So you’ve signed the CRM contracts. You’ve committed the resources. The software salespeople and the consultants have cashed your checks. Your CRM implementation team is working hard to set everything up. But…you’ve already pushed the go-live date back twice, and it turns out that the software you signed up for doesn’t quite have all the functionality you were promised so you’ll need some 3rd-party software packages that will seamlessly integrate with your new CRM system. You will need several more (costly) CRM licenses to make it all work. Oh, and that “seamless” integration is not quite as seamless as advertised…

You get the picture. You’ve been nickel and dimed before and this is definitely what it feels like. At some point you realize that your company is in business just to make enough revenue to pay the annual licensing fees for all the software platforms you’ve signed up for! Not good.

I’ve been in the software industry for a long time and I’ve been on both sides of the equation. It’s no secret that the software salespeople will promise you the moon and there is always some surprise missed requirement during the implementation and testing phases. Invariably it will end up costing you more for customization or a third party integration and most likely both. But, these pitfalls can be avoided by asking the right questions during the product demonstrations and sales pitches. If you are new to using a CRM, knowing what questions to ask can be the tricky part.

Here are 5 questions that you should ask before you sign the CRM contract.

1. How many add-ons/plug-ins will we need to make this software do what we need?
You want to avoid third and fourth party software if you can. There are several problems that can arise if you rely heavily on add-ons, not to mention the cost.

2. How long will it take to get this up and running?
Long implementation times are a sign of too much complexity and poorly defined requirements.

3. Can you provide any examples of companies like ours that are using your software?
One of the best ways to judge the possible success of a software implementation is to see it in a real world scenario.

4. How much time will we spend doing administrative work for this software?
Tasks like setting up new users and permissions are usually an afterthought but they can be very time consuming. Find out how complex these tasks will be.

5. How will we measure ROI (Return on Investment)?
This is another item which is usually an afterthought. Are there any ways to gauge whether your investment of time and money in this software platform is actually contributing to the bottom line?

Bottom line: Ask these questions during and after any and all CRM demos and sales calls. If you would like some expert help during and after those demos and calls, talk to us. We can help you save big money and time in the long run.