Every startup which reaches a stage where you have customers, realizes at some point that managing the customer relationship throughout the sales life cycle (not just pre-sale but also post-sale) is a process which requires attention.
I’ve personally seen a few cases where this realization comes as a reflection on some dropped balls and hurt feelings on all sides.
Anyhow, we are now looking for a solution that will allow tracking customer issues, known product issues, and will also interface with the internal issue tracker (we use bugzilla but are considering JIRA for that). We are looking at SupportForce since we already use SalesForce for the sales tracking aspects.
While reading I found SugarCRM which seems to be an Open-Source alternative. No idea how it compares to the big-league players yet, and no idea what we really need.
I admit this CRM area is kind of new to me, and I think I need to learn some more about it in order to make sure we build the right foundation here so everyone is satisfied.
In another company I worked for the financial/IT guys chose PriorityCRM which all of us engineering guys thought was quite pathetic and hopeless. Sort of like Magic on bad drugs. I guess the choices in the CRM space is affected by the other adjacent modules, and all too often the choice is made according to the convinience of the financials/operations people which need to track bills, inventory, etc., and not sufficiently according to the requirements of the Professional Services and Engineering departments. I honestly cannot tell what is more important based on my current perspective. Need to take a more complete look at the picture to really say.
I decided I will try to learn a bit about SalesForce from one of our sales guys, and try to see what he gains from using such a product, and what are his expectations. That will give me some perspective.
I’ll probably continue this thread as we progress.