CRM for Professional Services

By Lauren Simonds | Posted March 03, 2005

CRM, the trendy, "must-have" application for successful sales teams across the country, takes a new turn today as NetSuite announces NetCRM-Services Edition, a program designed with the specific needs of services-based companies in mind. Focused on tracking client service rather than closing deals, NetSuite says its Services Edition fills a major gap in traditional on-demand CRM solutions.

Conventional CRM programs help companies manage sales opportunities that typically end with the deal being either closed or lost. For service-based companies, such as those in the financial, legal and consulting industries, converting a potential customer into a client is the beginning of securing and maintaining a long-term, client-based relationship. NetSuite designed its NetCRM-Services Edition to track service delivery and project management.

According to Zach Nelson, NetSuite's CEO, service companies make up two-thirds of businesses in the U.S., and NetCRM Service Edition is the first Web-based CRM application to address their specific needs. "By aligning resources seamlessly around client needs, NetCRM helps companies go from lip service to true client service," Nelson said in a recent statement. "NetCRM gives services companies new tools so they know more and sell more to their clients."

Serving Up New Features
You can use NetCRM-Services Edition as a stand-alone module or as part of NetSuite's complete CRM/ERP package. The services-based module includes the following features:

Services Sales Management: Manage the entire sales cycle — track leads and opportunities, generate proposals and contracts, forecast service bookings and support resources — from a single view of the client.

Services Item Catalog: Create a portfolio of services including client-specific price levels, discounting rules based on the number of packages or units purchased and preferred-client pricing with pre-negotiated price levels and terms.

Project/Job Tracking: Manage and track multiple types of projects or jobs with linked activities that clients, along with sales, service-delivery and support personnel can view. Manage complex relationship structures by linking multiple-project jobs and sub-projects with customers and opportunities.


NetSuite's NetCRM — Services Edition
Tracking projects is just one of the many service-related features you'll find in NetSuite's NetCRM-Services Edition.

Advanced Calendaring and Activity Time Tracking: Share calendars, develop schedules and monitor assets. Time-tracked activities (tasks, calls and meeting events) let managers track the employee actions on an individual or per-project basis.

Client Self-Service Center: A secure, password-protected center where clients can: track project status, past bookings, outstanding quotes and client-specific shared documents; search knowledge bases, access FAQs or submit a trouble ticket.

Service Personnel Specific Dashboards: Role-specific dashboards provide real-time access to services forecasting, revenue, project status, project alerts, client support incidents and more.

Document Management: Store, organize and set access restrictions for files such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF. Publish files to intranets, corporate Web sites or client self-service centers.

Client Support & Service: Record and track client contact by e-mail, the Web and phone. Includes automatic escalation rules to meet contractual service level agreements. Provides customer service personnel with tools to process trouble-ticket handling.

The company points out that other Web-based, on-demand CRM applications don't provide these service-related features, and that the Services Edition is customizable to meet a company's specific needs.

Pricing: NetSuite's NetCRM-Services Edition costs $79 per person, per month.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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