Choosing the Right CRM Solution Part I
Customers drive your business success and the right Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can affect how your organization attracts new customers, manages opportunities and maintains high customer service levels. The first step to effectively managing this customer lifecycle is to choose your CRM solution wisely. In this two-part blog entry, we will take a look at some of the common features you should expect from all CRM solutions and then review the key strengths of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com represent the premier CRM solutions available to the midmarket – and if you don’t believe me, check out these charts* from two top industry analysts, Forrester and Gartner. Both analysts rate them as solution leaders in the CRM space.
*Chart 1: The Forrester Wave™ CRM Suites for Midsized Organizations (Q2 2010)
Chart 2: Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Sales Force Automation (Q2 2011)
While I feel that most CRM solutions offer the same basic core capabilities for managing marketing, sales and service, not every business is the same and each CRM solution offers unique strengths to meet your needs. For starters, let’s take a look at those core capabilities available in both solutions:
Accounts and Contacts: This is where it all started for CRM systems and allows for the capture, view and management of a complete, 360-degree view of your customers
Activity Capture: Your customer history is not complete without easily capturing each customer’s interaction from call logs to emails to meeting notes and documents
Marketing and Leads: Your sales pipeline starts here by managing all your marketing activities in one place; including managing lists and campaigns, tracking touches and prospect activity, and routing qualified leads to sales
Opportunities: Manage and close opportunities in a single place by standardizing and executing your proven sales methodology and recording customer interactions
Customer Service - Ticket/Case Management: Empower your people with tools that simplify case management, streamline escalations, improve knowledge sharing, and enable more effective account management
Workflow and Approvals: Automate approvals, eliminate redundant tasks, and experience widespread adherence to your business processes
Email and Calendaring: Integration with tools like Outlook and Gmail are now table stakes in the CRM space allowing for less administration and double entry
Dashboards and Reporting: Easily customize views for different roles
Mobility: View, capture, and manage activities from anywhere on your mobile devices
Configure to Your Sales Process: Map your sales teams' proven sales methodology to the technology
Collaboration: Purpose-driven collaboration with your peers to increase deal size and close opportunities faster
I know advocates of both vendors will tell you why their solution does these things better or has a better user experience or interface. But, if you're not sure which solution is best for you, let me provide you with a demonstration of both and help you decide for yourself. Just send me a message.
Stay tuned for my next blog, where I will dig into the key strengths that I believe differentiate these two CRM market leaders.
To learn more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com system solutions, please join Chicago area IT consultants SWC at our next Customer Relationship Management event or follow Todd Wickens on LinkedIn.