Business Innovation Playbook Podcast-Episode 03
In this podcast, we discuss why CRM is often considered a swear word, along with other three-letter acronyms (TLA) like ERP and xRM. More importantly, we discuss why you should never fill your needs assuming that an acronym or product description will get the job done. The following blog serves as a general outline with highlights of the podcast. Additionally, you will find links to tools that will help you get started on your journey of digital and business transformation!
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Is your CRM better than their CRM? Is your ERP more expensive than their ERP? It’s all relative.
In a world of countless products and endless Software as a Service subscriptions (SaaS), buying something off the shelf is generally a recipe for sunk costs and endless frustrations. Furthermore, comparing any products, by brand, acronym, or brief description is sure to end poorly.
As an example, a simple search for ‘CRM Solutions’ results in 726 solutions. These solutions range from leaders like Microsoft and Salesforce and branch out from there. But even the online feature comparisons do not do justice nor accurately reflect the robustness or limitations with any of these solutions. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details and the details are where solutions will win or lose.
So how do you go about determining what your software needs might be and what software solution(s) are right for your short-term and long-term business objectives?
Define the North Star
In a world where data is king, you need to begin a couple of levels up from your immediate need. Convene a group of key stakeholders within the business to ensure everyone is aligned on how technology should support your long-term business goals. This will help establish a strategic baseline that you can point back to throughout the process.
Define Requirements, include additional departments, and your frontline
Some business challenges, opportunities, or pain points triggered the initial thought of ‘I need a solution or thing’. The next step is to understand what the true challenges and ultimately requirements will define success or failure.
Define what success looks like. For example, if you need a better way to track sales from lead to cash, define the details of what this means. Is your sales team mostly mobile? Do you have a marketing team and inside sales team complimenting your outside sales team? Are you B2B or B2C? Do you have a separate team building your quotes and configuring the pricing and proposals? Once a sale is made, do you hand it off to a project pr service team? If so, how well does the information flow to ensure you deliver on your commitments?
With the example above, you can see where we are going with the ‘lead to cash’ process description. Understanding the inputs and outputs is critical to understanding requirements and ultimately choosing a CRM, ERP, xRM, or other software solution for your business.
Put together a Charter
Once you have a more definitive idea of the requirements you are looking to meet, draft a charter and provide it to several vendors. This should include asking vendors how they would meet these requirements specifically but also how they might suggest tackling them. Base your fact-finding sessions on working with vendors to determine their qualifications but also their ability to offer up creative solutions.
Understanding that software deployments are rarely a set it and forget it model, find a vendor that you would envision a strategic partnership with. Oftentimes, the vendor makes the difference when it comes to technology implementations. Two vendors could implement the same software with two very different outcomes.
Select a Vendor
We generally recommend selecting both a reputable software manufacturer as well as a reputable and more local implementation vendor.
By choosing a reputable software manufacturer, you can feel more confident that the solution you choose will be around for the long haul. There are some exceptions to this, so you will want to understand their ongoing investments and growth in the software.
By choosing a reputable and more local implementation vendor, they are more likely to have dedicated resources that understand your business, your strategy, your short-term project goals, and your long-term plan. Since many ‘CRM’s, ERP’s, Marketing, Customer Service, and other Lead to Cash’ solutions can be implemented in different ways, it is important that your implementation vendor is an extension of your business.
While there is no perfect formula for technology selection, the above steps will help ensure a successful and long-term solution. As always, if you have any questions, please reach out. We are more than happy to provide additional clarity or considerations based on where you are in your journey. No obligations. Whether you choose DPT Solutions or another partner, we put your success in high regard.
Download The Innovation Playbook
With each podcast we’ll provide an Innovation Playbook that will outline the steps you can start taking immediately, to kick start your strategy and improve business performance. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Download The EP 03 Innovation Playbook and let the innovation begin!
Episode 03 Playbook Highlights
- Technical Debt & Sunk Technology Costs
- Limited Visibility Across Departments
- Fragmented Workflows
- Evolution & Integration
- Employee & Department Alignment
- Making Technology A Business Decision
- Designing For The Future
If you have questions about any topic we covered in this podcast, want to offer feedback on our discussion, or need help kick starting your strategy, contact us! We’d love to chat or meet for coffee. We love what we do, we love talking shop, and we love teaching others what we know.
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