What Type Of CRM Buyer Are You?
Not all CRM Software is the same, and not all buyers look for the same thing. Sometimes, software choices are inadvertently driven and determined by the buying habits of an organization and/or department and/or buyer (especially if a procurement professional or department is not part of the decision making process).
Astute business software buyers make buying decisions after a careful evaluation of their current and future business needs, not on their own department’s or their organization’s historical buying habits. Most experienced buyers will consult widely across their organizations, engage affected departments and end users, and consider both current and future operations and strategic objectives.
However, despite their best intentions, the risk is that embedded habits work against organizations that have otherwise sound software procurement policies. Proactively developing an awareness of your own buying habits can mitigate these risks
To avoid being driven solely by their own or their department’s or organization’s buying habits, astute buyers first seek to understand what type of buyer they are. The overview below outlines some of the more typical buyer types and the pitfalls to avoid. It will assist software buyers who want to achieve the awareness and objectivity required to ensure that their choice of CRM software is driven by the real needs of their organization.
Type 1 – Software for Departmental Deployment
The first type of buyer bases their software selection criteria mainly on the needs of a specific department. They may inadvertently target a narrow needs-based approach; for example, they might focus mainly on the need for reporting or analytics, or a simple sales tracking solution. They may also consult with other departments but their decision making criteria is typically insufficiently objective and the process they follow and/or subsequent decisions are unlikely to address the needs of the whole organization.
In addition to almost ensuring that the CRM software solution only works effectively for a specific department, this department centric approach can create or perpetuate department data silo problems.
Type 2 – Multiple Vendor Technologies
The next type of business software buyer is more comfortable purchasing software packages from well known best brand vendors. Simply put, they may focus on best brand vendors at the expense of other essential evaluation and selection criteria.
However, buying CRM software is like buying anything else, you need to know the vendor’s track record and their software development roadmap. The lack of a product roadmap that addresses your future needs could waste your organization’s time and money.
Also, if the deployment requires an implementation partner this buyer type tends to prefer their vendor’s recommendations. Vendor recommended partners will have expert knowledge of the vendor’s software but might not know your industry and unique requirements. Getting the right implementation partner on board is critical to success.
Total Cost of Ownership is also often underestimated by this type of buyer. These buyers may overlook one or more of the lifetime costs of owning and operating the software – for example, additional user costs, maintenance, training, customization, upgrades, license costs and other ongoing expenses.
The best brand vendor approach may also restrict interoperability, deployment and adoption due to the multitude of vendor technologies. Needless to say, a focus on the aforementioned approach could seriously limit the success of CRM software investments.
Type 3 – Preferred Vendor Technologies
This third group of buyers typically prefers to purchase their software from a single vendor, without sufficiently reviewing the whole market and considering their organization’s current and future needs. They appear to be the opposite of Type 2, preferring to work with vendors that they already know and may be more comfortable with.
Inadvertently, this type of buyer limits their buying options. Their choices are often based on simply reducing IT costs and/or simplifying management and deployment. Of course, this approach has many disadvantages.
Ignoring smaller, more niche or up and coming vendors will simplify the decision making process and offer a sense of security; but it will severely limit choice in the rapidly evolving software market. The biggest vendors are always inevitably a few steps behind niche players; their large size and customer base means that whilst they will provide proven core functionality, they are constantly trying to keep up with the latest market innovation.
Software buyers of this type should always ask their vendor about program communication and interoperability, as well as about future integrations. Buyers need to evaluate the overall product line and its ease-of-use within the partnered community, and not simply consider core functionality.
First Steps First
CRM software is one of the key pillars of an organization. Attracting new customers and retaining current customers is the lifeblood of most organizations and the right CRM Software should support this. The right Software can help organizations manage new and current customer relationships and interactions, and support important and timely decision making.
Understanding your buyer type is an important first step to ensure that your selected software is embraced by affected departments and end users, and addresses your organization’s future operational and strategic objectives.
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