How to Avoid a CRM Demo That Wastes Everyone’s Time

Sales guy demoing CRMBecause of the high cost of most CRM software, an important part of the evaluation and selection process is the CRM demo. If a vendor’s software doesn’t end up meeting your organization’s needs or is under-adopted, committing to the wrong vendor can turn out to be an expensive mistake.

The stage in your buying cycle at which you view a CRM demo is critical. Many companies schedule CRM demonstrations too soon.

Viewing a CRM Demo Before You’re Ready

If you have not yet gathered and documented your CRM requirements, here are some of the things that you and your team can expect during a CRM demo:

  • Develop a closer relationship with the vendor salesperson
  • Learn about the vendor’s company and who their customers are
  • Get a better definition of what CRM is (for those who are unfamiliar with CRM)
  • Answer questions about your business on-the-fly during the demo
  • Get a sense of the CRM system’s user interface and navigation
  • Learn how to add custom fields
  • Understand how email integration works
  • View some out-of-the-box reports
  • Learn about some areas of the CRM system that do not apply to your business
  • Hear the words “I’ll have get back to you on that” multiple times

In other words, you’ll mainly receive an education on the vendor and on their product’s features. You’ll also get a broad brush view of the system’s capabilities.

Viewing a CRM Demo After You’ve Documented Your Requirements and the Vendor Has Been Prepped

If you first assemble and document your business requirements, here are some of the things you and your team can expect during a customized CRM demo:

  • Minimal time covering the vendor’s business
  • Maximum time covering your business and its specific needs
  • Learn how the CRM system would address use cases specific to your business
  • Learn where the CRM system would add value to your business
  • Skip over areas and features of the CRM offerings that do not apply to your business
  • View a demo that addresses the functional areas and interests of all attendees

What to Do Before You Schedule CRM Demos

Here are some of the things you should do before you schedule CRM demos:

  • Interview stakeholders and representative users
  • Assemble information from the interviews
  • Validate requirements with stakeholders
  • Define a short list of vendors
  • Develop an evaluation or scoring method
  • Prepare the vendor salesperson and sales engineer, in a preparatory meeting, by taking them through a “company insight” slide deck about your business

Exception to the Rule

If your business is in an industry for which a vendor has developed a CRM vertical that fits your business model very closely, you may be able to get away with an early CRM demo.

These cookie-cutter cases are few and far between. As such, be sure to take the necessary steps to properly prepare for a CRM demo…or bring in a skilled CRM consultant who can walk you through the process and save you valuable time, money, and energy.