Before speaking to potential CRM providers, documenting your high-level requirements is critical. Going through this process has three main benefits:
It ensures your project team are aligned from the outset
It helps you get your bearings before speaking with CRM sales reps
It gets potential CRM providers and consulting partners up to speed quickly
Although many large enterprises opt to define their requirements in detail up front (over say, a 100 page requirements document) and then ask vendors to respond to an RFP, we don't recommend this approach for smaller organisations (or for that matter, larger ones!). A concise 2 - 4 page document should get the key information across.
Here's a basic framework and some thought starters to help you document your high-level requirements:
What does your business do?
Create a brief profile of your business to set context, detailing your:
Range of products and services
Company size, geography and organisational structure
Roles within your business
What's led you to look at this project?
What's the current state? Describe your existing business systems, processes, and challenges
How is the current situation adversely impacting your users, company and customers?
Why now? What are the main business drivers for looking at this project?
How does this project relate to the wider goals of the organisation?
Outline the project
What's your focus area/s for the initial implementation? (e.g. sales, account management, customer service)
Will the system replace or integrate with existing systems?
What non-standard features or functions do you see as critical? (there's no point writing features that all systems will have like "the ability to access customer contact information." Focus on things like "integrates with our accounting package" or "automates processes using workflow automation.")
What do you see as the longer-term roadmap for CRM within the business?
Are there any considerations around Cloud versus on-premise? In our view, Cloud is the way to go here unless there are regulations for your industry requiring data to be stored on-shore
Describe your users
Who is the system for? (User profiles may include: sales managers, field technicians, inside sales reps, account managers etc.)
Then, for each user profile:
How many users will there be and what is the range of technical ability? What are their existing attitudes towards CRM?
What will the CRM allow users to do that they can't do now? For example, Will the system help them:
Work faster by automating manual processesGain better customer visibility and insight through integration
Work more effectively with their teams through collaboration
Provide a better customer experience with best-practice processes and rep-to-customer automated communication
Manage more effectively with reports and dashboards
What does success look like?
Imagine a well-designed and fully adopted system that's empowering your teams to do it "the right way" every time. How will this impact your users, company and customers?
What metrics would you track to measure success?
When defining your requirements, you often "don't know what you don't know" so it's important to keep an open mind. It's totally natural for requirements to evolve throughout the evaluation as you learn about functionality you never knew existed, or ways CRM can tackle your business problems you may not have considered.
It's easy for a CRM to become an expensive cloud-rolodex. CRM systems only deliver on their transformational potential when everyone from CEO to the sales floor are actually using the system in the right way. Below are the keys to getting everyone on the CRM bus from the outset:
You need a document signed. Maybe it's a contract. A disclosure statement. It could be anything. You attach it to an email and send it to your client. Your client prints it out and completes it. They sign it, scan it, attach it to an email and send it back. You print it and give it to your admin team. They double enter the data back into your system and file it. What a horrendous waste of time.