Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

When it comes to CRM software platform selection: Features are (almost) worthless

One mistake we see our customers make over and over again is comparing, and ultimately selecting, a CRM platform based on a list of features.

DartsOften advertised as “new and improved”, CRM system feature lists include items such as: ease of integration, remote access, mobile access, integrated analytics, multi-channel support, and campaign management. If you’ve ever run a search for ‘CRM Features Checklist’ you could compile a list of dozens of “must-have” capabilities your CRM should include.

When it comes to selecting CRM software, basing the decision off of a list like this can be disastrous as features are updated at a rapid pace, and become outdated quickly.

Just how quickly are features updated?

Once an organization commits to a specific CRM platform, they typically will stick with that platform for AT LEAST 3 to 4 years before considering any type of switch. Every year, Salesforce.com pushes 3 major updates and Microsoft Dynamics offers multiple new releases as well. Let’s assume each new update includes several hundred new features. Doing some simple math:

- 4 year CRM platform lifespan

- 3 new releases per year

- 500 new features per release

- 6,000 NEW FEATURES!!

When you consider the CRM system you’re evaluating will have 6,000 new features over its lifespan, doesn’t it seem insane to perform a feature-by-feature comparison? The results of the shootout could be drastically different in just 3 or 6 months based on the product roadmap. Consequently, we think it’s futile (and potentially dangerous), to compare two CRM platforms on features as they exist today.

Here’s a not-so-little secret. At their core, ALL CRM platforms inherently share the essential features you need to get the results you want:

  • Giving your sales and marketing teams the ability to target your best customers? Check.

  • Optimizing information shared across departments? Check.

  • Accessing analytics to segment, analyze, and run reports on your business? Check.

  • Offering better customer service to build customer loyalty? Check.

So if we don’t recommend selecting your CRM platform based on today’s system features, you might be wondering “well then how should I select my CRM platform?” Glad you asked, we tackled this topic in a free eBook named the “The Ten Most Important CRM Evaluation Criteria”. You can learn more about the eBook and download it here.

The good news? As long as you pick one of the market leaders like Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics CRM...either platform is flexible enough to be customized to meet your individual needs, regardless of how complex or unique you might think your business is. The real trick? Building a CRM platform that your sales team will use.

 

Topics: CRM Platform Selection