How to Build an Activity-Driven CRM on the Salesforce Platform

Salesforce was conceived in the late 1990’s as a new way of delivering a traditional customer relationship management solution. By moving the CRM into the cloud, Salesforce was able to offer a solution at 25% of the cost of an on-premise client/server like Siebel, the then market leader. Plus Salesforce could offer enterprise CRM functionality to smaller companies who didn’t have the IT staff or budget for a sophisticated solution like Siebel.

Today, the CRM industry stands on the threshold of a new revolution in cost and functionality. New technologies are enabling a new kind of CRM designed from the ground up to utilize the full power of the Internet and mobile devices. Some industry experts call this next phase “Integration as a Service” or “IaaS”. Others focus on how it works and what it does and call it an Activity-Driven CRM or Sales Engagement Platform.

Essentially, an Activity-Driven CRM changes the way data gets into the CRM and how the data is used by mobile and desktop devices. An analogy is that an Activity-Driven CRM is to a SaaS solution like Salesforce as Twitter is to the Huffington Post. Twitter is a whole new paradigm of “journalism” while the Huffington Post is an attempt to put a traditional newspaper on the Internet.

Traditionally, data was entered into a CRM manually. Users would type customer information and activities into a screen. The problem with this approach is data entry is very time consuming, tedious and very hard for users to do consistently. Hence the data in the CRM would become incomplete or out-of-date. Missing data tended to undermine the value of the CRM as a tool, causing users to be even less motivated to spend hours inputting information into a flawed database. When I worked at IBM, the CEO would beg the senior management group every year to get their employees to keep the CRM up-to-date — unfortunately for him to no avail.

The next generation CRM will update customer data automatically – to the extent possible – and alert users to new or inconsistent data so they can make quick update decisions. (An example of inconsistent data would be the user just got an email from someone with the same name as a customer in the database but the email address is different and then give the user three action options – ignore, update or add secondary email address.)

As shown in the graphic below, Match My Email is a bolt-on IaaS cloud for Salesforce.com available through the AppExchange. Match My Email’s strategy is to upgrade Salesforce from a traditional CRM tool based on manual data entry to an automated cloud platform that updates the CRM automatically based on the integration of activity capture modules. Match My Email started with email because it is the most common and important mode of customer communications. In combination with other Salesforce add-ons like Mogli for SMS, Appirio for Calendar and Ring Central for VOIP, Match My Email represents the cornerstone of any Activity-Driven Salesforce deployment. Match My Email’s product roadmap envisions the development of the most important capture modules over the next five years.

Getting data automatically in a CRM like Salesforce is great and a worthwhile productivity goal on its own, but the real question is what does the user do with the information once it is in the CRM. Based on ten years of experience with email integration, Match My Email recognizes that every CRM has three user sets: end-user, admin and manager. Match My Email has built desktop tools that enable three user sets to do work in Salesforce; going forward those work modules will be moved to mobile devices and re-conceptualized to work in a tiny form factor. Match My Email doesn’t intend to shrink Salesforce down and put it on a mobile phone; Match My Email intends to create work modules for a cellphone form factor that are designed for the new world of data snippets and instantaneous reactions.

Though Match My Email is small company, it has a clear strategic vision of the future of the CRM. Our development resources are focused on making the AD-CRM vision a reality and giving Salesforce users a next generation CRM without having to switch technology platforms and retrain users.

The best way to see the power and vision of Match My Email is to schedule a Live Demo using the calendar tool on the web site at https://www.matchmyemail.com/schedule-your-live-demo/.