Investing in enterprise software of any sort (CRM, Support, Marketing Automation, Customer Success) is no small task. Nobody wants to purchase the wrong software. Even with the relatively low costs of SaaS subscriptions, wrong purchases can be very disruptive. Some real costs of purchasing the wrong software include:
- replacement or dual system cost
- the cost of selecting another new software
- retraining and re-implementation costs
- business disruption costs
- lost opportunity costs
- career opportunity costs
Smart purchasing (thorough and expeditious at once) is a time commitment and requires understanding the business cases, desired outcomes, requisite functionality, technical specs, and budget constraints before shopping. In best-case scenarios, a cross-functional team, comprised of business unit leads, key users, IT, and procurement collaborate to create a matrix of requirements. These rubrics are then used as checklists or scorecards when vetting the competitors.
Samples of requirement checklists/rubrics for Customer Success Management platforms may include the following areas:
- Data Management
- Customer Analytics
- Workstream Management
- Health Scoring
- Communications Capabilities
These are the vitals, the must-have areas. From here, evaluation teams start looking at how each platform meets these needs with their features and functionality. They may then give the platforms they are evaluating scores in each area and reassess how important certain criteria are as they go through the process.
While it’s not very “sexy”, the thing that’s missing from this list of requirements is the ability to grow— the extensibility of the software. Extensibility refers to the ability of a software system to allow and accept significant extension of its capabilities, without major rewriting of code or changes in its basic architecture.
Having a checklist of requirements, functionality and features is great, but such a list is created based upon the present-day needs of an organization. When adopting new software, such as a Customer Success Management platform, you want your own admin (perhaps with help from an IT resource) to be able to easily improve functionality and fit as your organization grows.
ADMINS NEED FUNCTIONALITY TOO
When shopping for software such as Customer Success Management platforms, don’t discount how important it is for your admins to be able to easily configure the system for growth and change. They should be able to do the following independently (without contacting a support or CS person for help):
- easily incorporate custom attributes
- easily design, create, and delete playbooks
- easily define, edit and create triggers
- use in-product object-mapping for easy integration with CRM data
- easily define, edit and create lifecycles, health scores, and workstreams
- easily add and define users
The truth about extensibility is that most newer software is “lighter” and written to be modular. It’s the older software that has decades of legacy support tied to it where things get convoluted and difficult to customize. The “dirty” truth about Customer Success software is that they’re not equally extensible, and don’t provide admins the same degree of independence and ease of configuration. So, when developing an evaluation checklist for any software, don’t dismiss the importance of including ease of administration and configuration as a key criteria.