I think I must have worked with almost every database on the planet sometimes. I've designed, managed, used and tweaked products from most paid systems, Goldmine, Maximizer, Act, Access, FoxPro, Microsoft CRM, TigerPaw etc. etc. etc.
While some are clearly better than others, some offer very industry specific tools that are invaluable to the company using it, such as using TigerPaw with the Telecom package.
I have also been forced to deploy or use many open source offerings, each and every one of them falling flat in comparison to paid products. Just like all the database apps for mobiles, most seem to be designed by an IT department that has no clue what a sales tool should provide, though I am sure many are collaborative with so called C-Level "business management experts".
Right now I use SalesForce, which I tried only 3 years ago and absolutely hated.
It has a few bugs and limitations but nothing as poorly designed as SugarCRM.
I actually think Sugar CRM MIGHT be one of the worst CRM solutions I've ever used though. The workflow is completely backward, the reporting system is basic at best but web integration is it's selling focus, though all the others do that very well now also. I actually can't think of anything good to say about Sugar, now that I really consider it, good riddance!
Their key selling point is mobility and given the number of absolutely USELESS mobile offerings available, it may prevail on some mobile platforms. I just managed to beg the company to ditch it, after pointing out the many shortcomings with respect to sales management, which they finally did! YAY!
The only reason major corporations are using Sugar is due to mobile collaboration, not because it offers a strong set of tools, it doesn't have anything others don't have and it certainly isn't more intuitive for fast training of teams that have used other solutions. I know several managers at CocaCola (aka Grey Beverage up here) and while they encourage their teams to use it for mobility, in house they prefer to use a customized Access DB that they have had for a decade and just import data collected from Sugar into Access.
I think the only problems I have with SalesForce now are due to the really poor layout limitations of Sugar CRM though that the IT department just couldn't find ways to merge for me. The IT manager just left my office right now, wondering why another set of records as split up, it's just not merge friendly at all.
Sure you have to pay for Sales Force and most others I actually find useful for a sales team, but there's a clear reason for that. The developers of open source software don't seem to have ANY idea what is really needed to not only track clients but to manage the team and data as well, they all fall short for reports in a big way.
When I was consulting for sales teams, I used to redesign company logos and branding, rebuild databases and marketing materials, web sites etc. to bring the company into the new millennium, as a result I quickly found faults and limitations with most of the open source and even many paid solutions.
My take now is that, if you are going to TRY and run a professional sales team, not some half baked group of unskilled yahoos, running around pretending to be making sales calls, but a planned and carefully executed sales plan with professional sales reps, spend the bloody money and get a real CRM solution.
You can waste months of time working out new ways to make Sugar CRM or X2 work for you but it's not worth the wasted time and effort in the long run.
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