I get asked often about CRM systems for sales teams. (I should I train salespeople and help hire salespeople.) Here are a few thoughts about CRM.
One, it's only effective if the sales team actually uses it. Most sales stars are too busy selling to fill out forms completely, do their paperwork, or enter data in CRM -- unless you tie to their compensation. But do you want to force an otherwise productive sales star to paperwork and data entry? Or do you want her out selling more?
Two, CRM offers management a way to see sales activity. This is important for a couple of reasons: to know what is in the funnel; to know what may be installing (workflow scheduling, financial forecasting); and to know what is disconnecting (forecasting and cash flow).
Three, CRM for tele-sales should make the process smoother. Many Hosted VoIP systems integrate with CRM applications to make dialing, customer history, and note taking easier. It's up to the salesperson or Customer service rep to mentally accept this concept, so it doesn't become a source of aggravation.
Four, there are wide number of CRM applications out there (I list 10 CRM applications below). They are not interchangeable. Some do things better than other. Some don't.
Here are 10 CRM Applications:
- Salesforce.com - at $2B in revenue it has to make the top of the list.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM - a shout out to my MVP pals in Florida!
- NetSuite - competes with the Big Boys above.
- SugarCRM - open-source and clunky but there are professional SAAS editions available. LotusLive and Social CRM integration.
- Zoho CRM - lots of integration.
- RightNow - Gartner Magic Quadrant choice (with FB integration).
- BatchBook - which now just tags itself as Social CRM.
- Hirerise by 37Signals.
- The name says it all: Free CRM.
- This is called a Sales Lyfecycle tool: Landslide.
When I first heard about Landslide from my business coach, Keith Rosen, it was a CRM application that was not only cloud based (or SAAS), but it had an available assistant that the sales team could call to input data and get information read back to them, like contact or appointment info. That was the part I thought would launch it - for busy (or lazy) salespeople. The company blog isn't just about the company; it's about ways to sell. (This post is an example about sales tools for a sales tool.)
At the end of the day, CRM is supposed to be a tool. It can automate some of the sales and marketing activities. It's a task list. It's a database of interactions with the customer. If embraced, CRM can make sales easier both for retention, upselling, cross-selling and acquisition. Are you using any type of CRM?