Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

Did They Get the Bang for Their Buck?

Today's blog post was written by Kristie Reid, VP of Consulting at Sonoma Partners.

Since the inception of Salesforce and Microsoft CRM, both companies have made investments to add huge pieces of functionality quickly through acquisitions.

This has made our jobs as CRM consultants exciting as the platforms continue to expand and both organizations continue to show their dedication to the products. However, in our quest to stay on top of all of the latest and greatest technologies, I thought it would be interesting to reflect on the success of each of these acquisitions.

Note: This post only goes back 5 years, and I’ve only included notable acquisitions that have impacted the CRM user experience – I did not get in-depth with all 50 products Microsoft and 28 products Salesforce has bought in that time.

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Here is a chronological order of recent purchases with my assessment of the results of each purchase as it pertains to CRM:

407 acquisition blog graphic.2 v2

In general, really interesting stuff for both the CRM platforms and the companies that get bought and integrated into these two amazing companies. We know it’s hard to keep up with everything going on and will continue to keep you informed of any further developments!

Three Steps to CRM Success

Topics: CRM Platform Selection

CRM Platform Selection in a SaaS World

Today's post was written by Scott Zelinski, Salesforce Practice Director at Sonoma Partners.

Imagine buying your next car when criteria like styling, available accessories, engine size, or even performance were less important because the automaker would provide at home upgrades (while you sleep) 2-3 times a year, constantly making your vehicle better.

If you didn’t care for a particular upgrade you could reject it, or postpone it until later. The accessories that come with the car would also independently continuously improve. At appropriate times, new color and styling options would become available to stay in-tune with current trends. Even the aerodynamics of the car would evolve with state of the art science and technology research.

If this were reality, we would choose our vehicles much differently. We would disregard the smaller details and focus on the automaker’s “vision” for our vehicle. We would focus on the transitions it had undergone historically and where it was trending in the future. Our criteria would change as would our decision process.

In our current SaaS (Software as a Service) world, this is our reality.  Selecting a platform to enable your CRM strategy has also changed – definitely for the better.

The old school software selection process identified/documented all relevant user stories, prioritized and weighted them, and communicated them to potential vendors on the short list. We asked software vendors to provide detailed (= long) demos with all decision makers and core users in the room rating seemingly each and every mouse click. The result was typically a mind numbing exercise that took way too much time, wore out the project team before the project even started, and annoyed the vendors. In those days we would typically prohibit the software vendors from previewing functionality that was not yet generally available because we never knew when, if ever, upgrades would be made.

Thankfully, those days are behind us. CRM Platform selections today are much different. While core functionality is certainly important, knowing where/how platform vendors are extending that functionality becomes critical. The core features that are truly differentiators to your company should still be explored, but the base functionality can be reviewed at a high level, and new functionality on their release schedule becomes extremely relevant.

Core selection criteria includes much more of a business exercise:

  • The vendor’s business model and track record in your industry
  • Their ability to address your differentiating business needs (historically and in the future)
  • Your total cost of ownership and a real ROI model to get you there
  • Their ability to drive adoption across all impacted stakeholder groups (not just core users)
  • Their culture fit with your organization as more than ever, this is a true partnership

Focusing on the right business criteria will shorten your selection, keep your team fresh, keep the vendors engaged at the right level, and get you moving faster towards putting the right solution in your stakeholder’s hands.

If you need assistance with these types of challenges in your firm, we welcome the discussion: szelinski@sonomapartners.com

How to get executives to pay attention to CRM

 

Topics: CRM Platform Selection

Nucleus Research's CRM Technology Value Matrix - Who's Moving Up? Who's Moving Down?

Nucleus Research provides ROI (Return on Investment) and TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) research on business software applications such as CRM and ERP systems. Twice per year, Nucleus releases a "CRM Technology Value Matrix" that aims to rank the leading CRM applications on two different dimensions: functionality and usability

A few weeks ago, Nucleus released their H1 2016 CRM Technology Value Matrix. Nucleus subscribers can access the report here, the rest of us can thank Oracle for posting a copy of the Nucleus report online. :)

Q62-CRM-Technology-Value-Matrix-1H2016

If you spent any time evaluating different CRM platforms for your business...you won't find many surprises in here. Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Oracle lead the pack. With that said, we thought it would be interesting to compare the current Nucleus rankings with their CRM technology rankings from two years ago.

