Sunday, December 19, 2010

Why the hate for CRM?

I love, that’s no secret. Fellow employees meeting me for the first time often ask if I’m a employee. That’s because I tend to evangelize it’s use in every aspect of our business, and am vested in ways of extending its functionality throughout our organization – even beyond CRM. I’ve made it my job to know everything I possibly can about the platform and how it might benefit our business. I know I’m not the only one like me; I had an opportunity to meet plenty of Customer Evangelists at Dreamforce this past year, and of course there are the folks I regularly interact with on Twitter, the community forums, and now the Dreamforce Chatter app. But I always wonder if there are product evangelists who love competing CRM products as much as I love

Meet Leon Tribe (@Leontribe on Twitter), a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Consultant based out of Sydney, Austrailia. He has a blog, Leon’s CRM Musings, which he has been writing since 2008 (at about the same frequency and volume that I’ve been writing my Force Monkey blog). It’s a good blog, and worth reading. It is a Dynamics CRM blog, “focusing on a functional perspective and from the perspective of making codeless changes”. While reading his blog, I was amused at how frequently (and damningly) he talks about (less so in 2010, but much more so in ’08-’09). Why is that, I wonder? I never talk damningly (or frequently) about Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Where does all the hate come from?

I came to be aware of Leon after browsing the latest #Salesforce Daily newsletter.

SIDEBAR: If you don’t already know about, you should check into it: is a news aggregator, similar to Flipboard. When you sign up for the service, you specify a Twitter hashtag (like #Salesforce). Thereafter, you will receive daily news updates from Twitter mentions that include the #Salesforce hashtag and a news article. I’ve subscribed to feeds on: #Salesforce, #Privacy, #Security, #Lego and #Robotics.

Anyway, back to Leon … I discovered him and his blog after he started adding the #Salesforce and #df10 hashtags to Microsoft Dynamics CRM related news articles, like these:

These tweets cause the related Dynamics CRM news articles to populate the #Salesforce Daily newsfeed. That reminded me of the silly marketing tactics employed by competing CRM vendors at Dreamforce: the SugarCRM carolers and the Microsoft Dynamics “I Didn’t Get Forced” Sequay Brute Squad. At his Day 2 keynote, Marc Benioff said, “Not everyone wants us to have this fun. There are forces out there that are trying to stop us. They don’t want us dancing to Stevie Wonder. They don’t want us dancing to, and singing to his “I Want to Own It” song.”

It's true. And while I spend very little thought on their CRM world, they seem to spend a lot of attention on ours.

But I’m still left to wonder – do the Dynamics CRM product evangelists have as much fun as we do? Is TechEd, the annual Microsoft User Conference, as much fun, energetic, and informative as Dreamforce (it should be: at $2100 for just the conference, it’s double the cost)? At TechEd, do Microsoft customers get to hang around the pub with Microsoft Developers, as I had a chance to do this past week at Dreamforce?  Does TechEd have as much music, energy, and fun as the Dreamforce Global Gala?  Is their community as connected, invested and friendly as ours is?

I have to believe it isn’t, because you can’t be having a lot of good, clean, wholesome fun if you’re spending so much of your time damning and lashing out at the competitor’s CRM product.


  1. Thanks for the plug and endorsement :)

    I harbour no hate for Salesforce. The posts in '08 and '09 primarily referred to the crazy high share price (which is now even higher) and my thoughts on why it was going to go pop. Now that it has crossed the $100 threshhold (up to $140-odd when I last looked). I'm planning on another one soon.

    I've used the #salesforce and #df10 tags only when my tweets refer to either salesforce or the Bernard incident respectively. For example, I recently tweeted videos on how both integrate to Outlook, letting the reader decide which they prefer. In this case I linked the #salesforce hashtag to the salesforce video and the #msdyncrm to the Dynamics CRM video.

    The whole Bernard thing annoys me. Microsoft should have used one of the customers that has migrated across from SFDC on the poster (they are certainly pushing the case studies) but Benioff should have also called him out as an actor from the get-go rather than this silly apology and 'bringing Bernard back' rubbish.

    I actively do not get into Salesforce bashing. I think the best way to compete is on price, functionality and business fit (probably in reverse order). Rhetoric only gets you so far.

    With the cloud version of Dynamics CRM coming out early next year we will finally have a level playing field for the two products to compete on. Personally, I'm very excited.

    Leon Tribe

  2. Hi JP, as a fellow salesforce evangel I agree with your support of Salesforce, but, has make a sport out of their Oracle criticism. I would suggest that if Salesforce is committed to guerrilla tactics, us Salesforce supports need to be ready when they're reciprocated.

  3. As a fan of both Dynamics CRM and Leon personally I may be biased. With that said, there's room for many competing products in this space and room also for the marketing antics. When we dig into the products themselves, we can all still make a good living and take care of our clients. The comparisons, publicity and so on make us all strive to be better and that's good.

  4. There should be more people like JP and Leon. Oh, wait... there are. :O)

  5. I'll do what my Mom always said to do when someone is being annoying. Ignore it. I won't give "all of the other" CRM providers the satisfaction of ruffling my feathers. If they want to ruffle my feathers, come out with a platform faster, easier, cheaper & more fun than Salesforce. Don't see that happening soon.

    So, Microsoft is releasing Dynamics cloud CRM early next year? Great, they're only 10 years behind Salesforce now ;)

  6. I've spent quality time around Apple, Microsoft, HP, and HSBC people. Just starting to get to know the The Salesforcers are the most "loose" and fun of these top-notch groups, so far.

    What about the others? Apple people are very, very smart. HP people are unusually good people for being so smart, and vice versa. HSBC people are very sharp and professional and try hard to do the right thing. Microsofties are smart, but often seem to be trying a bit too hard; the co. ran up a lot of bad karma early and may never live it down.

    Good column, JP. Good response, Leon. And good point, Andrew!

  7. I remember SalesForce giving out No Software T-shirts outside of PDC 2008 conference. Microsoft wasn't the one who started this behavior.

  8. Both Salesforce and Microsoft are consumed by their brand, and rightly so. In each one’s paranoia budget is space for a few of those run-around wheelie things and a team of (en)forcers that are ecstatic about whatever you tell them to be about. It’s amusing (no pun intended LT)

    Yes I attended a salesforce roadshow wearing my Microsoft Dynamics CRM hat on more than 1 occasion, and Yes, I admire the speed at which the AppExchange has grown and how salesforce has evangelised (and often pioneered) the move to the cloud. Here’s your badge.

    As the musing monkeys force the dancers to sing, neither of these companies is going to own this space – the competitive spirit will continue to drive innovative offerings from either side and will help us keep our customers happy and prospects interested.