Part 3. Choosing the Right System


There’s no shortage of CRM systems on the market, from cheap & cheerful to large scale systems that are part of ERP suites.

Contact Managers

Contact Managers are primarily contact (people) focussed. They record the name, company and contact details for each person, together with (usually) some free text notes and a reminder flag for call backs. You can normally export the records for mail-merging. They don’t include opportunity management or sales forecasting and have a simple flat file structure. Some are single user desktop applications, such as Microsoft Outlook, some can be multi-user, such as ACT.

Opportunity Management

As the name implies, these focus on recording sales opportunities (leads and deals), normally with sales forecasting as a reporting option. They have a more sophisticated/complex data structure, with Accounts (companies and organisations) who have multiple Contacts (people) in them, against which you can record multiple Tasks (things to do), Activities (things that have taken place, such as meetings and calls) and Opportunities (possible sales). They tend to come with more sophisticated reporting tools, import and export facilities and a security system. Examples are Pivotal, Goldmine and of course Cloud CRM Systems.

Sales Force Automation

This is a name for a suite of software that is given to sales people, normally field (out of office) sales people, to help them sell. It includes either contact management or opportunity management, together sometimes with email and calendaring (diary sharing). They can run on laptops or handheld PDAs, and can be of quite specialist design, such as systems for pharmaceutical sales representatives or for the collection of electricity or gas meter readings. One challenge faced by these systems is synchronisation – updating the laptop/PDA with data from head office and vice versa. Traditionally this has been done using dial-up modems at the end of the day, but with the widespread availability of high speed Internet connectivity, whether from broadband at home, wi-fi in a coffee shop or through the cellular telephone network, synchronisation has been replaced with systems that are permanently connected to the head office system, removing many of the support headaches that always accompany replicating remote databases.

Enterprise CRM

These are large systems, normally from an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) vendor, and they tie CRM into ERP (closed deals flow through to sales, accounts payable ties into the customer records). Capable of huge sophistication, and also of mind-boggling license and implementation cost, these systems are the most functional available. Examples are SAP, Oracle Applications, and Siebel (now also owned by Oracle).

10 Critical Factors in choosing a CRM factors

A six-part blog about how many CRM implementations go wrong because implementers fall into the same common traps. This Guide lists the ten most common pitfalls, and how you can avoid them.
•  Part 1 – A Brief History of CRM
•  Part 2 – Divided into Getting the Design Right,
• Part 3 – Choosing the Right System,
• Part 4 – Cloud v Local Application
 Part 5. Getting the Adoption Right, and
• Part 6. Avoiding the Pitfalls,

This guide will show you how to make sure that your CRM system will be a success, based on real life experience.
Knowing what the pitfalls are is more than half the battle.

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