Top CRMs Used in Security Sales

Author: John Honovich, Published on Mar 19, 2015

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.

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Comments (30)

Funny how many of the manufacturer responses were tuned in to how much their company pays for it.

excellent timing. We are going from in-house to cloud as I write this. Thanks.

Mark, thanks.

Any thing in particular you like or are considering?

We are looking at a complete overhaul of our workflow process. I do like the look and feel of Zoho, but it is an expensive platform with very limited drive space. The entire staff will have it. It is between office 365 and Google, and we are test driving Google now (reasonable price and unlimited drive space). I have not selected a CRM module, and based on what I read here, it will not be salesforce. Whatever it turns out to be, it has to flow and be an aid to how we work. Customers come first.

Zoho is good as we use it. We have set some tips & tool (best practices)

But reporting is not the best part of it.

Sitting between the manufacturers and the integrators are us reps. Most of us have had to add CRM functionality in order to keep up with the wide variety of accounts and policies our various manufactureres present us with. The primary functions are synchronization of calendars on all our devices, opportunity tracking, report generation, and sales call activity tracking. We found a cloud-based simple system from a company small enough to make changes and add features as we need them. The software is MRSWare by Eyond, which we have used for 3+ years. I don't know if it's right for every need, but I have been a past user of every scheme imagineable, and finally have one umbrella to stand under.

How much of the mixed opinion is because Salespeople-managers love CRM and Salespeople hate CRM? Name another spot where individual productivity can be scrutinized so readily...

I think CRM might be the victim of passive-aggressive animosity between sales people and their bosses. (Picture: Prima donnas vs the Conductor)

Has anyone tried Work Etc? We are looking at using that software. It's Google based app, full gmail integration - an email gadget is showing right next to each email, google calendar integration, has mobile app, can be used for sales, project/task management, products, timesheets, knowledge base, discussions it has even a customer portal where customer can request a service or download an equipment manual. I'm hesitating because I've tried using it during the free two week period and found it a little to time consuming.

I have done an awful lot of reading and test-driving of different products. As I stated, and it is a bit off topic, we will change the way we work altogether. I am looking for a total shift. 365 and Google Apps are not CRM products. They are collaborative environments. You pay for them by the month, never truely owning it. That is the down side; but you pay for software, seat licenses and upgrades anyway. The upside is you are all on the same software at the same time, regardless of what PC or device you use. Your mobility, choice of machines etc are of no concern to me. Get a Mac if that is what you want. Being browser based, you always have the latest greatest software, every time you turn it on. Using a central respository, I can park a new service ticket template or inventory sheet on the drive and we are all using it 10 minutes later. When a call is complete, the account managers pick it up off the drive within minutes, pictures and all. If we need to share information with a sub, we send them a link to their data only, and we retrieve it the same way; even with a rep or a manufacturer.

I am taking a completely different approach. Open up relationships by the appropriate sharing of data instead of keeping them shut off or at best difficult to manage. Off course you have to be very selective in what you share, but that is the real power of an online data warehouse like Box, Flip, DropBox or Google drive.

As for CRM by itself, if it is web-based, that is yet another monthly charge on top of your coloaborative software monthly charge. I am looking for something that integrates with our choice of work environment, and takes the data that environment will generate and seemlessly integrates it into a CRM environment, whether it is cloud based or not, avioding duplication of effort and entry as much as possible.

Having used Microsoft since it was born, it will be different if I choose Google. There are small differences and there will be a small learning curve. But we older folks are not completely finished yet. We can still learn. Given that, the unlimited data storage is a huge upside. After my reading and research yesterday afternoon, there are tons of templates, add-ons and apps that can make the colaborative environment a richer, more helpful and productive environment with the Google product. We can use those tools (and there are a ton of them) to develop our own CRM environment within the Google platform using trial and error, over time.

