Bad Reasons to Get a New Tool

There is something truly exciting about getting a new tool, similar to getting a new car. It's new, it's "leading edge," and there's the promise that it will smooth away the bumps in the road. While a new tool can indeed solve current issues and propel you to new levels of speed and efficiency, there are plenty of bad reasons for replacing an existing tool. Let's look at four of them.

Bad Reason #1: I Saw a Cool Demo

Perhaps you went to a business conference and saw a really well done demo. The business scenario was such a good match to your own, the screens were uncluttered and colorful, and the tool looked intuitive and powerful. Or you took advantage of one of the popular webinars to get a glimpse of the tool and came away thrilled after a few glimpses. The sales rep said that implementations typically take only a few weeks with an ROI to match. Should you jump? Probably not if you are basically satisfied with your tool and you saw the demo only by chance. Let's face it: demos, for the most part, look great. If there's a good product manager, the business scenario will be realistic and sometimes eerily close to your own situation, and sleek screens and good workflows can be put together easily to match the scenario even if they are not part of the basic tool. This is a key point: demos can show anything, and it's often very difficult even for practiced eyes to distinguish between what's part of the out-of-the-box tool and what's customized. Chances are that the out-of-the-box tool does not have those very screens and workflows that you admired so much in the demo. (In , "Shopping for CRM Systems," we'll discuss how to get realistic demos.) On the other hand, if you saw the demo because you determined, perhaps through one of the tests above, that your tool is indeed weak and in need of a replacement, then a positive outcome means that you should consider the tool in more detail. Because demos can lie so easily and powerfully, as discussed above, you need to temper your enthusiasm with serious research before you make a decision. But a good demo makes for a tool that's worth investigating and we will show you how in the chapters to come.

Bad Reason #2: We Need to Keep Up With the Joneses

So your good friend, colleague, and rival tells you that her company just invested a good seven-figure sum into a new CRM tool that is now up and running, gives your friend great metrics, and, you surmise, is generating plenty of positive attention for her from the rest of the management team. You are running on a basic, older tool. Should you upgrade? If your only motivation is to keep up with your friend, the answer is no. Go buy yourself a new car or whatever else will make you feel better. Revel in the knowledge that you can invest the big bucks your friend spent into something else such as a new advertising campaign, a bevy of sales reps, or a brand-new reproduction lab for support. On the other hand, if you have determined that you need to upgrade, your friend's experience is a great opportunity to get an unbiased demo with plenty of information on the real requirements for a successful implementation. You should investigate other tools since your requirements may be different, and you will definitively end up with a different implementation even if you do choose the same tool, but direct hands-on experience is always precious during the selection phase.

Bad Reason #3: I Don't Have The Latest Technology (But the Current Tool Works)

This is similar to bad reason #2 above, but with a twist. You're not so much jealous of a particular colleague, but you suffer from a simple case of technology envy. (In other words, it's not the new BMW in your neighbor's driveway you are lusting after; it's the knowledge that such a beautiful driving machine exists). It may be that you do indeed need the new technology. For instance, if your tool doesn't support chat and your customers are asking for it, loudly, you may well need to implement a chat solution. But if your impetus comes solely from your love of technology, then you should just sit tight. After all, new technology typically requires a few years to settle down and it's always wise to leave to others the experience of the bleeding edge.

Bad Reason #4: I Got A Call From A Sales Rep

You got a cold call, and you actually took it, and the sales rep was very persuasive and told you that this new tool would simply revolutionize the way you do business. Time to jump? Call me cynical, but your buying the tool would primarily revolutionize the sales rep's commission. Remember that, by itself, a tool cannot solve all problems. If you do not have a CRM tool problem today, then your time is better spent on other issues.