I am asked every few weeks what CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system I recommend people use. The question is often phrased in a simplistic, throw-away manner, like I am being asked about my favourite ice cream.
I am particularly cagey about giving specific recommendations.
A ‘CRM’ system is a customer or contact database. Every business should have some sort of customer database. In my view it’s an essential and often complicated bit of kit.
The trouble with selecting a CRM system is it is very hard to get objective advice. Most people who know a little about CRM will advise you to look at their own personal favourite. Many independent software consultants are financially compensated for selling a particular system.
If you go direct to the vendors they simply say ‘yes’ to everything, because the people who sell the systems are not the same people who implement and operate the systems. They do not share your pain when the thing implodes.
Getting objective advice usually means taking responsibility for your own research and gathering information from multiple sources.
If you don’t take the time to educate yourself there are people everywhere who will happily sell you a system that doesn’t necessarily do what you need.
Over the next week or so I’m going to write up everything I know about CRM in these daily emails. There won’t be much prescriptive advice, because prescriptions can only come after requirements.
My goal instead is to get you to think about CRM in a more sophisticated way, and draw your attention to what I think are the key issues.