CRM has come a long way in the past decade and now is the center of the “Sales Stack”. While the modern CRM does a good job of supporting sales, customer service, and some account management functions, it falls short as an effective platform to support marketing, product, finance, and legal functions — or, as I like to call it, “the rest of the enterprise”. It is time for new platforms to address this CRM deficiency by accessing the exact relationship data required to support the rest of the enterprise and deliver it with a business model that makes sense.
There are two ways to populate a CRM:
- Sales and CSRs manually enter the data; or,
- Integration with other apps that automatically add data. This paradigm creates two common problems. Manually entered data is often outdated or incomplete because sales guys hate “electronic paperwork” and data integrations (e.g. Marketo, Pardot, NetSuite, Mixpanel, other) often create records with so much data it is difficult to find what folks need.
In short, many CRM deployments have become a data “dumping ground” creating as many problems as it solves.
At the end of the day, sales reps and CSRs have to enter key data because they are the front-line between the customer/ prospect and the rest of the enterprise.
Also, integrations with other apps are required if the CRM is to be the “system of truth”. (It is supposed to be.) Most companies address this reality by customizing their CRMs and spending lots of money (internally or with consultants) to create workflows and data structures to support Sales. While not perfect — and expensive to create and maintain — once customized, CRM does a reasonably good job supporting Sales and Sales Leadership. It’s the “rest of the enterprise” that gets the short end of the stick.
CRMs like Salesforce.com were simply not designed to support Marketing, Product, Finance, and Legal organizations. This is apparent by a cursory review of SFDC’s acquisition strategy of trying to buy and “bolt on” these offerings and opening up their ecosystem to third parties to help solve these pain points. This would have worked out better if the SaaS revolution had not been so successful. Reality is that the average mid-size company has over 20 SaaS providers creating 20 data silos or 20 points of integration into the CRM.
So we find marketers spending time in their platform (e.g. Marketo), Product in theirs (e.g. BaseCamp), Finance in theirs (e.g. NetSuite) and Sales in theirs (e.g. Salesforce). However, this fragmentation means that there is no comprehensive view of a business relationship and that companies are paying multiple per-seat licenses for the same people to access all the information they need to perform their respective jobs. Ouch.
Broken Business Model?
Before the emergence of the SaaS business model, enterprises purchased large, comprehensive software packages (e.g. SAP, Oracle) with large upfront costs and annual maintenance fees. The introduction of the SaaS model in the early 2000’s introduced lower costs of entry, lower CapEx, lower upfront costs, and a proliferation of valuable point solutions.
However, an unintended consequence of the per-seat SaaS innovation was the elimination of “leverage” in the business of buying software. When companies spent $2M for an Oracle suite of software, it was a 10-year commitment to Oracle, BUT in years 4-10, if you grew, you were able to leverage the investment because the cost per employee (growth) did not go up in a linear fashion. You pay once and everyone in the enterprise gets access/ benefit. Not true with the SaaS model — the costs grow linearly with your growth — every new employee called for purchasing a new license. Ouch.
A Better Way?
It’s time for a better model. At SalesWise, we have created a new type of platform that automatically extracts the relationship data required for each role in the organization (Cross Application Relationship Data or “CARD”) across SaaS platforms, presents it in a more intuitive way, and enables every employee to access the data they need with no per-seat costs.
Indeed, we think most companies can eliminate up to 30% of their Salesforce per-seat costs and help all employees get exactly what they need to better perform.