The latest Gartner Magic Quadrant for sales force automation (SFA) has been published and Microsoft is once again in the Leaders Quadrant.
Another year, another Magic Quadrant.
One twist from previous quadrants, this year Gartner has separated Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-preOne twist from previous quadrants, this year Gartner has separated Microsoft Dynamics CRM on-premise and CRM Online, placing them both in its leader quadrant. The primary strengths of Dynamics CRM include integration to other Microsoft applications (the stack) including Outlook, Office, SharePoint, Lync and Skype. The new CRM “process UI”, which will be fully available in October 2013), has already won praise for improving user experience.
According to Gartner: “This Magic Quadrant for SFA, specifically for B2B sales professionals, has new entrants and reflects new market dynamics. Mobility via smartphones and tablets is on the rise, and social is becoming more important, while sales performance management plays a major role in our evaluation criteria.”
“Sales force automation (SFA) applications support the automation of sales activities, processes and administrative responsibilities for B2B organizations’ sales professionals. Core functionalities include account, contact and opportunity management. Additional add-on capabilities focus on improving the sales effectiveness of salespeople. Among those capabilities are sales configuration, guided selling, proposal generation and content management, and sales performance management support, including incentive compensation, quota, sales coaching and territory management.”
The bottom line on the top tier SFA applications is they are all pretty good. It’s more important to just make a decision and start using it. Cost should certainly be a consideration, after all, if they are all in the leaders quadrant, how can they be that much different? And don’t let the vendors do your TCO for you, some are, shall we say, “a little less forthcoming” than others.
One of the primary keys to success is choosing a partner that can help guide you in your CRM journey. Yes, one can always “go it alone” but that’s a lot like tackling you own home improvements. Yes, you can probably do it, and it will be an ok job in many cases. In others, though, it can be a complete disaster and end up costing you a lot more in the long run. It’s always better to have advice and guidance from a professional, BEFORE you get into trouble. The best partners will be that “guiding light” to help get you going in the right direction. Once you are on the right path, then’s OK to spread your wings and take on as much as you want.
Choosing a partner might be easier said than done in some cases. One of the best sources, regardless of the actual application you choose, is to simply ask the vendor. The vendor has a vested interest in your success and they generally do a good job of telling you who their best partners are.