June 02, 2014

Your CRM system should drive profit

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The battle for the soul of CRM

We're just about to pass the third birthday of starting work on the idea that became Contactually. We've learned a lot about the CRM industry, and more specifically, how users think of CRM. And there's one big problem that we've run into time and time again. It's systemic - not even with CRM, but business software in general.

CRM is perceived as a cost center, not a profit driver.

It makes perfect sense, because standard CRMs and contact managers:

  • ... require lots of data entry.

  • ... are primarily built to simply return the data that are put into them.

  • ... require lots of maintenance and customization in order to use.

  • ... are not built to save time, or even help, the end user.

  • ... deliver value at the top (e.g. manager reporting and control) rather than at the bottom.

Because of this, and the high per-user price of traditional solutions - how could you not think that CRMs were primarily just something you had to spend money on? And while research has shown that companies that use a CRM generate more revenue - is it the actual software that's helping them, or is it just the intention to organize and track that's the real culprit (something that could just as easily be done in Excel)?

We're fighting that. Our team knows, our users know, and we know, that the days of CRM being something you had to sink money into are behind us.

You should fight for a CRM to:

  • ... minimize routine data entry, as much as possible - to the extent that it knows more than you and your team

  • ... help you do your job better, not inhibit it.

  • ... stay out of your way as much as possible.

  • ... deliver value for all users involved, not top-down.

  • ... deliver significant ROI on both the price for the software and the time investment put into it.

Before I co-founded Contactually, I was looking for a CRM solution for my business. I couldn't find anything where, as the primary user and manager of the software, I could find any incremental value over, say... an Excel spreadsheet, or anything that was easy or enjoyable to use.

And that was really the founding idea behind Contactually - a CRM that, at its core, is meant to deliver more value than the time and price it demands.