GOTCHA! HOW MANY OF YOU ARE NOW HUMMING THE MISSION IMPOSSIBLE THEME?
This challenge isn’t at all impossible, plus I PROMISE that it will be both an educational and valuable exercise for any of you who pick up the thrown gauntlet. As well, likelihood is extremely high that you will have new &/or improved narratives to use in your marketing, demos, and training videos.
First a small disclaimer to frame this up: As you know, I don’t participate in either the CRM Idol contest judging or reviews. (Although I do vote on finalists at the end of the competition.) There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is that as the CRM Idol Community Manager, it is very important that I keep my focus on each of you as people, rather than vendors of solutions. Which is not to say that I don’t discuss any CRM or Enterprise 2.0 vendors with the Judges in a professional context as industry colleagues – of course I do. But during CRM Idol season, with the panelists and judges I do my best to limit discussions about contestants to pointing out their feedback on experiences gained through participation, and highlighting examples of their contributions to the competition and the entire CRM community.
But during the off-season, you’re all fair game!
I can, will, and do, test and review offerings in my professional capacity. But my approach to assessment of products is much different from how the Judges approach and evaluate it, mostly because I’m deep in the trenches servicing CRM customers daily. Perspectives are different when you are the one selling, designing, implementing, and supporting social business, CRM, and Enterprise solutions. The CRM Idol judges offer you the 10,000′ vision and strategy perspective, while I am digging around with the wiring 5′ under the hood from the consultant’s vantage point.
I’m going to let you in on a secret that is both a coaching guide and your challenge:
It doesn’t matter what CRM or SCRM product I review, I use the same scenario as my testing framework for every single offering. His, yours & the other guy’s. And this is it:
Why do I use this ‘old school, traditional’ CRM process flow as a testing framework methodology?
- Because I have used this same trade show scenario in hundreds of demos myself to tell an ‘end-to-end’ story about CRM.
- It might not be a trade show, but ALL organizations have events of some sort or another. The events vary, but the end-to-end processes don’t change much.
- That’s a screen shot from one of my demos. During the demo, I click into each and every one of those icons to show features & functionality while I am telling a use case story.
- The flow above is pretty much the same for marketing campaigns, new product launches, promo code sales, etc.
- (Some orgs may not create quotes, credit checks or order acknowledgements, but those are usually backend processes anyway, so they are there as placeholders for integration examples with ERP/Order Entry systems.)
- This testing framework allows me to assess your product (and his, hers & theirs,) consistently on key deliverables & comparables:
- Which of these same processes, functions, features and analytics can I do? Which ones are missing?
- If any are missing, are they in planned development? Can I integrate with other products that fill in the gaps? If so, which ones?
- How would I implement this in your product?
- Can I configure &/or customize rules, logic, and flow?
- Can I set data requirements or standards to collect/store what I need at each step of the process flow and the underlying processes, too?
- How would I migrate data to your offering? Is the data information architected well for integrations?
- Can I get the reports and data I need to do a robust analysis of the whole flow and select processes/phases?
- Do I like the user interface? Is it intuitive as I work through & navigate this flow?
- How would I fit your innovations into this traditional example of a CRM flow.
- Where are the logical spots to incorporate your social capabilities into my story & demo?
- How could this process flow be improved and made more efficient using your Product/Service?
So there it is – your challenge, should you choose to accept it. Step back and review your product with a proven use case story like the one above.
Most of you won’t put tickmarks beside all of these processes and features or you’d already be selling like the big platform players, (and for the record, in 15 years I’ve only worked with one product to date that did all of this easily, so don’t be discouraged – very few other vendors could check every box either). But… you can write your own new narrative about the things you can do innately, and via integrations, and craft kick-ass use case demos!
For those of you who are real keeners, I’ve created a slide deck for you with loads more coaching, strategy, and examples for telling more compelling CRM and social business stories.
It is up to you to decide if you’d like to share your discoveries & experience if you take on this challenge, but I’d be interested if you are willing. It’d be fun to compare notes between contestant perspectives & learning, wouldn’t it? I know I’d love to see that trade show image totally reworked with a flow that demonstrates your own compelling use case. Tell us a story.
I’ll leave you to it. Queue the Mission Impossible theme again… :-p