How is the CRM market performing? What is needed to make it more viable for accounting software resellers and consultants?


We see real interest from the SME market now-they know what CRM is, and ask about it. Previously, the product and the need had to be explained, which is hard work. As CRM has the possibility of increasing sales it can be looked on as “attack” software, rather than accounting, which is considered “defensive” by nature. That difference in nature is reflected in the willingness to spend on solutions. Within both reseller and user communities, there has to be a lot of talking about CRM-giving examples of what can be done and what has been done, showing how the computer can really shoulder “ordinary” office work.

Sandy Needham
American European Consulting Co.
New York, N.Y.

Because CRM is in itself a specialty, the best solution for clients is for accounting software resellers/consultants to team with experienced CRM resellers/consultants so that each can do what they do best. I feel that accounting software resellers should learn more about the CRM market through training and industry trades so they can ask the right questions, bring in the experts, and share the profits. Only a very few firms can manage both specialties well.

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Gene Marks, CPA
The Marks Group
Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

I think one of the barriers to stronger CRM sales is that clients don’t perceive the value of it. I think it will take a LOT of educational effort to make it viable for the “common company.” It will also take price reductions. Even if you convince someone that CRM will give them ROI in one year, paying $25,000 to $50,000 for that is a big pill to swallow. There’s also a huge learning curve, in terms of a culture shift.

Sonia Gray, MBA
Conifer Creek Consulting
Vancouver, Wash.

We are busier than ever. We represent both GoldMine and Best’s BusinessWorks, and we consider the BW/GM link the best small business tool available. Outlook and the like are user oriented. GoldMine is client oriented. It takes a people-management oriented mind to grasp the power of CRM. We at BSN consider the GoldMine/BusinessWorks CRM link to be our single most powerful sales tool when dealing with small business clients.

Phil Crocker
Business Solutions Northwest
Salem, Ore.

We are just scratching the surface, so we don’t really know yet. My opinion is that CRM is actually the core of a business, and not accounting.

Peter Heinicke
Precision Computer Methods
West Chicago, Ill.

I believe that there is tremendous demand that will be executed upon once the economy has sustained improvement. We have configured CRM for professional firms (utilizing Microsoft CRM) and believe that the function set and power of the product will increase demand in professional service organizations. There is a tremendous amount of interest in the product, and again I think we will see that turn into revenue as we see improvement in the economy as a whole.

Chris Gryskiewicz
Templeton & Co.
West Palm Beach, Fla.

Selling CRM and getting the customer to use it productively requires a COMPLETELY different mindset and process from that of a back office: Sales processes are usually far less defined than operations; Sales people do not follow directions as closely as those in operations (the commision aspect almost requires them to operate more independently). In small and medium business, CRM projects SHOULD start small, and then involve monthly modifications for several months as the client figures what they really have.

Jerry Norman, CEO
SmartBridge Partners
Austin, Texas

The CRM market is booming. Many SMBs have already considered, or are in the process of considering, a CRM product to help their organization drive sales and deliver better customer service. But in order to sustain growth in the CRM market, VARs will need to offer clients stronger and more flexible integration between CRM and accounting systems. It is the key to quick ROI and tangible short-term business improvement for SMB customers.

Edward Solomon
New York, N. Y.

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