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If you’ve been in the business world for any length of time, within the past 40 years, then you are very familiar with the importance of CRM software in general. While POS, inventory and business software have a richer history, and anyone over a certain age remembers the ugly, clunky old DOS software powering all of this, CRM isn’t something new.

However, software dedicated to CRM itself is slightly more novel, dating back to sometime in the mid-1990s for the most part. At the time, a lot of people still just use a series of simple or office tools and business tools to handle CRM, and you can still do that if you really want to, it’s your funeral. Initially, there are really only a few of these, such as the legendary platypus among others. However, sometime shortly into this century, there was an explosion in CRM software, with countless studios offering the same basic functionality, each with their own unique, shall we call it a gimmick?

Leave you wondering, what CRM software is best, and do you want specialized software such as unique sales CRM software? Or, are you better off going with one of those all-encompassing, extendable, programmable and configurable suites that are so popular and, let’s be honest, so expensive in many cases?

Well, I don’t have an end-all answer for this. Your situation is very specific to you, your corporate culture and your business in general. So, rather than pretending I do have all the answers, which is a long-held tradition in writing I might add, I’m just going to give you my thoughts and some advice, and from there, encourage you to come to your own conclusions based on your unique situation. Yeah, I’m going to make you think for yourself.

The specific needs of sales CRM software…

Let’s look at sales CRM is an example of the case for specialized software. Sales CRM is very heavy on things like customer journey, feedback analysis, BI analysis and other forms of complicated data analysis. At least, dedicated software for this particular type of situation tends to be. This does give you a more unique, intuitive big picture of business climate, customer mentality and common problems that may be leading to things like churn. It also gives you an easy way to provide suggestions when customers call in, or during cold calls, with hopes of retaining and regaining lost customers.

However, all of this can indeed be implemented in most general CRM software solutions, it just may require a little more elbow grease to get it initially running.

The power of general CRM solutions…

General CRM software solutions tend to be very flexible. They can do have an open ended nature allowing for extensions to be added, in many cases by the user of the software in the form of add-ons. You can create custom data analysis and data intake systems, custom interfaces, even entire modules. The problem with this is that, in most cases, new functionality require someone pretty well-versed in software development and someone having an understanding of the particular peculiarities of that CRM solution.

However, with more popular general CRM solutions, if you’ve thought of a new functionality you need, just as our so have other users with the qualifications to create this new functionality, and the ecosystem providing additional extended functionality will generally have an entry that meets your needs. It actually turns out to be cheaper, and most cases, to go with these general CRM solutions as a one-stop solution as well.

A quick bit of advice…

So, my advice, which I did promise to give you, is really one simple thing: go with software as a solution. While a big problem with that, which I’ll discuss in my next piece, is that you can’t get out of updates you don’t like, you save a lot of time and hassle in avoiding the need for installations, software and hardware power, and compatibility.