CRM vendor demos: what to do on the day
When the vendor arrives at for your CRM demo and introductions have been completed, it is time to start working through your agenda. We recommend beginning with a brief company overview, giving some history and background to your organization and systems used to this point. Summarize your overall company goals relating to CRM and remember to state that this demonstration is the first stage of the procurement process and that no decisions will be made today. This will save you a lot of time later in the demonstration and keep the focus firmly on the system, the required investment, and subjects important to you rather than requiring all of your team to listen to an extended sales presentation designed to rush decision-making, as many of these demonstrations tend to do.
The next item on your CRM demo agenda should be to request from the vendor a brief overview of the company behind the proposed system – for example, when they were founded, what industries they initially focused on, how their company grew and expanded, and the kind of industries they focus on today.
The CRM demo itself
Now, it is finally time for the CRM demonstration of the system itself to take place. The vendor representative will most likely follow a script for this, taking you through different sections of the system, allowing you and members of your team to input data and experiment with the CRM interface. The vendor will be keen to show all the features of his system, so be prepared to intervene if necessary, if you feel a certain feature is not relevant to your organization.
As you go through the CRM demo, it is important that you include relevant team members in each section so that no one is left out. Encourage each team member to explain their departmental requirements in relation to CRM and to ask questions and request demonstrations of how the CRM system being tested can meet these. When the demonstration concludes, review your company goals once more in the light of what you now know the system can offer you.
After the CRM vendor representative leaves
Ask once more for feedback and further questions from your team, thank the representative for his or her time and allow him or her to leave. It is important now that you do not allow your team to leave until you have been able to conduct a debriefing in the absence of the vendor representative. This is a critical stage of the CRM selection process, as it allows the team to freely discuss both the good points and bad points or any perceived weaknesses in the system you have just witnessed being demonstrated, without fear of offence, and while it is still fresh in your mind. Ensure that these points are noted for distribution to your team later in the day.
You now have a complete process that you can use for all subsequent demonstrations that will help you to rule out certain CRM options and come up with a shortlist of potential options for final consideration.
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