Do you prefer a PC or Mac?
On-Demand SaaS or On-site CRM?
Commercial or Open-Source Software?
The last 2 questions are my most common questions I receive every week when trying to evaluate and implement a CRM or ERP solution, whether it’s a start-up about to go IPO or a multi-billion dollar publicly traded company.
You know the old joke from the IT Project Management world: Good, Fast, & Cheap. Pick any 2 of the 3, because you can’t have all 3.
- If you want it Good and Fast, it won’t be Cheap.
- If you want it Good and Cheap, it won’t be Fast.
- If you want it Cheap and Fast, it won’t be Good.
NetSuite thinks Salesforce.com is Good and Fast, but not Cheap, and are currently trying to lure customers to switch over at 50% the cost. If you believe that statement, then what does that make Netsuite?
Choosing and implementing a CRM or ERP package applies like any new IT Project… it really depends on the needs of the customer.
Of course, the 2 biggest criteria are time and money. For instance, how fast they need it up and running, and how much they are willing to spend.
It also depends on the mentality of the company, or the person signing the check. For smaller companies, some are very conservative where they want their CRM to be in-house and run locally. Even Maximizer comes to mind.
Some will go the free or cheap route and go with a SaaS solution such as Zoho.
On the larger scale, some will deploy a nationwide or worldwide implementation of SAP for ERP or Salesforce.com for CRM, especially with sales people distributed across the country and around the world. Conversely, some people don’t “want to get locked in” and go the Open-Source route and choose SugarCRM, Concursive or SplendidCRM. The latter group usually has a good tech background, with software engineers and the IT group having an influence.
Let’s be honest here… several startups are driven and founded by tech guys. The CTO drives the ship, until it’s time to get serious funding. Then it all boils down to Sales and Marketing. It’s no secret that some large CRM companies spend 50-75% of their expenses on Sales and Marketing.
If you really want to take it to the next level, Sugar Data Center Edition allows partners to manage their own on-demand instances at a serious level.
Back to Reality
Then again, in choosing a CRM package, the key focus in purchasing software is to increase sales. Sales = Revenue = a positive balance sheet in the black. Red may be good for a bride on an Asian wedding, but it’s not good on my financial reporting.
On the end user side, it all comes down to how fast it can be adopted. Sales people are focused on two things: Sales and more sales. They don’t want to spend a week in training. They want it up and running, and they need to find relevant searchable data fast. The UI experience has to be intuitive. Simple, clean and fast.
If you are going to sell a CRM solution, let’s not forget reporting. Fancy meaningful reports will go a long way, especially from the top. You know, the person who signs the checks. Didn’t I say that already?