CRM systems tend to have a wider user base across enterprise organizations than most other software applications do. Industry analyst surveys indicate that over 60 percent of CRM systems are used by sales teams, about 40 percent used by marketing, and about a third of the systems are used by customer support. Despite this wide range of users, my guess is that the real driver or "owner" of the CRM system is even more strongly biased towards the Sales VP.
Stories by David Taber
With the scope and amount of data in modern CRM systems, it's easy to ask for reports and get nice-looking dashboards, and get them in short order. Unfortunately, you could ask for lots of meaningless data on these dashboards, and subordinates aren't likely to say no to your requests. How do you avoid the trap of reports that practically beg the users to game the system?
Most leads are declared dead too early. More than half the revenue flow can come from leads that are more than 9 months old
Imagine a CRM consulting project with inadequately specified requirements, no clear internal project manager, and ill-defined success criteria. Your consultant bids it on a time and materials (T&M) basis. You're in a rush, no time for a detailed RFP - you know the consultant can do the job, but you need a budgetary number to get approval. We've all been through this drill: somebody brilliant suggests that this has to be fixed price, it'll be easier to get project approval and manage to conclusion that way. You know, just like it would be when buying servers.
CRM systems are supposed to comprise everything that touches the customer relationship. Through native functionality or integration across systems, CRM systems are supposed to achieve the holy grail of the 360-degree view. But all the good books on CRM were written before the current wave of internet marketing techniques (Twitter anyone?), and marketing automation apps continue to evolve rapidly.
Backup, archival, recovery, and redundant operations for business continuity are key success factors for industrial strength IT. But how do the rules of the game change with multi-tenant SaaS applications?
I've written endlessly in this column that your CRM data is far more valuable (and expensive to maintain) than the system in which it runs. The Hippocratic Oath for all CRM decision makers must be "above all, do no harm to the data." Even so, CRM systems must be maintained, extended, and integrated to meet competitive realities and business needs that evolve over time. And with each improvement to the CRM system comes implementation cost, changes in maintenance/operational costs, and risks to the data, so you have to consider the alternative of CRM system replacement.
Any big software project is vulnerable to the evils of scope creep. Project estimates are wrong, new requirements are added, and the next big bang release falls farther off schedule and out of budget. What are the specific tactics that can lower the impact of scope creep in CRM systems?
As a "horizontal application," Salesforce.com can be used for SFA and CRM across a wide range of companies and use cases. It's also a platform for building business applications in vertical industries such as financial services or real estate. Almost all these classic CRM applications involve customer acquisition, service, and relationship management-all related to revenue.
In an accounting or ERP system, most of the data must be right, period. If invoices, accounts receivable, inventories, work-in-process numbers, ECAD files are "best guesses," someone will lose their job and the CIO will be on the hot seat.
CRM products have been around for more than 20 years, The SaaS vendors have been selling their CRM wares for nearly a decade. Despite all that experience, powerful myths and misconceptions about CRM still can catch customers by surprise. While much of this article's advice applies to any CRM system, we've focused on the specifics of SaaS systems such as Salesforce CRM.
Customer support VPs may have to manage a range of customer-facing functions such as order-taking, shipment expediting, installation and field service appointments, as well as technical or warranty support. Each of these functions should have direct access to the CRM system, but the specific information needed (and transactions performed) are quite different across these CS roles.
You were one of the business-side executives who championed a new CRM system for the company. Now you've won the battle. Your company's new CRM system is turned on. What should your initial priorities be as a sales team?
Your company has acknowledged that the business needs a new CRM system. But the CFO is nervous about the costs, and starts to suggest strategies that could lower costs-or doom your project to fail . Now's the time to keep your eye on the business goals as you make choices. For instance, how important are your company's procurement issues versus project management? What are the policies and business process improvements that will fundamentally change the economics of your CRM system?
Your company knows that it wants a serious CRM system. But the CFO, nervous about the costs, starts to suggest strategies that could keep things under control.