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CRM General Advice

Posted on 2014-04-01
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Last Modified: 2014-04-22
EE,
I'm looking at CRM systems, they seem very complex and probably overboard for what I need, so I'd some independent advice on firstly whether I need a CRM system and if so, which one would suit (zoho, sugar, salesforce , MS etc etc)
I'll split what I need in to priorities (1 - Definitely need / 2 - Prefer to have / 3 - would be nice)

1
•      Hold current customer data (name, add, and about 10 other custom fields)
•      Be able to automate a report/alert from some dates held in those custom fields
•      Used my multiple users at different locations

2
•      Hold potential customer data, generated from face2face and online
•      Lead management of that data
•      E-shot or label runs from that data

3
•      Mobile app access

Current active customers mount to 2000.
Our potential customers DB also mounts to about 2000.
For 8 -15 users.

Hope someone has some insight.
Thanks, Joe
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Question by:joefolkes
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Expert Comment

by:feridun
ID: 39970100
I can speak for Microsoft Dynamics CRM as an independent consultant. I've worked with it for many years and like the product. It might not be the optimal product for you.

From your requirements I would say that you do need some form of CRM whether it be simple or advanced.

Your multiple location requirement suggests a web-based CRM system.

Your other requirements seem straightforward and Microsoft Dynamics CRM can meet them. I can't speak for the other systems that you mention but I would be surprised if they could not do what you list.

In assessing which one to you use you should consider:
- infrastructure requirements and whether your network meets the requirements (e.g. active Directory, SQL Server for the database etc)
- the cost of licences
- the availability of external support
- how customizable/configurable the system is without requiring a developer; you have simple requirements now but that could change in a year or so
- the user interface of the package and what your users think of it
- do you need to integrate with Outlook to track emails, appointments into the CRM database
-whether you want an on-premise (installed on your own servers) or cloud based solution

You can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online which gives a no-risk way to try out the product. The Online version is virtually identical to the on-premises version. Using a cloud based solution would be good for your multiple location requirement but you might have reasons for not storing the data in the cloud - that is a matter for you to decide on.

The alternative to a CRM package is to build something yourself in Access, MySQL etc. but that might sound cheaper to start with but you need to factor the cost of your time putting something together.

Hope this helps a bit and if you need to know more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM I'll be glad to help.
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Author Comment

by:joefolkes
ID: 39994999
I was hoping for  few more comments, but nevermind.

I appriciate your input Feridun, and will have to likely try it on a trial basis. Quick question on costs, with al that i have mentioned what would be the approx costs?
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Accepted Solution

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feridun earned 500 total points
ID: 39996252
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is available on a subscription cloud-based service from Microsoft priced per user per month. The price depends on your location but for the US this link shows pricing http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-purchase-online.aspx

There is more than one type of user license, I think you need the Professional CAL.

For an on-premises license, where you install CRM on your own server the price depends on which license program you buy under but there is a server license and a per user license. You also need to acquire SQL Server if you don't already have it. Best to speak to a vendor that resells Microsoft products in your area.
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Author Closing Comment

by:joefolkes
ID: 40014239
Much appriciated Feridum.
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