Of course it's all bollocks. I mean the Easy bit is all bollocks. That's why its a conspiracy.
There's somebody keeps posting on Twitter - Easy to Set Up CRM - Secure online contacts, calendar, tasks, docs. She just has to be an affiliate to keep punting the same stuff. Or maybe she's a concubine - to the marketing department. Either way she doesn't have the faintest idea what she's talking about.
To be fair, this isn't the only one. There are lots of people pushing the same story on the Internet. Maybe they're all concubines of the same marketing department? Maybe they're all part of the same conspiracy, aiming to handicap your business with software which won't do a job for you.
The clue's in the words - easy to set up, contacts, calendar, tasks. That's what they all say. It must be right, right?
Before you get fooled into disillusion and wasted time let me explain.
If what you want is contacts, calendar, tasks, with integrated email look no further than Gmail. It does all those things. It's on your phone, for mobile. It's free and it works.
Gmail is great, but it isn't CRM.
CRM is about Customer Relationship Management. Lets break that down.
It's about knowing all the dimensions of your customer - multiple people, in companies (for B2B) with multiple addresses, phone numbers, Twitter accounts, their networks. A proper CRM system keeps all those records in Rubiks Cube of related data. No matter which way you turn it, all of the bits are still there, connected.
Is not just about the company and the people. Its about everything you know about them, including what's supposed to happen, when and who's supposed to do it. It's about plans, actions, schedules, assignments, completed and outstanding
Is about management - doing stuff that's good for both the customer and your business. That takes a management process - plan, act, review. Not just lists of tasks. And a management process needs a system for recording information, and easily finding it when you need it.
Proper CRM is one single database, with interelated data - organisations,people, information, plans, schedules, actions, documents, correspondence - and some smart tools, for filing, finding, reminding.
Unfortunately the conspiracy isn't always labeled as CRM. Sometimes it masquerades under different labels.
One of these made me laugh out loud today.
These guys do come out with never ending stream of nonsense but Turn Your Inbox into a Robust Reminder System sets a new standard for promotion of meaningless tripe.
This bright idea is really cool. When you receive an email you don't want to handle right now, you can forward it to a reminder service which will send it back to you later.
It takes the biscuit for daft ideas from people trying to base a business on band aiding their own incompetence, promoted by somebody who wouldn't know productivity if it bit him in the ass. Haven't they heard the easy crm conspiracy? Calendar and Tasks does this in a heartbeat, and allows some type of planning, albeit sub-optimal.
Then again it might be another part of the same conspiracy - attracting a lot of traffic, which I guess is the main point isn't it.