Companies investing in CRM solutions should focus on the tangible benefits they receive such as improved user productivity, enhanced customer service delivery, and integrations to current systems. In their research, organizations must determine which CRM providers are contenders and which are pretenders in order to find the solution that best fits their requirements.
Benefits for Company and Management
Above and beyond the product’s features and benefits, companies can take advantage of a well-designed CRM software deployment for:
Quicker response for new leads, call scheduling, appointments and forecasting
Automation of repeatable tasks, such as assignment of leads based on specific criteria, for improved productivity
Better managed sales opportunities for increased revenue
Improved sales effectiveness through best practices and standardized processes
In addition to the company-wide benefits described above, the management team will be able to:
Use real-time data to make better business decisions
Produce more accurate sales forecasts by time period
Use standardized processes and templates for improved training
Help foster better communications between and among sales team members
Confusion over the “Big Boys”
When searching for the CRM solution that best fits your organization, you may become frustrated when evaluating which product best addresses your requirements. The two leading CRM vendors are Microsoft and Salesforce.com. To help prospective buyers determine the difference in the offerings, Microsoft upped the ante by posting an open letter to Salesforce.com customers. The letter posed the the following questions and comments:
In this economy, how can you justify paying two to three times more than you need to for an enterprise CRM system?*
Microsoft provides a financially backed 99.9 percent uptime commitment for every Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online customer; why does Salesforce.com only provide you with “commercially reasonable efforts” to keep your business running?
Having access to the most up-to-date information is critical to your business; why doesn’t Salesforce.com provide real-time access to data and dashboards, refreshed whenever you need it like Microsoft does?
Microsoft works great with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office; why does Salesforce.com want you to start from scratch when it comes to productivity tools for your people?
Microsoft provides the flexibility for your CRM system to work with other systems, whether they run in the cloud or on-premises; why does Salesforce.com lock you into one way of doing things?
* Comparison based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online v. Salesforce.com Enterprise Edition
Choosing the Right Partner
Make no mistake: the CRM solutions available now offer tremendous benefits to organizations, particularly in the sales, marketing, and customer service areas. One of the most important elements when performing a CRM system search is identifying and articulating your organization’s key requirements so you can ultimately make an educated decision.
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