Small.Business.Marketing

New marketing demystified for Indian SMEs

Archive for the tag “Small business CRM”

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?

The CRM customization industry

… sigh! Here I go again!

As a CRM user in India, after paying out anything from Rs 3000/- pm to Rs 12,000/- pm (these are per user prices, guys), you would expect to be productive from day one. The truth is no; you will not be. Since you have bought a CRM solution that can work for the big guys and the small, the retailer and the reseller, the pharmacist as well as the medical rep, you will realise that it actually works for none. Till you customize, that is. And, that is where the CRM customization industry comes in.

Spectacular as the growth of the SAAS based CRM market has been, the growth of the CRM customization industry has been even more spectacular. Virtually every vendor in the vast hinterland of the IT outsourcing landscape has a “CRM practice”; which basically means they customize Sage or Sugar or Salesforce for you. Modify the field-names, change the order in which they appear, add some custom reports, add the logo and hey presto, you have your own CRM tool.

This costs money. But, more than that, this takes time.

My advice, and this is only to the SMEs, is avoid customization as much as possible.

And if you have to, focus on those that reduce the clutter on the screen rather than add to the capabilities. Believe me, more capabilities now often mean more work to be done daily by your salesmen, your marketing executives and marcom professionals to add to the “profile information”, logging interactions and following “workflows” and “scripts” that lost their relevance almost as soon as they were written.

There are literally hundreds of CRM softwares existing in the world. Shouldn’t there be at least one which meets your current needs and some? Buy something  written for your market segment and your locale in mind.

Salesgenie CRM ++ is designed for the needs of the SME segment of the market focused selling B2B. Can it handle B2C? Well, no! Will that mean, we will not address those selling soap or tissue-paper? No, we will not! Will we lose business? Well, it was not our business to start with!
We are for Small to Medium sized businesses,  in India, whose sales model is B2B. If that means we do not “do it all”, so be it. We at least do not claim customization will fix this!

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