Category: Crm

3 reasons why your CRM system is your most valuable asset : Kapture CRM Software

3 reasons why your CRM system is your most valuable asset : Kapture CRM Software


As a business tool, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has always been in the eye of the storm. Although traditional systems can sometimes boast high performance values, the general results have not always been up to the mark.

While the ROI gained from a CRM software service might vary widely, some things have and might still go terribly wrong with CRM systems in the recent times, which can eventually make a sensible idea go haywire.

A lot of experts are differentiated as to why most CRM software don’t yield the expected ROI for some companies. However, there are ways using which you can ensure that your organization doesn’t end up meeting that fate.

Understand CRM and keep your expectations realistic:

Different people will give you different definitions of CRM. What most people fail to comprehend is that the basic idea behind CRM is to get close to your customers and tailor the product and service offerings of the organization as closely as possible to each individual customer’s taste.

When you misunderstand CRM, the chances of it helping you maintain friendly and loyal relationships with your customers, and eventually facilitating the growth of the company, are significantly low.

Make sure to choose the right CRM solution :

A CRM-based system allows your company to link together your various customer databases via a central database server. There are a variety of CRM software service providers in the market, and although the market is highly saturated with CRM players, only a few of them can deliver on what they promise.

Ending up with the wrong technology will not only cost your company a lot of money, but it can also potentially cripple the organization due to the lost opportunities.

As a technology, CRM software is continually evolving. Hence, it is critical for every company to thoroughly evaluate their current business processes before adopting any CRM software service.

The implementation of CRM is extremely important :

Implementation of a CRM system is a major challenge for many organizations, as they are aware of the fact that things can go wrong if the CRM software isn’t properly aligned with the operations that are occurring within an organization. The only way that implementation can work wonders for your organization is if it obtains full support from the top management.

Every organization can ensure their management’s support if they are successfully able to demonstrate how the automation processes and tools of a CRM software service can be perfectly integrated with the business.

Another place where implementation can go wrong is through insufficient training. It goes without saying that a CRM system is not independent of the employees, since they are the ones who will be operating it. The people operating CRM should be given the necessary training on how to gather the information appropriately from the system with minimal intrusion, and properly use that obtained information.

It can be difficult to measure the payoff of a CRM system. Trying to reach a conclusion early on may lead to poor decisions and judgments made by the top management. A CRM system can have a positive impact on the ROI of the company if it is implemented appropriately.

More often than not, when CRM projects fail to produce any tangible business benefits, it’s usually due to them being inappropriately implemented. A good implantation of the CRM system will give the company returns-on-investment in two major areas: improved efficiency and in the increased activity of the customer base.

Hi all I am manaswini mishra a content analyst by profession in Bangalore.I have expertise in writing Articles about our owned product Kapture CRM. This CRM software helps you in various ways (for example :- It helps employees respond to client queries very quickly, easily and effectively) This also contains every bit of details of the customer. The main purpose of our software is Customer satisfaction, time consuming and user friendly and also stores all the data provided by the costumers or employees.
For more details about our product kindly visit our site: crm tools

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Motives Why CRM Approaches Fail

Motives Why CRM Approaches Fail

An excessive amount of center of attention on the CRM supplier and technological know-how. Some companies get too caught up in having the fine viable CRM strategy available in the market. Some firms need entire call-facilities, On-Demand CRM, web-founded, and Blackberry devices which allow their IT folks to enter purchaser expertise wirelessly. Even as these applied sciences are tremendously valuable, an excessive amount of emphasis on them can lead any company off beam. It’s naturally very foremost to choose the first-rate CRM vendor on your enterprise, however first-class does not continually mean flashiest.
No longer ample center of attention on the customer. Businesses can center of attention an excessive amount of on science and approach, and no longer enough on what’s on the core of CRM: the customer. The primary letter in CRM stands for “consumer” and so the patron must be first when desirous about any CRM strategy. A name-core will also be exceptional if it is purchaser pleasant. However, some call centers are too problematic and alienate the consumer from the manufacturer. Alienation is the particular reverse of what businesses need to obtain when implementing CRM. The true ROI of CRM is discovered in consumer retention and the acquisition of recent shoppers. As a way to have success with CRM, a corporation need to work closer to building a powerful relationship with its consumers. CRM is the trail by way of which the customer and the company can realise each different. Focusing on applied sciences and ignoring the basics of client service will reason even probably the most technologically evolved CRM strategy to move fallacious.
Dashing into CRM adaptation. Commonly, company presidents get the inspiration of CRM into their head and decide that their entire corporation have got to be CRM-equipped as quick as possible. Rushing into CRM is a recipe for disaster. IT workers must comprehend the thought of CRM. Any one who knows the significance of CRM shall be higher desirable to deal with consumers and attain the manufacturer’s targets concerning CRM. Dashing into CRM does now not allow plentiful time for all IT individuals to be briefed on the fundamentals of CRM and the way it will be carried out inside the industry. Some businesses enforcing CRM need to create whole departments that in no way existed earlier than. The greatest care have got to normally be taken when creating an entire new portion of a organization. CRM must typically be carried out across the entire company. If this is rushed, it may well lead to all varieties of compatibility issues, consumer confusion, and even employee confusion. Data gathered need to be viewed across many applications, and abundant time have got to receive for networks to be mounted. Businesses making use of CRM technological know-how reminiscent of Blackberry devices, or name-facilities ought to be even more cautious when imposing CRM for the primary time. Science will not be excellent, and issues can occur at any time. Any corporation that sends their earnings drive out into the market with unchecked science is soliciting for catastrophe.
Some say that it’s inconceivable to check whether or not CRM is a hit or a failure. The proper ROI of CRM lies with the patron. A company that avoids the pitfalls of CRM implementation will observe a dramatic increase in consumer satisfaction, retention, and acquisition. CRM can help any organization vastly whether it is used competently, cautiously , however still successfully. CRM technological know-how may also aid corporations whether it is used thoughtfully and well timed. The whole corporation must be all set for CRM when it’s carried out. A company can not count on specific numbers instantly after striking CRM into influence. CRM is a protracted-time period procedure with the intention to support reap long-time period targets of a enterprise. Consumer focal point is primary and can aid any CRM technique to grow to be successful.

