Creating your CRM demo team – who should be involved?

You have created your vendor shortlist, your CRM demos are all booked up and you’re looking forward to finding out what the companies on your shortlist can offer you. Now, the process of deciding who should be involved in these demos begins!

In days gone by, CRM was viewed as a tool mainly for the sales and marketing teams – offering an enticing way to identify opportunities and maximize the sales potential from every contact. However, the clue is in the name – Customer Relationship Management – CRM now touches almost every department of the business so we need to think in much broader terms.

It’s important to ensure that the CRM system you choose will do what every department requires of it. You’ll be sowing seeds of potential conflict if the system works like a dream for customer services but frustrates the sales reps at every turn, for example! With this in mind, let’s dive into the different silos of a traditional business structure to help you identify who should be involved in your CRM demo team.

Marketing

Usually a key driver of CRM implementation, Marketing will be interested in how the system handles potential customers as well as existing ones, what (if any) email marketing and social media integrations the system offers, and the reports that show prospect engagement. If you have a dedicated marketing manager or team then they should certainly be invited to attend your CRM demos.

Get expert advice on CRM demos and more with our step-by-step CRM selection survival guide

Sales

Salespeople are naturally heavy CRM users, so it would be usual for the head of sales or a nominated sales team member to be present at the demo. Like their marketing counterparts they will want to see how the system identifies opportunities and assists salespeople to close them, but they may also be interested in how the system can help them to care for their existing customer base.

Customer services

Where a really good CRM system is perhaps most impressive is in enabling the customer service team to look after every enquiry with the minimum amount of wasted time and with maximum speed and efficiency. No customer likes having to repeat the same issue to several different employees of the same company. CRM can avoid that and help teams work together to overcome problems and ensure that each customer gets the individual attention they deserve.

It is now possible for CRM systems to automatically add ‘events’ to a customer timeline with little to no effort on the part of customer service team members by email monitoring (for example, CRM identifies the customer by domain name and tags a copy of the correspondence to that customer’s file) or by adding recordings of telephone conversations to a customer file. Features like these are all-important to often very busy customer service operatives and it’s essential a representative from this team is present at your CRM demos to evaluate the options available.

Remember, if your CRM doesn’t work for customer services, it will be far less useful for the other departments – so this is one to insist on.

Finance

A CRM system can be really useful to finance, whether for tracking invoice queries, alerting other teams to credit limit issues, or just being able to view a more complete picture of each client so they can efficiently manage credit note requests without having to refer back to other departments first.

Finance will also be interested in ensuring that the CRM system you choose will not exceed the budget allocated, so it would be wise to offer them the opportunity to be present at your CRM demos!

Operations

Typically including IT, purchasing, logistics, admin, and warehouse responsibilities, you will want at least the IT manager to be present at CRM demos – it will be his or her job to ensure whatever system is chosen is compatible with your IT infrastructure.

Some CRM systems have delivery vehicle or consignment tracking integrations to help deal with the “where are my goods?” type enquiries. This will help the ops manager as he or she will have far fewer calls from customer services if these questions can be answered with a few clicks!

Senior management

This will depend on your company structure – as this is just a demonstration, often senior managers would rather read a report containing your recommendations than attend all the software demonstrations of vendors on your shortlist. When you have narrowed down the field to just two potential systems, it might be a good time to include senior management to assist in making the final decision.

Bringing it all together

While including members from all the different parts of the business may seem excessive at this stage, remember that no matter how amazing the CRM system, without it being adopted by all departments in the business, you won’t be able to reap the benefits.

By including people at this early stage you will win their crucial ‘buy-in’ and support through the inevitable disruption that will follow from implementation – they will each have had a stake in the decision and will feel shared ownership of the project.

If you are worried about potential disagreements, then consider firmly stating at the beginning that it is your intention to involve everyone in the decision-making progress but that certain compromises will have to be made – what works amazingly for one department might be just the wrong solution for another. The final decision should be respected and supported by all departments with a view to getting the best overall solution for the company.

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Rick Siderfin

About the author…

Rick is passionate about helping businesses by implementing systems to increase efficiency and to communicate in an effective and engaging way with their audience. He’s married, has three kids, and lives in the beautiful village of Bourton-on-the-Water in rural England, U.K.

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Rick Siderfin

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