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The Panacea and Pitfalls of Hosted CRM Software

Desktop Integration: A Top Cited User Pitfall

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software users are well versed in desktop productivity programs and CRM applications must therefore be able to seamlessly integrate to the user’s desktop environment. Knowledge workers favor easy to use desktop applications such as Outlook, Word and Excel. CRM systems which provide simple and automated linking and integration with desktop systems save users time and increase user productivity. CRM solution evaluators should verify questions such as the following:

  • Can the user export customer or sale opportunity data for manipulation or analysis in Excel? Most CRM systems perform simple data exports to Excel. A few of the more advanced systems will also export the underlying calculational data used in a view or report so that the data can be further and immediately manipulated offline in Excel or even sliced and diced with pivot tables.

  • Can the user launch a mail merge from for a customer segment from within the CRM system? Can the merges be distributed as a nicely formatted hardcopy document or an HTML formatted e-mail broadcast?

  • Can the user automatically create a quote or proposal from within the CRM application in a keystroke or two and e-mail the quote to a sales prospect? Will all the designated account information, such as company name, contact person, address and other specific account history or product information, automatically export to the PDF document without rekeying?

Several CRM vendors provide integration to Outlook. User experiences have shown many Outlook integrations to be far to simplistic to be useful while others accommodate the flexibility users often request. Top cited e-mail program requests include the ability to perform partial synchronizations based on user-defined parameters, designate synchronization to custom file folders and directories in the e-mail program, designate new file folders for new accounts not yet in the e-mail program, check for duplicate records and perform basic conflict resolution.

Enterprise Wide Business Systems Integration: A Top Cited Organizational Pitfall ...  More CRM Journey

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