OCIMS Solutions were built specifically for the Services industries with a strong focus on the Food & Beverage industry.
Technology based innovation is the fundamental building block of OCIMS software. Our drive for Quality, Superior sophistication and Simple User Interface is an ever present guide for OCIMS to deliver superior Software that addresses the business practical needs for efficient, reliable and user friendly solutions.

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Are you buying the CRM the right way?

Are you buying the CRM the right way?

There has always been a hell and a heaven difference between consumer products and software application purchase. While the former has had a run-of-the-mill selection process, software investment has been a long-planned one. However, with time, the line between the two has got blurred.

In the words of Charles Tatum – ”although CRM buying process is different than buying consumer products, the fact is that even in CRM selection, most business entrepreneurs are falling prey to sales hyperbole. And the best example to substantiate this fact is the list of LinkedIn’s top ten sales buzzwords released in 2013. Although all of the terms are generic-based not specific to any particular industry, it’s not hard to imagine how these terms are being used ubiquitously to sell CRM. ”

How is the ever-presence of buzzwords influencing CRM selection?

The excessive use of catchphrases by CRM vendors has already started affecting CRM software solutions buying process. Reportedly, it has become a common denominator among most CRM software providers to pitch their products with buzzword-rich lingo. In fact sales reps are specifically trained to explain their CRM packages using a fair share of product jargons. And unsurprisingly, majority of business decision-makers get easily carried away and select a CRM not entirely based on their organizational needs.

What can the businesses do to evade this predicament?

Experts recommend a careful planning and evaluation process as the best way to avoid falling into the trap of fancily-worded CRM feature sets. Once an organization takes time to develop a comprehensive CRM plan and strategy, it will develop a list of core features and functionality to evaluate each CRM vendor. In sum, it will have a clear picture of the type of CRM application required.Business entrepreneurs or for that matter business decision makers will become less susceptible to being influenced by marketing and sales overstatement.

For those about to embark on, or currently in the middle of the CRM evaluation process, below enlisted is a few recommended steps:

1. Hold a session with End Users

This is a no-brainer. If you want your CRM investment to be a productive one, it is essential that the CRM application gets used across the organization. And this can only be possible if the CRM solution is selected addressing the needs of both management and end users.

Explaining this context better, Mark Johnson states -Remember that customer-facing employees spend all their time interacting with customers/prospects in one form or the other; which is why they have a comprehensible idea of the inefficiencies and user pain points with the current organizational systems. Consequently, they can cite them before you and also suggest creative solutions which can be included in the CRM.

Benefit: the management can become aware of customer dissatisfaction arising out of organizational inefficiencies which otherwise would have remained in the dark.
Also, prioritizing the opinions of the end-users will definitely make them feel important. Resultant to which, they will act as active CRM participants once the CRM solution is rolled out.

2. Consider your Budget

Small or big, local or global: irrespective of the size and nature of the organization, budgetary concerns will play a major role in the selection process. However, unlike 5-10 years back when CRM was primarily considered a privilege for the large MNCs, the CRM market now supports enterprises in both camps. Thanks to the technology of cloud computing that has put a full stop – to the series of trauma small and medium-sized enterprises had to face after deploying on-premise software applications.

Now with cloud-based CRM applications, there is literally no headache of servers, storage, disaster recovery, networking capabilities and an in-house IT staff. Not to forget the annual maintenance fee and integration cost which also goes out of the window.

However, stating that cloud-based applications are embraced only by the organizations facing financial limitations will be wrong. Gartner, Forrester and Ovum – all three have released several reports which has cited the rising number of large companies employing cloud-based applications because of advantages such as reduced labor costs and hardware requirements.

3. Vertical Market Requirements

Most renowned CRM vendors have gone deep into vertical markets by creating industry editions. You too can look for such CRM vendors who specifically design and develop a CRM solution suited to your industry type. Opting for customized CRM software holds specific relevance for industries that –

* Deals with unique forms of customer data
* Customers use a non-standard path to buying
* Use of channels (resellers/distributors)
* Need to manage different tiers of communication, namely – customer relationships with partners, direct customers and so on.

In any of the above-mentioned scenarios, it is advisable to choose a customized CRM solution tailored to yourvertical industry.

Experts recommend scheduling tailored presentations. You can pre-brief to the prospective CMR vendors about your organization’s current state and desired future state. Based upon your company’s functional areas and the roles within it, they can put up a customized demonstration of their solution.

