Are you considering a new CRM? Before deciding to purchase a new system, a better and more budget-friendly option may be to update and improve your current system and better utilize what you have.
You may be familiar with “Love It or List It,” a popular HGTV show where a couple shows their current house to designer Hilary Farr and real estate agent David Visentin. Hilary redesigns parts of the home based on the desires and budget of the homeowners and oversees the renovations and construction. Meanwhile, David looks for real estate listings that meet the homeowners’ needs and budget and then tries to convince them to list their current house and buy a new one. At the end of the episode, the homeowners must decide to either love their current house or leave it and move to a new one.
At CLIENTSFirst Consulting, we often work with firms that are in a similar quandary about their CRM system. They are at a decision point about whether to buy a new system, with all the expense and effort it may require, or simply “redesign” their current system by perhaps updating the software, adding new modules, building integrations or creating reports, and then trying to better utilize what they have.
Love Your CRM or Leave It? That Is the Question
Changing CRM systems may sometimes seem like an obvious or easy fix. Just as some homeowners on the TV show think their best option is to move, firms sometimes think they need to start fresh with a new CRM. That shiny new software always looks great during the sales demo – especially when compared to the tired old system they may have had for years.
But do you owe it to the firm to at least investigate whether keeping the current system makes sense? What if you could “remodel” your existing CRM and get more benefits? Keeping the system may be a more budget-friendly option or a quicker fix. We have had some clients who, after reviewing their current system and evaluating the costs and benefits of a new one, end up deciding to try to love their current system (or at least try to like it) more.
The “Love It or Leave It” Process
So, what is the best way to make the love/leave decision? We suggest starting with an assessment of your current CRM. Having helped hundreds of top firms with CRM Success Assessments, here are our recommendations on some best practices for the process:
- First, set up meetings with key stakeholders from areas across the organization and talk with them about their needs and requirements. Ask them what they like about the current system and what they think a new or “remodeled” system might help them do that they cannot do currently. More important to CRM success than features and functions is how CRM may be able to provide them with more value, so it is always beneficial to use these meetings to share information about the benefits CRM can provide.
- The results of your CRM assessment can be used to build out a set of plans and requirements for your new or remodeled system. You can then use the requirements document as a blueprint or roadmap for demonstrations of various systems or options from the CRM providers to help remove emotion and subjectivity from the decision to keep your current system or choose a new one.
Here are a few additional considerations during the assessment:
- Does your old system have what you need? Many firms today are moving to the cloud and if their current system does not offer that option, they may need to leave it. Other requirements may be more nuanced.
- People and process issues. Sometimes end users think that the existing system can’t perform to meet their requirements when, in actuality, it’s not the system that is the issue. Rather, it’s that they don’t fully understand the system’s features or functions or have not been properly trained on how to use them.
- Is the CRM “brand-damaged”? In some firms, we find that just the mention of the existing CRM system name is enough to send users “packing.” This type of brand damage is often cultural, and, as we know, changing the system is often a lot easier than trying to change firm culture.
- Firm technology platform. Just as some homeowners choose not to leave their house if it requires moving to a new school district or increases the length of their commute, some firms have made a decision to stay put and invest in a single CRM vendor’s platform and/or suite of products for a variety of reasons, such as preferred pricing, the company’s vision, ease of integration or even having, as one client phrased it, “one throat to choke.”
Finally, when trying to decide whether to love or leave your CRM, sometimes it’s helpful to have an independent “agent” in your corner. The team at CLIENTSFirst Consulting has helped literally hundreds of top firms broker deals to remodel or replace their CRM systems.