Conversations, Email Threads!
Conversations are at the heart of sales, yet we log them as activity types on a marginally useful record type (“Lead”, “Contact”, “Opportunity”, “Account”, etc) in our CRMs!
We sit there trying to develop new CRMs, when in actuality our email system is the most used and most powerful CRM out there; and get this, every freaking sales person on the planet loves it and is on it all day and night. And, it’s already mobile!
Conversation threads hold most of the critical data that we need to be aware of in a selling engagement. Even if we have an in-person meeting, the meeting details will either be sent as a follow up to the prospect or client, or sent internally to a manager or other colleague.
The problem is that it historically has been really hard to pull reporting and analytics from email. And why is Salesforce.com so dominant? — not because the sales rep loves it, because it reports on everything management wants to know about.
So what does the ideal system look like?
It’s just like your current email interface, but tracks stages (leads, opportunities/deals, accounts, etc) provides personal analytics (revenue, probabilities, activity, etc), and dashboards/reporting for management.
Image Below: Not a real product – this is just a design I did attempting to express the concept of an email system made for a sales person.
What are the best solutions out there today?
Again, Salesforce.com is the most dominant CRM out there on the market, certainly for the enterprise because it does everything, integrates into everything and supports very complicated sales, marketing and operations organizations. It scales as you do.
In terms of CRM solutions that are heavily weighted towards focusing on communications as role piece of the tool, RelateIQ, Close.io, and NimbleCRM do a pretty good job. If these players can scale with your organization as well as Salesforce does, then we might be in for an interesting and competitive sales CRM market moving forward.