To increase their chances of selection, most of the vendors will put up a complete picture as to how their solution will solve your organization’s most important business issues.
Note: Most likely, a single presentation will not be enough for you to finalize upon a vendor. A subsequent technical session will be helpful to ensure that the benefits of the solution can be visualized and understood in relation to your organizational loopholes.

4. Vendor selection

Post a thorough analysis, the last thing you’ll want is that your vendor over-promises you and ultimately under-delivers. Or worse is not able to support you in the future. This is precisely why it is of unequivocal importance that you choose a reliable CRM software provider.

Following are a few of the steps you can execute to zero in on the right CRM vendor:

* Examinevendor’s track record
* Check in with the vendor’s references. Ask if the CRM implementation was genuinely transformative. Inquire about the CRM vendor’s role in it.
* Research in social media about the reputation of the vendor.

Paul Anderson is a CRM consultant based out in California. For over five years he has been offering CRM solution for SMBs. During this period he has observed what works and what doesn’t work for companies. He brings in his wealth of experience on CRM customization and solutions to his writings on blogs. He is an avid reader and enthusiast blogger and engaged with many online communities. He also loves outdoor sports and often goes fly fishing with fellow enthusiasts. Follow him at Twitter: @paul_corelynx

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CRM Solutions Providers in Perth

CRM Solutions Providers in Perth

CRM solutions are business strategies that assist in building a healthy relationship with customers. They have become a milestone in the promotion strategies of modern business organizations. Earlier, CRM solutions had been based on client-server architecture. A few draw backs of the client-server replica CRM solution Perth led to the development of web based CRM solutions. Web based CRM solutions are business strategies intended chiefly for ecommerce.
As the World Wide Web serves as the platform in web based CRM solutions, the program require be installed on a single server. The installed program can be accessed from any remote location, and any modify made in the program will be reflected throughout the method.
CRM solutions providers are companies and individuals who provide solutions to build a nice and profitable customer relationship. CRM is the abbreviation of Customer Relationship Management. In the there world, CRM has become a landmark in businesses strategies. It assists in building new business strategies which won’t only improve relation with the customer and but also to enhance the prospects of overall business. Today, CRM has become equally important to tiny, huge, and medium business organizations.
Increase in the demand of customer relationship management (CRM) has lead to the popularity of CRM solutions providers. CRM solutions providers are broadly classified in to – in-house CRM solutions providers and hosted CRM solutions providers.
In-house CRM solutions providers are also often called custom-made CRM solutions providers and on-demand solutions providers. Usually, in-house best crm software Perth give solutions to meet the specific needs of a company or a customer. They give business solutions to all types and sizes of companies. Based on the size of the company or organization, in-house CRM solutions providers usually take to twelve months for the whole implementation of their program. In-house CRM solutions providers have plenty of added advantages when compared with hosted solutions providers. In-house CRM solutions providers usually have an intimate knowledge of the legacy systems in the organization. Thus, their programs are simple to put in and maintain. Usually, in-house CRM solutions providers give solutions for sales, promotion, and other services. In-house CRM solutions providers are more expensive,
Hosted CRM solutions providers are better known as outsourced Customer Database Perth. This type of CRM solution providers simplifies the whole management technique, and thus reduces the risk and increases the worth of the businesses. Hosted CRM solutions providers have solutions for sales, promotion, and other major services.
When compared with in-house CRM solutions providers, hosted CRM solutions providers are more cost-effective. Usually, hosted CRM solutions providers will cost around $ 70 per month for a medium size business organization. Therefore, it is widely used by tiny and medium-sized business organizations.
For more details Please Visit: and do a mail You can call on the no.: + (08) 6102 0617.

A few draw backs of the client-server replica customer relationship management Perth solution Perth led to the development of web based CRM solutions. Web based CRM solutions are business strategies intended chiefly for ecommerce.
vtiger, vtiger crm, vtiger open source crm

vtiger, vtiger crm, vtiger open source crm

Variance Infotech is a Software and Web Development Company, where we convert business concepts and ideas into elegant web and software solutions. We are one of the leading firm in delivering Custom CRM & ERP solutions to global clients. Our expert Vtiger CRM implementation team has varied experience in serving clients from UK, US and EU with bespoke business solutions.

We merge expertise and skills to make web work and to bring maximum return for your expanding business in shortest time. We work with global clients, understand all specifications, and have customer-centric approach and never-ending bond of trust.We deliver mirror-like and cost effective CRM & ERP solutions to clients with ultimate transparency.

VTiger CRM is used vastly due to its open source nature and has large number of users across globe contributing for its development. We handle numerous VTiger projects and customize the CRM for various industry-specific needs. Our customer-centric approach makes us proficient in VTiger CRM implementation for various industry verticals. We have expertise in integrating CRM & ERP and CRM with eCommerce and is pioneer in implementing CRM systems for varied industries. Our team excels in integration of existing modules and also custom development of new ones specific to business requirements.