Nucleus-CRM-1H2014

Comparing the current 2016 rankings to the 2014 rankings (and focusing on the Leader quadrant), the following jumps out at us:

  • Salesforce.com and Oracle retained their top right (leader) positions
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM made a BIG jump up from 2014 in functionality, and they increased their rank in usability as well. Something big happened at Microsoft in 2014, coincidence or not that Dynamics CRM drastically improved their product since then???
  • Prior leader quadrant Cegedim dropped out of the leader quadrant (now listed as IMS Health in 2016 version after the 2015 acquisition)
  • Infor CRM and BPM Online also made strides to get into the leader quadrant

So what's our takeaway here? When we help our customers evaluate different CRM platforms, we encourage them to evaluate features that exist TODAY, but they should also strongly consider the momentum of the platform to try and project where the functionality might be in a few years. Most customers stick with a CRM platform for at least 3-4 years, so platform momentum means a lot. Obviously, Salesforce has been strong for years, but we love to see the progress from Microsoft Dynamics CRM over the past two years! 

If you're evaluating CRM platforms for your business, please contact us...we can help you perform an objective CRM platform evaluation! Also remember to check out our free eBook "The 10 Most Important CRM Evaluation Criteria".

Topics: CRM Best Practices CRM Platform Selection

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

Best Time of Year to Purchase CRM software



Determining if it’s time for your organization to invest in CRM software can be a challenge. However once you’ve come to the conclusion that yes, you need CRM software for your business, do you know the best time of the year to buy? Knowing the fiscal calendar information for both Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM might help you save a few bucks! Just like buying a car at the end of the month, quarter-end and year-end time periods mean that CRM salespeople are aggressively trying to close as many deals as possible to hit their own goals.

If you case you didn’t already know, Salesforce.com’s fiscal year starts on February 1st, and Microsoft’s fiscal year starts on July 1st.

End of the Quarter
Clock-and-Calendar-1024If you’re ready to sign a contract but the end of the fiscal quarter is within arm’s reach, practice patience. As CRM vendors scramble to close out quarterly goals, recognize and take advantage of the opportunity you have to get a better deal on licensing and contract fees.

  • Salesforce.com quarter-end dates: April 30, July 31, October 31
  • Microsoft quarter-end dates: September 30, December 31, March 31

End of the Year
Similar to the end of the quarter mentality, waiting to sign your CRM software contract at the end of the year could land you in the sweet spot for cost. Year end is the absolute BEST time to negotiate yourself a great deal on your CRM software licenses.

  • Salesforce.com year-end date: January 31
  • Microsoft year-end date: June 30

Take Advantage of Offered Discounts
If you are working with a sales rep at Salesforce or Microsoft, please make sure to take advantage of the discounts they offer you when they offer them. We’ve seen situations where potential customers sit on a discount thinking they can get the same deal later. Unfortunately the quarter-end and year-end deals really do expire and some customers lose their discounts because they took too much time to make a decision. If you are ready to purchase, try to recognize a good deal when it’s handed to you!

When you’re planning your project, remember that the average project timeline with a CRM vendor takes 3-4 months from discovery to deployment. If you have an end date for when you would like your CRM to be up and running count backwards. Do your best to align your kick-off date with calendar to get the best rate for your CRM software and implementation.

Topics: CRM Best Practices CRM Platform Selection

Beware of the "Yes Man" – Why your CRM is failing

"My current CRM isn’t working. I don’t know if my implementation partner or the software is to blame?"

We hear this a lot. Customers come to our table curious as to why their current Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployment isn’t performing as expected. And by curious we mean slightly miffed. We categorize these as “CRM rescue” projects, and Sonoma Partners conducts a LOT of these types of projects.

Yespeople

Technology or Implementation Problem?

