Hopefully you know that there’s far more to the CRM landscape than Salesforce – there are, in fact, hundreds of high quality lead and prospect (customer) management solutions on the market (check out our recent Top 50 found here) that are deserving of Internet professionals attention whatever size digital business they’re running.
One vendor that caught our attention last year (but didn’t make the recent Top 50 linked above but which was included on WM’s Big List of Open Source Software) was Zurmo, an open source CRM offering with gamification on its digital mind.
Zurmo has just released its second version and offers up a long list of new functionality worth exploring including the introduction of email marketing, but most notably the CRM provider has applied the “continuous flow” concept of a Japanese Kanban Board to the sales process.
Kanban is a scheduling system for lead and “just-in-time” production devised to control the logistical chain from a production point of view. Kanban, originally developed by Taiichi Ohno at Toyota, is an effective tool used in support of running a production system as a whole and serves as an excellent way of promoting improvement within that system.
What Zurmo has done is to bring Kanban to the sales process, applying a visual representation of objects (let's call them leads) and their respective phases to sales. Much like a Kanban board, an “Opportunity” sales stage can be changed by simply dragging it to the next level. As you can see in the image below, there are areas for prospecting qualification, negotiating, and clients won and lost.
While it's not a game changer, it's a useful visualization for a software system category that is often pretty dull to work with.