Before You Purchase A CRM

Written by
on February 2, 2018

Wanna sell something to a business owner? It’s a simple formula: Promise to cut their work hours in half and multiply their profits.

“Buy this application and double your customer satisfaction!”

“Go to this seminar and your business will EXPLODE!”

Let’s add hair regrowth products to the list while we’re at it.

Why do these pitches work? They hit primal urges. Many a CEO has been wooed by the latest new software that’s going to revolutionize their business. So is software bad? Of course not. It’s amazing. But you must have your business strategies in place before you purchase a CRM, or any other piece of software beyond a word processor.

The Magic Fish Bait

It was 1988. I was 14 years old and drooling over the latest gear in the fishing aisles of our local K-Mart.

I rounded a corner to see a friend. In his hand was a package of red, rubber fishing lures. “What’re you gonna catch with those?” I asked.

I’ll never forget his response: “I don’t know.” he said, “But if they look good to me, they’ll look good to the fish.”

I knew right then he wasn’t going to catch a thing. He didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t have a plan, and no amount of new gear was going to fix that problem.

People Are Like Fish

A Brook Trout lives in mountain streams. A Black Marlin lives in the Pacific Ocean. They exist in different places. They do different things.

So do people.

What’s your customer strategy? Business software is not a genie in a bottle. You don’t lay down the cash, launch the software and make a wish. Paying for Quickbooks® will not help your finances if you don’t have a plan. Purchasing a CRM will not help your customer relationships if you don’t have a customer strategy.

If your customers are Brook Trout, you’d better grab a fly rod along with a few flies that mimic the latest hatch. If your customers are Black Marlin, a deep sea fishing boat with serious rigging is in order.

Taking the FINEST trout rod and lures to catch a marlin is a complete waste of time and money.

Know Your Customers

In 2002 I was selling IBM equipment. Large servers that cost tens of thousands of dollars. My customers varied greatly. Some wanted to communicate only via email – anything else would annoy them. Others would literally have hurt feelings if you didn’t stop by to chat or do lunch. Others were fine with the occasional phone call to talk about their kids or the latest good movie that was out.

Each customer was valuable, and I enjoyed interacting with them on their terms. One day, another salesman saw an emailed photo a customer had sent me of their kid. He asked, “how do you get them to send you stuff like that?” I told him we didn’t just talk about business. We talked about “fun” things like the latest good movie.

People want to feel important, and they’re loyal to those who care about them.

We’re all humans with feelings. People want to feel important, and they’re loyal to those who care about them. Who make them feel special. Your customer strategy must take this into account.

Purchasing a slick CRM wouldn’t have accomplished anything for me if I wasn’t already executing a customer strategy. I had to know my customers first. Then if a certain piece of software could help me not forget details and/or automate certain tasks… well that’s when the magic begins!

Identify the Fish. Then the Gear.

My brother lives near a heavily fished tailwater in Tennessee. Very selective trout. Many fisherman go and never catch a fish of any size. Why? Because they assumed what worked at the last area they fished would also work for the selective trout in this stream. Assumptions are costly. A lack of planning is costly.

Do your homework, know your customers and the time and money you spend will be directed in a way that yields the results your business needs.

The Next Step Before Purchasing a CRM

This all sounds like common sense, right? But my friend’s innocent idea about fish bait mirrors the mistake of business owners all across the United States. They think investing in the latest, shiny new tool is going to make the difference. Before you purchase your CRM, identify your prospects. Determine what your niche focus group needs and what they respond to.

Then and only then, invest in a CRM.

Of course we’d love that CRM to be Follow Hook! If you need help determining if we’re a good fit for your business goals, contact us today.


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