When we talk with prospects about their rocky CRM deployment, very rarely is the technology to blame for the problems. Both Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM have millions of successful and happy users worldwide...if something is wrong with your CRM deployment you probably need to look into the mirror and dive into the specifics of your implementation process.

The most common issues we hear revolve around the implementation partner, and some companies even question themselves for biting off more than they can chew. Believe it or not, we think that both of these issues have the same root cause...a CRM implementation partner who’s a “yes man”.

CRM implementation partners come in all shapes, sizes, experience levels, and areas of specialty. Almost every CRM implementation partner has certified staff, gold partner status, and good technology skills...so sometimes it’s not easy to tell them apart. With that said, the partners we strongly recommend you avoid are the ones that always tell you what you want to hear. If the project timeline and budget are too good to be true, there’s probably a reason for that. If they constantly respond with, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” without taking a breath...watch out.

“Yes men” partners will always do what the customer asks, even if it might cause problems later. Common problems we see from “yes men” partners are:

  • Agreeing to an overly aggressive budget or timeline

  • Doing what the customer asks, instead of challenging to customer to pursue what they really need

  • Not setting correct expectations regarding system capabilities

  • Focusing only on the technology, and ignoring the human and change management components of the CRM deployment

  • Not providing best practices and recommendations


When it comes to selecting a CRM implementation partner - look for a “no”.


Yespeople-smallIf any of these symptoms sound familiar to you, it might be time for you to find a new CRM implementation partner! (Call us maybe?) When you’re on the hunt for a new partner, try looking for a “no”. If the partner challenges your assumptions or pushes back on some of your ideas, you might have found someone that can really help with your rescue project.

Let’s be clear, we don’t advocate that you select someone that crushes your CRM dreams. Of course you should look for a skilled CRM partner that has the staff and resources to build you a CRM system that works for your business. But just because a partner can do whatever you want, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should do whatever you ask.

Instead, we recommend that you look for someone that makes recommendations and encourages you to focus on the key functionalities that you need the most instead of answering all of your questions with, “Yes.”

 

Topics: CRM Best Practices CRM Platform Selection

How to Run an Effective CRM Software Demo

Today’s guest blogger is Jacob Cynamon-Murphy, a Technical Specialist at Sonoma Partners.

Over the past 10 years, I have presented or been in the audience for hundreds of different software product demonstrations. As both the presenter and the attendee, unfortunately I frequently see common issues that prevent a demo from going as intended.

Here are three things you need to take into consideration when requesting a software demo.

StandardDemo

Nothing's Standard Anymore

Have you ever asked a software salesperson to give you "the standard demo?" 

Does standard mean the same thing to you as it does to them? 

Will the standard demo show the product in the best light?

Would you go live with the standard demo?

Your answers to these questions are probably "No," "No," "No," and "No" and there's a reason for that. 

Your industry, your business, and your employees are unique. Custom is the new standard when it comes to line-of-business solutions.  You should determine internally what you will need - what will align with existing or proposed business processes, what will be easy and intuitive for your employees to use, what will be practical to maintain and support - before you engage vendors to deliver demos. 

Planning ahead will increase the likelihood that you see a demonstration of how the software can speak to your unique situation and solve your actual problems.

There's no shame in starting a relationship with a vendor with a standard demo, but you can often get the same result in less time by asking for a product demonstration video: you can watch it at your leisure and your vendor's time is freed up to prepare for a custom demonstration in the future.

Demo What You Need (Not What Vendors Want to Show)

There are two primary components to a software demo: the list of things you ask to see and the list of things you are shown.  If the two lists seem like a close match, that's good - it means the product being demoed does, in fact, meet your needs.

It’s critical that you know what you want or need before sitting down for a software demo with a vendor.  To paraphrase the Cheshire Cat, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there."

Unfortunately we have seen CRM prospects get dazzled by software demos that highlight snazzy features, even if they do not really need those snazzy features to meet their business needs.  If you go to the car dealership or the home theater department with a prioritized list of features, you're less likely to be swayed by the metaphorical flashing lights and add-ons… purchasing CRM software works much the same.

What You See Is What You Get (Or Is It?) 

