They say that wisdom comes with the age, or something like that. And they are right. Couple of years ago I found myself presenting in a conference packed with academics, their esquire wannabes and some “incognito” businessmen. My presentation had to do with business eco-systems and how these can create more sale revenues and all these sorts of sci-fi B2B network effects. I had my time of vanity answering some questions from the audience and I thought that I could call it a day and relax.
Usually, the only time you have to relax and socialize between presentation sessions (a.k.a: nap time) is lunch break. In my table sat a guy around 60s with “combat proven” pair of Jeans and t-shirt (he immediately gained my respect). He said that he found my presentation “interesting” but not applicable. As I wasn’t in a defending mode, I urge him to elaborate further his argument. The argument was simple and crystal clear: “My Company makes millions not due to partnerships, fancy cutting edge IT technology, nor rocket science sales funnel, powerful CRM software, Business Intelligence applications, Lead management and Productivity measurements. We make money by having a house made software build a decade ago able to generate any short of reports you can’t even dream of”. This nice guy was actually telling me three things:
- I have my customer base (huge)
- I don’t have the need for state of the art IT
- I use my reports all the time (24x7)
He insisted that he makes money because he has the ability to create, customize, modify and run again a plethora of queries (YES he said queries, not views, not statistics, not even analytics). And that was like a slap in my face! This guy was telling me “I’m a neandertal with a stick hunting bears, but I’m good at as I know where my bears are…” In a conference!
He is right, what your sales team, managers, CEOs or whoever you have engaged (thrown) at the market want, is updated (nearly real time), customized, easy to understand and act upon market information. And this is something that you can achieve without spending a fortune on a heavy and unwieldy CRM vendor.
I’m not advocating that you, we, all have to start digging again in lost SQL books for dummies just to obtain a customized report. I’m suggesting to all of us stop looking at the IT fancy Tasks Management and Collaboration, email campaigns or other technological trends and think for a moment: “what my salesmen really want?” Is it a fancy system that I have to spend loads of my precious time logging contacts and accounts only to see these later in another display in a more categorized manner with loads of charts and colors, or is it a deadly accurate/updated excel file with MY powerful customized macros? I believe the latter.
So for those not evangelizing the big names, and looking for something that can combine SaaS and the “right” CRM stuff, I recommend to look for platforms that gives you the freedom to customize, and why not the joy of writing your own queries!
Androklis Mavridis is an expert in Project Management, Software Quality Assurance, Real Options and decision making in S/W investments