CRM has been around for more than a decade. It was originally designed as a tool to enable businesses to share information between sales and other various departments that dealt with customers. Those features are clear.
The next iterations of CRM were designed to better track, manage and empower the sales force - hence the brand of a CRM by that name. Again, no real "dream" here.
With internal information and sales force automation handled, CRM companies continued to emerge. CRM platforms morphed and features upon features were added. This is where so many stand today - feature overloaded CRMs that are still focused on just adding more features as differentiators. But bells and whistles are not the reason you are looking for a CRM solution.
CRM companies compete by issuing white papers that highlight things like "The 10 Things Your CRM Should Do". The problem with this focus is it's not about what your CRM does or how many features it has - it's not even about how much you know about your customers. Any CRM will give you that.
Companies have lost focus on the single most important points by focusing on features! Connecting in the market to grow a more profitable business.
Today, your customers likely know more about your business and the market than you do. They are looking with unlimited information from your business - if they can find your business. Customers are often more connected than the companies that buy CRMs for a very simple reason.
While the business was busy with the software, the prospective customer was busy connecting to the market - becoming an informed buyer.
Wonder which company will earn that new business? Grow that market share?
It won't be the company that is busy trying to manage the CRM. It will be the company that has taken the steps to get successfully connected in the market space.
CRM is a linear solution in a non-linear world. That is to say, there are searches, social networks, iPhones, and Tweets all "linked in" - woven together through a web of opportunity and information. This Connected Market Space is where your very contacts discover, uncover, and decide who to do business with.
Investing in any CRM without considering the much larger picture - by asking "how will we manage our Connected Market?" - is an exercise I call the "technology trap".
This is the losing proposition of technology where 95% of the market goes. Adding CRM technology without asking first, "How do our customers connect to the products and services we sell?", is like hoping there is a silver bullet - some magic the CRM will bring to the sales force and your firm. Well, hope is not a strategy in business.
When you ask the right questions of your market and your business goals, you're likely to be far ahead of the pack.
Building a connection relationship solution becomes a market space that you can measure and grow. You'll find the solution that your business needs to manage and acquire customers becomes much clearer than any feature comparison CRMs will provide.
This reality is due to the fact that the solutions designed for today's market extend well beyond traditional CRM.
To be on track and to be discovered by outside factors, the business must connect to - rather than employ internal CRM tools - the connections needed outside to bring your customers and prospects in close alignment.
To effectively install the right solutions, including your CRM needs, look first at your core objectives and how customers connect in your market.
When you do that properly, you will ensure that your investment will pay off with more business and customers.
To get connected and get results - if you're thinking about CRM - evaluate your business goals with the Free BIPED® "Business in Process Enterprise Design" envisioner.
Based on 10 years of success, BIPED will ensure that you will avoid the CRM feature trap and help get you connected with your market.
Intuitively you already know that the right solutions and connections will guarantee your investment pay off. Ensure that you get your return on investment - and avoid the technology trap. Leave that to the competition.