September 11, 2015

Complete CRM Comparison

So You Want a CRM Comparison?

Ok, if you are looking for a CRM comparison chart pitting one vendor against the other, feature by feature, you will not find it in this post. But don’t leave now! This is still relevant to the information you are seeking. I urge you to keep reading as it may change your perspective on where you should really be spending your search time.

Which is Better??!

I am always genuinely amused when I see posts in CRM focused groups asking “…which CRM is better, Salesforce.com or Microsoft CRM…”.  This is like asking a group of car enthusiasts which manufacturer makes the best car.  You can predict the answers before they are posted. The people who work with Salesforce.com will tell you Salesforce.com is the best.  The ones specialized in Microsoft CRM will tell you Microsoft CRM is the best. And the lesser known CRM vendors add to the confusion by saying their product is actually better than both of those. It’s kind of funny that when all you have is a hammer, everything starts looking like a nail!

Features vs. Features

If you are looking for a true CRM comparison, don’t focus on features. I assure you, the CRM vendors monitor each others progress. If there is some remarkable feature offered by one, the other will have it in the next version.  It is the nature of the software business.  Doing a CRM comparison feature by feature basis may solve an immediate problem, but may leave you wanting more later.

So How Do You Choose?

Instead doing a CRM comparison based on features, I suggest you focus on who the CRM vendor sees as their customer and who is actually using the product. There is certainly a difference between CRM vendors who see their product as an enterprise solution vs. those who are trying to serve the small business market. In some ways, CRM vendors can be divided into levels based on this segmentation. All the products at each level tend to have the same features, capabilities, and limitations. If you are looking to do a true apples-to-apples comparison, compare products that are at the same level. Sure there is always the aggressive sales rep who tries to place his product in the wrong market. This is why you have to ask who is actually using the product.  If there are no companies like yours using the product, that is usually a pretty good clue.

In my 20+ years of working in the CRM industry, I have had the good fortune to work with many different products and vendors. You might find it surprising to hear, there was rarely a time when I told a customer “…you can not do that with this product…”. When I did have to say that, it was usually because the company had outgrown their product and needed to step up to the next level CRM.

Should I Replace My CRM?

At least once per month I get a call from someone who hires a new executive and hears how productive the last company was with their CRM.  It almost always leads to the “…should I switch?” question. Before you rip and replace your current CRM system because it is not meeting your expectation, make sure you understand the level of CRM you are currently using. If your CRM is an enterprise level system, your problems are probably not going to be solved by moving to another enterprise level CRM vendor. The CRM comparison may have one better than the other today, but remember, that changes all the time. Focus instead on how you deployed your current CRM and who is leading your CRM efforts. You may want to ask the new executive who was leading the project at their last company. It is very likely it was an outside consultant or someone highly experienced with CRM projects. A paint brush in the hands of an artist produces much different results than if it were in the hands of a part-time house painter.

Want To Learn More?

If you are looking to deploy CRM for the first time or feel you could be getting more from your current CRM investment, Alternetics can help. We have over 15+ years experience making sales and operational teams more productive. Don’t be afraid to use our experience. Give us a call, we are here to help!

General CRM Topics
About Kip Smith

In each of his leadership roles, Kip found his success was directly tied to his ability to effectively and efficiently manage sales and operations with technology. Never losing the desire to find success as an entrepreneur, Kip abandoned the stability of the corporate world to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams. He started Alternetics in 1999. Fifteen years later, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Kip.