Should Marketing or Sales Buy the CRM System?
Full disclosure, I’m on the sales side of Optify.
There was a time (well before my time) when a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system was considered a sales enablement tool. The purpose was to bring data from proposals, sticky notes and rolodexes into one centrally accessible database. It helped sales managers answer the question: “What happens to x account if x sales rep gets hit by a bus tomorrow?”
As time progressed, CRM has been justified by benefits like increased efficiency (varying degrees of truth on that), and streamlined reporting/forecasting. For all of these purposes, CRM = Sales tool.
Fast forward to current day. Growth in the CRM market is leveraging cloud computing, and social selling. There are 1000 apps in the Salesforce AppExchange, all of which boast Salesforce Integrations to enhance the CRM experience. The market has evolved on a tremendous curve of innovation. Needless to say, times have changed.
CRM Evaluation Process
Organizations need to evaluate several elements while deciding on a CRM system today. It’s a crowded market place, and although Salesforce leads the way, several other titans like Dynamics & Siebal continue to grow and innovate. There are also incredibly effective, lightweight solutions like SugarCRM and Zoho that are much more affordable.
So, who within a company should make the final call on CRM selection? After comparing a laundry list of features, plugins and integrations, the decision likely comes down to the age-old battle of Marketing vs. Sales. The winner is… Marketing. Yes, I as a sales person just gave up my group’s right to make a key decision.
Basic needs for sales people have not changed since the inception of CRM systems. Sales people need to manage leads, track opportunities & pipelines. The marketing landscape is much different today. CRM is a key component to a successful inbound marketing program.
The ideal inbound marketing funnel is an efficient engine driving new traffic at the top of the funnel, converting and nurturing leads in the middle, and finally winning opportunities at the end. The end of this funnel plugs directly into a CRM system where marketers need to analyze, rinse and repeat. For this reason, marketing gets the nod on a system that can help them manage this critical B2B growth engine.
There you have it – marketing wins this battle. Also, if you are curious about the prehistoric CRM days, have a beer with Optify CEO Rob Eleveld. He was around back then (WOW!) and he’ll tell you all about it.