Starting with the end in mind – a different approach to CRM

In Sage CRM by Hannah Munro

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This week I was asked to go see a new client who had had a Sage CRM system specification written and simply wanted a quote from a more established Sage business partner. He handed me a 30-page document which had been produced for them and that they had signed off. Great…..this should be a fairly simple and easy meeting…or so I thought!

At first glance, it looked very professional, but my unease started when of the entire document…only half a page was given to reporting! For us, the first step is to ask – what are you looking to get out of your CRM or ERP System?

If you don’t know what you want to get out, then how do you know what to put in? This is the single biggest mistake that people make when implementing any business management software.

Now that answer can be as simple as:

  • I want to track our enquiries or opportunities to make sure we follow up every potential sale
  • I want to track how many people attended an event
  • I want to figure out what our most popular products are
  • I want to know how many sales can be attributed to an email marketing campaign

This company I went to see had several customisations around event management,  so not wishing to tread on any toes I asked them “What reports are you looking to produce for your events? Either to help you prepare for the event or to analyse after?” – they had no idea!

This entire data structure and CRM software development were built to help them manage events, yet they had no idea of the reports they wanted to generate to do that.

Needless to say, we had a big discussion about what they were looking to achieve,  so that 30-page document, whilst incredibly detailed and professional-looking, actually was of very little use.

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Our 5 tips on how to avoid making this same mistake with YOUR ERP or CRM software specification


  1. Before you start, make a list of the aims of this CRM – start at a strategic level and then get more detailed.
  2. Ensure you create a list of the reports or data views you would like to see – make sure you include the filters you want. i.e. do you want to restrict this to a certain date?
  3. Prioritise these aims – the MoScoW rating is a good tool to use – this will help you decide whether certain parts of the development will deliver ROI
  4. Get everyone involved in putting the list of reports together – the everyday reports that finance or your marketing team need will be very different to those that your management team want
  5. Test your specification against both your aims and your list of reports – Even if your CRM or ERP software provider doesn’t create those reports for you. You need to know that the data structure will allow you to put them together yourselves

I hope this post was useful! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below and I will do my best to respond.

If you are looking at for a CRM software system please have a glance at our pages on Sage CRM – it is a flexible and very powerful CRM software.

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