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This article is about all the good things that will happen when you buy cheap off the shelf Customer Relationship Management(CRM) software instead of shopping for the best value. With cable revenues shrinking, the boss has instructed you to save the company money by streamlining the sales process and at the same time increasing the closing rate of Direct Sales Representatives (DSRs). A quick internet search shows a couple of free limited-user programs and a few generic applications.

After a quick analysis, you decide price is a more important criteria then value, purchase the software and take it to your IT person to install. This is when all the good things start to happen and will include:

  • Your IT person installs the software and it works without flaw. No one is surprised because generic programs are designed to run on almost any computer. You can feel the excitement starting to build.
  • It turns out that billing data from ICOMS, CSG and AMDOCS imports directly into the system. Who would have thought this was possible?
  • Sales routes are generated for each level of service (video, data, phone, WiMax) – the routes are even optimized for sales type and speed.
  • DSRs can run credit checks at or prior to a customer sale, online using handheld mobile technology. You are thinking “WOW, this is really cool, how did they know this was a major bottleneck?”.
  • Sales speed has increased because you can make a sale, print a receipt and schedule a work order all from the handheld device. This is sweet, the plan is starting to come together.
  • Tap Audits are now easier than ever before and customer conversion skyrockets.
  • Software, printer and handheld devices vendors have all been consolidated into one vendor.
  • The big boss no longer ask you about sales performance, customer satisfaction and employee turnover as everyone is happy, trained and satisfied.
  • You get a big bonus check for dramatically improving the speed, amount, and quality of sales. Can you smell that Hawaiian breeze yet?

Does this sound too good to be true? You bet it does. The reality is nothing good is going to happen with a cheap off-the-shelf software package or generic CRM system. The value of a cable CRM is directly related to its ability to help find, attract and sell cable customers. The greater the efficiency and value the more likely cable companies can nurture, retain current clients and recover churn. Never select a CRM without knowing the additional costs necessary to customize the application. A cheap system will cost you more in the long run and you will end up in the dog house. Choose a system designed and maintained by industry experts.