What Bicycles and Sales Platforms Have in Common

It was 8:30 on a Wednesday evening when I walked out of a friend’s birthday party for a breath of fresh air and discovered that I was going to have to find a new ride home. For in front of me lay my bicycle…minus a front wheel.

Before we go any further, you should know something about me: I bike absolutely everywhere. Rain or shine, it was my favorite way to get around Chicago, and after moving to San Francisco, nothing’s changed. So you’ll understand why I was devastated when I walked out that evening to see the space between the front pegs of my bicycle so blaringly empty, the whole now transformed into a collection of parts stripped of all usefulness.

You know, I probably should have seen this coming. Even though I bicycle everywhere, I decided to pick up the cheapest bike I could find on Craigslist. $100 for a bike was a pretty great deal, no? Except it was simply unrideable, so I sold it for a loss and got the second cheapest bike I could find ($180), which now has a brand new wheel, at the cheap, cheap price of $90.

Now, the whole reason why I came out to SF was for a new job, where I spend my days helping sales leaders make decisions around the tools that help their teams be productive and successful. It may sound a little odd, but my almost automatic decision to go as cheap as possible when it came to purchasing and securing a quality bicycle for myself really reminded me of the way many companies think when making the decision to bring on a new sales tool.

Looking back on this whole experience, there are three factors that, if I thought about more deeply when I was going through the purchasing process, would have saved me a lot of pain, time and money down the road. Whether you’re going to be buying a new bike or a new CRM, read on to learn about three things to think about before taking the plunge.

Time Spent

The first thing I should have asked myself is: how much time am I going to spend with this purchase? In the case of a bicycle, I commute every day back and forth to work, as well as the occasional trip after work and on the weekend. Which equals to… a lot of time.

At work, I’m in my CRM when I get in first thing in the morning until I leave at the end of the day. Again, that’s a lot of time. This is the first indicator, perhaps, that this isn’t a purchase to take lightly or make too quickly.

Impact on Quality of Life

My biggest mistake in buying a bicycle was to prioritize price over quality. After all, if I’m on the thing all the time, having a quality bike is going to make my life so much easier. Same with security: a good lock is cheaper than a stolen wheel.

In the same vein, the sales tools I use directly impact my productivity at work. In my last job, I probably spent about 25% of my time moving through dashboards and ironing out processes. Remove the need to waste time on admin and suddenly it turns out that I have a lot more time to focus on selling.

Eliminate Risk

In going straight for a cheap bicycle, I’m taking on risk in two areas: safety and cost. Safety is pretty straightforward. A low quality bike means it’s harder to shift gears and the brakes can be a little funky. On the cost front, between a new wheel and a tune up, I’ve basically paid for the bike once over again. Might as well just have bought a good bike right off the bat and saved myself the trouble.

With your CRM, the risk lies in investing so much time and energy with a provider that the cost to change becomes too intimidating. Like I’m suffering along with my low quality bike, I speak to countless clients who are dumping time and money into their CRM when they would be better off just getting rid of it and going for a quality product.

Yet for whatever reason, shopping for quality is a hard thing to train your mind to do. It’s much easier to try to find something cheap that will just help you get by than to really put a lot of thought into a purchase. At the end of the day, if you spend a lot of time with something and if it makes a big impact on your quality of life, then eliminate the risk and go into your purchasing process focused on quality and value, not cost.

That’s what I’ll be thinking about as I ride home from work today on my bike that I’ll probably never replace, my brand new front wheel squeaking away.

If this post got you thinking about all the ways that you may be losing money due to a snap sales platform purchase, I recommend checking out this white paper: Uncovering the Total Cost of Ownership of CRM.

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