“When someone touches the cross, a peach teddy bear should cry” *, - this is perhaps the sweetest requirement that I have met (but, fortunately, not implemented). It was formulated by an employee with 12 years of experience in one company. Do you understand what she needs (answer at the end)? A confident second place is occupied by this: “Billing should be launched according to my desire, the desire is expressed on a mobile phone” **.

Indeed, users far from IT often cannot formulate their requirements and behave rather strangely with developers. Therefore, we decided to write an article accessible to everyone: it will help simple users and non-IT businesses to easily formulate requirements, but for us, IT people, we need to discuss and share our experience.

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User escapes liability for requirements


If you look at the queries that people write about CRM on social networks or in specialized communities, there is something to be surprised. A lot of indignant posts about the fact that you can not find CRM for long sales, distribution of engine oil, an outdoor advertising agency, etc. And if a person is engaged in wholesale sales of hay, then they are looking for exactly the CRM Seno version and nothing else. But in the process of communicating with the vendor, such requests somehow immediately disappear, because the person choosing CRM is immersed in the topic and understands that modern CRM systems able to solve the problems of almost any business - it’s not in the industry version, but in the settings and individual improvements.

So where do the inadequate requirements come from?

  • The main reason is misunderstanding of the essence of the CRM system as a technology . Any modern CRM-system basically has many different tables that are interconnected by key fields with certain values ​​(someone who is not familiar with the DBMS, but once worked with MS Access, will easily remember this visualization). An interface is built on top of these tables: desktop or on the web, no difference. Working with the interface, you actually work with the same tables. As a rule, the tasks of absolutely any business can be solved by adjusting the interface, creating new objects and new connections in conjunction with the simultaneous provision of the logic of their interaction. (revision).

    Yes, it happens that the scope of the company requires some special solutions: medicine, construction, real estate, engineering. They have their own specialized solutions ( for example, RegionSoft CRM Media for television and radio holdings and outdoor advertising operators - media planning, work with installation sheets and on-air references, and managing advertising placements are implemented in a special way there).

    But in general, small businesses can use the CRM system even without modifications and cover all the needs of operational work. Precisely because CRM is created as a universal solution for business automation. And how effective it will be for your company depends on how it is configured and filled with data (for example, RegionSoft CRM has several cool tools that can be tailored exactly to the needs of a particular business and even its departments: business process editor, a customizable calculator for constructing calculations of product parameters, a mechanism for setting complex KPIs - and these are suitable mechanisms for any company).
  • A business representative knows about CRM from others, the opinion is based on someone else's negative experience . He believes that something similar will happen to him, not suspecting that his acquaintance will never say “I did not understand CRM” or “I squeezed money for implementation and training, and now I suffer”, no, he will blame the developer or vendor “injected me this CRM”, “sold to the bushes” etc.Such guys often decide that the vendor should spend hours of employees time absolutely free ( I can’t understand why they don’t require free maintenance and daily washing of the car from the manufacturer or dealer, and calmly pay the cost of maintenance of an official dealer .
  • Potential customers believe that since there is someone on the market who offers CRM for free (with a bunch of restrictions and asterisks), the rest should just give out CRM systems . About 4000 people search for free CRM in Yandex monthly. What they hope for is not clear, because in fact any free CRM, if it is designed for more than one person, is just a stripped down demo version and a marketing tool.

There are other reasons, but these three come with a wide margin. It is quite difficult to work with such clients, because they already have a formed image of the ideal CRM in their opinion and they often wait for an answer to their question such as: “No, you will give me CRM for sales of refrigeration equipment of the North brand or call me in Germany and order SAP? ” In this case, the budget for the implementation of CRM is enough unless to call this very Germany. It sounds a bit evil, but actually - going with an ultimatum to CRM developers is much less productive than discussing requirements and listening to experienced implementers.

How to formulate requirements?


Functional Requirements


Determine what you need to improve in the company - this will be your key requirement for the CRM system . There are four most common tasks for which companies are thinking about buying CRM.

