What is the difference between functionality and business benefits?

What is the difference between functionality and business benefits?

So you are involved in selling Microsoft CRM? Ever wonder why you do a demo and then redo the demo and then never seem to be able to close a deal? Here is what a business decision maker recently said about seeing functionality:

“I sit through vendor demos regularly, vendors who want to sell to us. I cannot recall the last time I saw a vendor start with -- or have anywhere in the demo -- an end to end scenario in which their product plays a key role. As a result, we sit there wondering, "So how does this product help? What problem does it solve?"


Small vendors, big vendors; it doesn't matter. I sat through a three-hour demo last month from perhaps our biggest vendor, on a company-wide system we really need, and saw feature after feature without a single scenario. As I was walking out with a key decision-maker, we looked at each other and tried to figure out what the system actually did once you got below the 100,000-foot level.


So here we are, needing what (we think) this system does, and the vendor can't figure out how to sell it to us!”

How do you know if you are guilty of this? Lets look at a couple of the most important features of Microsoft CRM, the Outlook Client and the Excel ad-hoc reports. Lets look at the Outlook Client first:

Selling Functionality:

So as you can see here, Microsoft CRM runs completely inside your Outlook client. You see here we have a number of folders here that contain Sales, Service and Marketing. When I click on the emails that come into my inbox, I can attach the email to an entity in CRM.

Selling Business Value:

One of the benefits of Microsoft CRM is the ability to run it in your Outlook, which helps your users in a number of ways. Lets first start talking about institutional knowledge. Microsoft did a study to see how many interactions where actually tracked on a large deal between the sales executive and client. There were over 1200 emails, phone calls and appointments that we where able to find on the sales executive’s hard drive. You know how many of them where tracked in their existing CRM system? Three. So with that in mind, Microsoft CRM makes it very easy for you to track your existing activities in a very similar way to how you are doing it today. So here is my inbox, I am now going to open on of my emails. It is as simple as clicking the track in CRM button and then selecting where in CRM you want this tracked back to.

In addition, you can see here the ability to track emails, appointments and contacts between in my CRM system, Microsoft CRM also has a number of folders that have been created to help me organize my CRM information. Since I am an administrator, I can see all three areas, but based upon business rules, this can be changed to make it reflect your business processes.

(And so on….)

Now putting yourself in the position of the person who is going to be shelling out money for a new CRM system, which one are you going to find more appealing?

There is a ton more talking in the second one. And truth be told, I probably demo less of the actual product than I should. Does that mean I don’t know the product? No. It means business value, not my product is what should be front and center. You should connect the dots between increased sales and increased efficiency and ohh by the way, the efficiency comes from Microsoft CRM.

Business Value will also change based upon who in the organization you are speaking with. So if you are talking to the CEO, his business value and a customer service rep or a sales executive will have a different set of values. Some examples of business value are contained here.

So, this is about as long of a blog post as I can do for one day, but lets revisit this as we talk about creating business value during your demos and using scenarios vs. functionality to help you demo and sell Microsoft CRM. This is hopefully going to be the basis of our new demo script, 100% business value drive, 0% functionality driven. I look forward to your thoughts and insights. J

One of the things that this will make you have is Discovery. So we will also be covering qualification vs. discovery and how they differ…. (And they do in a HUGE way.)