The Problem with Your “CRM”, Solved. With Workflow Software.

August 6, 2013

Disparate Systems Across the Customer Lifecycle

CRM, Marketing Automation, Support Desks, Web Analytics, and more services are emerging every day that are designed to capture precious data about your customers. Businesses are armed with more data than ever before about leads and customers. But how do you leverage that data to drive more revenue? Let’s explore the problem with your “CRM”.

Marketeers at some of the largest CRM companies have done a great job of spinning the definition of a CRM in their favor. Instead of bickering over the true definition, let’s simply categorize the following as examples of CRM solutions that you might be using:, Zoho, SugarCRM, Microsoft Dynamics. Or you may have a custom CRM solution. In any case, the “CRM” is usually ran by sales. They are the interface between your organization and your leads/customers. However, with the recent rise of other software solutions that encompass the broader customer lifecycle, a turf battle is brewing.

 1. Prospecting Tools (Marketing): Google Analytics, Omniture Site Catalyst, HubSpot, InfusionSoft, Pardot, Eloqua, and many others have features that tell you about website traffic and what happens before the first conversion event. 

2. Lead Nurturing and Management Tools (Sales and Marketing): Zoho, HubSpot, MailChimp, InfusionSoft, Pardot, Eloqua, Microsoft Dynamics, and These types have features that track interactions between your organization and the lead. 

3. Invoicing and Contract Management (Sales, Finance, Management, Legal): Quickbooks, PeachTree, Sage, PeopleSoft,, and others manage documents and transactions between your organization and the customer. 

4. Customer Success (Sales, Support, Marketing, Management, Finance, Legal): Companies like Totango, and Tri Tuns have SaaS solutions for this phase, but many organizations use a combination of the previously mentioned tools along with some custom built tools to facilitate the customer success effort where everybody is involved. 

How do you get data from system to system? Phase to phase? Silo to silo? Manager to manager? With Workflow Software! 

This is a classic workflow problem. Multiple teams, with multiple systems needing access to the same data upon which they want to automate processes that will ultimately drive them to the next phase. 

When you start to put these pieces together, you start to see our vision for Web 3.0, where a single object, in this case the customer, is taken through multiple systems or services in an automated, efficient, and revenue producing fashion. So how is it done?

Basic Steps to Implement Your Customer Lifecycle Workflow

1. Get systems talking to each other in one place. (Managing disparate systems is hard enough, you don’t want to manage disparate connectors.)

2. Define rules for interaction. (ex. If contract approval is OK, then send to customer for signature.)

3. Apply role-based access to the data. (Support reps can see subscription level, payment method, account manager information, etc.)

4. Configure notifications. (Who should be notified when certain events take place?)


From there you have a solid framework upon which process templates can be built, deployed, modified, re-used, and optimized. 

Is your “CRM” fitting into the broader customer lifecycle? 

Kevin Lindquist
A Crocker Innovation Fellow with a degree from Brigham Young University, Kevin has a rich history in identifying pains and applying technology solutions. He has worked with a number of startups and success stories in the software and hardware space from Silicon Valley, The Silicon Slopes, and abroad including: Square, ASUS, and Fundly along with consultative roles at other Utah technology startups. He has been mentored by a number of highly successful individuals, including an Entrepreneur in Residence at Disney, multiple venture capitalists, and thought leaders in the world of technology and entrepreneurship. Kevin has a deep appreciation for entrepreneurship and a passion for internet technology. He is constantly seeking ways to contribute to the next generation of web enabled tools, a primary reason for his involvement with Decisions.

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