I’ve worked as both a Manager & a Sales Consultant in several different sectors including CRM Suites. My advice to any organisation considering getting a CRM is to start with the following question: What do my team need the CRM to do for them & how will it help them achieve their goals?
A CRM implementation must be a comprehensive, cross-department process involving:
- Buy-in from all major stakeholders
- Customer-focused approach to needs analysis
- Great definition of user stories
- Strong project management
- Appropriate choice of technology
Though the above list is a useful guide as to what order of priority you should follow, addressing this list in reverse order here helps clarify some of the rationale as to why.
It is a testament to SugarCRM that it spawned so many open source forks, before deciding to take itself down an exclusively closed-source, proprietary route. There seem to be dozens of them out there, each claiming to be unique while all working from the same core community edition engine, abandoned by Sugar CRM all those years ago. Read more
One of the first challenges in software development is gathering clear requirements and keeping them unchanged during the implementation. Requirements documents can be lengthy and too technical.
At Crust, we implemented user stories as part of our project management and business analysis process and we acknowledged that this is a powerful way of defining the required functionalities from a user’s point of view. They reflect what a particular user needs and what value is gained from using ‘plain English’ without technicalities and implementation details.
A typical user story template looks like this:
As a [role], I want to [requirement] so that [benefit].
The role describes who is going to benefit from the feature. We want it to be more specific than “the user” so consequently, the first step in the process is to successfully identify all types of users involved as end consumers. In our case, these are usually, but not limited to, “CRM admins” with administrator privileges and “CRM users” with restricted access.
The requirement part briefly describes what the user wants to accomplish. The story shouldn’t be specified in too much detail and it has to reveal the perspective of the user who will benefit from the function, not the developer who will be coding it. We also try to avoid using technical terminology (e.g. we might write “I want to remember my login details” instead of “I want to store my login credentials into a cookie”.)
The benefit states why the user wants this feature and what value it brings. This part helps product owners to better prioritize the requirement and gives the development team more freedom to find innovative ways of implementation to solve the objective. If the benefit can’t be articulated, it might be a good sign the feature is not necessary.
I recommend checking out INVEST technique to validate if you’re writing efficient user stories:
- Independent – can the story stand alone by itself?
- Negotiable – can this story be changed or removed without impact to everything else?
- Valuable – does this story brings value to the end-user?
- Estimable – can you estimate the size of the story?
- Small – is it small enough?
- Testable – can this story be tested and verified?
From our experience, this approach empowers product discussions along with the product development team and external stakeholders. Writing user stories often saves us time as it helps us to define high-level CRM requirements without necessarily going into too many details too early. It gives us cross-team clarity on what matters most to the user – what do we need to build, for whom exactly, why and what’s the priority.
User stories are easy to define and understand so they became a standard way to summarize the functionality by both technical and non-technical team members. Instead of confusing specifications with complex terminology, we provide our clients with a requirements list that they can understand and with which they can identify. If you want to encourage the participation of non-technical team members, why not give user stories a try?
Many CRM applications claim to be an alternative to Salesforce, the cloud-only market leader, but very few can actually justify this claim. Crust’s CRM Suite has been designed to be superior in many ways to Salesforce whilst delivering a competitive feature set. If you’re looking for a Salesforce alternative, here’s why Crust’s CRM Suite should be the top of your list. Read more
Building a great customer service platform is no easy task. Mapping customer experience and user journeys is complex and ever-changing. Ensuring your technology keeps up requires a platform sufficiently flexible and extensible – but it can’t be a headache to maintain either. Unifying identity, customer records, communications and interactions, marketing requirements, processing queries and complaints and delivering varied customer engagement applications securely requires the right tools at your disposal.
As the world’s most advanced open source CRM and the No. 1 secure private cloud alternative to Salesforce, Crust’s CRM Suite delivers a unified approach to co-ordinating and simplifying the customer user experience for both your organisation and its customers.
Crust’s CRM Suite, the open source Salesforce alternative, looks to market leaders such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics when ensuring we build a competitive feature set. We also have an innovative approach of our own, centered on marrying identity, communication and business logic, which underpins our platform architecture and guarantees maximum flexibility and extensibility. Read more
Crust’s CRM Suite has been reviewed by the renowned website FinancesOnline.com, and received the “2019 Rising Star” and “2019 Premium Usability” awards. Reviews at FinancesOnline are created by a panel of skilled experts who manually create solid, detailed and trustworthy reviews, giving readers a useful overview of all key factors of each software. They test reviewed apps in a broad set of scenarios to reveal both places where it works best and where its disadvantages show up.