What Affects CRM Systems Differences?


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What Affects CRM Systems Differences? Very often, in the process of choosing a CRM platform we ask ourselves a question: “What really distinguishes CRM systems among one another and what influences a CRM system’s peculiarities?” Obviously, our business goals make CRM systems different from one another, but if we want to choose a right CRM platform, what should we take into account first?

In my opinion, it is the following:

  • Value creation strategy of the company – it reflects our vision about customer journey
  • The sales processes’ model – it defines our customer base development principles
  • The current size of company and the speed of growth – it defines financial restriction and technical requirements

Value Creation Strategy

Nail Rackham singles out 3 unique strategies: Intrinsic Value Customers, Extrinsic Value Customers and Strategic Value Customers. You can read more about it in his book “Rethinking the Sales Force: Redefining Selling to Create and Capture Customer Value”.

  • “Intrinsic value customers”. When a buyer understands very well how product fits their needs and they have no specific requirements, then they receive value directly from the product properties. In this case, the best strategy is to guaranty low selling cost and easy acquisition.
  • “Extrinsic value customers”. Vice versa, this strategy works when buyers require some advice, help for understanding how product fits their needs, or require some customization for specific needs that can’t be done themselves. In this case, sales force efforts create extra value for buyers.
  • “Strategic value customers”. Usually, it means deep integration between companies for outsourcing a part of business process. For example, FedEx provides worldwide delivering for Dell. Another example is IBM and Unicredit. IBM provides support of all IT infrastructure for Unicredit in many countries. Strategic value relationships are economically practical only between large suppliers and their large customers.

The Sales Processes’ Model

I use my own classification for 3 unique sales processes’ models: “Craft sales” or “Universal Soldier”, “Production Line” and “Admin”

sales processes models

The classification of sales processes’ models by N.Bulava

  • “Craft Sales”, often, I call this model “Universal Soldier” because almost all customer development functions are concentrated on one role “sales man”. These “universal soldiers” attract new customers and develop existing customers. It’s a very popular model for small and medium business, IT and production companies especially.
  • “Production Line” – customer development functions are allocated among some roles: “research”, “content manager”, “lead generation”, “inside sales”, “sale”, “account manager” etc. It means that many people are involved in company’s sales process each one on his/her own part of the sale production line. This model is very popular for big and bigger than average companies and B2C E-commerce businesses use this model too.
  • The last model is called “Admin” – it means that the main sales are generated by the managers of top level. Company’s Top managers make arrangements with their vis-à-vis and after that all other employees in a company realize these arrangements into sales (negotiations, contracts, orders, etc.). This model is often used for “Strategic value customers” strategy realization and often present in mix with “Production Line”.

As you can see, we have 9 combinations between Value creation strategies and Sales processes’ models. Each of these combinations has its own differences that influence the CRM system’s peculiarities and we could have more than one combination in one company. In this case, we should have ready-to-use functionality or have the possibility for set up selected CRM platform for this.

We should also take into account what Value creation strategies and Sales processes’ models we have now, and what we want to have in the foreseen future because it determines our requirements for CRM platform customization’s flexibility.

Size of Company and the Speed of Growth

In conclusion, we should also pay attention to the size of a company and the speed of growth, because it defines financial restriction about TCO and technical requirements for scalability, security and integrability of the CRM platform.

Nikolay Bulava
CEO of Integros. Specialties: Business Development, TOC, SPIN, solution selling, marketing, sales management, CRM, business process reengineering, SugarCRM, CRM consulting & implementation


  1. Hi Nikolay,

    while you are right for the scope of CRM that you seem to define I’d argue that you are narrowing down CRM to sales processes. While SFA is an important part of CRM it by no means is all. Marketing and Service are integral aspects of CRM, too. All this powered by analytics capabilities.

    Given this definition of CRM, even if your narrower definition, there is one more important question to ask: What do I want to achieve?

    Answering this question before going into any solution search is invaluable.

    2 ct from Down Under


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