3 Steps to an Affordable CRM Program

Unfortunately, many companies are keen to start a CRM program, yet woefully underestimate the cost. With IT budgets being slashed in many companies, your business might not be able to implement CRM without very careful planning. By following the three steps below, you can save a tremendous amount of money on your new CRM program.

  1. Audit Your Customer Database – Before you even begin to weigh your CRM software options, you need to organize your customer database. Ensure that every file is located in a central place. Then, you should have an administrative team comb over the details. Customer information should be updated, which may be time consuming. However, it is absolutely necessary for a successful CRM install.
  2. Prepare Your Employees – Again, your new system will fall apart and cost you major money if you aren’t organized. Invest some time in training your employees to gather the proper customer information and file it according to the newly audited system. CRM should be enterprise-wide and not left up to one department. Continue reading “3 Steps to an Affordable CRM Program”

Entellium’s eSalesForce Free Product Demo Now Available

esalesforce entellium logoIn my first review of Entellium’s eSalesForce free “test drive” I wasn’t able to actually view their product because a live demo didn’t exist. Since then, Entellium has released a trial without having to speak with a sales rep which finally brings them almost up to par with other CRM vendors who have offered a live trial for years. The reason I say “almost” is because after you complete the registration form you still have to wait for an email before you can begin.

The email contains your free trial login information which you obviously need. This is true actually for most CRM vendors who offer a free trial but what kind of ruined the momentum of my experience was the fact the confirmation page said “We will contact you by email in the next 24 hours” instead of “you will receive an email in the next few minutes”. Continue reading “Entellium’s eSalesForce Free Product Demo Now Available”

26 Tips for CRM Freelancers

Having been a freelancer myself, I know how important it is to have a nice set of tools in your tool belt. CRM is a loosely used term today for what’s better known as customer relationship management. How do you explain that to friends or family though? “Yes, I work in CRM”. It’s easier and makes more sense to people when I tell them CRM is better known to the non-industry folks as software that helps keep track of my friends, business contacts, etc. It’s a software version of a Rolodex (which was before my time anyhow).

Anyhow, let’s get back on track here. I wanted to share a cool article for those who are doing general freelance work and looking for some cool online tools. It’s not necessarily for people in the CRM industry so if CRM isn’t your domain you can still benefit from this article.

The Ultimate SFA Guide

There are lots of great articles out there regarding Sales Force Automation but it’s hard to know where to go to find them all. I recently came across and great post at Inside CRM with a list of 100+ links and resources regarding SFA. The article is titled, “The Ultimate Guide to Sales Force Automation: 100-Plus Links and Resource” and lists a ton of interesting items so it’s worth checking out!

The article is broken down into different sections such as tutorials, tools, articles, case studies, and books. For those of you who are familiar with SEO tactics, this article is a prime example of how to create link bait. Putting together a “top 10 or 100” list is a very popular method for creating free inbound links. See, I’ve linked to it which will in turn help Inside CRM rank higher in Google, etc.

Anyhow, check out the article and let me know what you think!

The Penny Pincher’s Guide to Help/Service Desk Software – Free Webinar

Small business expert Gene Marks puts on a help desk webinar every other month. Here are the details for this months webinar:

If you’re in the market for new software for your help/service desk and want to take a look at the top applications available today, then you’ll be interested in attending:

The Penny Pincher’s Guide to Help/Service Desk Software

FREE 60-75 minute Webinar
January 30, 2008
10:00 AM EST

During our presentation we’ll be reviewing the pros, cons, good and bad of applications like HEAT, Remedy, Magic, Microsoft CRM, FootPrints, Track-IT, Altiris and others.  We’ll compare key features, ITIL compliance, pricing and more.

To register, please visit  http://www.marksgroup.net/education/webinars/info.html

Ancient Perspectives And How They Should Motivate Us Today!

When the Abacus was going through its ‘trough of disillusionment’ in the early accountancy sweatshops of 2007 BC, a visionary Babylonian evangelized to his disenfranchised followers that soon it would be used to establish the true square root of two. He was right and they fell in line behind him. I forget his name now but the answer was 1.4something.

