A guide to sorting through your CRM RFPs

Now you come to the Request for Proposal (RFP) and demonstration stage.  If you are unsure where to start with sending out CRM RFP’s, then we have a few guidelines to assist.

To begin with, make a list of all the things that you need the CRM to do.  You don’t want to get bogged down with watching untold demos so use your RFP to select just a few.

Focus on company needs

Focus on the needs of the company and don’t get confused with what you might like.  Take the time to determine your priority needs and keep to them. Try and keep your CRM RFP compact as too much detail will just confuse everyone and may even put vendors off.  You don’t need to hire a consultant to prepare this list for you; they may be biased towards certain providers and after all, no-one understands your business as well as you. Key CRM users should also be called in to help determine the primary needs.

Recommended reading: get through RFPs, CRM demos and more with our step-by-step CRM selection survival guide

Completed RFPs

Ideally your CRM RFP should be sent out to no more than ten suppliers.  Once you get the completed RFPs back, you should take the time to sit down and analyse them in detail. You may want to put together a team consisting of key stakeholders such as investors, directors, financial managers and those that will use the CRM.  You can then sift through each of the RFPs and make decisions about which one should go forward to a further short list.  Use this time to put together a Vendor Ranking System with a list of requirements that can be prioritised.  Keep the focus on functionality and don’t get lost in a maze of features that are too generalised.  

Requesting demos

After you have done this, you can move forward to asking for specific demonstrations. When doing so, make it clear to each supplier what you are looking to achieve.  Based upon the RFPs they should then provide you with a CRM software demo. Think about asking each of them to prepare an either an online or on-site demo that will show exactly how your requirements will be met.  Ask them to refer to specific functions you mention on your CRM RFP.

This demonstration phase is vitally important as it will be up to each vendor to take the time to present to you an example of exactly how the CRM would work for your company.  How much time they spend upon it is up to them, but before each demo takes place, make sure that you understand the details.  Will it be online or on-site?  If on-site, will it be at your premises or theirs?  Who needs to be in attendance at the demo?  

From your point of view, having the final decision makers present at each CRM demo will save valuable time later as they will be cognisant of all essential key facts.

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Jane Tareen

About the author…

An MBA-qualified professional, Jane specializes in all kinds of copywriting and creative content production. With many years spent working in advertising and publishing, she is also skilled in editorial production and proof-reading. Whilst writing, she has a constant companion in the form of one very large Fox Red Labrador!

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Jane Tareen

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