CRM or PDA? Chicken or Egg?
Posted at 7:14 AM, Jul. 23, 2008
Someone recently asked:
I'm getting a 1st gen iPhone as a gift from my brother and am very excited to get going with it. Before I jump in I'm looking for suggestions, tips & ideas from the iPhone users out there:
1) What CRM solution are you using & how does it work with your iPhone?
This person may have no choice. She's getting the iPhone as a gift. What I've been running into a LOT lately, is people going out and getting an iPhone, and THEN asking me what CRM to get, that works with an iPhone. That's backwards. OK - I get it that the iPhone is the great new toy, but when it comes to which phone/PDA you should get, THAT choice SHOULD come AFTER you get your CRM solution. Your CRM solution is a far more important, complex, and long term choice than your PDA.
If all you're using is Outlook, go for it. iPhone will do just fine with it. If all you're using is Outlook however, you're going to have a much harder time doing well in this market, because you're not doing the kind of consistent follow-up, in volume, that you need to do in this market. Doing well in my mind is not doing 15 or 20 sides. You can do that kind of volume by simply working a lot of hours and doing a lot of manual follow-up - the hard way. I feel comfortable making that statement, because I not only survived, but prospered doing 40 - 50 sides, in the same kind of market, from 1988 through 1993. I know for a fact with myself, that the reason I prospered was because I had a program called "Real Estate Specialist" which allowed me to launch follow-up campaigns, which kept me on track with a large volume of "suspects".
There are 25 different CRM solutions out there. Frankly, many of them are too new, or have too many holes (usually a function of being too new) to be the best choice, but out of 17 of them that I have interviewed and/or used, 5 of them will work with an iPhone, all of which require extra software to do it. Top Producer doesn't. Agent Office doesn't. Mark-It Advantage Xi only does if you first synch it with Outlook. Active Agent for Outlook does with additional software, as will All Clients. Many Web based solutions will be quick to jump and say they will work with it by going online with it. Sure, but you may as well open your laptop and do it that way. It's not truly practical.
My point - if you see both a new PDA and a new CRM solution decision in your near future, pick your CRM FIRST, and make what it will synch with part of your choice. Not a big part; just a part.