Posts in March 2013

4 CRMs that are changing the game

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Most CRM-suites feel bureaucratic monoliths unsuitable for real life selling. Whether it's Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics or SugerCRM, the main focus is on managing the relationship data, not helping sales to achieve results. Not, if you are asking a practicing sales man himself, anyway.

So here is my picks of 4 CRMs that are currently changing the CRM game.

These challengers approach the need from different and fresh perspectives. Nimble and Pipedrive provides the usual CRM-database, but can link to your existing CRM, e.g. Salesforce. So they can help the sales team while rest of the organization still uses Salesforce. Or they can be used independently. GetSalesDone doesn't even try to offer that database and rather is a mobile front to Salesforce. Streak on the other hand starts where the job is being done, from your inbox.

What's interesting here is that two of these challengers are from our home waters from the Nordic and Baltic region.

1. Nimble

Nimble is a Social CRM. Nimble adds social network information to your contacts. So when you are viewing a contact, you can see her LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter data on the same page. It notifies you on activity such as change of title on any of your linked contacts, so you know when to act.

The core idea is brilliant. But at the same time its too much like Salesforce or other CRMs. Slow and bureaucratic to manage real life sales pipe.

There's another glitch as well, and it's one-way Google Contacts integration. Nimble reads Google Contacts, but cannot update them. So there is no point of updating contact information at Nimble. You may wonder why a CRM should update Google Contacts? Well, you really don't want to use a third party app for calling while driving. Google Contacts is linked to my iPhone and I want to find the correct person and number quickly.

2. Pipedrive

Pipedrive is, like they name says, focused on driving sales on the pipe. It's visual sales pipe, where you can move opportunities with mouse, or finger on a mobile device, from step to step is much more inspiring than endless lists and reports.  And Pipedrive have a two-way street to Google Apps.

Pipedrive is the most inspiring sales tool. You do your work mostly on that inspiring pipeline view. Everything is quick and easy. No complicated forms to fill.

But Pipeline is not for managing relationships. It is for selling. You cannot add multiple contacts to a customer, although this feature is coming. Linking to existing calendar events is possible, but quite difficult. And I book most of my meetings from the iPhone calender. Or from Google Calendar. I don't know why all CRM vendors think sales people want to work from their CRM suite. Most sales people I know use CRM to document stuff, but rather use iPhone, Inbox, Calender, PostIt Notes and so forth as their main tools. 

In any case, Pipedrive become my tool of choice to replace Salesforce. It's fantastic and inspiring.

3. Streak

Streak is an interesting beta-stage cloud-CRM. If you are like most sales people, you work from your inbox, Streak builds up customer relationship management on top of your GMail. It's good for sales, support, managing accounts and many other CRM-tasks.

The idea itself is rather inspiring. Inbox is where things are really documented. Even if you book your meetings on the phone, you usually send confirmation by email. And send thank you or memo after that meeting. So with Streak you don't have to do much CRM-work.
4. GetSalesDone

GetSalesDone takes totally different approach.

Salesforce is principally perfect CRM. We used it for many years. But it's anything but nimble. It's not for doers. It does not support actual sales work, you update stuff later. If you remember.

GetSalesDone is a iPhone App on top of your Salesforce. You do your sales with GetSalesDone and information is updated to Salesforce. You get sales, and management is happy to have everything updated.

Rather than explaining more, watch this short video instead.

What do you think?
There are perhaps dozens of other great CRM game changers. What are your picks?