Building a business case is an essential step in any CRM procurement project, but it is all too often rushed, glossed over, or ignored altogether.

Typically CRM advocates within a business are keen to rush to the next stage of understanding the business’ requirements. They assess vendors, put together a shortlist, meet them all, compare and contrast features and benefits, make their recommendations to the Board, and are then disappointed when the business decides not to make the investment.

The reasons for their enthusiasm are understandable. They are advocates and as such they are already convinced of the need for a CRM system. Perhaps they have seen one in action in a previous role or have heard of the benefits in a media article or from someone they met at a conference. They just want to get on, select the best provider, and start making the company operate better.

The problem is that they are pushing for an investment that is likely to be significant – significant in licence and implementation costs, and in the amount of effort required by the organisation. Very few Boards are going to simply wave it through; most will want to see a robust business case, based on rigorous research and presented with clarity. Fail to do this and your CRM project will never get off the ground.

It is not easy to do. Often it requires executives to raise their perspective from their area of business, be it sales, customer support, marketing or some other area. They need to present a rounded view of the costs and benefits, and so need to invest time in building their case. However, it is time well spent: not only will it make it likely the CRM project is approved, but once it is implemented it will have clearly defined objectives and success criteria, making it far more likely that it will deliver as required.