SmokeandMirrorsThere is a reason that the term “smoke and mirrors” exists. In the world of software, this is also sometimes referred to as vaporware.  Even when the product genuinely exists, how often have you thought or heard someone else say, "That's not what they showed us in the demo" or "It doesn't seem like what they demoed to us." 

Like anybody else, software presenters want their product to show well. Unlike everybody who works with physical products, software can be manipulated to look or feel a particular way, even when it's not how the product truly functions.  Don’t be afraid to ask the vendor to provide a list of which demo components required 3rd party solutions.

However, rest assured that there isn't a secret society of software presenters and, as a matter of fact, sometimes the product doesn't cooperate, even when it really is capable of doing a task as stated (exhibit A and exhibit B of demos not going according to plan).

Come to the meeting with a well-defined list of must-haves and nice-to-haves for the vendor to use, and approach the demo with a healthy dose of skepticism.  Follow that advice and you'll find it easier to make better decisions about complex software purchases going forward.

 

 

Topics: CRM Platform Selection

What’s Wrong with CRM Software Evaluations Today

We receive a lot of requests from customers asking us to help them evaluate whether Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics CRM would fit their company best. Having witnessed a lot of customer evaluations of CRM systems, we think there’s lot of room for improvement and implementing best practices. Most companies evaluate a CRM system once every 4-5 years. Unfortunately this infrequent buying cycles means that buyers can’t develop the same CRM software perspective as a company like Sonoma Partners, where we constantly conduct CRM software evaluations.

I would estimate that the typical CRM buyer spends their time as follows when evaluating a system:

  • 50% of their effort is spent comparing functionality between the systems
  • 40% of their effort is spent comparing costs between the systems
  • 10% of their effort is spent evaluating the partner who will actually perform the implementation

This breakdown seems reasonable on the surface but we have some major concerns with this approach.

Functional Evaluation Risks

Customers love to dive deep on system features and really get into the nitty gritty to evaluate how the different systems work. Unfortunately, this feature evaluation only compares the two vendors at a specific point in time. Considering both Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce release more than 3 updates per year with hundreds of new features per release and assuming a 5-year investment horizon…each vendor will add 5,000+ new features during the system lifecycle. This is why it seems nuts to us to make a CRM platform decision based on detailed features as they exist today.

Another risk to diving deep on CRM features for your evaluation is that you might not be comparing the right features. Prospects ask us to evaluate features based on what they think they need, but we frequently find out 2 months later when we’re actually in the middle of the project that they actually need something totally different than what they thought they needed during the CRM platform evaluation process. In these scenarios I can’t help but wonder if they knew then what they know now, who knows if they would have made the same CRM platform decision?

Cost Evaluation Risks

LookingWhen comparing CRM systems, it seems to make good sense that the customer want to know the total cost of ownership for the system. Lots of factors play into these calculations such as hard costs like the software subscription, implementation costs, software support and potentially new hardware. Other softer costs exist too, including ongoing internal staff support and business interruption costs.

Calculating the hard costs associated with the software doesn’t usually cause a problem for customers. Unfortunately estimating the implementation costs isn’t quite so simple. Nothing strikes more fear into an implementation partner’s heart than to hear a customer say, “We need a detailed 2-year cost estimate based off this one page requirements document”! On one hand, consultants like us want to make sure we leave enough buffer to cover any unexpected surprises, but on the other hand we need to keep our estimate competitive.

Most competent implementation partners will struggle will provide detailed and accurate implementation estimates based off of documentation provided by the customer. I would encourage customers to really question the accuracy of any implementation estimate if the partner bid off a requirements document, and they haven’t been able to engage in person with your CRM project team. 

Implementation Partner Risks

At the very end of the CRM decision making process, the customer then turns their attention to the implementation partner. Remember the breakdown of percentages we discussed earlier? We firmly believe that 90% of a CRM project’s success or failure depends on the implementation team. Both Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics CRM have hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers, and millions of happy users worldwide. If your CRM project fails, very rarely should the technology receive the blame. Instead customers should hold themselves and their implementation partner accountable.

