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Chuck The CRM Buyers Guide

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By Chuck Schaeffer

I love danger—and by danger I mean CRM software solutions and the vendors that make them. Unfortunately, not all vendors always love me back. Some vendors are looking for the unconditional love of a mother, dog or paid analyst, and not necessarily the affection of constructive criticism, customer transparency or blunt accountability. Fortunately, I look danger in the eye and commit to coach, educate and demonstrate to all industry suppliers that candid conversation, customer engagement and transparency are the hallmarks of customer success, growing companies and big profits. I suspect the message won't always be well received. So be it.

Today we announced the 2011 CRM Buyers Guide – a review and comparative analysis of the Top 10 CRM vendor solutions. True to our mission, the reviews seek to objectively flush out and examine the unique capabilities and deficiencies in the sales, marketing and service software modules and note clear identification of both the strengths and weaknesses for each CRM system. The report also covers social CRM capabilities, advantages and disadvantages for each CRM software product.

We certainly want to highlight those unique capabilities and strengths each vendor brings to the market. And these are the Top 10 CRM systems, so there's plenty of impressive capabilities from a cadre of proven companies. But in reality, the CRM software market is fragmented, no one vendor reigns, the big four vendors retain less than half the market share and CRM buyers are looking to detect vendor weaknesses before they sign the dotted line. Our review report attempts to deliver balanced opinion—the strengths with the weaknesses.

We had to limit the report to a reasonable length, so at three pages per CRM system and 10 vendors we cut it off at about 30 pages. For CRM buyers this report only scratches the surface. Therefore, there are additional deep dive reviews available from the CRM Directory for each of the Top 10 CRM systems. As part of our aim to be 'socially sourced and community endorsed', we've also setup CRM Review discussions for most products in the Facebook community – and I'm quite pleased these forums are getting good early participation. These discussions are intended to solicit ideas, get feedback and learn from the community how these CRM reviews can be improved for the next annual release. Comments and constructive criticism are enthusiastically appreciated.

Once I achieve product and vendor transparency from each of the CRM suppliers I'll be moving on to tackle world peace. Wish me luck. End

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Comments — Comments for this page are closed —

Guest MDW
  Unfortunately in CRM software selections buyers spend too much time with spreadsheets of requirements asking questions like "Can your system store multiple phone numbers for a contact" or "can it integrate to Outlook" - of course it can! They all can!!! If only buyers could focus much earlier on the items that truly differentiate their business and therefore might surface unique requirements that a vendor cannot fulfill the everyone would waste a lot less time! Get in early. Ask for a trial. If there is no trial run like hell. If there is a trial get it and play with it.

Guest Lenny Chapman
  I appreciate your approach and attitude but wonder if you are naïve. Social media has brought about (forced) increased transparency among enterprise software vendors, but buyers and sellers continue to play a cat and mouse game whereby buyers have to ask direct questions to uncover software weaknesses, often multiple times, and many sales people continue to dance around those questions to the best of their ability. Transparency is improving, but sales gamesmanship still reigns. Over time, transparency will improve, but I don't expect the large CRM vendors to endorse and help accelerate the process.
 

 

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True to our mission, the CRM reviews seek to objectively flush out and examine the unique capabilities and deficiencies in the sales, marketing and service software modules and note clear identification of both the strengths and weaknesses for each CRM system.

 

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