In 2007 AD, CRM projects and suppliers have suffered from comprehensive, public criticism. “Oh, how we have been misrepresented and unfairly scorn-drenched,” the practitioners proclaim. In that case, we should remind those doubters of how powerful these tools are or soon will be…

So what is the CRM equivalent of the square root of two? Continue reading “Ancient Perspectives And How They Should Motivate Us Today!”

CRM 2.0 – Where Web 2.0 meets CRM

Here’s an interesting post I read on the CRM Today site. It’s written by Rick Enrico, Founder, President & CEO, Juice Media Worldwide, LLC.

One of the hottest trends in e-Commerce and retail marketing is the adaptation of Web 2.0 applications like blogs, wikis, video, RSS, widgets and podcasting into the marketing and customer relationship management process. Catching on quickly among enterprises of various sizes and scopes, some simply call this smart e-commerce while others have begun applying a label to it- CRM 2.0.

Building upon the classic customer relationship management platforms and processes, many of these world-leading businesses are actively merging together best of breed Web 2.0 technologies, partnerships and alliances. Their mission is to engage and involve their customer in order to create a truly collaborative customer experience that makes the customer feel as though they are an essential element in the entire business relationship. Continue reading “CRM 2.0 – Where Web 2.0 meets CRM”

Attend the CRM Excellence Conference

If you haven’t already heard, the CRM Excellence conference is coming to Virginia in July. This year CRMBlogger has partnered with ASMIweb and will be sponsoring the event so look for our logo on the event brochure cover and other placement throughout the event!

CRM Excellence 2007 is the event of the year for the CRM industry. Featuring best practices, case studies and speaking sessions from the nation’s top practitioners, you will emerge from this event with applicable tools to take back to your organization and implement immediately. Specific session topics include developing CRM measures and metrics, aligning CRM initiatives to your strategic plan, effectively harnessing and managing customer information, a special CRM vendor round table discussion and so much more. For more information or to register please call Adrian Jankowski at 858-874-6876 or visit us online at www.ASMIweb.com.

CRMBlogger readers qualify for a special 20% off tuition discount if you’re interested in attending.

20% off tuition for any CRMBlogger.com members or contacts. Please mention code B204-CRMBlog when registering to receive the discount.

CRM Excellence website

Dates: July 9-10, 2007
Location: Arlington, VA

Sales / Event Registration Contact:
Adrian Jankowski

Why On-Demand CRM is Better Than On-Premise CRM

Having just written about why Richard thinks on-premise CRM is better than on demand CRM, it’s time to talk about the opposite from Eric’s point of view. Eric favors on-demand CRM and goes on to explain the key benefits.

A common belief is that on the man systems are unable to integrate with companies existing systems. That’s not necessarily true since most on-demand applications come with open APIs which allows you to integrate easily.

An API is basically tech talk for any system. APIs allow one system to talk to another system in a very open way. When you tell developers within your company that a system as an API, they are usually thrilled because it means a lot less custom work and hacks to allow the systems to communicate.

Another common belief that Eric talks about is that on-demand applications lack functionality and aren’t very flexible. It’s funny though because a study done by Gartner estimates that 50% or more of software functionality never gets used. What does that mean? Functionality can sometimes be overrated and never used within an organization. Continue reading “Why On-Demand CRM is Better Than On-Premise CRM”

Why On-Premise CRM is Better Than On-Demand CRM

“Go with on-demand CRM” has been the message most people have seen in the past few years by on-demand trailblazers like salesforce.com. As there are many strong reasons to go with an on-demand solution, there are also some downsides one needs to consider before making a decision.

Richard Smith Vice President of CRM strategy, put together an article arguing why on-premise CRM is better than on-demand CRM. He brings up several good points such as security, cost, integration, and speed as to why on premise CRM is better.

He goes on to talk about how most hosted software providers guarantee that you will be up and running in 90 days. While this may be true, it’s usually only the “quick start” implementation and may exclude difficult tasks such as converting your existing data and/or setting up business processes. Continue reading “Why On-Premise CRM is Better Than On-Demand CRM”