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Archive for the tag “CRM adoption”

Let’s tackle adoption first: CRM software

CRM adoption lags the other enterprise softwares like ERP, HR or Payroll. There are many reasons for this. One important thing to remember is that no one forces you to use CRM; there is no statutory provision that will be violated by non-use. Whereas, after an organization is of a certain size, it has no option but to use the other enterprise softwares; if nothing else, for complying with various statutory provisions.

But, there are other and perhaps as important reasons for why CRM softwares do not get adopted as fast. Most of them relate to the usability and usage model.

First, usage model. It works on the premise that the sales executives will log profile data, interaction history and so on. All other users of the system merely feed on the efforts of the sales executive, or so it seems to the executive anyway!

Now, given the above, one would have thought more efforts would be made to make it easier for the sales executives to log profile data and interaction history. Barring a few exceptions, the contact management part of most CRM softwares tend to be awkward, to say the least. Lots of information needs to be captured in a large form for every contact. The impression, gathered by the sales executives is that this information is almost useless for anyone but marketing, and they end up working hard to input this data.

Most of this data is available in bits and pieces in other form in their email software or phone book. That is the reason now most CRM softwares make synchronizing with popular email clients a priority.

The information maturity model

I have always advocated a consultative and collaborative approach internally as the best approach for CRM adoption. As the CRM processes mature and confidence in and familiarity with the tool grows, you can consider adding more functionality and more importantly collect more information using the tool. Read more…

The same old story

Almost a year and a half back, I wrote a post called the “The real cost of CRM implementation”. I chanced to meet a Sales Director last week of a mid-sized enterprise who had decided to go with Salesforce.com for their company-wide CRM implementation. I asked her how the implementation is going. In one year, they have covered about half of her organization; so, they are still struggling to reconcile the “haves and have nots”. Read more…

Where does CRM end and ERP begin?

As a CRM product startup, we often get asked by customers to add features to our product that, in my opinion, are well in the domain of ERP.

Examples:

1. When you send a quote from the system, will it be possible for you to send the expected delivery schedule as well?

Answer: Sure, we can make the change. But, think of the problems. The CRM will need to know, what is the current stock-position, what are the pending orders in the system against them and so on before sending a quote.

So, either I link to your ERP (if it exists) or I continue to support duplicated information and make sure it is synchronized.

If you are a SME; which my customers are, the extra cost is not worth it.

2. Can you generate invoices from the system?

Answer: Yes, and no! I mean, generating an invoice from the system is child’s play for us. But, then, without a link to your billing system, how will it work? So, now you will want a billing system and then you will end up the work that is being done thru your ERP as well. Then you will want  to build a “bridge” to your ERP.

Can you afford it? Should you?

So, in short, our answer has always been to resist these requests. We think, for an SME, adopting CRM has anyway lots of challenges. You have to map and adapt your existing processes to the software, customize fields, work with your team to evangelize the concept and check progress in adoption. You may not want to bite off more than you can chew at the very first instance.

What do you think?

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