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You're Requirements Aren't Good Enough

Motivational speakers have a great job. They get paid wicked amounts of money and have no accountability. Plus, people listen to them, actually listen and heed their advice. I had the wrong major in school, so did not get the training for the motivational speaker career track. But, I have learned some things about the typical content of a motivational speaker’s pitch, and one element at the core of that content is the concept of stretch. Not Spandex, but the ability to push one’s self toward an objective that is a stretch of the capabilities. There are gazillions of examples of what is a stretch, depending on the motivational speaker circuit and audience, but stretch is key.

There is a strong relevance regarding the concept of stretch to your CRM program, and even though I am not a motivational speaker, I am going to tell you about it.

Every CRM program needs a strategy – it provides the guidance and direction for the program to deliver results. There is pretty strong evidence that links the presence of a CRM strategy (and strong buy-in of the strategy) to eventual program success. One characteristic of a good strategy is that it pushes the boundaries. If you want to have your CRM program really deliver, don’t make the status quo your focus. Build your program around the future, and a future that is a stretch for your organization. Stretch leads to success.

However, it is not sufficient to set stretch goals. What is really necessary is to set stretch capabilities.

Every business analyst knows that you need to define business requirements in order to build a CRM technology platform. The identification of requirements is a critical path step along the way to delivering CRM automation to the organization. However, building business requirements based on the current state is not what we do in the critical path toward a great CRM program. Rather, identifying the capabilities needed to achieve stretch goals is. If you want to be successful, define what should be in place, don’t replicate what already is in place. Stretch capabilities takes you to a successful end state, requirements keep you locked into the status quo.

How do you define stretch capabilities? Great question, glad you asked.

I think there are two great stretching sources. First, building out business requirements based on best practices is an excellent start. This helps define future capabilities needed, based on historical precedent. Best practices guide you to create something that others have proven successful already. But, sometimes you also have to a take further step. A second source of stretch capabilities comes from differentiation. How do set yourself apart from your competition? Sources of competitive differentiation are always changing, by definition – everyone is always keeping up with the Joneses, so the bar keeps getting higher.

For example, a source of differentiation right now is to build out your social business capabilities. However, a year from now this will be simply table stakes. Two years from now we won’t even talk about social – it will just be endemic to how we work with customers. But, there will be something new that helps you differentiate. Stretching constantly stretches into new territory.

No, your requirements are not good enough – not if they are based on the way things are today. If you are going to go through all the trouble of investing in a new or upgraded CRM program, you deserve better. Get more for your investment.

Stretch.


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