Our project objective for Vtiger CRM development and Vtiger CRM customization include extensive modules in:

* Sales Force Automation
* Customer Support and Services
* Marketing Automation
* Inventory Managment
* MS Outlook Integration
* Telemarketing management
* Customizable letter system with template support
* Pre-sales, Post-sales, procurement and other business processes
* Issue tracking and alert system
* Customer self-service with status updates and order history

At Variance Infotech, we believe in providing complete solution, from feasibility study to project management, from implementation to bespoke development and maintenance thereon. Our specialized areas are V-Tiger CRM customization, implementation, OpenERP implementation, CRM & eCommerce integration, CRM & ERP integration, CRM Consulting, data migration from third party system to CRM and also CRM Training.

vtiger CRM is an open source CRM application, which was forked from SugarCRM in order to be fully open source CRM application with comparable functionality, SugarCRM and It offers reporting, customer portal and the prospects for plug-in free version, while these functions are in the paid versions of other applications, CRM.


In its latest version 5.3.0 (as of November 11, 2011), vtiger offers all the standard features of CRM:
Sales force automation (customizable product records, inventory control, quotations, invoices, tickets and problems)
Technical support and service functions, including customer self-service portal
Automation of marketing (lead generation, campaign support, Knowledge Base)
Inventory Management
Analysis and reporting
Features of user interaction include:
Integration with corporate email systems (plug-in for Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird extension)
Support for Asterisk PBX phone system
Functionality cloud
RSS Feed suscription
PDF files through the generation of the library TCPDF
In addition, vtiger has support for multiple databases, security management, as well as various web forms. The project is available in over 15 different languages.
The interface similarity between vtiger CRM and Zoho Office Suite module have been noted. Nevertheless, it seems to be related to the overall corporate sponsorship, and not to the common base of code.


vTiger is built on the LAMP / WAMP (Linux / Windows, Apache, MySQL and PHP) stack using code from other open source projects, such as SugarCRM. The core team of vtiger CRM is based in Bangalore, India.


vtiger CRM installation is made entirely of HTML / PHP web interface. You can install vtiger CRM 4.x and 5.x on a standard web server with a CPanel, if they have the correct version of PHP and MySQL already installed. On 5.x, the package comes bundled with PHP / MySQL installations are fully customizable. The procedure involves loading. Tar files from the Web site CRM vtiger and then using the control panel file manager to download and unpack the source files.
vtiger CRM is also available as a hosted service that requires no installation on your own web server. [3] vtiger CRM On Demand is delivered using a platform EC2 Amazon.


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CRM Implementations: Five Most Common Ways Business Managers Sabotage Them

CRM Implementations: Five Most Common Ways Business Managers Sabotage Them

CRM business success depends on adoption. Ultimately it comes down to the buy-in from your end users and their full use of your CRM. Your CRM investment and results can be canceled out if users avoid or work around your CRM solution. All the detailed plans, pain staking research, vendor negotiations, and deployment efforts can be completely negated if your users fail to use the system.

Why do users avoid using CRM? The reasons are many, ranging from a desire to obscure efforts from business managers to a simple resistance to change. Change is tough — but not changing is much tougher, so managers need to coach employees through the transition from “the way we’ve always done it” to the use of a CRM system.

Business leaders can guide their staffs to the full use of CRM, they can also contribute to CRM adoption failures. CRM doesn’t demand a new way of thinking from the sales, marketing and service staffs alone – it also means a change of thinking for management. Remaining anchored in old ways of thinking can set the stage for CRM efforts to fall flat and for investment to be wasted.

Here are the five most common ways business managers unwittingly damage CRM adoption within their organizations.

1. Highlight CRM As A Sales Manager’s Tool And Ignore It As A Sales Representative’s Tool

The aggregation of sales data is one of CRM’s most useful capabilities, and it gives sales managers better visibility into their sales pipelines and their sales staff’s performance. However, emphasizing this to your sales staff without also pointing out how it makes their lives easier and more lucrative is a major de-motivator. While the manager is able to quickly and easily see data and use it to make decisions, that capability comes only when his reps are entering the data into the system. Unless managers emphasize how the sales reps benefit from the system, they’re going to feel like they’re trading time spent selling for time spent being their manager’s data-entry clerk.

2. Turn CRM Into Sales Managers’ Automated Tattletales

Sales managers need to be able to spot negative trends before they become problems, but how they react to these trends can erode the sales staff’s willingness to report on its actions within the CRM system. A heavy-handed response to something that CRM is revealing is likely to result in less enthusiastic use of the system. It’s akin to reps exercising their Fifth Amendment rights — why testify against yourself by entering data your manager will use against you?

3. Feel Compelled To Use Every Feature

CRM systems are increasingly designed to be customizable, and that often means that they include many fields that may not be used. The worst thing that managers can do is to invent data types to be collected just to use all these fields. Some business managers are too enamored by the possibilities of all this data, and others are convinced that using them all justifies their IT spend. The end result for the users is a cumbersome, off-putting mandate to input data they know they’ll never use — and a desire to never use the CRM system again.

4. Hang On To Pet Processes At The Expense Of CRM

The opposite of a manager who’s too enamored of technology is a manager who still wants to cling to some vestige of the way he’s always worked — and to accommodate that desire, he inflicts a needless work-around into how his staff uses the CRM system. Modern CRM solutions usually include some corollary to these processes that the manager has either not seen or is not trained on; refusing to adapt is selfish and an effective way to foment rebellion in your staff.

