CRM Navigation Evaluation

Posted by David Chism | Fri, Jul 24, 2009

 CRM Navigation Evaluation
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. CRM Navigation 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.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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