What do you really need from CRM anyway?


Ask ten sales leaders what they need from their sales CRM system and you’ll likely get at least 10 answers (plus the opinions of others in their organization fighting for either more usage, different usage, plug-ins, etc.).

So it’s been quite interesting lately to hear from several companies that are migrating their sales teams away from “traditional” CRM systems such as Salesforce.com and onto platforms such as Nimble and InsideSales.com.

What’s driving this change?  What features do Nimble and InsideSales.com have that Salesforce.com does not?  It it about price?  Simplicity? Does 80%+ of a sales team using a non-traditional CRM tool (perhaps without certain core features) make it more valuable than forcing that same sales team to use the traditional CRM tool, and getting far less people actively using it to its full potential?

I don’t have an answer to this question, but as a practicing sales guy (building & managing sales pipeline for our own organization) I can say definitively that I have a love/hate relationship with Salesforce.com.  It’s essential to my business, yet lacks certain features and capabilities that other platforms offer seamlessly and natively.

I’m not at a point where I want to give up Salesforce.com for many reasons, but find myself using several other systems on a more regular basis for managing communication – including Nimble, Contactually, LinkedIn and others.

Would you use one of these alternatives as a replacement to traditional CRM?  What features would you be missing that would still be mission critical?  What’s more important – broader sales adoption or comprehensive sales & marketing functionality and tracking for the full pipeline?

I’d love to hear some opinions in the comments below.  Specifically:

  • What are you using for your primary CRM?
  • What other tools are you currently using to drive customer & prospect communication and management?
  • Have you consider moving to a less traditional tool or system to manage CRM functions?  If so, which one and why?