A common sales closing technique is the “Puppy Dog” close. Lore has it a family visiting a pet store couldn’t decide if they wanted to buy a puppy. The astute shop owner suggested they take the dog home for a few days, and decide after if they wanted to keep it. The family did just that, and naturally they fell in love with the little critter and bought it. Hence the puppy dog close, also known as “give it a try and decide later.”
Technology companies are increasingly offering free trials as part of their marketing. Their hope is that by getting you to try it, you’ll quickly see the value and you’ll want to purchase it. Microsoft lets prospects download a trial version of Dynamics CRM so they can try before they buy. But CRM is no puppy, and you likely will not fall in love without some guidance. CRM is more like a lion than a puppy: powerful, intelligent and elegant, it has amazing skills and abilities…but if you don’t know exactly how to approach it, things can get unpleasant.
Dynamics CRM is like a giant buffet, with all the delicious food you could ever want. And that right there is both the strength and the problem with the free trial-- you get that entire buffet on your plate, all at once. Indigestion is almost guaranteed, because it’s too much to handle in one sitting. Most customers who take on CRM by themselves lose their way and get overwhelmed. Just this morning I got this email from someone reaching out for help:
“I feel like I’m groping in the dark. I am wondering how best to set up and define tables and relationships within the 120+ entities they provide, with no clear way to know exactly what they are intended for, beyond my educated guess.”
Note that this person has experience as a software developer. Imagine how frustrating it can be for laypeople. The great irony is that Microsoft CRM is in fact very easy to use, once properly configured for your business. You can even make changes, add and delete fields, set up new business rules, automate processes with workflows, etc. on your own. But the initial configuration, almost always, should involve a Microsoft Partner specialized in CRM, who will take the time to understand your business processes, and configure CRM to fit you, so that you’re not navigating parts of the software you don’t need.
Sometimes a free trial is a great way to get a feel for a product. With CRM, a free trial might do more to confuse you than help. You’re far better off getting some assistance from a Microsoft partner at the outset, so that you can reap the power and benefit of a CRM customized for your business.
Greg Kligman is Business Development Manager at
by CRM Dynamics