Choosing a CRM

I’ve made it no secret that I work for an Oracle reseller and implementor, CRMNow in North Sydney, Australia. In my role at the Marketing Director I get involved with the sales team in their selling efforts while also working on our own lead generation activities.

Those activities generally include social media, webinars, newsletters and top of funnel nurturing programs. We currently use Oracle CRM On Demand Marketing for our nurturing programs. I was recently asked by Oracle to help with a demo to a prospective client, a Japanese automotive manufacturer. They were a tough audience, they made it clear they didn’t like Oracle and (SFDC) was their preference. In this scenario though, my allegiance was to Oracle.

Ok, where to begin?

I put together a few thoughts, walked them through our own instance of Oracle CRM On Demand (CRMOD) and then walked them through Oracle CRM On Demand Marketing. It was an uphill battle, plus I was running the demo from Sydney while the Oracle rep was with the prospect in their office interstate. Note to self, don’t ever do that again if it can be avoided.

The thing that has struck me, especially as we come up against SFDC, is that people are easily distracted by what’s “shiny and new”. SFDC has a very pretty interface, CRMOD has a more windows NT style of interface. It’s logical, but like most things Oracle it lacks any “sizzle”. Is that an issue? Well, for some people it seems to be.

Does it impact user adoption? Our hundreds of thousands of CRMOD users would seem to suggest not. But it’s hard to have people look objectively at these things during the sales process. SFDC are good at what they do, the product is excellent and really on a feature to feature comparison SFDC and CRMOD are very similar. SFDC even sit on Oracle servers in the cloud. You could almost say we’re “family”, but not quite.

I’d argue the CRMOD analytics is much richer. Oracle has an Australian data centre, this is attractive for Australian clients who want to keep their data on shore, especially government clients.

Is there a criteria to follow?

Yes, I think there is. But don’t focus on features and benefits and don’t look at a list provided by your ICT team. The criteria has to be driven by your business and specifically your “business problems”. Those pain points that are stopping you from reaching your goals as a business. Perhaps it’s things like:

  • A lack of any visibility into the sales forecast.
  • An understanding of the types of Service Requests being handled by
    Customer Care.
  • No single view of your customer.
  • Siloed teams unable to access the same data and provide updates the entire company can see.
  • Legacy systems that are slow and provided old data i.e. a data warehouse

Think carefully about these things, don’t even start to think about “CRM” and which vendor until you are clear about the problems and challenges you have as a business. Once you have this list in place, this will become your criteria to help select the most appropriate CRM for your business.