Wednesday, September 22, 2010

At The Top Of The List...

As you might have already guessed, a large part of my day-to-day CRM consulting work involves me asking questions.  Here is a small sampling of some common ones:

  • Where do you store your leads?
  • How are you tracking your sales?
  • Can you describe your marketing processes?

This line of questioning helps me get a better grasp on the intended goals for the CRM implementation.  I then translate this information into functionality contained within software packages such as SugarCRM and voila! we have a CRM system.

Conversely, clients tend to also present a wide range of questions and covering a variety of topics, some more technical than others, but all equally interesting.  One question in particular that I often times encounter is the following:

Which CRM system is best?

My answer to this is actually rather simple: none.

Sometimes people get the impression I am being crass in my response, but that is far from it.  The reason for my response is that no one CRM solution can ever suitably meet the needs of all users.  

This is also the reason why so many different variations of the CRM concept exist.  Highrise, SugarCRM, NetSuite, ACT! and so on are but a few of those products, each with its special take which their respective vendors hope will make their product stand out more than others.

From my perspective, a more appropriate question is:

Which CRM system is best for my business?

You need to make your selection based on the specific needs of your business, rather on rankings given to products by trade magazines, public opinion or the like.  Your selection criteria should focus on the manner in which the candidate systems are able to address your business needs, both technical and procedural.  

In short, don't let the herd decide what is best for you.  Pick what suits your business best, even if it is not the popular choice. 

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