Please note that while the implementation partner may carry a great brand name the actual project gets executed by a specific team of people (not the entire company). We witness many cases where customers received not-so-great resources from a highly ranked or regarded implementation partner. Make sure you know which people from the implementation partner will be working on your project because you might pick different CRM implementation partners based on the assigned team.

If we had it our way, customers would conduct CRM software evaluations much differently. In our ideal world, customers would spend less time worrying about detailed features and spend more time evaluating the implementation partner and the actual project team to make sure there’s a strong track record and good personality match.

 

Topics: CRM Platform Selection

Eight Reasons Why You Should Engage a CRM Consultant for your Selection Process

Today’s guest blogger is Bryson Engelen, a Sales Engineer at Sonoma Partners.

Companies usually evaluate CRM systems every 4-5 years: the average tenure of a CIO. This means your CIO (and his or her team) may have never done a CRM evaluation before, and if they have, only once or twice. This lack of experience is often the root cause of a long, painful, costly, and inefficient CRM evaluation.  We’ve witnessed hundreds of CRM evaluations and have compiled a list of common tragedies. If you’re vetting a CRM system be sure to file these scenarios under the “what not to do list.”

  • Do not: spend exorbitant amounts of time and money gathering your staff in a conference room to gather CRM software requirements
  • Do not: begin your evaluation process without a well-documented and clear understanding of your business process
  • Do not: come to the table without an objective sense of your needs because you will get mired in the tactical rather than the strategic
  • Do not: focus on generic CRM requirements
  • Do not: assign leadership of the CRM evaluation to someone unfamiliar and uninformed about the CRM landscape

ChecklistFor these five reasons, and dozens more not listed, I can tell you from experience that your internal staff should not be alone leading the charge on the selection of a CRM platform for your business. While your staff is critical to the process, they likely need expert guidance while navigating this complicated decision. If you want to get the best possible results in the most efficient manner, we strongly recommend that you hire a 3rd party consultant to help lead the CRM evaluation process.

Hiring a consultant? You may cringe at the thought! The truth is that the money you spend on hiring a CRM consultant to help you evaluate your CRM purchase decision will save you a considerable amount of time and money in the long run. The best, and smartest, choice you can make is to hire a CRM implementation consultant as soon as you know you need to update or change your CRM.  A highly qualified and seasoned consultant brought into the CRM evaluation process at the beginning can save you time, money, and anxiety, plus ensure you end up with a good implementation. 

Here are a few reasons why professional CRM consultants are almost always guaranteed to do a better job than your internal staff.

  • A CRM consultant has years of CRM expertise and they thoroughly know the marketplace. 
    Benefit: You don’t have to spend money training your internal resources who in the end will only know a fraction of what a CRM consultant has learned over many years.

  • A CRM consultant can bring best practices and helpful experiences from other industries to your business.
    Benefit: This will lead to a better CRM system design.

  • A CRM consultant can objectively define and document your business processes.
    Benefit: This will help you gather better requirements and consequently guarantee a better CRM implementation.

  • A CRM consultant will discover how your staff ACTUALLY does their job, not how managers THINK they do it.
    Benefit: This will lead to a more user-friendly (and used) CRM.

  • A CRM consultant can help you prioritize and weigh your requirements based on your actual processes, not generic CRM requirements.
    Benefit: This will prevent you from asking for requirements that don’t apply to your business. 

  • A CRM consultant knows the current CRM landscape and can suggest platforms that are strong today and have a good roadmap for the future. 
    Benefit: You won’t purchase a platform that peaked five years ago. 

  • A CRM consultant can evaluate if it’s better to integrate a CRM with a current tool you love, try to custom build a specific functionality into the CRM platform, or use a pre-built third party integration/solution.
    Benefit: With a CRM consultant you receive a custom solution that satisfies your business needs.

  • A CRM consultant can prioritize the proper amount of time to run a thorough evaluation, instead of asking your internal staff to do their “regular” jobs plus the CRM project!
    Benefit: You can be confident you conducted your CRM evaluation with the utmost due diligence and efficiency.

