I love this image, it reminds me of joke I heard years ago.
A man in a balloon is floating over a field, lost. He sees another man walking across the field and shouts down, “where am I?”. The man on the ground replies “you’re in a balloon in the middle of a field” to which the balloonist says “I’ll bet you’re a financial accountant.” “My god, how did you guess?” says the man on the ground. “Because while what you’ve told me may be accurate, it’s totally useless.”
Laughter by all but the accountants among you…
Now we're guessing you’re thinking OK, bad joke, but what’s that to do with transactional CRM?
Well, did you even know there are two kinds of CRM system, a useful one and a potentially accurate but perfectly useless one? I’ll bet you’ve never given it that much thought. The CRM system providers in the world have made an excellent living from telling you to use their non-transactional CRM systems, to our minds, the useless type.
They are easy to implement, simple to use, pretty, fast, cheap (some are even such good value they’re free) and most have very pretty graphs. They make the organisation feel really good about themselves that they have a solid CRM system, one of the measures of a good business.
And if that’s your objective, go get one, they’re great!
But they are able to be and do all those things because they don’t actually achieve very much. Some have deep mail campaign management and we admit that’s useful but there we stop. If you use one of these systems, go and look at the data and see how up to date it is, not in pockets of excellence (often driven by boredom) but as an enterprise resource that you can rely on for clear, consistent and meaningful reporting.
The problem is that some sales people are too busy (or lazy) and so don’t keep stuff up-to-date, while others are so anal (we mean conscientious) that they enter every interaction, updating values etc as the sales process progresses. These rare beasts are often to the ones who sell the least, they may actually be people who need a system to tell them what to do in the morning. You see, this data goes nowhere, it just is and the reports you pull down mostly have to be updated to be worth paying attention to.
Transactional CRM is a totally different concept. With this model, the sale is made in the system, the order signed, the ticket to the rugby match is only offered by the system etc. With Transactional CRM (TCRM), the data must be perfect or the sales person cannot do their job. This is the difference, you can trust the information (and the reporting) because it is the route to commission and that matters to all sales staff.
Unfortunately, TCRM systems need to have quote and order management fully integrated in a manner that can be used to execute actual fully-formed business transactions. This makes them tougher to build and implement and because they create real business objects, they are probably not that pretty or simple - damn!
So, your choice is between a nice system fully of wonderfully illustrated stale data, or a system that tells the truth and saves you time.
You may have guessed by now that Harmony’s CRM area is transactional, its purpose is to track and execute the business. The data created here goes on to become actual contracts, projects and invoices, without alteration or rekeying. So it’s worth looking at and reporting on.
And it also has some nice graphs.
About the Author: Steve Duckworth, Co-founder & CEO. In a career that began in offshore engineering, migrated into investment banking and ended up with the co-founding of a software company 10 years ago; Steve has devoted his career to developing solutions solving project, accounting and business process problems. Follow Steve Duckworth on Twitter, LinkedIn or Website