5. Jealously Guard Their CRM Turf Inside The Company

Because of how CRM enters into companies — often, through the sales organization — there can be a tendency to see it as a salesforce automation tool first and everything else it offers last. Business managers do their companies a disservice when they fend off efforts from marketing, support and other parts of the company hoping to integrate their activities with the CRM system. Instead of breaking down information silos, this allows the CRM system to become another silo, preserves the curse of sales/marketing misalignment, calls into question the value of a CRM investment and allows CRM efforts to stagnate.

Avoiding these five ways business mangers sabotage their CRM implementation is key and happens far more frequently than most people realize.

Chris Bucholtz is Editor in Chief of CRM Outsiders and a founding editor of both InsideCRM and Forecasting Clouds. For more information on how to build your small and medium size business’s success with Small Business CRM please visit

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Small Business CRM

Small Business CRM

Communication and Relationships rule the world, no matter whether it is personal or professional life. Hence Customer Relationship Management has gained huge importance among small and big enterprise alike. Customer Relationship Management Solution is a very well evolved area now; it is also constantly changing to meet the needs of the new age customers.

CRM is undoubtedly a very important requirement for businesses of all sizes. The way in which the business relationships, sales processes and services are managed play a major role in deciding one’s competitive position in his/her respective domain. Things well done in these areas can result in amazing results and customer loyalty. And to achieve this, one would need an efficient, flexible and easy to use CRM solution.

Smart Small Businesses do realize the importance of effective CRM, very early in their business tenure. They do realize that a good CRM solution is a critical factor for their rapid growth and success. However, what they need to understand further is to know how best they can deploy a great CRM solution for their advantage and success. Any Software solution, unless explored and utilized completely, will definitely underperform than its design capabilities. Hence it is also very important to understand the salient features of the CRM product that one is opting for and to receive adequate training on the same.

Agiline CRM’s Small Business CRM

Being in the CRM solutions business, Agiline CRM understands that every business has different processes and business requirements. Agiline’s Small Business CRM Solution Combines the core Agiline CRM suite (Contact & Account Management, Sales Automation, Marketing Automation and Customer Service/Help Desk) with Integration for MS Exchange eMail, the Agiline Integration Module (for connecting to third-party databases) and Agiline CRM Web (a web interface for remote user access to basic functionality), and it can be completely customized to meet any user requirements. Having focused on customized software solutions from a long time, we understand that one-size-fits all approach doesn’t always work; small businesses should always choose a solution that allows them the level of flexibility that they need. Agiline CRM’s Small Business CRM is built keeping this point in mind.

Agiline Small Business CRM is designed to provide an unprecedented level of power and flexibility for small businesses, which are looking to move beyond the simple, under-powered single user and workgroup solutions. One more highlight of the Agiline’s Small Business CRM solution is its affordable pricing and leasing options; because AgilineCRM understand that small businesses need a cost-effective solution that will meet their growing needs.

The Small Business CRM from AgilineCRM offers a lot more, when compared to its humble pricing. Varied modules that are part of AgilineCRM’s Small Business CRM are:

* Contact & Account Management
* Sales Automation
* Marketing Automation
* Customer Service / Help Desk
* Dashboards
* Dynamic Workflows
* Project Management
* Agiline Integration For MS Exchange 200x
* Agiline Integration Module
* Agiline CRM Web

Along with the above modules, the solution also comes with:

* Product Installation Technical Support valid for 60 days from Purchase Date
* 1 year Agiline Small Business CRM Technical Support & Maintenance
* Access to Web Self-Service to Download Latest Service Packs/Revisions
* 12 Telephone/Web Self-Service Support Incidents
* System User and Admin Guides
* Major Functionality Tutorials

Agiline Small Business CRM 5.0 supports a maximum of up to 20 concurrent users only. In order to have more than 20 users, you must upgrade to Agiline CRM which can support up to 10,000 concurrent users. This product with its amazing features and value for money is sure to take your business to new heights!

AgilineCRM is completely into CRM Solutions. The company specializes in every dimension of CRM and offers varied CRM solutions to meet the different requirements of different enterprises. AgilineCRM has taken on the tradition of CRM solutions from Surado CRM, which has been one of the most popular CRM products. AgilineCRM is the new face of Surado CRM and offers CRM Products, solutions and support. To find out more about AgilineCRM, visit:

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sage CRM – a Comparison

Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sage CRM – a Comparison

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software has become a must have for businesses of all shapes and sizes. Businesses have realised that if they do not have a solution which keeps all customer information in one place, it will result in gaps in employee knowledge and therefore the level of service they deliver may be lower than that of competitors. Unfortunately this will only have one consequence – the customer will go elsewhere. This is why CRM solutions have changed from being a nice to have which provide a competitive advantage to an essential component to ensure business success.

CRM solutions provide a way of improving business efficiency. Essentially they provide a central location to store all information relating to customers, prospects and suppliers alike. They also prevent duplication of effort in terms of data entry and avoid the problems caused by having multiple records for one company, reduce silos of information and increase staff productivity. However in order to deliver these benefits, you have to have a solution which meets the needs of your organisation and it needs to be implemented correctly.

There are lots of different CRM solutions on the market, some are aimed at large corporations, others smaller organisations. However, two very well known CRM solutions are Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sage CRM, so how do they compare?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a hugely popular CRM solution, the latest version Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 builds on the success of earlier versions of the software as its more feature rich, more powerful and more flexible.

