As I have mentioned in a recent post, I have been evaluating “on demand” Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to offer to my clients in the last few weeks. In the old days, CRM worked great on a desktop computer. However, I have discovered that in the painting industry, many owners are working more remotely and spending less time in the office. It is hard to be able to use a CRM that is sitting on one computer at the office when you are in and out of the office so much. So, I really feel that a good CRM on the Internet is the best way to go these days. The problem is finding the right software company to use.
There are some VERY quality CRM programs available on the market but only a small hand full are actually easy to use. Most of the software is either too basic (not enough features) or too advanced (way too many features). Small painting companies simply do not have the time to use a full feature CRM program like the one’s I’ve researched. So the key is finding one that is easy to navigate, easy to use and is customizable.
Speaking of Navigating, I was intrigued by 3 quality CRM programs this week and their top Navigation bars. These are all big companies that have a lot of time, energy and money invested into there programs. I was testing these programs out this week (SugarCRM, SalesForce and ZoHoCRM) and realized one major problem with one of the programs Navigation buttons. I had a very hard time on Sugar navigating my way from Lead to Closing the job. Once they walked me through it, it was not difficult, but when I tried it the first time, it was a little troublesome. I also did not know the difference between an Account and a Contact, as most paint companies just called them “contacts.” One of the reasons I was so confused is because of the way their Navigation bars were located. The Navigation menus are read from Left to Right and SugarCRM starts with the following: HOME, DASHBOARD, CALENDAR, ACTIVITIES etc. Now, there is really nothing wrong with this format and structure at first glance. It is nice to start things out with looking at your overall picture (Dashboard) then your Calendar to check your schedule. When it gets tricky is when the phone call comes in with a lead. You then have to scan and look carefully for the LEAD menu. Then when you want to view Accounts it is not directly next to the LEADS. In a perfect world, this is the order in which they should be viewed when a phone call comes in with a lead: (left to right) LEAD, ACCOUNTS, CONTACTS, OPPORTUNITY, etc. Check out the way SalesForce and ZoHo laid out their Navigation menus and see the difference. Salesforce starts with HOME, LEADS, ACCOUNTS, CONTACTS, OPPORTUNITIES, etc. Isn’t that the perfect order of a sales call? ZohoCRM was second best and almost identical. However, they changed the typical CRM term “Opportunities” to read “Potentials.” That was the only word that was confusing if you’ve used ACT! or other CRM programs in the past. By making up a new word instead of just keeping the standard “Opportunities” it does cause the user to think about what it might be.
Now maybe SugarCRM has a way to reorganize their layout but on first glance, they definitely confused me. However, I would say Suguar had a lot of strengths (besides the navigation issue) that make it one of the best CRM programs on the market.
I sharing with you this little evaluation and tip so that you know there is always a better way to do things in your business. For example, it does not hurt to get a second opinion in your marketing efforts before you go to print or design something online. All three companies mentioned above have there reasons why they designed and laid out their navigation buttons this way. However, one company (Salesforce) listened to their customers the best and designed the easiest navigation system I’ve seen on the web. Now, this does not mean I endorse SalesForce as the best CRM because of their great navigation bars, but that, my friends, is another article for another day.
If you need help on evaluating your marketing pieces in the future and enjoy doing most of the work yourself, ask me about my “Startup” consulting program.