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Caution: a new CRM can be like your first deep tissue massage.

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How many times have we decided to be proactive and adopt new technology, new software, new CRM tools without a lot of research as to what happens after we commit? Companies are brought down by constant adopting and faulty implementations of systems they didn’t research fully.  They spend more time learning than doing and continuing sales with their existing, albeit outdated, systems. This is how it is with your first deep tissue massage you get on your vacation to the Bahamas. You are so ready to do something new, spoil yourself to feel better for the rest of the trip, indulge. What you don’t realize is that unless you have slowly warmed up to this type of massage, your body will be doing cartwheels the next few days, as will your emotions. The toxins released by your first deep tissue massage are a lot like the bugs, shortcomings, “not quite right” fit of diving into a new CRM you haven't fully vetted and researched. The frustration you experience trying to l

earn, and expected gains in efficiency from this new elaborate system can squash all of the potential benefits. Suddenly, your old kinks don't seem so bad as you deal with the pain of these new golf ball size nodules after your massage. 

Why this is important to you:

Serial system adopters and implementers waste more time than growing in efficiency. These steps will take some of the pain out of it and help position you and your muy big researching brain as the hero who keeps the team from frustration and loss of sales through distraction.

Whether you are considering a new email marketing, CRM, note taking or collaborative system, you need to do enough front end research before buying and committing the whole package. Rather than just making it fit in with what you really need, ask, interview and research to see if you will be spending more time cramming your Sumo needs into that yoga pants-sports bra system. Not a pretty picture, is it?

The following checklist and items to consider is geared toward small businesses with 1 – 50 employees. It can work for all size companies, but you have IT, marketing and sales teams all having Kumbaya moments to make these selections, right? You don't need THIS list; or do you? Let’s take the approach that you are the one in charge of selecting the next tool for your company’s growth and efficiency. If nothing else, you can bring your methodical, newfound logic to the table in your large meeting with your large team and they will all sigh relief that SOMEONE asked and thought about these questions.

NEEDS ASSESSMENT:

  1. WHY do you think you need a new system? Are you losing sales? Is your sales force getting frustrated with disjointed communication between departments? Are deals getting stuck in the funnel never to surface out the other end? ASK all who are involved in using this new system the same questions.
  • What deal breaker features are missing from your existing system that are holding you back from rising above your competitors?
  • What wish list features would be helpful for you and your team to be more efficient? Don’t be afraid to list items that no one is doing yet.
  • What devices does your team use to access this type of tool – break it down by percentage to see the priority of function on the most widely used devices. If your team is 90% on mobile, a system that only has full features on desktop won’t be such a great option.

RESEARCH TIME:

  1. Who are the companies offering this solution? How long have they been around? What do others say about them?
  2. What is their support system like? If your team is most active on weekends, do they have live support to answer questions, or is it strictly M-F 8-5 EST?
  3. Do they outsource support – and does this matter to you? Some companies have difficulty dealing with communication styles of outsourced, overseas support and time zone differences.
  4. Are they open to customization? If so, what is their procedure for discussing and quoting additional functionality for your company? Who owns those changes? When they update, will your custom changes be tested and updated as needed or do you need to pay again as they continue to evolve their product?
  5. Do they have a support team for implementation? Do they come onsite or is it done remotely? Are you expected to gather your team for these sessions, or can they be recorded for you privately to share with your team?
  6. What is their online documentation and training like? Is it easy to access on ANY device, or at least the devices your team is most likely to use most often?

THE COSTS:

  1. Getting started
  2. Monthly
  3. Training and support
  4. Additional users as you grow
  5. Planning for browser spontaneity and major shakeups as happened with Mobilegeddon. Is that covered with their own updates? What about your customizations?

IMPLEMENTATION WITH YOUR TEAM:

  1. What is their support response time?
  2. What is the timing like? Is there a quiet period to get your team trained in this system that won't interfere with your high sales season?
    You need to identify it and block the time. All must be on board and committed to learn. If only half of you commit to learning it and the others barely dip a toe in, it’s a waste of time and money, and implementation will fail.
  3. How long will their support continue as you wade through this and have questions and make discoveries?
  4. Evaluate at 30, 60 and 90 days.
    1. Is this working?
    2. Are you all using it?
    3. Are there holes you need to identify, fix or learn how to use better?
    4. Is it increasing efficiency and, ultimately, sales? If there are negatives to this implementation, can you meet with the software company to talk about ways to solve the issues and will they listen?

This list is a place to start. It’s not as simple as going through a demo, liking the features and assuming it will serve your needs, then deciding, ‘sure we can try it and see if it works…” The time you spend researching can save you a boatload of money, time, frustration and potentially your company. Remember that first deep tissue massage experience. Did anyone warn you at the resort what happens the next day after your spa treatment, and the day after that? Did they tell you that you'll need to drink a lot of water to flush your system and you may hurt A LOT and be an emotional wreck?

I remember renting a two-seater Jetski on my honeymoon in Hawaii (1989). I put on my Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil, and climbed on the back with a sketchy driver - my then-husband. I slid around so much, fell off at high speed and more debacles, that the next day I couldn’t move. We decided a deep tissue massage would fix it all quickly so I could get back to exploring the islands. Uh, no. It felt good in the moment and any pain it produced I justified saying in my head that this is what I need to feel better, “it’s a good hurt.” Uh, NO. Walking was difficult, as was reaching, bending and all other activity that was not flat on my back. Oh, that hurt too. It was similar to the after effects of a car wreck where your car is totaled. ‘

So before you dive into that massage, or jump on the JetSki for the first time, remember to think it through. Ask how it will affect you the next day. Don’t be so keen on the new experience that the thought never crosses your mind. Ask the questions, take your time to research. It’s OK to take a pass on a quick excursion for the long-term enjoyment of the rest of the trip.

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Dragontree-logoIf you are traveling between Portland and Denver and really want a massage, try the Dragontree Holistic Day Spa. They know to warn you and give you all of the information to make your experience with them peaceful and memorable. 

 

 This blog is supported by the generous contributions of Clickpoint Software and VanillaSoft.