Top CRMs Used in Security Sales

By John Honovich, Published Mar 19, 2015, 12:00am EDT

One of the biggest pains of sales people is using their CRM (customer relationship management) software.

However, management often finds CRM software critical to forecasting and projecting sales numbers.

We asked 100 security sales professionals what CRM software they used and what their biggest pain points were.

In this note, we share detailed findings, sales person commentary and how integrators and manufacturers radically differ in how they manage customer / prospect information.

Key Findings

  • Integrators largely do not use CRM software. Many of those use other software as a substitute. Those that do use CRM, most commonly built one in house or use Salesforce.
  • Manufacturers almost all use CRM software, with Salesforce being the most common yet with mixed reviews.

Integrators Not Using CRM

Almost half of all integrators reported not using a CRM, with many being blunt about it: 

  • "We do not use one at this time."
  • "We don´t use CRM."
  • "Never use one."
  • "DON'T USE ONE!!"
  • "Still looking for the right CRM platform, doing it manually at the moment"
  • "There is no Client Management Software in our organization.... It's on our radar.... To be honest, I' m simply too busy to investigate them..."
  • "We don't have a true CRM software. We are currently evaluating software for this function, but have relied on notes in outlook and internal communications."

Integrators Using Other General Purpose Software Instead of CRM

Most integrators not using a CRM used something else as a substitute, such as Excel, Outlook or their accounting / inventory system:

  • "Other than an Excel spreadsheet, I haven't found one that works well. I would rather be selling than managing a CRM."
  • "We don't use any CRM software. We keep all of information in job folders and use Word, Excel, and Visio."
  • "The company doesn't have one, but I use Zoho for myself. The free version isn't the easiest to customize to how I want to track opportunities, but the mobile app makes logging the calls easy."
  • "Do not use any program. Use personal relationship along with project and post project support."
  • "Customer database is just in Quickbooks."
  • "Simple database incorporated into currant Proposal Software Bid Magic Too simple"
  • "We are a young company in a small market. So we do not use specialized CRM. Instead we use Excell for basic contact information and follow-up records."
  • "We do not use a true CRM at this time. We use Connectwise to handle project management, service and back of house. There is talk of migrating or looking at Salesforce.com."
  • "None, we use only xls tables or mail categorization."
  • "We do not use a CRM. We use a service dispatching program that maintains our inventory and customer database but it doesn't have the features of a CRM. We have been trying out some software to find one that is a good fit for us so maybe the results of this will help us choose the right one."
  • "We don't use a standalone CRM, but do keep all contact info in Outlook."

Integrators and Salesforce

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Of those using CRMs, Salesforce was frequently mentioned:

  • "We use Salesforce (BFO). It is tedious to constantly update but it is good for managing opportunities and our pipeline."
  • "Salesforce but are not using it to it's capacity. We are looking at various options including the new Microsoft 360 CRM."
  • "Salesforce. Love my ability to customize it and its speed."
  • "Salesforce - Great cloud product, gets expensive with so many add-ons."
  • "Salesforce. Dislike it strongly. Salesforce is a tool built to manage a salesforce, not necessarily to make the individual salesperson more effective or efficient. Therefore it does a good job of keeping sales people accountable (kinda) but a lousy job of creating more opportunity."

Integrator In-House CRM Software

Equally or slightly more popular than Salesforce for integrators was building their own:

  • "We have our own in-house CRM. It works well for what we do."
  • "We have our own. Very limited."
  • "We develop our CRM inside."
  • "We have a proprietary application. It works well, but its not very intuitive."
  • "It's an internal CRM, developed by my company It's easy to work with and it's fast."
  • "Custom software that is many years old but it is paid for and it still works."

Integrators and ACT CRM

A handful of integrators mentioned using the old school ACT software with generally negative experiences:

  • "ACT. It's not built for modern business. Slow, temperamental, ugly."
  • "We are changing now to SalesForce from Act!. We are hoping for better results with improvements in usability and features. Act! was dismal."
  • "Act! Everyone on the sales team uses it to it's full potential."
  • "Currently use Act! hate everything about it. in the process of changing to Salesforce."

Integrators and End to End Software

A few integrators noted using non-CRM software to manage their broader quote / management / customer lifecycle, such as:

  • "SmartTrade. Broadly encompasses quoting, job allocation through to billing. Due to the size and nature of our comapny, a fully fledged CRM package is overkill. Smarttrade, whilst not 100%, covers what we need."
  • "QuoteWerks. Basically only used for quote generation. Not using even 10% of its abilities, but too busy to worry about missed jobs when my schedule is pretty full already."
  • "We do not use a true CRM at this time. We use Connectwise to handle project management, service and back of house"
  • "We do not use a CRM. We use a service dispatching program that maintains our inventory and customer database but it doesn't have the features of a CRM."
  • "We used We-Opportunity but stopped because it is a bit clunky and difficult for the Reps to navigate, no app for remote use"
  • "We use WeSuite mostly as a quoting and opportunity management tool. We like the flexibility of the product and the reporting tools. However, the cost to make it a "cloud" solution and to add more opportunity management is staggering."
  • "We use We-Opportunity. It is not forward looking enough and could be web based for ease of use. It is however tied to our estimating package."

Manufacturers and Salesforce

Almost all manufacturers use CRM. And, far and away, the most common CRM chosen by them was Salesforce, though, it received mixed reviews:

  • "Salesforce - hate it, useless. But my company likes it, and I have to follow.. :)"
  • "Salesforce - hate it."
  • "Salesforce.com. It's functional enough, but they all really suck. You need to hire expensive consultants, and/or hire full time people just to admin SFDC if you *really* want to fully utilize it. It's slow and ultimately you end up adapting your processes more to SFDC than adapting SFDC to your processes."
  • "Salesforce, and I have no issues with it."
  • "I use Salesforce and like how easy it is to use and customize. I dislike the price and initial setup learning curve as an admin. With all CRM its "garbage in / garbage out."
  • "Saleforce, don't like the price."
  • "Salesforce. Like: comprehensive, integrated with other apps (e.g. Outlook), mobile app Dislike: cost"
  • "Salesforce.com - I like that it's hosted so I can get to it from anywhere, and there's an Android app which is useful when I'm on the road."
  • "Sales force I don't use it to much, I find it very slow and you can't generate quote"
  • "Salesforce. its easy to use and allows for us to keep up to date fairly easily. It can get overrun with lots of information."

Manufacturers and Sugar

Beyond Salesforce, there was a handful of other CRMs mentioned but the next one, still far less common than Salesforce, was Sugar CRM:

  • "SugarCRM. It's highly customizable and can scale well. The mobile versions aren't very user friendly though and have some limited functionality."
  • "Sugar ... pluses, very intuitive and affordable ... minuses, reporting can be wonky and the app for it is subpar."
  • "Sugar CRM Server is based in different continent and is very slow to access."

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