you have someone in your company who understands the internal sales and customer services processes from start to finish? If so, invite them to the CRM demo. If not, assemble a team of people who between them understand the process.

 

Also, if possible, include employees who will use the system. They will be able to spot the details that will help or hinder their performance.

 

Once you get serious, it’s time to invite one of the head honchos. You need her buy-in and a project champion. In fact, according to The Project Management Institute, the number one reason projects fail is lack of an actively engaged executive sponsor.

 

Get a Custom CRM Demo

You don’t want a one-size-fits-all online demo that highlights all the features, many of which you may never use. It saves the vendor time, but what does it do for you?

 

The demo should show you how the software will help your business solve problems and develop opportunities. So the vendor’s representative should ask you questions, before and during the demo, and tailor the presentation to your needs. He will show you how the solution can meet your goals. That’s the approach we use at Claritysoft and why more than 70% of customers who view a demo choose us for CRM.

 

There’s only one good thing about pre-scripted demos.

 

They help you to identify a so-so vendor. After all, if the supplier doesn’t treat you like royalty when they want to close a sale, what’s going to happen after you seal the deal?

 

Know What You Want in a Solution

There are a lot of CRM requirements to consider, including the following:

 

Features

It’s easy to be lead astray if you don’t know what you want. Make sure you have a checklist of required features and ask to see how each of them work. Ask to see a “day in the life” of your sales professionals. If the vendor understands your needs, they’ll be able to do this for you.

 

Usability

Features alone won’t get you where you want to go. And bells and whistles mean nothing if your people won’t use them.

 

And if your system isn’t easy to use, associates won’t use it. It’s that simple. Look for a solution that is user-friendly—users should intuitively know how to get things done.

 

On-the-go Access

Sales people generally want access to a solution wherever they are and whenever they need it. Do you need mobile CRM capabilities? How about offline access?

 

And, of course, you need consistency across platforms, so when sales people switch from their desktops to their phones, they never miss a beat.

 

Reports that Show Results

Remember that executive who championed your project? She wants results, otherwise her support will wane. You can show these results if your CRM solution has simple reporting capabilities—at-a-glance dashboards that clearly demonstrate successes or what you need to tweak to optimize your processes. Executives need to do everything from forecasting sales to evaluating employee productivity.

 

Make sure the solution makes it easy to provide the reports management wants. One caveat: It also needs to be easy for your associates to input the data that will drive the reports. If the data is skimpy or doesn’t exist, you won’t be able to generate meaningful reports.

 

Look for a Partner

You’re talking with a CRM vendor, but what you really want is a partner.

 

A partner objectively assesses whether their solution is a good fit for your company. They’ll also identify potential risks and pitfalls. They are authentic, providing all the information you need to make an informed decision.

 

A partner also understands that the sale is the beginning, not the end. So, they’ll discuss implementation, customization requirements, support, required ongoing administration and training. Yes, you want training, but too much of a good thing is a warning sign…the software may be difficult to use.

 

Get a Grip on Costs

CRM vendors tend to package their solutions to make buying (and selling) easier. If you know what you need, it’s easy to ask the vendor which package includes those features and to compare costs between providers.

 

But the package may not cover everything you need.

 

Ask about implementation, needs for customization, data storage, ongoing support and administration and any other “hidden” costs. These expenses can inflate the initial cost per user by two to five times. One of the biggest cost drivers, for example, is customization. So, find out how difficult it is to tailor the solution to your needs. If one of your team members can do it, it may save money.

 

Check Growth Capabilities

A CRM system should encourage growth, not crimp it. Find out if the software will enable your company to grow and change. That may mean the ability to add more advanced features or to customize the application as your business needs change. Find out how the vendor will support you through these modifications.

 

Avoid Red Flags

We’ve mentioned a couple of red flags already: the canned demo and the excessive training offering. There are more. Be on the alert for:

 

Vague, unsure answers—they can be a sign that you’re not getting the full picture.

Flashiness—pretty programs may not perform. Look for more down-to-earth presentations that address how the solution can solve your business’ problems.

Yes answers—they sound good but if there’s no elaboration, you need to dig deeper to get the full story. Don’t ignore answers that seem to gloss over the question. Probe further.

You should walk away from the demo with a reasonable understanding of whether the CRM solution will meet your requirements.  But if you end up being confused and unsure, it could be a warning sign that their system is too complex or is not a good fit. Don’t move forward until you and your team feel entirely comfortable.