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Archive for the tag “CRM software”

The evergreen vistas of Social CRM

Why I am still not convinced…

The last few months have seen a flurry of actions on the Social CRM front. We have seen large splashes made by largely good looking apps. Here’s what I think the best (e. g. Nimble ) of them bring to the table:

1. A clean, really clean user interface- and a UI and navigation to match. Now that’s something to strive for!
2. Bar none- they are all cloud/ SAAS offerings and what more- they all offer integration with other apps. While the cynic will say, they have no option but to offer integration with other apps seeing that this is the only way they can offer capabilities they themselves do not have, we tend to believe otherwise. We think there is a place for specialists as well as generalists and if someone comes in solves just a small problem, really well- he/ she will still have something of value to offer.

And, the fact that they are all on the cloud and gaining rapid traction, tells you two things:
- cloud is the way to go; for consumers as well as vendors. It is past discussion.
- cloud is not just about faster and easier deployment of code; it is about learning from customer feedback and community and improving.

So, why did I start on this quibbling note?

The basic question still is- how are you measurably monetizing your social interactions? Can you?
1. Can you monetize?
2. Can you measure? With any degree of granularity?
Of course, you are welcome to turn around and say, you don’t care about measuring or even monetizing.

And, the other question- more subtle, but important nevertheless, is:

Having the tools to engage your contact base in conversations on one single platform is great. Here’s the problem though:
1. Who will ensure consistency of communication and messaging? Who will train the sales guys on staying “on message”?
2. Who will create this content that we now have the channel to share- across different channels? Make no mistake- the same message will need to be re-worded – for being sent on Facebook vs sent on email vs sent on Twitter. And, who will be trained and savvy enough to manage the conversations and more, lead the conversation to sales?
3. One broadcast post on  FB and Twitter –> 10 conversations and what if more than one person from your company is in the loop? Who drives consistency?

I remain a skeptic.

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…

What the rumored HP deal with Salesforce means

HP to sign mega deal with Salesforce, may dump Oracle Siebel: analyst – International Business Times.

As a player in the small business CRM market (makers of Salesgenie CRM++ ), we rejoice. I will explain, but first a take on the story itself.

This could be a defining moment for Salesforce, for the cloud-based application providers (particularly enterprise applications like accounting, CRM and ERP) and for the CRM industry itself. 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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