Dynamics ISVs: Time To Drink the CRM Kool Aid

As publishers of a technology information resource, we’re always curious where our community stands with regard to key shifts occurring in our space. One of the big developments in the last few years has been the explosion of interest in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) capabilities.

So we began inquiring with executives of ISVs we know in the Microsoft Dynamics space to gauge their interest in direct integration to CRM of leads generated from their dynamic content. Wouldn’t they all be pleased to have a steady stream of real-time leads flowing directly into their system of record for turning leads into sales? No more Excel spreadsheets, no more reminder emails to respond to.

We have inquired with twenty sophisticated ISVs, and found, surprisingly, that three-fourths aren’t even running CRM and marketing automation initiatives. And among the rest, we’ve spoken with several who weren’t even aware of which CRM system their company owned.  Those who did have CRM in place were not ready or able to accept web leads from an external source.

We also discovered that there are a lot of organizations out there that don’t do lead nurturing – they simply ship leads out to the sales reps sight unseen. Then, if they’re lucky, they get the emails added to an email newsletter list somewhere down the road. Of course, without screening, a spreadsheet of leads is as good as importing or integrating leads into CRM; if they’re just being doled out to sales reps to do all the legwork, then CRM plays a minimal role anyway.

Moreover, many companies don’t even seem to be considering the many benefits of sending leads directly into CRM from external sources - the segmenting that occurs, the standardized workflow, the essential data added to enable sales people to customize their pitches, and the informed follow-up that is enabled. Many ISVs are in the ironic situation of promoting CRM for their clients, but not recognizing its benefits for their own use. Once again, it seems, the shoemaker’s children go barefoot.

The good news from our surveying is that the opportunities for ISVs to exploit lead generation capabilities via CRM are extraordinary.  It starts with simple qualification, but it easily move on to more sophisticated lead management, marketing automation, sales force automation, reporting, development of marketing content strategies, and cost-per-lead analysis.  Not only that, there’s an opportunity to build significant competitive advantage over those ISVs that are slow to drink their own kool aid.

The time to get started, though, is now.

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