CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is an important part of any business where people are involved. To understand the back-end and features of a regular CRM, a prestigious college of engineering named KKWIEER (K. K. Wagh Institute of Engineering Education and Research), Nashik invited me to talk on the subject. It was an opportunity for me to interact with student, which I think is the best part of any talk. As CRM is a part of their curriculum, I was anxious about what kind of questions they may have. Finally the day came and I was entering the college campus with my team members – Tejaswini and Sagar. Well, Myself and Tejaswini were bit excited about the topic and kept discussing what to cover and how to proceed. But Sagar was going through a very different emotion as he is an alumni of the same college and probably feeling more nostalgic while visiting the campus after so many years.

Before the talk starts, we were suppose to meet the HOD (Head of Department) of Computer Engineering, Dr. Shirish Sane. The talk was coordinated and arranged by Suruchi Malao madam so we met her first. With a warm welcome, we went straight to Sane Sir’s cabin. It is not very common to find college professors replying to emails at 1:00 AM. The kind of energy I saw in Sane Sir was very inspiring and motivational. Well, we talked about how open source software like WordPress can be used to engage more students and get something out of them. To make them learn and collaborate using different means. We also talked about the work culture at our company and how we work in a distributed model. It was a very refreshing discussion and finally we moved towards the seminar hall.

The hall was full of students from final year engineering and few of them were from second year as well. And the talk began…

These are few excerpts from the presentation and also find the slides embedded below,

crm_kkwieer_1

Good afternoon.

Before starting the topic of CRM, let me introduce myself. I am Sanjeev Mishra, CEO of Webfanzine Media. It is a distributed WordPress company with employees working from different locations. We work on WordPress related products and publishing. Some of our popular works are Documentor, SliderVilla, PurposeThemes. Before starting this venture, I was working as a consultant at Kanbay Software, Pune.

For any company, building a good relationship with customer is one of the most important step towards achieving the set goals. Successful companies like Amazon named a building after their first customer John Wainwright. That is one way to pass the message that how important a customer is for Amazon.

To start a relationship, you need to find a good lead. Businesses keep exploring options to find a good lead or the first interaction. For example, Flipkart got its first lead by commending on the blog of it’s probable customer. The comment was from Sachin Bansal and finally it converted and Flipkart got it’s first customer.

Like any relationship, business relationship also go through rough phases where you need to be proactive to make your customers happy. To manage multiple interactions from customer and analyze the data, you need a solution. CRM software is that solution used by businesses to manage and process interactions by different customers and forecast the sales growth based on the same. CRMs are also used for converting opportunities into business.

crm_kkwieer_2

 Here are few important features of a CRM Software

  • Management related
    • Lead Management
    • Contact Management
    • Opportunity Management
    • Territory Management
    • Partner Management
    • Sales performance Management
  • Available Tools inside CRM
    • Sales Forecast
    • Chat/Instant Messaging
    • Call Center Automation
    • Invoice and Quotation
    • File Syn/Sharing
    • Marketing Automation Tools
  • Reports and Analysis
    • Sales Analysis
    • Vendor Analysis
    • Forecast Report
    • Invoice/Quotation
    • Lead Reports
    • Deal Reports

These are very few reports that I have mentioned, but depending on the CRM platforms, you may find many other reports also available for better analysis.

Even if you are using the most popular CRM available in the market, no CRM is perfect. So how to make it close to perfect for a business need?

Make it extendable by providing integration option with third-party applications. 

For example, Mailchimp and email marketing tool is best known for sending bulk emails and managing the opt-ins. If the CRM can be integrated with Mailchimp using its API, that will extend the functionality of the CRM and will provide better features to the businesses using that CRM. So if you are planning to build a CRM, always think to make it extendable by providing third-party integrations.

Now it is time to take a look at a working CRM Software so that you can understand the features in a better way. Here is an open source CRM software with minimal screens and simple features. As this is the first time you are seeing a CRM software, I don’t want to make you confuse by showing a complex one. This is an open source free CRM software, so you can download and explore the code as well. This is help you in building your own CRM too.

Download EspoCRM View Demo

so how big is this CRM Software market?

As per the data shared last year, the CRM software industry is worth $25 billion and is expected to grow to $37 billion by 2017. And the recent growth reports also suggest that open source CRMs are doing really good as it is easy to customize the CRM as per specific requirement of businesses. So there is a big opportunity for those who love to build something or like to start a CRM software business.

To make a CRM, either you can customize the existing ones or start making from scratch. It is important to know that CRM software comes with lot many features related to business operations. So you need to first understand the features extensively and then follow the complete software development cycle. I would suggest to use available libraries like Bootstrap, jQuery, React etc. to make your life easier while developing such a complex software.

Recap

  • Customer relationship is very important for Businesses
  • To automate the process, you need a solution and that is CRM Software
  • CRMs should be extendable using third-party integrations
  • Self Hosted or Cloud Based (Saas) CRMs are available. Explore the code of open source CRM Software
  • Huge opportunity ahead for web based mobile friendly CRM Software as market expected to grow to $37 billion by 2017

Thanks for having me here today. i hope the presentation and the talk will help you understand the CRM Software in a better way. I am open for your questions and even if you have any questions related to CRM software or web application development, you can contact me via my personal blog or send me an email on my personal email ID.

Question #1 by Abhishek – If businesses are getting everything done from a popular CRM like Zoho why would they consider any other CRM or specially a CRM from a new budding company?

Answer – If all the requirements are getting fulfilled, then I don’t think the businesses would like to change the system as it takes time and effort to understand a particular CRM software. But nothing is permanent in business as things keep changing a lot. For example, the business can come up with a new idea of generating leads and the idea is very much specific to that business. Now they don’t find the feature in Zoho as the company was not aware of such new idea. Making changes in Zoho may not be possible as it depends how much important does Zoho give to that idea or if they can provide another solution for the same. Now if a new company comes up with better implementation of that idea and contacts the business. And along with the idea implementation, the new company also offers import options from Zoho to their CRM, probably the business will consider this move. Definitely that will be a risk for both sides but if the new company offers free 14 days training program, the business will not find it difficult to shift from Zoho to a new CRM.

I also had some discussions about distributed company model as one girl asked a question related to that. And finally I was done with the talk.

After my talk, the HOD, Sane Sir also shared his thoughts about CRM Software and encouraged students to explore the code of shared open source CRM Software.

Overall it was a satisfactory talk to me as I felt most of the students connected themselves and must have found the topic somewhere related to their expertise. I hope some of them will explore the code and will dig the available CRM software from their perspective. Looking forward to have more such interactions at KKWIEER and other institutes in Nashik and around.

Thanks for reading my experience of giving an expert talk on CRM at K.K. Wagh College of Engineering, Nashik. Looking forward to share more talks on this blog and will keep you informed. Let me know if you have some inputs and suggestions for the talk.

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