“The World’s Most Popular CRM” caught my eye so I clicked, and came to ? – yep “salesforce”. That caused a bit of a laugh.
Sure, salesforce certainly dominates web traffic – that’s its strategy. But most popular? ACT, Goldmine and Maximiser would all have something to say about that. They’d also be wrong if making the same claim.
No question, the worlds most popular approach to managing relations with customers will be paper based – files, folders, journal books, stickie notes. But when it comes to using computers for CRM, the spreadsheet stands head and shoulders above all the others added together.
Of course Excel, Numbers or Google Spreadsheets are not CRM systems, but that doesn’t stop people using them for CRM applications – particularly lists. Lists of customers, targets, suspects, prospects. Lists of deals, sales, values, totals. Same applies to Plans.
There’s no sense to this, given the number of CRM systems around, some of which are free.
Why would anybody use technology designed for calculating numbers, and with no integration or process, to manage the multiple dimensions of CRM – Companies, People, Plans, Actions, Schedules, Assignments?
One answer is it’s to cobble together Outlook as a contact and task management system – (not great but can be made to work by somebody with too much time on their hands). This at least sits on the same computer so the lists and contact details are similar places. And of course most people are familiar with the tool set.
The other answer is it’s infinitely flexible. Any user can keep his, or her, information in ways that make sense to them. The tools become genuine enablers, helping, rather than hindering, users to do their jobs better.
Contrast this with typical CRM systems, such as salesforce (which is really just a web based version of ACT), where there are lots of options to choose from, and lots of data to input, for somebody else’s benefit.
- One approach is infinitely flexible, although time consuming and sub-optimally efficient.
- The other is rigid and mostly driven by what other people want.
Ask yourself whether you’d rather spend time finding and winning new business, or fighting somebody else’s idea of what your CRM should work like.
So if I’ve managed to keep your attention this far, maybe you’ll be interested in why I think this way?
The answer – 25 years working in sales and sales management, making prospect lists, doing forecasts, looking for upside and keeping fingers crossed.
More specifically as VP of Sales and Marketing for the UK office of a US based server manufacturer I ran a team of 50 sales and support people. The guys in Silicon Valley had a “CRM” system they used to collate prospect and forecast information from around the world.
To keep them quiet I had to put my data in their system, but for my own records I used ?
yep – spreadsheets.
Of course we don’t use spreadsheets anymore. We built Front Office Box for people like us. People who wanted to manage their “CRM” their way but wanted a proper relationships management tool instead of something that works great, at managing our bank accounts.
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