April 28, 2008 10:03 AM BST
This is a broad topic, but the bottom line is that the ROI realized by any company in deploying a CRM solution to manage their sales and marketing activities is entirely dependent on the operational management disciplines that the management team adopts.
I've worked with firms that have deployed CRM solutions that added little to no value to their operations, and have also worked with firms that have derived tremendous benefits with the adoption of a CRM tool. A company can reap serious benefits in deploying a CRM solution if :
1) the management team provide the necessary incentives (positive or negative) to the sales and marketing team to use the tool
2) the tool is readily accessible - meaning the sales folks do not have to come into the office to update the system
3) the management team is disciplined enough and use the reports from the CRM system as their primary source for regular sales performance reviews
4) it's used as a tool to track the entire sales life cycle (from lead to deal closure or loss)
5) it's also used to track the reasons for winning or losing deals - to create an organizational knowledge environment for continuous improvement.
Sales Force is a popularly deployed solution due to its accessibility, as well as the fact that its hosted and thus eliminates any infrastructure costs when you decide to get going with it. The firms that deploy it also have benefited from the large number of 3rd party vendors that provide additional tools to further enhance the value of Sales Force (btw, I'm not an investor or employee of Sales Force :-))
Hope this helps...