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Is It Time For A Big CRM Shake-Up?


CRM systems used to be pricey products overloaded with hardware requirements and setup costs. Even though they’ve come a long way, it looks like it’s time to shake things up again.

A decade ago, Salesforce.com revolutionized CRM with a system that let companies buy, launch and access from anywhere in the world. This huge innovation changed everything.

But now, the nature of the CRM beast is ready for another big change. That’s the message of an article on the Forbes website, which serves up three predictions about CRM’s future. We believe some of the predictions are actually already on the way or are slightly misinterpreted. Let’s look at what they say:

  1. No more need to buy leads separately: The Forbes article suggests that, in the future, professionals should be able to buy CRMs to recommend and identify customers for their business. As a matter of fact, Salesforce.com already made steps in this direction when it bought data.com, a user-generated lead sourcing and qualification engine. While it’s true that you can’t buy a fully loaded CRM system with leads yet, the functionality of today’s CRMs allows companies to enrich their existing customer data.

    Although today’s CRM systems are great for managers who need to report on pipelines, individual sellers are still stuck with the same options they’ve had for the past two decades: write an email or make a phone call. There’s little improvement from a technology perspective in enabling a seller to make better contacts with prospects. We believe there needs to be a greater emphasis on the relationship piece in CRM systems of the future.
  2. Reduced duplication of leads: Ideally, all CRM users should have access to the same records, the same canonical leads, and be able to add data as long as the information isn’t competitive, the article suggests. We believe this concept already takes place if marketing automation and the sync to the CRM system are implemented correctly. The result should be that sales and marketing have the same status on leads and clear transition points in the funnel.
  3. Different views for different reps: Forbes recommends separate views for reps who qualify leads and for those who close them. However, we’d argue that this is more of a business process change and not a technology change. All the modern CRM systems serve this need of different “views” into the prospect already. The leading edge inside sales companies, like Rainmaker, work exactly along those principles when hiring inside sales professionals.

However, given that the inside sales industry is so cutthroat, many businesses that hire inside sales companies only look at the “cost side” when they make a decision for these services. They don’t see the value of having a lead-qualifying inside sales agent AND a lead-closing inside sales agent. The results show that a setup like this is slightly more expensive but drives higher ROI and conversion rates in the long run.

The Tellwise Nutshell (TTN): At the end of the day, there is still very little “R” in CRM systems today. These systems still don’t focus much on the “relationship” piece. They only provide a way to track the activities within the relationship. The bottom line? None of this is “easy” for the sales professional.

Source: Forbes, September 2013

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