  1. Improving work efficiency. If the sales team in the first place and the whole company as a whole is bogged down in administration, misses important events and loses customers, forgets to complete tasks on time, then the program needs help in managing time and tasks. And this means that among your first requirements should be a cool customer card, a variety of planners and the ability to quickly collect customer information in a single database. Pretty standard requirements. At this stage, you can make an additional requirement - the automation of business processes, which streamlines the routine in a business of any size.
  2. Increasing sales. If you need more sales, especially during the crisis that is turning our heads gray with nerves, then you have key sub-tasks: collecting complete customer information, segmenting and personalizing calls to customers, quick work with the execution of the transaction and an informative sales funnel. All this is also in standard CRM-systems.
  3. Monitoring employee performance ( not to be confused with employee time control, we don’t play in this field! ). Here everything is already more interesting. Finding a CRM that solves the two previous problems is very simple, finding CRM with KPI is much more difficult, finding CRM with a real, multi-criteria, analytical KPI mechanism is not easy at all (if you are looking for, we have RegionSoft CRM Professional 7.0 and above, and in it KPI). If your chosen CRM system does not have a KPI system, you can ask for such a revision, but it will most likely be quite expensive, because it is almost a separate module for any software.
  4. Security. At first glance, CRM is not a corporate security tool. But automation without security management seems untenable. Often, the choice of a CRM is led by a manager’s desire to get rid of gray schemes, kickbacks and “personal” customers from salespeople. CRM-system stores data, saves the client base from attempts to copy and transfer to third parties, thanks to the separation of access rights, it helps to control the circle of clients and the competencies of each employee. And note - you control and make safe the direct work, and not the time of employees at work.

As a rule, requirements are formulated not for one of the listed tasks, but for several. This is true: since modern CRM has long become CRM ++, why not use its capabilities not only for the sales department, but for the whole company at once.For example, all employees of the company can use the calendar, telephony, planners, customer records, and business processes. As a result, the entire team is assembled in one interface. The optimal way, especially now, in the conditions of remote and partially remote work.

By listing the functions that you need and trying them on to the real processes in the company, you formulate the functional requirements for CRM. The matter is not limited to them.

Additional CRM requirements


Small businesses today have such a situation that these very additional requirements are of paramount importance, because CRM does not work right away, but you need to pay here and now, you need to integrate work services right away, and train employees immediately. In general, it all comes down to costs.

How to measure the cost of CRM?


We had a large article on how much CRM costs , but it outlines a universal approach that can be applied and for individual entrepreneurs for 3 people, and for a telecom operator for 1,500 employees. For small businesses, the situation looks a little different - and even more so, we urge you to look at it differently in the current crisis.

So, you need CRM and you have 10 employees in the company, each of whom you want to connect to a single information resource of the company - even if RegionSoft CRM Professional (we have no right to consider other people's solutions).

If you decide to buy CRM, then you will pay 134,700 rubles for all licenses once (as of July 2020). This, on the one hand, is the optimal way: paid and forgot, these 134.7 thousand will not grow either in a year or in three. If you, for example, rent a cloud-based CRM, then in the first month you will pay only 9,000 rubles, but in a year it will be 108,000, in two - 216,000, in three - 324,000 (and that if you do without annual price indexation).

But! We know that now the business may not have 134,700, and CRM during the crisis is needed more than ever. Therefore, we have installments - 26 940 per month and rent - 11 233 per month with the right to purchase. At the same time, you get not some reduced package of functions, but the same powerful edition.

We did this calculation not only for advertising. If you come to the vendor, it is worth correctly formulating price requirements.

  • Don’t ask for a free version - you will in fact sell it to yourself (because it’s free) and you will get a marketing hook: in the end, buy it anyway, but you’ll be a little bit tired of communication, and then you will be a little bit tired due to functionality limitations.
  • If you’re not ready to pay the rental year or the entire cost of the on-premise solution, discuss the possibility of installments and discrete payments.
  • Never order a revision immediately if you are not sure that the function will be needed right now and it is not in CRM. Better start using the CRM system and gradually formulate what you need to refine and how this refinement will be used in the company.
  • Check with the vendor what additional costs are required: for someone this is a paid external mail client, a mandatory connection to a single IP-telephony operator, a technical support package, and so on. These costs can come as a sudden and unpleasant surprise.
  • Find out the cost of implementation and training - in 90% of cases these are justified expenses that pay off thanks to the quick and proper start of work in the CRM system.

And remember: money should not be the only requirement! If you focus only on the cost of the program, then most likely you simply will not be able to choose the solution that the business needs.

So, we figured out two of the most important requirements: the functionality of a CRM system and the money that you have to pay for it.

What other requirements can be for CRM?


