New marketing demystified for Indian SMEs

Archive for the tag “Zoho”

A monthly cost you should ask your CRM vendor about

Buying an inkjet printer: lessons when selecting a CRM

Allow me two minutes as I get to the point.

We have all bought a printer, from the very basic to more advanced. While we haggle the price down to the last Rs 50/- (~USD 1), we postpone the thought of the cost of printing – the ongoing relationship on even a monthly basis you have unknowingly signed up for.

Yes, right. I am talking about the cost of the print cartridge.

Okay, now to the point – why is all this relevant to CRM?

Simply, when you buy a CRM software, you are so “into” negotiating the per month license fees per user and beating him down on the customization, you fail to notice the one item on the table, which unnoticed today, will bleed you big going forward.

It is the storage cost.
In an earlier post, I have talked about The real cost of CRM implementation.  Let me spend a little more time on how you will slowly start bleeding on so-called low-cost CRMs.

You buy a CRM (SAAS) for USD 25/- per license per month. Let us say you have 10 users. So, your outgo on license fees per month is USD 250/- per month.

But, you only get 500MB of free storage for your entire organization! Go above that, and you pay USD 4/month/GB.

500MB?? You will run through it in the first month with your ten users generating activities, mailing literature, quotes and invoices and so on.

Let’s do a back of the envelope calculation for how much file storage can really be needed.

Quotes pdfs: 10KB per file

Invoice pdfs: ditto

Literatures send on email as attachments: 500KB to 1 MB each.

How long will it take for you to reach your limit or free storage? 1 month? 2 months? Know this; more time you spend on the system, more will be the storage that will pile up.


CRM: Everyone wants their competitor’s customers

So, now it is out in the open.

Sugar CRM wants to woo the existing customers of

SugarCRM Offers Customers Half-Off Their Subscription Fee Plus a Free Migration | SugarCRM – Commercial Open Source CRM.

Among the others, Zoho has been offering a “switchover” program for a long time; and, they do not limit their offer to Salesforce subscribers!

Move your data from Salesforce, ACT, SugarCRM etc, to Zoho CRM – Save over 60% of your CRM Costs.

To me, it shows two things:

1. The CRM industry in US and much of the western world is getting commoditized upon reaching maturity. So, Zoho and Sugar think they can take a “low-price” position and win folks over on account of lower upfront license costs.

2. The larger message: whatever be the public posturing, CRM vendors find it more profitable and rewarding to convert existing CRM customers than creating new ones- in the same or newer geographies.

And, a possible third..

could it be that whatever they might claim, servicing thousands of SMEs is really not where either SugarCRM or Zoho wants to be? They see themselves, as Salesforce did before them and Oracle or SAP did earlier- in serving the LME (Large to Medium enterprises)rather than the SME markets.

Good for us! SalesgenieCRM++ loves SMEs!

Personal takeaways from the Nasscom Product Conclave- Bangalore

I was there at the Nasscom Product conclave that just concluded in Bangalore. We had a great 2 days- meeting some truly inspiring people, picking the brains of many smart individuals and exploring possibilities of partnerships with synergistic businesses.

Read more…

The tyranny of choice in CRM configuration

If you are in the market for a CRM solution, you will ignore at your own peril. has an awesome product; flexible, customizable for many uses and markets. Salesforce has a plethora of add-ons you can pick from their partners (Appexchange); to enhance the product functionalities.

Salesforce changed the way we think of buying and using enterprise software, particularly sales and marketing automation products; all others who have followed Salesforce in that space have been largely following the same model of configuring and pricing their solutions. You pick what you need and pay as you go; what can be better than that?

I am not so sure the actual experience will match the expectation though; especially if you are a relatively small business with less than 20 sales/ marketing users. You see, most small businesses are, well, small. You are assuming that a surfeit of choices in the configurations, menu customizations, add-ons, license-choices etc work to their advantage. Nothing can be farther from the truth. I looked through the list of features from a few leading CRM vendors and I am sorry to say, I could not understand the relevance of many of the specs in a small business environment. See Sugar, Salesforce and Zoho. All the SAAS CRM offerings seem like the small business focus is an afterthought; so, the tendency to over-profile, over-log (have a workflow for everything) and offer an abundance of choices for customization.
What an SME or its employees want is to focus outside and not spend a substantial amount of time on logging the daily grind everyday. None of the CRM systems I have looked at, offers a respite from this workflow induced drudgery.

Let me use primarily Salesforce as an example of how the configuration and pricing works in the SAAS based CRM landscape.

An entry level package is offered for virtually no price at all (Salesforce offers one for USD 5 per user licence per month) with little better functionality than Outlook contact manager. Okay so, it is cheap. It is not apparent to me, however, if it does anything useful.
This is available for 1-2 users; more than that and you need to move to a higher priced license, costs 25 USD per user per month but will not add much to functionality except integrate with a webform for lead capture, tracking sales opportunities and running sales reports. Upto 5 users only. Hmm..
You want to add email marketing and a facility to send unlimited emails and remove restrictions on the number of users? No problems. There is a package at 65 USD per user per month. This also does Campaign Management (though, this seems to be a limited time promotion valid till 31st Dec, 2009).

Let’s not worry so much about the Enterprise (USD 125 per user per month) and Unlimited editions of Salesforce (250USD per user per month) as I do not expect small businesses to be interested.

Now, each of the above packages come with severe storage limits. When you pay USD 65  (Rs 3200/ approximately) per user per month; you are allowed only 20MB of usage space per user. Pay more to upgrade storage as your contact bases increase. How does your storage needs increase? Everytime you use a CRM system, you store details of the transaction including, call logs, literature, quotes.

And, what do you get for the money? Confusion. A list of features you are never going to use; a bunch of workflows which will ensure that you spend all your day on the software rather than meeeting customers and getting the job done. Bah!

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