I want to start by saying I am NOT an expert in CRM systems. I’ve used a number of them over the years. But, I’ve never been an expert, analyzing and evaluating all the available tools. That being said, I’m a HUGE fan of CRM. I think the best ones are easy, embed right into your existing sales process and most importantly they bring value to the sales person first and foremost. Executive dashboards, sales manager reporting etc. are all secondary benefits and should be treated that way.
There’s my disclaimer.
I’ve used Goldmine, Act, (yes those antiquated desktop apps), Salesforce.com Sieble and Landslide. They’ve all provided decent value and worked at varying levels, with the exception of Sieble. I saw no discernable “sales” value in Sieble. To date my favorite is Landslide. It’s easy to use, fairly intuitive, light, and most importantly selling friendly.
What do I mean by selling friendly? A selling friendly CRM application supports the “action” of selling, not the data of selling. Most CRM apps are good at capturing data and therefore structured for the reporting aspect of selling, but they lack the “action” piece. Landslide is excellent at the actionable selling piece.
My favorite feature of Landslide is it’s P3 system. The P3 system captures not only the key stages of the sales cycle but the specific, actionable next steps of the selling process.
Notice in the screen shot the red arrow? The arrow highlights the next step, letting the sales person, the sales manager etc. know specifically what needs to be done to move the sale forward. After each step is accomplished, it is checked off and the arrow moves the the next step. Landslide then recalculates the time to close based on the remaining steps and time passed. The P3 process is completely customizable allowing companies to map it to their own, specific selling process.
Not only is the embedded process detail really cool, so is it’s ability to add sales tools right into the process. The blue in the screenshot are links to; presentations, documents, legal reviews etc. This makes it frickin’, dumb, simple, stupid for sales people to respond to a customer at the right time, with the right tools. Kiss sharepoint good bye.
Another feature of Landslide I love is the iO channel. The iO channel creates a collaborative workspace between the sales person and the prospect buying team. What this means is you can upload a data sheet, a whitepaper, etc and share it with your prospects without creating email. This keeps all of the interaction in a single place. The iO channel also notifies the sales person every time a buyer/prospect downloads something from the iO channel. Now the sales person knows when and if the prospect has looked at it. What I like most about the iO feature is it gives me an active data point. The data point being the level of activity in the iO channel. If my prospect/customer is active, I can interpret that as interest. If the prospect isn’t active . . . well, not so good.
I’m a big fan Landslide’s predictive nature as well. By assigning timeframes to each step in the sales process, Landslide knows if a sale is slipping or stalled. To illustrate an opportunity is slipping or stalled, Landslide uses a little red icon that shows up next to the opportunity when the sale has been in a particular stage too long. With a quick look at the opportunity dashboard, the sales rep, sales manager or executive leadership can know which accounts are stalled, at which stage and why.
I shared my take on CRM systems awhile back. You can read it here. My biggest problem with them was the UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) In it I talked about there being room for a new player who could improve on that. Landslide is definately stepping in to fill this void. It’s a great product.
There are a few things I don’t like about Landslide. The most notable is their payment approach for small biz. Landslide is affordable at only 85 bucks a month. However, they require a years payment upfront. If a start-up or small company has 3-4 sales people they have to write a check for three to four grand upfront. Not very start-up friendly. I’d like to see them change that. The other thing I don’t like is how you associate accounts, contacts, opportunities, tasks etc. It’s easy to “lose” data if you don’t remember who/what you associated it too. I’ve quickly figured it out, but there was a learning curve.
If you’re looking for a CRM system that does more than create reports and provide data, check out Landslide. It’s a good system.
Any of you using it? What do you think. Are there any cool, unique features that aren’t obvious? Would love to check em out. Be sure to share in the comments.