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January 10, 2018 Business Technologies

5 Key Categories to Consider for CRM Selection

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By Brainsell Editorial Team

If you’ve found this blog, you are likely researching CRM systems for your company, and have realized the market is saturated with lots of solutions all claiming to be the “best.” Here at BrainSell, we take a step back and make sure the software being selected is indeed the best for your business; that is why we are partners with over 30 different vendors. We understand not everyone fits the same mold.

Most CRM systems have 5 key categories for consideration when identifying which system will best compliment to your business process.


Sales force automation (SFA)

SFA is the use of software and process engines to automate tasks in CRM. Tools like bpm’online are built on a backbone of a process, automating everything from customer journey to marketing and sales. Other solutions like SugarCRM offer a bpm 2.0 compliant process engine in their enterprise edition, Salesforce has Lightning Process Builder, along with Workflow and Visual Workflow available in their Lightning Enterprise and Lightning Unlimited editions. Automating your sales processes will ensure your users follow the same business processes and your clients follow the same journey. This is not only a time saver but also forces organizations to document and fully understand business processes. Having your finger on the pulse of your sales teams and customer interactions is never a bad thing.


Marketing and Marketing Automation

If your marketing and sales teams still don’t share data, you are missing out on game-changing information about your prospects and customers. Not to be confused with email marketing, marketing automation is a platform that will centralize all of your digital marketing activities. Salesforce offers Marketing Cloud AKA Pardot, SugarCRM has developed a strong relationship and integration with Act-On, and bpm’online has a “marketing” user and interface but hasn’t fully developed their integration points. Infor CRM (formally SalesLogix) has an integration with SalesFusion and Microsoft Dynamics 365 has options available like Act-On and Click Dimensions. These tools will give you the ability to see marketing activities from your clients and prospects inside CRM, apply lead scoring techniques and adopt a “Compel with Content” strategy, as outlined in Predictable Revenue. More information about how these systems work together can be found in our webinar recording “7 Steps to Create a Lead Generation Machine.” < – link to webinar



Please stop making people use Excel for complex reports. It’s mean and likely not accurate. Most top-tier CRM systems have strong reporting features, but don’t be fooled by the difference between filters and reports. The right CRM should be able to report cross-module, have drillable graphs, and the ability to schedule automatic delivery of custom and out of the box reports. Looking at the same CRM sample group, bpm’online does not offer a true reporting module. Salesforce leads the pack in this category, since not only can you create custom reports that touch data from across all modules (objects), but you can create great looking graphs and schedule delivery, then take the next step with the AppExchange. SugarCRM and Microsoft both have full ride reporting capabilities, but can both be complex to understand and in some cases, cannot touch across modules for simple tasks like lead conversion rates.




Road warriors rejoice! The CRM community heard you and made some significant updates in the world of mobile applications. This past year, SugarCRM released Mobile SDK, allowing the development of fully customizable mobile applications, yet the original SugarCRM mobile app is also still available. The Salesforce mobile app is, in a word, awesome. A full mobile SDK is available as well as the original app, that tout’s full customizations, an Apple Watch app, dashboards and Click-to-Dial.  Microsoft has kept the “pin” feature from the 2016 homepage in Windows, which is the limit of the customizations one can make. The interface seems slow compared to Salesforce and SugarCRM, however, large investments are being made in the new Dynamics 365 offerings. Perhaps a new mobile app will be one of them. Infor CRM has kept up with their mobile offering, maintaining SalesLogix’s strength in the mobile app realm… Bpm’online has an online/offline mobile app, as well. It starts with bare bones and you must configure and customize the app before using it. Once configured, it’s as strong as the out of the box SugarCRM and Salesforce apps.



In the past, CRM systems used to be a standalone platform with limited bells and whistles that would either fit your business or be an “ok” fit. With the rise of Salesforce and SugarCRM as industry leaders, more developers have created add-ons and integrations that allow businesses to build a complete solution. Examples would be connecting your VOIP system for call logging, email integrations for GMAIL or Outlook, and perhaps a big data tool/Business intelligence solution. Don’t listen to the “we’re working on it” answer when evaluating CRM systems. Either the platform has a large ecosystem or it does not.

To see how some top-tier solutions, score side by side download our full 2018 CRM comparison guide here –


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