Often the problem with implementing a new system into an organisation is that there is a poor user uptake due to the unfamiliarity of the software. However with Microsoft Dynamics CRM that is not likely to be a problem, as the solution looks and feels just like any other Microsoft program. What’s more, the solution works from within Outlook and works the way that your users do, by giving them access to customer information without having to change screens.

In addition to this, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has Role Tailored Functionality. Research suggests that users do not use 90% of the icons on their desktop and as a result they can act as distractions. However, with the Role Tailored functionality in Microsoft Dynamics CRM the icons which users don’t need are hidden and those which they do need are promoted. This significantly improves the productivity of the workforce and an increased level of productivity is likely to result in greater profitability.

Another advantage of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that the solution is available either as an On-Premise solution or as a Cloud-Solution. What’s more if you initially decide to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a Cloud solution and then some months later decide that you would actually like it to be an On-Premise solution, it’s straightforward to change from one to another. Similarly, if you decide that you want an On-Premise solution converting to a cloud solution, this can also be done.

Sage CRM

Like Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sage CRM is a leading mid-market CRM solution. One of the key advantages of Sage CRM is that it provides one central location to store all information relating to customers, suppliers and prospects. What’s more, it improves knowledge across an organisation as all staff will have access to information as well as the CRM calendar. The CRM calendar allows anyone in the organisation to view another employees diary on a specific day and or month and also see those activities which are completed or pending. This enables appointments to be scheduled in a member of staff’s diary without the worry that it is going to clash with another appointment.

Essentially Sage CRM will provide a 360 degree view of everything which is happening within an organisation. From a Sales perspective it will enable a user to use a dashboard to have a clear view of their leads and opportunities. It also has a workflow which will create tasks for the sales team. This is a really useful tool as someone in marketing could enter a lead and schedule a call for someone in the sales team and this will automatically appear as a task.

Another significant advantage of Sage CRM is that it integrates seamlessly with Sage 200 – Sage’s mid-market ERP solution, eliminating the need to switch screens. This means that users will have access to a single view of customers, suppliers, partners, and channel members. This ensures that everyone has access to accurate and up-to-date information regardless of where it’s held. This significantly enhances customer service, reduces errors, delays and streamlines a wide range of processes.

From a Marketing perspective, there is a marketing area where campaigns can be created which will enable the marketing team to track the cost of a campaign and the number of leads which it generated.

So which solution is best?

Both Sage CRM and Microsoft Dynamics CRM are extremely powerful solutions and have a lot more features, functions and workflows than those outlined here. So, it really isn’t a case of one solution being better than the other as both solutions have their advantages. What it actually depends on is your organisations requirements and which solution you prefer the look and feel of.

What is clear is that both Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Sage CRM will deliver significant advantages to an organisation providing they are implemented correctly and the users are fully trained.

Rebecca Rooney works for Concentrix, that offers CRM software including Microsoft CRM, Sage CRM, plus Sage 200.

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On-Premise CRM or CRM in the Cloud? – What You Need to Consider Before You Make Your Decision

On-Premise CRM or CRM in the Cloud? – What You Need to Consider Before You Make Your Decision

Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM) has become an essential component to ensuring business success. For those who aren’t familiar with the term CRM – it stands for Customer Relationship Management and is software which keeps all your customer information in one central location. This helps you to attract new customers at the same time as keeping existing customers happy. Essentially, not only will Customer Relationship Management enable you to become more efficient and effective, it will also improve the level of customer service which you can deliver, ultimately impacting on the level of customer satisfaction and therefore customer retention.

The concept of CRM in terms of storing all customer information in one place has been around for a number of years. However, the ways in which people do this varies significantly, some people use paper folders, others use spreadsheets and there are some who simply store information in their head. However, CRM software provides a central location where all information can be stored. Initially all deployments of CRM were On -Premise solutions, however, recent developments in technology mean that there is now a ‘cloud’ alternative. This has made CRM accessible to businesses of all sizes and as a result the popularity of the solution has increased significantly.

So, what is the difference between ‘cloud’ and on-premise solutions?
With an On-Premise deployment, an organisation will have the solution based on servers which are on their own site. With the on-premise option there is an additional cost associated with the investment required in new IT hardware and Infrastructure. However the benefits of the On-Premise deployment include:

» Greater control over the solution
» Total Ownership
» Easier Integration
» No Monthly fees
» Easy Configuration

However CRM in the Cloud is where you effectively rent a space on a server which is based in a secure data centre and your solution is stored on this. Although this could raise concerns in terms of data safety, modern data centres run by major providers work to stringent security standards so you can rest assured that your data is safe.

Cloud CRM solutions, deliver a number of benefits including:

» As soon as you have bought the license you can use the software
» It is quick to set up
» You are unlikely to need any additional hardware or infrastructure
» Low initial set up costs

CRM in the ‘cloud’ has made CRM much more accessible for small to medium sized businesses as it has become much more affordable. However although ‘cloud’ CRM appeals to smaller organisations, it is also used by larger organisations who are just considering implementing CRM.

Company Requirements

The term CRM covers a broad spectrum in terms of functionality, it’s therefore critically important that you know what it is you want the software to be able to. Once you know this, communicating it to a CRM specialist will ensure that you get a solution which meets the requirements of your organisation now and continues to do so in the future. Investing in a solution which doesn’t have the ability to meet your needs in the future is an expensive waste of time. However, if you have a clear idea of what the CRM solution needs to do then it will be easier for a CRM specialist to assist in recommending a solution which is right for your organisation.

