Retired at Retired
30 April 2008 18:03pm
I have had a pretty good look at the main serious Web-based hosted SFA and CRM solutions. Salesforce.com, Netsuite, SugarCRM, EBSuite CRM. They are all very similar and probably very appropriate in many situations.
However my opinion is that none of them are intuitive and in a sales situation none of them are fast enough. There are too many clicks for the bread and butter task which is
The user is buried in a sea of leads, opportunities, tasks, timetables, cases, quotes and projects. Each with its own list and its own update form. Of course most of this doesn't get used, but it does clutter up the screen something rotten.
In the end I wrote a system for my own use and have rolled it out to a couple of clients where we could integrate it with the web site functions so that transactional data is included on the customer screen.
The objective was to be as simple and intuitive as possible. You won't recognise it as the same animal as the market leaders I listed above, but for me at least and my telesales person it seems to work very well at the core task.
There is a demo at http://sales.textor.com
Obviously it needs development and probably money to take it any further. Here is my question. Is there an opportunity here? Should I think about taking it further? And (gulp) does someone in this august body feel they could contribute and would like to work with me on this?
Technical Project Manager (MBA, MBCS, CITP, CEng) at Naxtech.com
30 April 2008 21:50pm
I think the opportunity is certainly there. It's just a matter of choosing an appropriate target market and promoting it accordingly.
It may also be a good idea to look into possible integration with accounting software? ..just food for thought.
Well, I think it all depends on who you want to target and how.
I hope tha above help. However if you would like to discuss things further feel free to contact me on 07712255379. I'll be happy to help if I can.
Publisher at 2N Media Ltd - ModernSelling.com
03 May 2008 11:05am
I think the issue here Textor is like looking at the capabilities of Word and saying you only want to type a letter.
Also important is to realise that Customer Relationship Management is what it says on the tin - having evolved from systems designed to manage customer information, and a company's relationships with that customer. And that can be quite a long way removed from either Sales Force Automation, or indeed new developments like Sales Management systems.
You might find some of this debate interesting - http://www.modernselling.com/forum/messages.aspx?TopicID=41 - or even a look through a rather more extended list of CRM type suppliers already on the market here - http://www.modernselling.com/business-directory-sales-team-suppliers/technology/software-services-crm.aspx. There is a variety of more and less complex stuff, including integrating with accounts etc. as Denis was suggesting (and that is a trend in medium and larger companies).
You might still have a shot, because lots of CRM implementations are failing, not least because sales staff are swamped with input requirements which are irrelevant (to them) and time consuming. But have you got much further than a kind of basic Outlook function? And, if so, what exactly is the added value that prospects will perceive?
Hope that helps - Neil
03 May 2008 13:15pm
Actually if I just want to type a letter, Word for Windows is easy. I don't have to go to a menu and select 'letter', then go to a list of addressees and find the one I want and if there is no record create one, and then select the letter format I want to use and then select the type of greeting I want to use from a drop down list, and so on and so on.
No. I just type.
If we could make SFA applications as simple as Word we would really have cracked it. My dream.
I did say in my post "They are all very similar and probably very appropriate in many situations." I have never thought of my system as a CRM system (although it has been pressed into this role). Theoretically SFA and CRM should be the same, at least to existing customers. But the fact of the matter is that sales staff are incentivised differently and work differently. If a prospect calls the last thing they want to hear is 'Just a moment while I struggle with the computer'. (Neither does a customer but we live with it don't we).
I have met with people using these SFA/CRM systems for sales and the picture is often that the sales people in the field have their old rolodex and scraps of paper and then they type bare minimum into salesforce.com so that management can produce their reports.
This is not how it should work.
Sales people need a tool which is slick and simple. You might say (and I couldn't possibly comment) that really really good sales people have a low attention span and low patience theshold for technology. The guy/gal flicking his/her fingers while the computer screen refreshes is the person I am after. He/she is impatient to get on with the next call because time is money.
I taught my telesales person how to use our system in about 30 minutes. She got straight into it and it works like a dream. I just don't see her getting into salesforce.com as quickly.
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