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Driving Off the Lot with my New Shiny CRM

If you examine your needs rather than wants, you will quickly discover what is right for you. Take a moment to think about what you use CRM for. How many people does the system need to support? What business processes do you do most often? How many hours a day will you be in the system? Is it important that your next system is lower cost at the possible expense of features you may or may not use?

In too many cases people choose their CRM System for the cool UI, great press or because it is a trendy favorite. If you do, you might either exceed your budget or have to go shopping again soon. Let your needs, not your wants, drive your decision. I have written very similar words before, sorry if this is a repeat. I have stated clearly as have many of my peers, and mentors before me to make sure you have a good understanding of what your customers need to do, beyond what ‘they want’

OK, now read the following:

“If you examine your needs rather than wants, you will quickly discover what the right car is for you. Take a moment to think about what you use your car for. How many people do you need to transport? What type of driving do you do most often? How long is your commute? Is it important that your next vehicle get good gas mileage?

In too many cases people choose a car for its styling or because it is a trendy favorite. If you do, you might either exceed your budget or have to go car shopping again soon. Let your needs, not your wants, drive your decision. Here are a few other questions to keep in mind when you begin your car-buying process.”


The quote above is from Edmunds.com: “The 10 steps to Finding the Right Car for You“.

The number of similarities is almost funny. Even the text within each category is amazingly similar.

  • Step 3: Should you Lease or Buy (CRM Equivalent: On-Premise versus SaaS)
  • Step 5: Have you considered all the costs of Ownership
  • Step 6: Research options (Internet and Educated Consumers)
  • Step 7-10: Test Drive and the Buying Cycle

What Model Do You Want?

I could spend a whole lot of time continuing down this path (metaphor, analogy what ever you want to call it), but that is not really my goal. My goal is to simply point out that I believe the needs of drivers are different now and so are the needs of businesses, with respect to CRM. Does that mean we need to call it something new: Social CRM versus CRM? Or does it simply mean that CRM was a comfortable 4 door sedan, which still works for many folks and Social CRM is the fun cool Crossover, Hybrid, Sporty Convertible? It sure is a lot more fun to talk about the cool cars! However, we cannot lose sight of the fact that no matter which care we drive it needs to get you from point A to point B. I has to have 4 wheels, an engine and a steering wheel. It requires maintenance, fuel and cannot drive itself.

I do believe that Social components of CRM are very important, and will be increasingly important. I believe that Social components of all aspects of business are important as well. How many new names and definitions do we need to create? Living in Vermont in the summer it is very easy to forget that if I get sucked into that fancy sports car, rear wheel drive and speed rated tires, I will most certainly not be able to even make up my driveway come January. I guess I would not make a very good Car Salesman!

To be clear, I will continue to write about and get behind Social CRM initiatives. I believe Social CRM is an extension of CRM. Core CRM, the basic blocking and tackling is still required, and more critical than ever. I spend a lot of time thinking and working through exactly how these extensions are added, implemented and used.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • raybrown99 August 8, 2010, 12:23 AM

    Hi Mitch Two thoughts come to mind 1. All companies are different, as Ben Watson said on Clienteer.TV at http://www.clienteerhub.com “all businesses are different – Ford and GM are both in the car business but there approach to customers can be very different.” So in teres of CRM technology we need to select for our business, our skills and our state of maturity. 2. I’m not sure that we don’t need some new clean language, a quote from 1992 article Staple Yourself to an Order “It’s fashionable today to talk of being customer oriented” shows we have not moved far in 18 years. Whilst we still use only words like social, CRM (in all it’s forms), experience, even marketing we will be beset by people’s legacy understanding around these terms. You only need to dip into the customer related groups on Linkedin to see the ongoing (and repeated) discussion around language. A chinese proverb says “the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right name”.

    • Mitch Lieberman August 13, 2010, 10:25 AM

      Ray,

      Thanks for stopping by, I do appreciate the thoughts. The real question I keep coming back to is what is really in a name? To some, it certainly very important. What the big analyst firms call it, what the CEO understands etc.,… The flip side is do the middle level managers, directors and users care what it is called.

      Interesting thoughts,…I do need to think further as well.

      Mitch

  • johncheney August 13, 2010, 5:12 AM

    A really good point here – Too many businesses choose a CRM system maybe because of the user interface, brand name or because they’ve heard great things about it from others. If you don’t choose a CRM system based on your company’s needs, you will really struggle to get the best return on your investment.

    Before investing in CRM, companies must take time to establish their business needs. They need to go through their existing customer data but perhaps even more importantly, involve key staff in the process. At http://www.workbooks.com, we see this as crucial to the whole CRM purchasing and implementation process, as your staff have a wealth of information that can guide business needs and eventually be pulled into the CRM system. Getting the buy-in of key staff will also help widespread adoption of the chosen CRM system throughout your company.

    • Mitch Lieberman August 13, 2010, 10:29 AM

      John,

      Agree with all your thoughts. I appreciate you stopping by and sharing.

      Mitch

  • raybrown99 August 13, 2010, 8:29 PM

    Hi Mitch I think I got a bit more clarity this week (it’s only taken 30 years). I was reviewing the reports from the CRM Evolution conference. Some great material (I particularly like Brian Vellmure’s presentation). What I did realise however is that the folks at the conference were probably the “Innovators” (2.5%) and probably not even the “early adopters” (13.5%) far less the Early Majority (34%). For the topic to move on through the “Diffusion of Innovation” (Simon Sinek’s TED recent TED talk http://bit.ly/9qbPHe) I do think we need some cut through language agreement that “non-experts” can grasp on to. Maybe I am a bit isolated in Australia but it feels like there is still a huge amount of expert to expert discussion and language confusion (in the market) that prevents us getting to a real tipping point.