What is CRM ?

Customer Relationship Management is a combination of software & a customized software process to help companies gain a competitive advantage in either sales, marketing or customer service.


Some common software packages include:

  • Act!
  • WiredContact
  • Salesforce.com
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • SugarCRM
  • ZohoCRM

Now to review the differences between these packages can take more than a quick blurb. For one client on a three user setup for a system focused on marketing and mobile access, I highlighted 40 feature comparisons.

Many of the  same features exist among all the products, so you want to consider ease-of-use, flexibility, licensing options and tech support costs.

What's best for you ?  Since your business has unique qualities and processes,  you should talk the software publisher and/or a consultant.  The consultants have the in-the-field experience to know what works and can have more experience on data conversions between software publishers.  Meanwhile. the publishers focus on building the feature set and ensuring stability.

Database Duplication Process

I answered this question on LinkedIn:

Deduping a database from scratch. How would you go about it?

LinkedInOur customer database has quite a few duplicate records in it (both businesses and contacts). How would you go about the initial dedupe? What steps would you put in place to ensure records aren't duplicated in the future? Is there any tech to help do this? Thanks!

My answer:

Each CRM has third party tools that help with the mechanics of this.

You should examine...

1) How many criteria do you believe are the most consistent ?
2) Do you want the computer to replace the newest record ?
3) What do you do with the "leftovers" ? For example if two people have different phone numbers, you replace one, how do record the "leftover" ?

How do you eliminate it completely ? hmmm...That's a tough one.

As a start, you could use e-mail as a match. Of course, then what if a client offers his personal and not business address for one person, then, not the other one ? Company and contact name are good starts.

I believe you have to set a couple criteria that flag you if one of three criteria meet the duplicate standard; then, let the user decide

Make It Easier for Your Sales Reps to Sell


Wired Contact Report Page Sample
One Click Report Example

I have been reading Selling Power magazine for many years, and I finally figured out they don't talk much about CRM. Why ? I believe they don't like data entry or even re-entry or administrative work like compiling reports. So, when you design the CRM, ask the software or your local consultant to make it "one-click" easy. Since I used ACT! when I was in sales, I thought it was "second nature" for others like me to take 5 clicks and moving between 4 fields to enter in a history with the proper details.  Turns out I was wrong. One of my clients pushed me real hard to make macros in WiredContact.  With WiredContact, I can one button do the following:

  • Record a "Sales Call" rather than a generic "history done" or a "note".
  • Automatically fill in the "Regarding " Field to say: Sales call with John Kaufman at The CRM Connection
  • All the sales person needs to do is say what happened.

OK, that's fine, but what's in that for the sales manager and those looking for trends in their company ? With one click, I made WiredContact do the following:

  • Filter the current week (day or month)
  • List only successful 2 way conversations or meetings
  • Tally the number of meetings by category, number of cold calls and voicemails
  • Count the Number of fields updated.  This way the manager can summarize whether the sales rep is updating the data so he can be well armed for subsequent calls
  • Section this off by Sales Rep

Consider this when designing your CRM system, no matter the platform.  Push your consultant to make it even easier to get data into the system.