  • CRM system load. Tell the vendor how much information is planned to be added to the database daily, how it should be stored and what backups to have.For most modern CRMs, this is still a crucial point, which can affect the speed of work, cost, delivery model, etc.
  • Possible settings. Discuss in advance which settings are especially important to you. This can be a sales funnel, an email client, mailings, necessarily - distribution of access rights, etc. As a rule, here the wishes are the most specific.
  • Compatible with existing infrastructure. Find out what integrations are possible, how telephony is organized, what server equipment is required and whether it is required (for desktop CRM systems). See which software from your zoo crosses CRM and abandon it to save money and put things in order.
  • Security. If you have special security requirements, discuss them separately, because not all of them can be met for some types of software delivery. Clarify the timing and frequency of creating backups, as well as specify whether this service is paid or not.
  • Technical support. We recommend that you buy a priority priority support package from all CRM vendors for the first year, so you’ll be much calmer. In any case, make sure that there is technical support and specify the boundaries of its provision.
  • Cloud or desktop. The eternal dispute from the category of Apple vs Samsung, Canon vs Nikon, Linux vs Windows. In short, the desktop is ultimately cheaper, sometimes safer and faster to work, the licenses belong to you and will not disappear with the vendor. The cloud is more convenient for young, novice teams when personal implementation or revision is not required. The scalability of both types of CRM delivery is the same.

Major user errors in describing requirements


  • Rest on trifles. As a rule, almost any trifle can be customized, it is much more important to pay attention to how CRM is consistent with your business processes. If you think that the most important thing in CRM is a dashboard with data or the ability to replace the developer's logo with your own (by the way, RegionSoft CRM is easy), talk to your colleagues - they will help you collect requirements by describing all the shortcomings of your business processes in a very colorful way.
  • Turn software requirements into a shopping list. You carefully read all the reviews, social networks, Habr, other portals, see demos of all CRM systems and methodically record everything that interests you at least somehow, and then dump this entire long list onto the most suitable vendor. And he, poor one, does not understand why he should develop a corporate portal, a claims management system, an accounting module, and a traffic and document management system for a small trading company in one bottle.

Choose only what you really need and what you can work with. Because we can design an ekranoplane for you at a certain level of payment, but a) it will be expensive; b) why do you need it? In general, choose a CRM-system for a normal working life, and not for admiring a set of modules and features - it may just not pay off.

  • Include fantasy and desire in your requirements. Indicate in the requirements what you really want to do in the business and will use; the tasks set in a vacuum and in isolation from reality will cause harm: you will kill the time to discuss them and not get the result.
  • Talk to the vendor like a robot. If you communicate directly with a CRM developer (and not with an affiliate network), then you should know: we are not only programmers and engineers, we are primarily the same business as you. Therefore, tell us about your problems, we will understand them perfectly and tell you how CRM will solve these problems. We are not just solution providers, in most cases we combine the CRM story with the analysis of your business problems. Therefore, speak with the developers in ordinary, human language. Tell me why you suddenly became interested in CRM-system and we will explain to you how to implement it in the best way.
  • Be inflexible and stubborn in every formulation. Pay attention to how the vendor offers to solve your problems - he already has experience in hundreds of automation projects and his engineers often offer the most effective solution of all possible. For example, a client may insist on requiring BPMN 2 notation.0 to describe the processes (because they sold it well at the conference for CIO) and not to recognize alternatives, and then try the convenient native editor of business processes and make sure that ALL of its employees can cope with business processes with it. Choosing convenient and practical, rather than fashionable and expensive solutions is an ideal practice for a small business that spends its money on automation, rather than a corporation’s bottomless budget.
  • Talk about CRM in general, not about a specific system. When talking with the vendor, speak specifically about his CRM system, request a detailed presentation, and ask detailed substantive questions. So you can understand what tasks of your business this particular CRM-system can solve.

A well-planned collection of requirements is the key to success in choosing a CRM system. If you equate the requirements with “Wishlist” and “Friend’s Advice”, you will get a CRM system that is poorly suited for your business, and will not bring tangible benefits. Each implementation project is labor and resources on both sides, therefore it is better to be honest with the implementers so as not to ruin the entire project at the very beginning. Your great friend is a CRM developer who, by the way, is not profitable to offer his software for any requirements. It is important for him that you successfully work in the system, and not just buy it. In any case, this is important to us. Let's be friends!


And finally, an easy way to determine if CRM implementation was successful: if you use CRM and the speed of business processes has increased, the implementation has been carried out correctly and your business has become more efficient.


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Decryption of requirements from the introduction
* "When someone touches the cross, the peach bear must cry" - you had to screw on "dont live popap" - a discounted picture that would pop up when trying to close the page. The crying teddy bear seemed the most convincing beast.

** “Billing should be started according to my wishes, desire is expressed on a mobile phone” - billing should be started manually by an ACS employee after receiving an SMS from a commerce employee about the completion of settlements with partners.
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