The Case for Needs Analysis

Needs Analysis

The Case for Needs Analysis

You may have seen it posted many times on LinkedIn; in fact, I just saw it today:

Which (marketing automation, email distribution system, etc.) system do you recommend?

People post single-word responses proclaiming solidarity with their favorites, and that’s the end of the conversation. The original poster may then take the most popular response or two, look at the price/features breakdown, discuss with some internal organization partners and make a decision.

Fast forward a few months. The system has been implemented, but it might not be exactly what that LinkedIn poster was hoping. Perhaps it doesn’t work as hoped with internal systems, or maybe there’s data that’s still not being used effectively.

It is possible to avoid buyer’s remorse, but it’s going to take some work in the form of a needs analysis.

The Why Factor

It’s obvious that there’s a hole in your organization – people are spending hours doing work that could easily be automated, thereby making them more efficient; you’re missing an opportunity to grow business with a prospect-turned-customer because you’re not tracking their journey after the sale. Whatever it is, the first key is identifying that missing piece of the puzzle.

Once you’ve figured out this part of the riddle, it’s time to start asking of your organization:

  • Why do we have this role?
  • Why do we feel that now is the time to make a change?
  • Why do we think x type of system with solve it?

Answers that Create More Questions

So great, now you have the answers to those questions, and probably have an idea of the type of system you want to implement. Now it’s time to dive into your collective final goals – what efficiencies will the newly implemented system realize, how will it enhance the customers’ experience with your company and, last but certainly not least, how will this new system increase your overall bottom line?

Then, in order to achieve these goals, it’s finally time for the needs analysis. During this step you’ll identify what feature(s) of the ideal system you’ll need to help you achieve these goals. For example, if you’re interested in marketing automation, you’ll need to describe the prospect’s entire journey to becoming a customer, and identify what touch points you need at each stage to make the transition successful. Once that sale is made, you’ll map the customer’s journey (and, again, associated touch points) to re-engagement. How will this new system touch both internal and external users, and how will those touch points trigger customer interaction back with your company?

Finally, you’re ready to begin looking at the myriad systems likely available for what you need. Sometimes you’ll know the right fit from the get go. Sometimes there’s an ideal fit but a less than ideal price, so you have to be willing to compromise. Before you reach that point, alleviate disappointment and the creation of unrealistic expectations by identifying the minimum viable requirements: What are the absolute must-haves to consider this a success, and what are the nice-to-haves that aren’t completely necessary at this stage?

Time Will Be On Your Side

It’s important to be thorough; the more information you have, the better you’ll be able to trust that you’re making the right decision. Needless to say, this is not something that can be done quickly. It takes time to conduct the various levels of analysis needed to make an informed decision. But as a wise man once told me, “You can have it fast, cheap or well done. Three choices, you get two. Choose wisely.”

You do have one more possible ace in the hole: Flying Cork. If you’re looking for a new digital marketing system, our team will become your organization’s partner, helping you identify and implement the right system for your needs.