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Choosing a CRM solution...
hdpt00




msg:786229
 5:20 am on Mar 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

While trying to pick out a CRM solution what do you look for (say your company has 5+ people that would use it daily)? What are some of the basic things to look out for and some of the "must haves"? Any advice would be very appreciated. Thanks!

 

techrealm




msg:786230
 8:17 am on Mar 26, 2005 (gmt 0)

depends on what you use your crm system for -exactly- sales has different needs than customer service.

how many contacts are we talking about ie 10,000 30,000 1,000,000?

what platform, windows, mac, linux do you WANT to run it on?

are you looking for commercially supported software or open source where you can take the code when the project dies and continue to make changes?

do your customers need to access this information? web based access for instance.

are these users in the same physical location?

are you actually networked in the location you want to do this? I know this can be stupid sounding but alas... I have been caught off guard many a time.

that's off the top of my head... I recently pulled the plug on a failed 3 month install of Netsuite for 20 users, so believe me I know the pain of this issue if things you really need are not lined up ABSOLUTELY right with what the product and the support system is supposed to and actually does.

Easy_Coder




msg:786231
 4:25 am on Mar 27, 2005 (gmt 0)

must haves

An open api is nice so that you can brige between the crm and your erp...

Fortune Hunter




msg:786232
 3:02 am on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

I personally use GoldMine software. I install and train people on this software as part of my web design business and I find it hard to beat. It has the ability to network multiple users together, track all information about prospects, client, etc. It also integrates with Outlook and QuickBooks.

It has some amazing features such as campaign tracker, sales forecasting, project management, detailed reports, direct mail management, and automated sales functions. Plus it has the ability to import leads directly from your web site.

In case you haven't noticed I love this software. I use it to totally manage all of my sales and marketing efforts and it is hard to beat all the features it has for such a low price ($179 per seat).

I know there are many other applications and I have used or been exposed to many of them as part of my time working in the CRM industry, but for small and medium sized businesses I keep coming back again and again to GoldMine.

It lacks the ability to really customize the application like other CRM apps and it doesn't really integrate with tons of other apps like other high end CRM solutions, although I suppose you could write a bridge if you are a good programmer.

You can learn more at <snip>

Fortune Hunter

[edited by: stuntdubl at 1:47 pm (utc) on Mar. 30, 2005]
[edit reason] no self promo please [/edit]

Easy_Coder




msg:786233
 10:46 pm on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

although I suppose you could write a bridge if you are a good programmer

Only if there is an exposed interface on the Goldmine side (which would be very cool) and a good fit for a small shop like the one hdpt00 is in.

So is there an open API with Goldmine? I'd be curious to take a look at that. I've written extensions to Talisma from from enterprise level ERPs and wouldn't mind addding Goldmine to the ole kb.

mole




msg:786234
 11:07 pm on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

A comment: I find Goldmine WAY too complicated for most people.

A question: what do folks think about Axapta?

MoneyMan




msg:786235
 11:29 pm on Mar 29, 2005 (gmt 0)

Has anyone used Microsoft's CRM system?

In typical MS fashion they aquired one and added to their mix.

Just curious to know if anyone has used it or looked into it?

techrealm




msg:786236
 12:17 am on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

Microsoft CRM

I believe this article sums up MS CRM nicely.
article [crm-daily.newsfactor.com]

[edited by: stuntdubl at 1:49 pm (utc) on Mar. 30, 2005]
[edit reason] fixed horizontal scroll [/edit]

Fortune Hunter




msg:786237
 1:39 am on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

Actually I am not sure if it [GoldMine] has an open interface, I am not a programmer, but I understand the basic process. Although I do know that GoldMine does have a software developer kit, which I assume is what you need to write a bridge from some other application to GoldMine.

Perhaps I am wrong and if so maybe somebody could set me straight. I don't do a lot of custom work, most of my work is training.

I have also worked a little with the Microsoft CRM solution, which doesn't have the advanced marketing features of other CRM applications including GoldMine. I was told by one of their product managers that this will change in version 2.0, but that might be a ways down the road until it is released.

Fortune Hunter

MoneyMan




msg:786238
 3:06 am on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

Fortune Hunter in your experience with MS CRM did you go through an integration partner or go at it yourself?

We found the technical documentation and technical support the for the product to be minimal to non-existent.

We may have been approaching it wrong, but my impression was that they direct customers to an integration partner to help them install/customize the CRM.

Any thoughts?

Stores




msg:786239
 4:16 am on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

Stay away from Salesforce. Its OK...but not worth the price (and they will never let you out of a contract...no matter what).

Easy_Coder




msg:786240
 4:18 am on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

Fortune Hunter, if Goldmine has an SDK then yeah there's an open api that you could develop against.

Fortune Hunter




msg:786241
 8:02 pm on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

Money Man:

I attempted the installation and set up of MS-CRM on my own and yes you are correct the documentation is terrible. I was trying to learn the product to offer it along with GoldMine and ACT, but it is really tough because of how hard it is to get any technical information on it. Perhaps they give some kind of documentation to MS-Partners, which I am not, that makes this easier.

Easy:

FrontRange just totally redeveloped their web site so I can't tell you where to get the SDK, but I know it was available [on their site] before if you want to get it to develop your own bridges.

Fortune Hunter

NeedScripts




msg:786242
 8:36 pm on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

You guys might want to check out Maximizer and spend few hours testing it. I have noticed that Maximizer is better then GoldMine, ACT and almost anyother CRM tool out there & it does not cost much either.

MoneyMan




msg:786243
 10:03 pm on Mar 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

>Perhaps they give some kind of documentation to MS-Partners

No they don't. We are and you would think that would matter, but in the end they didn't have much for us. If I remember correctly (I wasn't the point person on this) we could have gone to some training as a partner, but the training was geared to an SMB. We want technical info for determining integration into existing systems. For MS we were very under-impressed with the support. Especially as a partner.

Well, I'm glad to see it wasn't us just missing something.

toprank




msg:786244
 9:26 pm on Apr 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Stay away from Salesforce. Its OK...but not worth the price (and they will never let you out of a contract...no matter what).

Hmmm. I just signed up for Salesforce yesterday.

techrealm




msg:786245
 10:38 pm on Apr 1, 2005 (gmt 0)

Stay away from Salesforce. Its OK...but not worth the price (and they will never let you out of a contract...no matter what).

Netsuite is the same as well - I use a single account with salesforce to handle my leads and such and relay them to our internal systems. it works but it was only because of a time issue.

For free you can use mamboserver, sugarcrm and mambo-phpshop to do all you'll ever need with alittle planning ahead.

Stores




msg:786246
 2:54 pm on Apr 3, 2005 (gmt 0)

Stay away from Salesforce. Its OK...but not worth the price (and they will never let you out of a contract...no matter what).

Its not THAT bad...you can make it work for you...but its not really optimal. So don't worry too much...you'll survive. You can take it a lot further if you upgrade to enterprise edition because you get to use sforce.com which you can customize...but its up to you whether the benefit will justify the cost.

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