Every company needs a CRM. Indeed, it may be the first system a new start-up buys.
CRM systems are great - they allow you to track contacts, record interactions, add opportunities and give them statuses so you have a clear understanding of the potential business the sales team is working on, i.e. the new business pipeline report.
They are easy to use standalone systems that help the sales team organise their work. What could be wrong with that?
One of the common questions we are asked during our sales process is: does Harmony integrate with this or that CRM system? The answer is “No”.
So, why do we stubbornly stick to having CRM as an integral part of Harmony rather than simply building an interface? Well, the answer takes a little explanation, so here goes.
We consider the end to end B2B sales process to consist of three phases:
- Marketing; depending on your level of sophistication, this can cover mailshots, website marketing automation, targeted advertising, landing pages, SEO optimisation, PR, blog publishing, social media etc. The end result should always be to secure marketing qualified leads (MQL) for the sales person to run with. Marketing these days is a specialised, technical and increasingly automated process. It is also generally outside the scope of your CRM system, though some will offer part of it (like tracking mail open rates)
- Engagement; taking an MQL, turning it into a sales qualified lead (SQL) and developing the relationship up to the point that the prospect becomes a customer (hunting) or expanding the product coverage of an existing customer (farming). For the cases where this is relevant, this stage includes managing responses to RFI/RFPs. This is the space that CRM systems are designed to track, record and manage
- Execution; agreeing the exact product mix, the contract and commercial terms and signing a contract. This phase includes quote and order management. The whole process of quote/proposal generation, approval, contract negotiation and final agreement, often also involving supplier negotiations, sits in the execution phase. Tracking progress on contract execution is frequently a black hole from a company reporting perspective, and yet this is key to the business getting the right deal over the line. Most CRM systems have no functionality to deal with this phase. Companies revert to word documents, spreadsheets and email
We believe that 1 is delivered by a range of excellent specialist tools with a clear interface point, the MQL. However, 2 and 3 go hand in hand, they are intrinsically linked and form part of a concept known as “Transactional CRM” where the sales team hands off to operational delivery a fully modelled contract ready to go.
The thinking behind transactional CRM is one of data continuity from MQL to delivery, IN ONE PLACE.
To expand on this, below are 15 benefits of Harmony’s transactional CRM model vs a stand-alone CRM system:
These are just some of the key differentiating factors that underpin our argument that a transactional CRM model as part of an integrated lead-to-cash business model makes far more sense than using a standalone CRM platform.
Plus it will save you money.
If you care about clear visibility of your pipeline, structured quote control and accurate order processing, combining Phase 2 and 3 into a single platform makes perfect sense.
Harmony is designed to control the flow of business from lead to cash with total control of master data, no interfaces, no data misalignment. Instead you get a single version of the truth across the organisation with the minimum of administration.
That is why people buy it.
About the Author: Harmony Business Systems Ltd (HBS) is the company behind HarmonyPSA, the most complete cloud PSA software on the market. Developed with functionality to cater for even the most complex needs of MSPs, VARs, ISVs and Professional Services organisations, HarmonyPSA truly is the next generation of PSA systems. HBS is an independent company based in the UK. Follow HarmonyPSA on Twitter or LinkedIn