Sales and Productivity – the case of CRM Solution

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Companies today have many means to use to increase sales and achieve corporate objectives! Moreover, several of these means (strategies, tools, tactics, etc.) are the heart of the managers and executives annual Strategic Plans.

Marketing for example can play within the entire range of tactics and tools, whether traditional marketing with advertising, media placement, direct marketing, promotions, etc., or Marketing 2.0 with a wide assortment of technologies for collaboration and profiles in Social Media… this, of course, if you’re an aficionado of Web 2.0 and already have an Enterprise 2.0 footprint – a digital footprint.

Human Resources may, for its part, contribute to the achievement of objectives by providing additional or better qualified resources, resource allocation, training, or help with developing and deploying a Knowledge Management strategy, etc.

And then there’s IT….

Of course, there are a multitude of technologies and tools available to help optimize your processes for which the implementation and management fall under the responsibility of IT:

  • Mobility to increase communication efficiency for the Mobile Work Force and extend your business reality beyond its walls
  • CRM Solution to improve Customer Relationship Management
  • Business Intelligence to assist Managers make more well-informed decisions, any time, all the time
  • Dashboard for Real-time management of the Sales Force (Metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs))
  • Tools for optimizing Sales Force itineraries and Client geo-location
  • etc.

In this article, the first of a new series of posts on Business Productivity, we want to focus on CRM and more particularly on selection criteria for a CRM solution for your business.

The Price of a CRM Solution

Although, in our view, a secondary criteria, you should negotiate right away the issue of Price!

–          Off-the-shelf products (Maximizer, Salesforce, Act!, SugarCRM…) –  $200 to $1,000 per user.

–           Mid-market products (Salesforce…) –  $1,000 to  $3,000 per user

–          High-end products (Dynamics, Siebel, …) – over $3,000 per user

What is there to say except that we always have to pay and there are no miracles in life… well, very rarely in business!

The CRM Product

–          Product (own/buy) vs. Service (SaaS) is the first question to ask. Do you want to pay a license or on a per-use basis…unfortunately, this is not always so obvious.

–          Number of users (How big is your sales force?)

–          Integration required (Just how far will should you go to integrate a CRM with the financial systems in place, or with your IT environment?)

–          Business Rules (Does your company need to apply custom rules to its processes?)

–          Data (Do you need to manipulate data specific to your business, your processes, your industry?)

–          Features (Must you create functions specific to your business?)

–          Level of Security sought/required (for data access and mobile access)

–          Optimization of Customer Relationship Management Process (Do you want to operate with one single agenda for everyone?)


In light of the criteria listed above, you can quickly determine if:

–          An off-the-shelf product meets your needs based simply on desired functionality and price


–          A generic commercial CRM solution better meets your expectations

Or perhaps

–          You are the special case where your business is so specialized (eg. Banking) that you must deploy a specialized solution that could integrate with your ERP (for example), provide metrics (numbers, graphics or 3D) unique to your technology environment and/or your business reality, incorporate “office” features or mobile services (e.g. obligatory note to complete an activity), account for objectives/goals other than sales volume (number of activities per month, number of activities/customers/territories/closing ratio/ visits, etc.).

Have a great week,

Michel & Denis


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