To CRM or not

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As a provider of telemarketing lead generation services, we are frequently asked if our agents can work directly within a client's CRM system. Whether it's Siebel, Salesforce, SalesLogix, or any number of other CRM systems, our answer is always the same - “Yes, but you have to understand the pros and cons before making a decision.”

There are benefits of having your external vendor work within your CRM solution. For starters, data is in a central location. Having one system nearly eliminates any risk of data being lost between organizations.

In addition, Data flow is more seamless. Historical account notes are readily accessible by the vendor agents and your sales representatives. If a lead is deemed “not ready” for the sales team, it is easy to “flip” it back to the vendor agent.

Central reporting can include ROI. Typically, telemarketing vendor reporting and ROI reporting are in two different locations. Having everything in one system allows one report to illustrate all information.

Now, onto the “cons” of having your external vendor work within your CRM solution.

Reporting and forms become your issues to create. Required campaign reporting, profiles, agent tools, touch counts, lead scoring, production tracking, lead quality control forms, etc. need to be developed within your CRM system. When using your CRM system, you must create and manage these reports and forms - tasks which would otherwise be handled by your vendor. Also, you must ensure that your vendor has real-time access to reporting and statistics in order to manage your programs.

Vendor flexibility is hindered. Your vendor's ability to make a quick “on the spot” change to the program messaging, data capture or reporting is reduced. Instead, you must rely on your CRM team for these changes.

Market trend analysis can be challenging. Using a vendor's system means that they can analyze data captured in terms of competitive analysis, environmental trends, purchasing trends, etc. Depending on your CRM system and your vendor's access to the system, i.e., security level, achieving this level of analysis may be challenging and may result in more work for you.

Reductions in agent call productivity can occur. Depending on your CRM's remote client interface and your network access rules, there could be delays in the vendor's ability to make telephone calls.  Even 10 to 20 second delays per record can result in reduced production. Additionally, many CRM screens are not designed for optimal telemarketing call flow logic, which can hinder agent production.

Vendor accountability is reduced. With each of the above “cons,” the vendor loses their ability to control the program and more responsibility falls on you and your CRM team.

These are just some of the main points to think about when making the decision about whether your telemarketing vendor will work directly in your CRM system. You need to weigh these pros and cons with what's most important to you and consider your internal support structure. For instance, if it's unlikely that you will get timely support from your CRM team due to other priorities, then you may want to offload this level of campaign management onto your vendor and opt for daily export/import of data into your CRM.

 

 

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