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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
We've received many questions over the years and have finally created a FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page. We're certain that this page will grow over time.
CRM Resources

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Q: What's the difference between CRM and SFA?
A: SFA (Sales Force Automation) solutions are almost entirely focused on sales-related objectives, activities, automation and reporting. SFA software products typically facilitate lead management, account management, contact management, activity management, opportunity management and forecasting. CRM is much broader and typically facilitates all customer facing operations. From a software perspective, CRM normally implies the three integrated software modules of sales force automation, marketing management and customer support.

Q: It seems like every software vendor is claiming to be a "CRM" software vendor - yet many of them have little in common. How do I know if they really offer CRM solutions or I'm just reading marketing hype?
A: This confusion dates back to the year the term "CRM" was coined (1992). Many software manufacturers use the CRM industry term in order to ride the CRM wave or otherwise take advantage of a significant market movement. Most analyst and pundits agree that CRM software includes the three integrated modules of sales force automation (SFA), marketing and customer support. If a software vendor offers these three functions in an integrated fashion, they are likely a genuine CRM provider.

Q: What the difference between SaaS, BPO, an ASP, and an MSP? (did I get them all?)
A: Yes, I think you got them all.
SaaS is of course software as a service and is characterized by a subscription pricing model, hosted delivery and a thin web client accessing a common software application operated on either a multi-tenant or single-tenant delivery platform. Reference the Glossary page on this web site for a more detailed definition.
An ASP is an Application Service Provider which generally manages the deployment of various types (thin client, fat client, client/server, etc) of applications. ASP's existed prior to SaaS and have largely been replaced by SaaS solutions, however, some remain. Some ASP's claim to be SaaS providers, however, abuse the term by hosting any application that can be accessed over the Internet. Oracle's On-Demand ERP software and Workday HR software are examples of ASP solutions.
BPO is Business Process Outsourcing and typically focuses on a single or few line of business processes such as billing (invoicing), procurement, payroll and claims processing. ADP is a classic example of BPO.
A MSP is a Managed Services Provider and provides agreed upon services, often technical services, on behalf of its customer. Examples may include managed security services, outsourced e-mail or groupware functions or even managing an entire help desk or call center.

Q: We're in search of a hosted CRM product and are now half way (we think) through a software selection project. We've recently discovered that a vendor that told us they were a hosted solution is actually a on-premise system that offers hosting as "an add-on". This vendor has really wasted our time. How can I determine which hosted CRM vendors are real and which CRM vendors are merely trying to ride the hosted wave without a real hosted product?
A: Several of the old-guard CRM software manufacturers have resisted the on-demand movement for various parochial interests. A few of these vendors have taken to half hearted tactics of offering to host a fat client system or simply put a web-based front-end on a client/server back end (triggering the old adage of putting lipstick on a pig - which makes the front-end look better, but it's still a pig). There are several methods of detecting and avoiding these short sighted solutions such as inquiring on the vendors technology architecture, verifying that the majority of their customer base uses a hosted solution and insisting that the software demonstration be done entirely over the Internet.

Q: We're at the end of our software selection project and our consultant told us not to bother with vendor references. I found this unusual. Am I off base?
A: Possibly. Every CRM software vendor has a number of flag waving references and no software vendor is ever going to give you a bad reference. The old practice of validating references is skipped as a waste of time by many experienced consultants and executives.

Q: Is CRM Landmark anti-vendor?
A: Not at all. We've chosen not to open this site up to vendor advertising in order to focus squarely on site content and achieve a more professional community portal. We do sometimes like to jest at CRM vendor expense, but recognize we are (usually) only jesting. We recognize that the CRM vendors - whether software manufacturers or other product organizations - are a critical piece of the CRM life cycle and eco system and to that end, we encourage their contribution to any part of this web site.

Q: How do you know when a software vendor sales person is lying?
A: When his lips are moving.

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