Thanks for the thoughtful response. Slow to reply as I wanted to think about it a bit. It’s an amazing thing to create something like ERPNext that works for so many business environments; its just the nomenclature (and perhaps structure) is so different than what I’ve seen work in executive sales I’m struggling with how to make this work.
What might be constructive is to describe what we need a system to do for high value executive sales.
Before CRM we had contact management. It’s the contact management portion of CRM that salespeople care about, the rest of CRM is more of benefit to management. ACT! or Maximizer were two popular applications.
- Database of Companies/contacts that would synchronize with your phone (blackberry once upon a time)
- Ability to customize and search by any field, customizable interfaces etc
- Integrated with outlook, would create a history of emails
- You could
o record notes
o schedule a future call (became part of your calendar)
o schedule a future meeting
o schedule a task or todo
- It also offered basic marketing functions such as create labels, mail merge, email blast
None of this is very complicated, but there was a lot of effort made making it very simple and efficient to use basically all on three well laid out screens you’s swap to via buttons, the contact record, calendar and one line list of records.
The company had a very crude version, but nobody used it. In a lot of executive sales, it’s the salesperson who has most of the power; we were going to use whatever worked best for us to make money. Which of course is a disaster for the company; everyone with their own database not integrated, owned or controlled by the company.
In this type of sales environment, sales people will not use the system unless the contact management aspect of it is fantastic. Without the salespeople using it, there will be no CRM. Stated another way, to work with high end executive sales, the contact management function has to be top notch. You can have a $50,000,000 business with a million $50 sales, or 50 one million dollar sales. It’s more the latter environment or large sales which these dynamics are found.
Ok, I can see that that is my specific requirement, and we may have to create the interface. However I think it’s a point that systems designers who have not worked in executive sales should know about.
ERPNext’s nomenclature is a little confusing. I would have called the entries in the database “Companies” but that is reserved for the business the ERP is for (better to call that the “Enterprise Name”?). A company in the data base may or not be a customer, but they are all in same database.
So I look at the “Customer” doctype, but that doesn’t really work as not all in my prospect database are customers
The database could and would be populated with anything and everything, existing customers, names and numbers from business cards I picked up or a purchased list. That’s your prospect database. You would prospect, looking for leads by contacting people, from this database.
Existing customers are right along with people you’ve never spoken with before and no company ever moves out of the prospect database unless the are dropped/deleted if the sales person decides they have no potential. For very large purchases a customer might not buy again for years or they have multiple requirements on the go at a time. In either case, there is ongoing contact activity so they must be part of the contact management database
How the contact process works.
From your database, you’d pick a record and decide to call that person today. Then you could click on call history and makes a note (even if didn’t get them I’d still note, tied no message, or left message etc so I could mentally keep track of things, i.e. days later “didn’t I just call this guy?”)
After you make notes, you would schedule a future activity. Might be a call 3 days from now if you left a message or call six months from now if they said no current needs. The next action could also be meeting or todo (task) some time in the future.
I had about 1500 contacts but really focused on about 400. I tried for at least 6 contact points per year between phone, email, meetings and market recap I wrote and sent. All done by some simple but quite brilliant contact management software. THAT imo must underpin a CRM system for executive sales. Creating would almost seem like child’s play compared the depth and complexity of ERPNext.
This is what I mean by working your calendar. As you keep setting future activity every time you complete an activity, on any given day your calendar tells you what you need to do. If you are disciplined with this, working your calendar becomes how you manage your business (as an individual sales person) and you have great success with sales.
I bothered to write all this as I thought the combination of decades of executive sales experience and an interest in systems is maybe not too common so doing so might help make it better. Happy to discuss it further if there is any interest. Meanwhile, any ideas on how to make great contact management work within ERPNext