Integration with other systems

This is a critical consideration when thinking of implementing a CRM solution. If you require your system to integrate with any other back office systems, then the on-premise hosting alternative is likely to be the best one for you. Integration with other systems is not impossible with the hosted platform, but there are likely to be limitations around this.

So which is the best hosting alternative?

It really isn’t a case of On-Premise being better than cloud or Vice Versa. What really is critical is that you do full requirements capture so that you can find out exactly what you need from the solution. If for example you simply need to be able to use the out of the box solution to manage your relationships with your customers then the ‘cloud’ solution will more than likely do exactly what you need it to do. However, if you would like the ability to fully customise the solution then the On-premise version is probably more suitable.

It’s important to remember that with some cloud solutions including Microsoft Dynamics CRM Onlineif you initially have the solution in the cloud, but then decide you want to bring it in house, this can be done in the touch of button and the same applies from on-premise to cloud.
How do I decide on a hosting platform?

The decision about the hosting platform will often go deeper than the companies needs. If for example you are a small company, it could be argued that that CRM in the Cloud will be the ideal solution for you and for all intents and purposes it might be. However there is a much deeper issue to consider, in terms of the investment. When you take the On Premise Solution this is something which although there is a significant upfront cost, ultimately you will own it. This is therefore considered as capital expenditure. Although there will be the initial capital expenditure, there will also be additional operational costs which will be required to run the solution, plus depreciation in the value of the hardware.

However, if you choose to go for the cloud solution, effectively you will be renting the solution – making it an operational cost. Essentially if you stop paying your monthly payment, then you will no longer have access to the solution. This is often a question for the accountant in the organisation as it will be up to them to decide what is best for the company from a cash flow perspective.

A different perspective to consider when looking into the hosting platforms is the type of cost that you want the solution to be. After all, when you decide to go for the On-premise solution, the upfront cost will be significantly larger than if you were to go for the cloud solutions. However, after you have paid the money, with the on-premise solution, you will ultimately own the software.

Capital Expenditure V’S Operational Expenditure

In terms of CRM solutions, the on-premise solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sage CRM and FrontRange’s GoldMine would be classed as Capital Expenditure. This is because you will pay up front for the solution and once paid for the solution will continue to work until you tell it not to. In terms of the Operational expenditure, this is what cloud solutions are. With cloud solutions, although the starts up costs are lower, you will never actually own the software and if you stop making your monthly payment the solution will stop working.

If you decide to go for the operational expenditure (cloud solutions), there will be other economic benefits which will arise other than the direct cost saving on infrastructure acquisition such as:

– The ability to get up and running quickly
– The increased productivity of the workforce.

And although on-premise solutions (the ones which are classed as a capital expenditure) give organisations the ability to customise the solution and complete ownership, it will never just be the case of a one-off capital expenditure, there will also be the ongoing operational costs of maintaining the solution, for example the cost of energy, IT admin staff and servers.

How do I find out which solution is best for me?

To really find our which CRM solution is best for you; you need to find an Independent CRM specialist. Not only will they be able to give advice on which is the best hosting alternative for you, they will also be able to give advice on which CRM solution best suits you requirements. If you go to a company which one sells one CRM product they are obviously going to tell you that their product will match your requirements. However, If you go to a CRM Specialist, the first step they will take will be to undertake a detailed requirements capture, this is where they will find out exactly what you want your system to do, how your business operates and who needs to access the solution.

Whoever you choose as a business partner, make sure they don’t see CRM as an aside to their core business. Also check they offer a full range of services, and do not just supply software and installation.

For more information about cloud or on-premise CRM contact Concentrix on 01509 410500 or email

Rebecca Rooney works for Concentrix, a UK CRM specialist that offers on-premise and cloud CRM software including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and others.

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A 10-Step Guide To Buying CRM

A 10-Step Guide To Buying CRM

You’ll find this guide to buying customer relationship management (CRM) software in two parts: Know Yourself and Know Your Requirements. Know Yourself will ensure you that you take the details of your business into the purchase decision. Know Your Requirements will help you match what you need to the products and services available. Both sections are important since customer CRM connects to all aspects of an organization.

I. Know Yourself

Buying CRM starts with the question, “Why do I need a CRM solution?” Many CRM projects fail because that question is never asked. With that in mind, here are four steps that will help you provide an answer and prepare your organization to evaluate CRM solutions.

Step 1. Look At Your Business

Develop a thorough understanding of how your business really works. Not how it should work or how you assume it works. Take this opportunity to map your business processes, their dependencies, and how changes to those processes can affect others. Begin with processes that aren’t working well. These will correlate with areas of your business that can be improved and help you identify those that can be addressed with CRM. Process mapping will also reveal processes that work well. These processes may not need to be changed, but changes to other processes could affect them.

The evaluation that accompanies process mapping requires total honesty, which can bruise feelings. The objectivity of a third-party consultant can help minimize the dissension this might cause. A consultant can also reduce the internal resources needed to conduct process mapping.

At the end of the process mapping exercise, you should have a list of processes and activities that can be improved with CRM.The mapping exercise could show that your business isn’t ready for CRM or that the problems it faces can’t be solved by CRM. This is valuable information to have. Making the jump to CRM too early or for the wrong reasons will result in frustration and dissatisfaction.