We have some unique problems others may or may not face. Our choice of broadband providers is very limited because of our unique georgraphy. Security, of email in particular, scares the bejeebes out of me. The blackhats out number the whitehats. I am sick and tired of spending hours and dollars every week on protecting our data. I need to bring in a professional (group) and put my efforts back into growing and developing my business, making my personal day more enjoyable and productive. This (physical security) is what I am good at and I still enjoy it. Keep your eye on your business is what we all tell our customers they should do and it occurs to me that is good advice for me too.

Our in-house infrastructer is 10 years old; ancient by today's standards and an upgrade is imminent; costing a small fortune. I can just spend it outright or finance it, but an alternative available to me today that was not available 10 years ago is to spend the same dollars on a cloud based solution, essentially financing our servers and software. I know it has it's own security issues, but with the right mixture, the right choices and partners, we as a group will be more productive, secure and responsive to our customers and each other, and that is my ultimate responsiblity and goal. Employing that strategy, using a series of apps or add-ons in docs, sheets, email etc will allow each of us to have the same paltform, but tailor each piece to suit our individual needs. After that, you have access to your data and environment simply by logging on where ever you may be. If we don't like the results, or if a shinier version comes out next month, we can just replace it. I don't have to "learn to love it" because I purchased it. Im not stuck with it forever. The money is not the issue. You will spend the same amount (maybe even less) one way or the other. Don't let the tail (money) wag the dog.

Nice post. We went through a few CRMs before we found one that works for us, including Salesforce and Dynamics CRM. Since we use Quickbooks primarily for orders, inventory, and customers, we found a CRM that integrates directly with quickbooks called Method CRM. The great part is we see almost real-time updates from quickbooks allowing us to see accurate inventory levels, orders, as well as manage leads, customers, and campaigns.

You are right Ryan. Quickbooks has a lot of excellent integration to offer with Drive. We have used Peachtree for years and years and their integration is lacking. That would be ideal to be sure.

To wrestle Peachtree away from my CFO or Accountant would be a fight I would not win (pick your battles wisely). So, we do something different. We take what is offered now albeit limited, and wait a while to see what comes to us. And if need be, we hire an integrator to build what we want.

Wow, I just took a look at that post. Spelling is not my strong point.

I'm not sure there's a better way of spelling bejeebes. ;)

have you try "You dopnt need a crm", its just an excellent way to use a crm...

Nice and easy.

Hello, Undisclosed C: I am not sure what this reply means? Can you clarify?

There's a CRM-ish product called "You don't need a CRM", Brian.

Wow! I feel like I got chumped out by a CRM joke now. Thank you for clarifying.

We use quickbooks enterprise and it has nearly a full CRM function except reminders And calendar sync. We have been asking them to Add it and believe it's coming. After evauluating several including sales force and Method we found for our business the only thing that QB doesn't have is the reminders and calendar sync. But it has document management built in for sharing, address and contact management quote generation, inventory management, chat, reporting out the wazoo, reoccurring billing, time tracking, call tracking, essentially everything except The part to actually remind sales to follow-up! But for the core including specific customer info like login ip addresses network maps, license file info, expired maintenance, emails, etc. all that can be stored in the app. And then because we use a virtualized environment it's all avalable down to the mobile device without a scalled interface. Because QB is so integrated into our daily function, we have quad sqaured backups, local raid NAS, backedup by carbonite, raid storage on the cloud virtual environement, with the cloud host providing a backup of our data, and QB enterprise remote backup.

Vtiger is based around sugar and well act more as ERP(Enterprise Resource Planning) as much as a CRM. We have implemented it with success in our business. It handles everything from asset tracking, ticketing, purchasing, ETC. The best part is ------It's free----.. You can pay for the cloud version which we have and the differences are not tremendous. The opensource version allows you to customize it to fit your needs. We are in the process of customizing it to integrate directly with QB, and outlook. I think it is worth a look.

I would like a sleek slimmed down cheap CRM without the fluff and doesnt take a training class to learn. Havent found one yet.