Involving a CRM consultant from the beginning can be a lifesaver for you and your project. During a good implementation you will go through a process called Discovery, where your business processes will be reviewed, documented, and estimated by a CRM consultant. You will pay a CRM consultant to do this at some point during implementation.  Why not do it before you select a platform and maximize the benefits of Discovery to guide you to the right platform in the first place?  We often find as we get into CRM implementations that the customer needs something completely different than what they thought they needed during the CRM evaluation because their internal resources couldn’t effectively define their requirements and processes. Of course, by that time they have already chosen a platform and we have to do some creative problem solving.  You avoid this headache altogether by hiring a CRM consultant to engage in Discovery before or during your CRM evaluation.


You may think hiring a consultant at the beginning of a CRM search is putting the cart before the horse, but engaging in Discovery early on allows you to find the right horse, build the right cart, and not have the passengers pull the cart along.  While some customers hire the CRM Consultant they used for Discovery for their implementation, never feel obligated to do so.  Consider the Discovery an audition for the implementation. If it turns out the Consultant you used for your CRM evaluation isn’t a good fit for you, you still get help in the process, decent documentation, and you won't have spent a ton of money on a bad fit. 

Topics: CRM Platform Selection

When is it Time to Invest in CRM Software?

When it comes to how businesses manage their customer data, we’ve seen it all! We’ve seen Fortune 500 businesses using shared network drives with hundreds of disorganized folders, startups emailing Microsoft Excel files back and forth, small businesses using Google Docs…and good ‘ole pen and paper grids tucked into manila folders splayed acrosDisorganizeds conference tables.

A common misconception about purchasing CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system is that it’s only for large or complex organizations. In reality, the size of your organization doesn’t determine whether or not you need a CRM. If you want to effectively manage your client’s contact information and valuable customer data, using CRM software isn’t a nice to have, it’s an absolute must.

When do you know it’s time to invest in a Salesforce or Microsoft CRM?

1. Your Current Method Doesn’t Scale

Whether it’s a series of Excel spreadsheets or Word Documents, you will reach a point where your disjointed method of data management doesn’t scale. Does this growth reflect the number of employees you have? Not necessarily.

Scale could mean you have expanded to new geographies and you no longer have the luxury of walking across the hall to ask another member of your team about a specific client. If your sales team is divided geographically, your data management must be able to go beyond physical boundaries.

2. You’re Investing in Marketing

Businesses are embracing marketing automation software at a rapid pace and implementing more sophisticated marketing strategies than ever before. We have seen several businesses purchase CRM software because they realize they have all these contacts with no connection. If you’re adding accounts and looking to create meaningful ties between these stand-alone products, it’s time to pull the trigger on your Salesforce or Microsoft CRM purchase.

3. You’re Struggling to Communicate

Your sales team should be able to communicate with ease and know what’s happening across your business at a moment’s notice. Gathering information on a specific client shouldn’t require hours of combing through spreadsheets, documents, or a paper trail across multiple desks. If this sounds all too familiar you need to recognize that your sales team is wasting time and costing your company money.

With a successful CRM deployment your reps will be able to get snapshot views of a specific customer or deal in the pipeline in seconds. Creating a central repository for your sales focused communications saves time, money, and resources.

4. You’re Losing / Gaining Customers

Whenever you see a significant increase or decrease in the amount of customer’s you have, it’s time to invest in CRM. If you’re losing customers, you need to be able to track every stage of the pipeline in order to pinpoint where the deal derailed. If you’re gaining customers, you need to analyze what activities are causing conversions so you can continue to focus your time on these actions. Major fluctuations in the number of customer’s you have requires closer inspection to uncover major trends that could positively (or negatively) impact your business down the road. 

5. You’re Restructuring

If your company is restructuring you have hit the holy grail of opportunities to implement CRM software. Many customers have a hard time justifying launching a CRM project when they have departments all over the map with different methods for managing customer data. If you are restructuring or rewriting process, seize the opportunity to start fresh. Implement a CRM system from day one to coordinate data across new teams and increase your chances for widespread adoption of the tools. 


If you’re experiencing any (or all) of the above, we’re here to help. Let’s work together to build a CRM application that will positively impact your bottom line. 

Topics: CRM Platform Selection