Do you find yourself researching purchases for your home with an eagle eye? Do you spend time making comparisons between brands and companies, and searching out the best price and quality you can buy? When it’s your money on the line, it’s easier to swallow spending time researching major personal investments before writing the check.
Sometimes, it’s harder to make that time for business purchasing decisions. In your business, sometimes your needs creep up on you. All of a sudden you realize that you need home builder software to manage your leads, or your marketing or selling process. Maybe you see more leads going un-managed, or maybe the schedule has just fallen out from under you, and you need a CRM solution up and running yesterday. More common in today’s world, there’s a budget crunch and your first choice is to go with the cheapest vendor, whether their product suits your needs or not.
Use the measure twice; cut once method of researching your CRM vendor. Ultimately, it is important to take the time to fully research and perform due diligence or you may end up with a CRM that is not fully satisfying your needs. Here are a few tips on what to keep an eye on as you make your decisions.
- Determine your needs and requirements. Before reaching out to any vendors, take a look at what is motivating your drive to purchase the home builder software in question. Always match the technology to your business requirements – not the other way around. Create a list or an outline of what your needs are for your CRM system. Prioritize your list of needs and wants: Use a few questions to help you determine your needs, such as:
a) What are the biggest sales and marketing challenges you are facing right now?
b) What are the biggest opportunities you are passing by?
c) What kind of functionality do you need to help simplify your business?
This one- to two-page document will help guide your selection process and keep you from being seduced by the wide variety of CRM features and capabilities.
- Generate buy-in from stakeholders. When deciding to deploy a CRM there needs to be awareness and commitment from key individuals in your company. From upper management out to the front lines sales agents, there needs to be commitment to use technology to support your sales and marketing initiatives
- Combating push-back. Inevitably, there will be resistance from those who are less technologically savvy, or those who see the current system as ”working” and don’t understand the reasons for change. Respond to those arguments intelligently when possible, and ignore them when not possible. Keep the path clear and stay confident in your purpose.
- Don’t be afraid of stupid questions. During the process of making sure the CRM is right for you, you may need to ask seemingly “dumb” questions in order to confirm that the system has the important features you need. It is vital to get every detail regarding the money you’ll be spending. If you need to, recruit a tech-savvy advocate to help in the vetting process. A liaison can question vendors and understand the small details of their presentation and solutions that may make a difference between one software solution and another.
- The learning curve. View every vendor presentation as a learning experience. While a vendor may come in with a budget-busting quote, they still may have insights on their products that can help guide your decision-making process.
- “Software as a Service” via the internet or “on premise” software. A popular trend recently in technology is the rise of “Software as a Service,” or SaaS. Through this delivery method for software, the software functionality is provided through a high-speed Internet connection. All maintenance, enhancements, upgrades, and customer support is managed by the vendor for a recurring monthly service fee. There is no hardware, networking, storage, or database technology investment required. The simplicity, the lower financial and technical risk, plus the inherent accountability of SaaS vendors is compelling. Your needs and specifications will dictate whether in-house program installation or employing the use of a SaaS would be more useful and cost effective.
- Insist on the best customer service. Your core business is building and selling homes. You are not in the technology business. As such, any CRM vendor should be well educated to bridge that gap, and have a high level of expertise about your business. By viewing your CRM strategy as critical to your business, your relationship with your CRM provider becomes a long term partnership. Ask for customer references and learn how others felt about the implementation approach and support responsiveness of the vendors you are considering. If they can’t, or won’t, provide these then continue the search – you deserve the best value, service, and functionality for your sales and marketing software investment.