CRM Software – What Appears the Same May Not Actually Be the Same
Selecting a CRM system for your business can be a frustrating exercise. To the novice buyer or evaluator all CRM systems appear the same. It reminds me of my experience selecting a diamond ring for my wife. I never purchased a diamond before so I did not really know what to ask. They all looked the same until I viewed them under a powerful loop, a tool that displays the different imperfections hidden in each one. Right then and there I understood what made one diamond better and more expensive than another.
The trouble with CRM software is that there is no loop to immediately display what each system does or does not provide, In addition, the majority of purchasers are novice buyers and as such, they really don’t know what to ask. As such, their decision is often based on a haphazard review of each product’s features, functions and price. Whichever product offers the most features at the lowest cost is the winner. This is troubling because CRM software is not something you buy; it’s something you invest in for the future success of your business. The decision should be based on how will this specific company and their solution impact the performance of my business. How much time and what resources will I need to invest to achieve our goals and how will I be able to measure the impact of this investment.
The purpose of this paper is to help you to make an informed decision based on your business objectives so I have created a CRM loop so that we can quickly see what differentiates one CRM solution provider from another.
First, it’s important to note that there is no one size fits all CRM software. The industry consist of several enterprise level products that offer an abundance of features and automation processes that the majority of small to mid-size business do not need or would ever use. These solutions are known to be cumbersome to use and require a lengthy and costly on-boarding expense. While there are some very good products in this category they are just not the right fit for most small to mid-size businesses.
At the opposite end of the spectrum are a myriad of basic freemium or low-cost, cookie-cutter products that are just that, cookie-cutter products. By design they offer limited functionality, flexibility or support services. Let’s face it. If I am going to offer a free or low-cost solution I cannot afford a staff to answer the telephone or provide consulting services. This is typically an internet sale and designed to address a specific purpose such as replacing an Excel spreadsheet with a shareable account and contact manager. While they serve a purpose, these are not the type of products companies invest in.
It’s the middle market that has the most limited choices. These companies need more functionality, flexibility and support services than are provided by the basic cookie-cutter solutions, but without the cost and complexity of enterprise products. In addition, they have to be affordable and easy to use. This is quite the challenge which is why there are only a few products that meet these requirements. One company that is continuing to gain notoriety in this sector is Commence CRM. Commence seems to have found that balance between functionality, flexibility and ease of use at a cost that small to mid-size companies find attractive. In addition, the company offers an array of support services that provide best practices for improving sales execution, marketing campaign management and lead generation. Outlined below are several criteria that customers have pointed out as their reason for investing in Commence CRM.
Commence CRM consists of a suite of business applications that rival enterprise level products at half the cost. In addition to account management, activity management, lead management, and sales pipeline management the company offers a help desk ticketing system with a knowledge base and FAQ, a marketing campaign management application, a document library, ad-hoc and analytical reporting and a fully integrated project management solution. Commence CRM is also modular in design so customers can select only the functionality they require today and add modules at a later time.
Commence CRM provides the system administrator with a high degree of customization which enables them to customize views, add custom profile sections, add custom fields, generate custom reports, establish security permissions, add workflow processes and more.
Commence assigns a named account manager to every customer whose job is to ensure that every customer gets the advice and counsel they need to realize the maximum value from the software.
The on-boarding process has been automated to reduce the time, effort and cost associated with the proper implementation of the system. Free training videos enable the end user to learn how to realize the maximum value from the product at the comfort of their PC, laptop of mobile device.
Commence has a staff of highly trained professionals that average 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, and customer service. In addition to providing advice and counsel, this staff is available to provide and help implement sales and marketing enablement services that result in improving sales execution, lead qualification and pipeline management.
Data Security – Where is my data?
Commence CRM has a strategic business relationship with Rackspace one of the leading providers of data hosting services. This provides Commence customers with the comfort of knowing that their data is secured by the best in the business. Customers may also house their data at a duplicate site or download their database periodically for retention on premise.
The CRM loop makes things very clear. Commence CRM is ideal for those businesses that are looking for a robust CRM solution that offers a high degree of functionality, flexibility, and customizability that is easy to use and affordable.