Why Choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM
In most small to medium sized businesses, the glass panel in the wall of the director’s office generally overlooks the sales floor, the most important report is the current sales report, and the biggest concern is the sales pipeline. When a business starts laying off it’s sales team you know its in serious trouble, because regardless of how good your product is unless its been well sold and marketed your business will not be a success, the sales team is the lifeblood of any company, an obvious statement I know but it’s necessary to put sales and marketing into context to underline the important of choosing the right CRM product.
A business is a collection of different functions, sales, marketing, accounts, manufacturing, management etc; it’s not unusual in small companies for a single individual to fulfil several or even all of these functions, in larger businesses it becomes a team, department or division responsible for each function. Although these different functions share a common set of applications such as email and word processing, they also require software unique to their needs within the company.
As well as having different needs they also have different ‘personalities’ and ‘cultures’and its understanding the personalities and cultures that is key to selecting the right CRM product.
I’ve distilled the personality and culture of the sales environment down to a number of key points
- Higher turnover in staff, and a need for new starters to be up to speed in the role as soon as possible
- Fragmented workflow
- Constant communication with customers and a sense of urgency
Most leading CRMs will match each other in 75% of functionality, but I feel there are more important points which are often not considered, they are also areas for me Dynamics CRM has an edge over its competitors.
Sales will often be the least technically savvy area of a business, but regardless of where a new salesperson has come from, a competitor’s sales team, a different job function internally or externally or college they will most likely have used Microsoft Office. This is a key selling point for Dynamics CRM, it has the look and feel of Office applications and so users feel comfortable with it instinctively understand the functionality and quickly learn to use it.
Managing the fragmented nature of sales, campaigns, canvassing, bids, orders, sales pipeline etc can be difficult, the ‘workplace area’ makes it easy to immediately pick up a user’s appointments and current business activities.
Dynamics CRM not only has the look and feel of Office it also integrates seamlessly with it and Outlook so producing and distributing marketing material is quite simple. Whatever functionality that is missing from the product is easy to acquire from any number of add-ons available in the market, either free off charge or complex solutions costing hundreds of thousands.
Since version 2.1, Dynamics CRM has continuously improved with each release much of the above functionality was provided for in version 3.0 and improved and added to in4.0.
The cost of Dynamics CRM is more than reasonable, 3.0 is available as a low rent hosted product for entry level requirements. Version 4.0 is a hybrid available either ‘on premise’ or ‘on demand’.
There is one final sting in the tail when choosing a CRM product which is pretty unique to the sales and marketing environment, and that is calculating a RoI (Return on Investment) RoI is a key metric when selling a new product to any other business function, but impossible with CRM, no reseller or vendor can promise you increased sales if you buy their product.
Whether you make the right decision or you make the wrong decision in choosing a CRM product, it is guaranteed to be felt throughout your entire business.