As edocr.com continues to grow, it has become essential for us to adopt the right tools that will make our lives operationally little bit easier. Now is the time for us to leave spreadsheets and move on to products that will bring structure to a very chaotic environment. Two tools will be key to this strategy of operational simplification.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
We have adopted Contact Manager from Salesforce.com, which is affordable and versatile enough for our needs. And we know that as edocr.com grows, we have a path for increasing the CRM functionality to match with our future needs. In addition, we see salesforce.com as a strategic partner, so it makes sense for us to also be using their products, vice versa.
Having used Winweb for a brief period, we are now trialling Xero, a SaaS product from one of our growing customer base. I love the simplicity and the design and yet to fully test it. My gut feel says this is the right product for us. And these days, I put lot of trust in to my gut feel.
Ideally, we love our own database of users and customers to be in sync with CRM and accounts products we have adopted. So integration and free availability of APIs are fundamental to achieve this. I have been a keen advocate to see Xero and Salesforce.com establish the ability to data exchange.
It was good to hear from Tony Rule of Xero yesterday that they have infact gone live with the integration
Let’s take a brief look at the costs involved for one seat license across both products for one year.
- Salesforce.com contact manager = £36 (we have subscribed for 2 seats)
- Xero = £144 to £228 – the more expensive option is suitable for edocr.com
Here is the problem. For me to benefit from having synchronisation of customer data across saleforce.com and Xero, I would need to upgrade my account to either:
- Salesforce.com enterprise (£1,020) or unlimited edition (£2,040) (where API is part of the licence) or
- Salesforce.com professional edition (£540 plus more) (where API is not part of the licence but you can add it at extra cost).
The combine cost of subscribing to Xero and Salesforce.com now needs to go up from an affordable £264 to over £1000 to achieve integration. This is clearly not an acceptable situation for us. I love to comment more on this aspect, but as I have a half written post on pricing strategies, I think I should better leave it till then, other than to say, at this stage, we would have to operate without synchronisation. Just to add salt to the wound, products like JavelinCRM and Xero can achieve true synchronisation without any additional spend!