Step 2. Pick The Right People For The Team

In addition to executive leadership and IT, enlist a group of front-line users to participate in the selection process–and listen to them. Not only will this ensure that you understand what users want and think is important, it will help accelerate adoption among their peers once a solution is chosen. Too often decisions are made about CRM applications without input from the people who will use them.

Step 3. Know The Regulatory Environment

It’s also important to take into account how information systems impact your ability to satisfy compliance requirements in your industry. Regulatory bodies vary in the restrictions and procedures they mandate for how data must be stored and managed. Solution delivery methods such as software as a service (SaaS) may not be appropriate in certain industries because they rely on a shared services model.

Step 4. Understand How The CRM Delivery Model Will Impact Your Budget

On-premise CRM software requires companies to own or lease the technology infrastructure–servers, storage, backup and recovery, and networking capabilities–and to provide the personnel who maintain it. There are also software license costs, maintenance fees, and integration expenses. Cloud-based SaaS software uses infrastructure provided by the CRM vendor, and while there may be integration costs, the software licensing expense is paid as a monthly subscription per user.

Certainly, smaller, cash-strapped companies often use the cloud. Likewise, larger companies with IT resources frequently use on-premise. But there are many exceptions to that general rule. More and more large companies employ cloud-based applications because they shift hardware requirements and the installation of patches and updates to the vendor. Conversely, smaller companies in fields where regulation makes the cloud problematic elect on-premise solutions.

Now You Have A Framework

The first four steps give you a framework to make a CRM selection that addresses your problems while creating a minimum of new ones. The framework includes:

* A list of processes and activities you need to improve

* A CRM decision-making team that includes users

* A knowledge of the regulatory constraints that may influence your decision

* An understanding of how the CRM delivery model will affect budgeting

II. Know Your Requirements

What is a good CRM solution? A solution that fits your business. Features are part of the equation, but more important are business considerations such as stakeholder interests, budget, support, integration, and industry demands. You also want a vendor that will work well with your organization over the long haul.

Step 5. Integration Requirements

Whether you plan to use CRM as a departmental solution or across your entire organization, integration can add significant cost and delay to a CRM implementation. So it’s wise to make ease of integration one of your preliminary criteria. Even if you have no immediate plans to integrate, a solution that’s too rudimentary or too complex to integrate with existing systems will almost certainly cause problems eventually–problems that will be expensive to fix.

Step 6. Support Requirements

No matter how adept you staff, they’ll need some degree of help with the CRM product you choose. Knowing their level of sophistication will help you determine how much, which is important since levels and costs of support vary from vendor to vendor.

Use your social network to find peers who have employed support from CRM vendors. They can be a source of unvarnished opinions about this important area. When you’re comparing vendors with similar capabilities, how they stack up in terms of support–cost and responsiveness–can be a deciding factor.

Step 7: Vertical Market Requirements

Are you in an industry that collects unique forms of customer data or in which customers negotiate a specific, non-standard path to buying? If so, there may be CRM solutions tailored to your industry. Purpose-built CRM applications have been created for insurance, real estate, agribusiness, non-profits, and others.

Companies such as resellers or distributors may need to manage tiers of customer relationships with direct customers, partners, and customers who buy from partners. These companies often buy CRM and find it ineffective. A related technology, partner relationship management (PRM), could be a better option for these businesses.

If your market does have unique demands, don’t forego a look at horizontally targeted CRM systems. They’re often more flexible than purpose-built solutions and, with the right customizations, may work better for your organization.

Step 8: Feature Requirements

Good CRM solutions have the same basic features. And features that are rarely used shouldn’t drive purchase decisions.

Feature selection is where the process mapping exercise proves especially valuable. In that exercise, you identified business problems you needed to solve or activities you wanted to improve. Look for features that map to those areas. For example, if you want to incorporate social media into your CRM strategy, look for a solution that can link with social networks to offer an expanded view of the customer relationship.

Listen to your front-line users on the selection team. Allow them to identify things that will make their jobs easier and use those ideas to guide decision-making about features.

Step 9: Financial Requirements

By now, you probably have several solutions in mind. It’s time to decide which of these is most affordable. As stated earlier, costs will vary depending on the delivery model. For example, on-premise software may carry an annual maintenance fee of 22 percent or more. Assess the full initial cost of your CRM candidates and their projected annual costs. Solutions that don’t fit your budget can be scratched from your shortlist.

Step 10: Vendor Requirements

When you think you’ve found the right CRM solution, examine that vendors track record–and do it independently. Vendor’s cherry pick their references so they may not reflect the majority of buyers’ experiences. Again, social media can be useful here. Ask whether a CRM implementation was genuinely transformative and, if so, what role the vendor played in that. You should also learn something about a vendor’s financial stability. Once you’ve made your selection, you want to be sure the vendor will remain in business to support you in the future.

Getting It Right

The road to buying a CRM solution contains multiple decision points where your business requirements intersect with what the market offers. Take the time to make informed decisions. Even if your company decides against implementing a CRM solution, the evaluation process can improve efficiency and be the catalyst for a more customer-centric approach to business.

Chris Bucholtz is Editor in Chief of CRM Outsiders, a founding editor of both InsideCRM and Forecasting Clouds, and a recognized influencer in customer relationship management. To find out more about how to empower your employees with Social CRM please visit