Most CRM software can be categorized in two groups. One lets the user operate the CRM software the way they want to without much guidance, and the other makes the user fit their way of doing things.
Both ways have a distinct advantage. The one that forces the user to do things a certain way typically keeps unorganized companies in check. But this is also not very flexible and doesn’t fit many types of organizations. Examples of this style can be found at netsuite.com and entellium.com.
The other way relies on each organization to train their employees on the “best” way of using the CRM product. This is not a bad thing and it typically allows a company to dictate exactly how they want to run their business. This is also allows for companies of all types to use the same CRM package. Generally this is the type of CRM most companies will choose. Think about it, does a computer company operate the same was as a charity or a bank? No, Then why would you choose a CRM that forces them to all do the same thing? Some examples of this type of CRM is salesforce.com, logicbright.com and sugarcrm.com.
One specific area of using CRM that many companies struggle with is the Sales Cycle. It can be difficult for business, especially small businesses, to use their CRM effectively throughout the sales cycle. The best way to solve this problem is to make sure that all your employees understand how leads, contacts and opportunities get moved through your CRM. Developing a “Best Practices” technique for your company is key.
Logcibright CRM has an illustrated flowchart of how Leads are found, converted to contacts and opportunities are created. Check out their CRM Sales Cycle.