Master Lead Qualification and the Sales Cycle with Top Rated CRM Software (Part 2 of 3)
By Dave Kahle
Does this sound familiar? You have more customers to take care of, more variety of products and services to sell, more information to manage, and more meetings to go to today than you did a year or so ago. Welcome to the compressed, chaotic job that is the life of the sales person in the 21st century. It’s more difficult to be an effective sales person today than ever before. There has never been a time when smart time management was more desperately called for than today.
One of the best ways to make progress in managing your time well is to think in terms of becoming more effective, not necessarily more efficient. Efficient means that you do your work with a minimum expenditure of time and effort. Making phone calls while driving to your next appointment may be a way to multi-task and become more efficient because you jammed more activity into a limited period of time. That helps. But you’ll make much greater strides in your performance if you concentrate on becoming more effective. Effective means that you do the best things, those things that will get you the greatest return on your investment of time. Learning to say “NO” to a small customer so that you can invest more time in a larger one, for example, is a way to become more effective.
Back to our example of calling on your cell phone while you are driving to your next appointment may be efficient, but if you are calling an unqualified prospect, and driving to an appointment with a customer of tiny potential, it doesn’t matter how efficiently you do those things, they are still the wrong things to do.
Here’s a simple exercise to help you make major strides forward. Several times in the course of the day, stop what you are doing, and ask yourself this question: “Am I doing, right now, the most effective thing I could be doing?” If the answer to that question is “No, I’m doing this low value, low return stupid little thing,” then stop what you are doing, and do that which is your more effective option.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll begin to see improvements in your performance — you’ll work smarter, not harder.
Copyright MMX by Dave Kahle
All Rights Reserved
The Farm has just produced an article “How to Find the Best CRM for Your Startup.”
While the listing of CRM solution providers may be a good place to start, readers need to be aware that the article is void of some very important decision criteria. In addition, the assigned ratings appear to be based more on brand popularity than the vendor’s ability to address real business requirements. Here is what I mean.
First, the article lists several free CRM solutions which by design have very limited functionality or support services; yet they are rated higher than companies like Commence CRM that offer a comprehensive suite of applications (for sales, marketing, customer service and project management) and best practices to ensure the proper implementation and use of the software.
Their highest rated CRM is Salesforce.com, perhaps for name recognition and because this product is known to be rich in functionality. However, Salesforce.com is also expensive to purchase, difficult to implement and hard to use. That is anything but the number one choice for startups.
The article is simply a listing of the popular names in the CRM sector and there is nothing wrong with this. However, it would have more merit if it identified what value added services these solutions offer, if any, to their customers.
Smaller businesses and startups often have limited resources and as such need assistance from their CRM solution provider to guide them in implementing the best practices that will improve how they market, sell, and provide service to their customers. CRM software by itself will not achieve this so I would advise readers to make sure you fully understand what functionality and support services each of the vendors listed offers before you make your final decision.
Read the full article here: How to Find the Best CRM for Your Startup
By Nigel Park – TPS Consulting
With more than 400 CRM software programs to choose from, ranging in price from free to well over 200 dollars a user a month, it is easy to understand how frustrating it can be for a small to mid-size business to feel comfortable that they are selecting the right solution for their business. Products like Oracle CRM, Microsoft Dynamics, and Salesforce.com are popular names; but are too costly, too feature rich and too cumbersome for small to mid-size businesses. That leaves several hundred options most of which no one has ever heard of. If you step back for a minute and document the decision criteria that would make you feel comfortable with one specific solution provider over another, a few companies do rise to the surface. My favorite is Commence CRM. Why Commence? Well I have outlined some of my comfort factors below.
- Commence Corporation has been in business for more than two decades.
- Commence CRM is used in over 30 industries in companies around the world.
- Commence CRM offers robust functionality that rivals enterprise solutions costing much more.
- Commence CRM is highly customizable.
- Commence CRM can be deployed on premise or in the cloud.
- Commence CRM is supported directly by Commence Corporation’s professional service staff.
- Commence CRM uses a top rated hosting service to secure customer data.
- Commence has consistently provided enhancements to their software every year.
- Customer references have been excellent for both product and service.
- Commence CRM is affordable and offers more functionality than similarly priced products.
If you review the suite of applications, it is clear that this is a CRM for businesses that require more than a basic contact manager and a sales forecast. Applications are available for Marketing, Customer Service or Help Desk, Document Management and Project Management. A web-based customer portal was recently added to the application suite. Commence CRM simply offers more functionality than the majority of CRM solutions available for small to mid-size businesses. If you need all, or even a portion, of the features I have listed, you are back to Oracle CRM, Microsoft Dynamics, and Salesforce.com; and you have already determined that these products are not suitable for your business. Commence CRM might be the right solution for your business. You can learn more about Commence CRM at commence.com.
The CRM software sector is perhaps one of the most competitive in the technology industry, and there are many good companies that service small, midsize, or enterprise businesses. Despite this fact, rarely are these companies mentioned in industry journals. This is simply because the so-called industry experts continue to promote companies – not based on the unique problems they solve – but instead based on name recognition, features, and functions.
Some time ago, a leading industry magazine awarded Salesforce.com “Best solution for large, medium, and small businesses” – despite the fact that there are more than 400 CRM solution providers in the space. This was very impressive, but you have to ask yourself – was this award based on any actual analysis of the business challenges the product addressed across all industry sectors (small, medium, and large companies) or based on popularity or perhaps something else?
Saying ‘Salesforce.com is the best solution for any size business‘ is like saying ‘Donald Trump is the best candidate for president of the United States.‘ Maybe he is, but based on what – popularity and name recognition or actual policies supported by the public?
I think Salesforce.com does have a very good product, but I doubt it is the best solution for every size business. If it were, then why are so many competitive solutions like Commence CRM and others continuing to attract new customers?
What is a bit more disturbing is that industry journals and white papers can be misleading to companies looking to select a CRM solution for their business. They seem to represent that vendors are listed based on some specific criteria, when in fact, every CRM solution provider in these journals has paid a fee to be listed, and is supplied with your contact information if you submit a request for the report. This is simply not right. While I (and others like yourself) would like to see a bit more integrity here, I do not see this changing in the near term.
So what can you do if you are looking for CRM software? You can certainly use these journals as a guide but focus your search on who can address the specific business challenges you are trying to solve. It does not matter if they are popular, have the most features, or appear in one or more of these pay-to-play journals. Find the one that addresses the two or three core business challenges you need CRM software to fix.