I am not advocating it yet, and we are likely going to use Google Drive as a collaborative platform, but Gantter is sleek, integrates into Drive, and is free up to a point. It can be scaled up for not too much money. It provides most if not all of the functions customers and govenment entities expect. But it is pretty simple and straight forward, just a little dull.

Another alternative I will mention is Drive Sheets has many templates and add-ons that can allow you to build your own with minimal effort. There are lots to choose from, most are free, integrated, and some are pretty slick (charts and graphs if you need an executive overview/dashboard). You can even integrate them into Gmail for tasks and events, and Drive Docs for reference and project documentation. Keeps it all in one place.

Tigerpaw for CRM. D-tools for proposals/quoting. D-tools could be used as a poor-mans CRM and it integrates into Quickbooks, however we were already using Tigerpaw as a CRM.

We have been using insightly for the past 2 months and we have found it very useful. It does not need training and has a very simple interface. You can also use it for free if you have no more than 3 employees. Costing :usd9/user for monthly subscriptions and usd7 for yearly subscriptions. It's worth trying

My favorite CRM is Solve360 by from Norada. It has direct access from Gmail menu, integrates very well with Google Apps for Work, Xero accounting, Zendesk, MailChimp, etc. Includes a lightweight Project Management system that works for us.

I find Solve360 with Google Apps integrations to be more useful and easier to use than CRMs I've used in the past 10 years including Salesforce, Zoho, Avidian, ACT, Sugar.

We use imanage - just works, simple and ideal for field based operations, deals with the invoicing, job management you name it - Very impressed with it! :)

http://www.imanageapp.com/

We work with security integrators in building or modifying their sales process all the time, and the CRM is a central tool to our work. There are two primary problems we've found with the way CRMs are utilized:

1. The CRM process is built first, and the human process is expected to follow. This thought process is backwards. The CRM system is a tool that enhances the human sale process.

2. Most security integrators use the Quote or Opportunity as the hub of the CRM system. To get the most benefit from a CRM, the Account should be the central focus. Everything else (contacts, opportunities, quotes, tasks, events, etc.) should branch out from the Account, not the Opportunity or Quote.

We'll talk about this in the IPVM Security Sales Training course - specifically in Session #1.

Great comments btw. Thanks everyone.

We use FLG360 and find it very easy to use

Richard, can you share a link to FLG360? I can't find a website for it.

I've been using vTiger and been very happy. I've tried Zoho and Insightly as well. But now comfortable using vTiger.

vTiger

vTiger has most modules for the price per seat. $35 / user. It takes care of functions for both sales and service organisations.

  1. Contact management
  2. Leads / Opportunities
  3. Quotes / Proposals
  4. Inventory management and serial number based asset tracking (very important in our line of work).
  5. POs / SOs / Invoices. Also extensions for integrating with Quickbooks and other accounting software.
  6. Territory management
  7. Knowledge Base / FAQs
  8. Service Tickets
  9. Customisable workflows
  10. Reporting

Advantages:

  1. Cheaper than Zoho per seat if you consider the feature set.
  2. Sales & Service available integrated in one license.
  3. Free if self-hosted (not recommended) - NAS boxes like Synology have built in / downloadable apps for vTiger. So, one can use a NAS box as a CRM server. I would recommend the cloud version.
  4. Highly customisable. Zoho has a slight edge because of Zoho Creator, which costs $$. Zoho creator allows you to create any custom apps for your biz.
  5. Asset tracking based in serial numbers is a big plus for vTiger. Zoho and Insightly do not support this.
  6. Email support with a TAT of 4/8 hours.

Disadvantages:

  1. vTiger wiki for support not as powerful as Zoho's / Insightly
  2. Zoho has more developers and consultants and has more media coverage.
  3. Zoho has a solid HR app as well and in general can run all functions of a company not just CRM.
  4. Zoho has a cleaner interface.
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