CRMs are about relationships, so date one

Dear reader, will you accept this rose? 

Whether you’re an avid fan of The Bachelor franchise or not, I’d be willing to bet this iconic question rings a bell. In fact, one might say that this long-running ABC reality series has developed a bit of a cult following over the years – 17 to be exact.

So, tell me, what’s the tagline of your favorite CRM marketing campaign? Got nothing; I thought so. We’ll go broader. What about your favorite software campaign? Chances are you’re still drawing a blank. 

The harsh reality is, as marketers, we’ve gotten complacent and boring. And even more egregious, as technology vendors, we’ve lost the core focus of our products: relationships.  It’s time to fall in love all over again – and we’re here to help.

What’s love got to do with it?

Committing to a long-term software partnership is not a decision to be taken lightly, similar to marriage. The trajectory of a software purchase, especially a CRM platform, has much in common with the dating process – which sparked our inspiration for The Banklorette.  

We created the reality TV spoof in an effort to put the spotlight back on relationships and make marketing fun again. The series features six CRM vendors competing to win the heart of our leading lady, FI. 

Each week, there’s a new episode in which one of the CRMs is found lacking and gets eliminated. I highly encourage you check it out – you might just find the software partner of your dreams!

Building a long-term relationship.

The romance doesn’t end with the final rose, though. The parody’s intent is to help identify the ideal software partner for your credit union. Here are some questions you can ask to discern if a vendor is a good long-term match for you.

1. What’s their type?

We’ve all heard of the phrase, “jack of all trades, master of none.” If a vendor is playing the field and goes after everyone, they likely lack the specialization to really make your credit union successful. Your members choose to work with you because of the exceptional and individualized service that you provide. You should feel the same way about a CRM partner; look for a solution configured specifically for you.

2. How well do they integrate?

Contrary to popular belief, all APIs are not created equal. While many CRM platforms purport to integrate with third-party systems, be sure to do your due diligence, as such a claim is often quite limited. Many times, third-party connections are high-maintenance and must be re-constructed with each new software update.  Don’t settle for a CRM that can’t seamlessly integrate directly with your core and all other systems. 

3. Are they “the one?”

Since the purpose of a CRM is to simplify work across all functions of your business – be it member operations, sales, marketing, or even leadership – it only makes sense to have a singular solution. Yet not all vendors provide a one-and-done solution, requiring that you purchase multiple modules to complete a platform. Seems a big counterintuitive, don’t you think? 

4. Will they make a long-term commitment?

When evaluating software, you will likely receive white glove service, red carpet treatment – the whole nine yards. What happens once you sign on the dotted line? Will you be left to figure things out on your own? If you want the option of 24/7 assistance, how much extra will it cost you? Make sure you so know their patterns of behavior after they’ve “put a ring on it.”

Hopefully these pointers for dating CRM solutions are helpful as you seek your perfect match.

It’s been said that “you can’t microwave a relationship,” and I certainly don’t recommend rushing through your vendor due diligence either.  However, quick-forming bonds on reality TV can be quite entertaining.  

If you’re ready to find “the one” or just want to see what falling in love with a CRM looks like, don’t forget to check out The Banklorette in the most dramatic season ever.

Emily Thomson

Emily Thomson

Emily Thomson is the director of marketing strategy at CRMNEXT, a leading CRM solution for credit unions. She is well versed in all things banking and branding, and has spent ... Web: Details