CRM Tendering Tips Part 3: Customer - Not Company First
I’ve yet to meet an organisation interested in a CRM who doesn’t have customers - they may be called citizens, subscribers, consumers or businesses; they can be internal or external. Generally, an organisation needs to attract these customers to the products or services (marketing / communications) the organisation offers.
Once attracted, a customer needs to be guided sometimes via a short transactional sales cycle (for example a sales / service portal) or a longer consultative sales process. When engaged with a customer the organisation will be focused on ensuring that any product or service is delivered and processed in an efficient cost-effective way.
In addition, most organisations want to ensure that their customers are happy and that the businesses value chain is clearly visible to staff and management in order to understand any changes required.
When writing the requirement tenders for CRM, it is important to use industry rather than company standards, align to ISO standards where applicable and not to disproportionally focus on the uniqueness of the organisation. If you do so you risk ending up with a solution where the tail wags the dog.
Having a committed and passionate stakeholder involved in a CRM project is one of the key ingredients to success. A passionate stakeholder, you will have met them I’m sure, has the company values etched into their DNA. They can without hesitation explain the company’s unique selling points and describe the special niche the company has built its success on. This passion for the company and its values can distort the writing of the requirements document by focusing on how special the organisation is instead of focusing on customer requirements.
Without pouring cold water on their passion you would rather they looked at the organisation through the lenses of industry norms, operational standards and agreed best practice.
Here are some tips to help:
- Think broadly about processes – try to step above the current procedure i.e. are we marketing or communicating with a customer?
- Then start by describing the goal of the overall process, then the channels, people and systems we use to achieve this. You will probably find some natural duplication and rationalisation that could be achieved.
- Think generally about people – again try to step above the current jobs people do to the broader roles in the organisation. Is your sales manager just a sales person with a rolled up target or do they do more than monitor the opportunities of the sales team.
- Understand existing systems – this is always a hard one as of the three areas the existing systems are likely to be the most inflexible.
- After a while people put up with “system-antics” and follow processes because that is the way the system forces them – they don’t question why after a while. This is a great time to review the value points of the system and ensure CRM doesn’t contribute to wastage.
By ensuring you write your CRM tender from the viewpoint of your industry norms and not overly driven by how special your organisation is you will get tender responses which ensure the core foundation of your CRM is built and aligned correctly. Your USP’s can then be layered on top, they are important but so is the customer and ultimately that’s what CRM is about. Best of luck!
If you missed Part 1 or Part 2 of Phil's CRM Tendering Tips they are available below: