Drupal CRM -- Why?

Fri, 01/20/2012 - 10:21 -- John Locke

We have several customers interested in adding CRM to their Drupal sites, so today I hopped on a conference call with a working group developing CRM tools for Drupal 7. It's a small group, but it sounds like they are making good progress with the Party module, to serve as glue between all the various items that might end up in your database, to de-duplicate and associate them as a single entity.

The question is, what is CRM, and why build another in Drupal?

Besides being a buzz-word that everyone thinks they need, without really understanding or agreeing on what it means, it's really just formalizing your process of how you interact with customers and potential customers. CRM is "Customer Relationship Management," and in the old days, might be a tickler file a sales person used to remind themselves of when to follow up with a potential customer.

There are lots of CRM systems out there. Salesforce is the biggy right now, but there are several open source systems who have carved out a decent niche: SugarCRM, CiviCRM, vTiger, and others already provide a finished CRM product. Why on earth would you choose to create another one in Drupal?

Two reasons:

  1. You already have a Drupal system with a lot of customer data in it, and having CRM integrated in the site makes it much more effective, less expensive, easier to start using, than trying to integrate another solution.
  2. You don't need much CRM -- or the existing systems are too overwhelming to start out with. Drupal's modular nature means you can start with just a couple entities, add the features you know you need right now, and add more later. You might start out with "Contacts" with two types -- leads and customers for example, and an "Activity" type to track your contacts with them, past and future. Then build a view to show you what activities are next on your list.

More to come...

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Comments

I could see the need for developing a CRM for your Drupal based site if it is a small operation. Feature bloat is common among some CRM suites for a smaller operation. However with any business, planning to scale should be considered. The last this you want is to burst at the seams when your orders scale up. Many of the top CRM's also have subscriptions that scale along with your business. GetApp.com has a helpful comparison model of all the top CRM and social CRM software suites for small and growing businesses. I hope this helps your readers if they choose not to build their own CRM for Drupal.

Submitted by Guest (not verified) on

ecorCRM is a free web CRM tool based on Drupal, open source, PHP, MySQL

ecor CRM gives you CRM functionality within a powerful CMS system.

Some of the functions of ecor CRM are:

Manage Contacts (simple contacts, leads, customers)
Individuals and/or Businesses
Financial Status,Files,Next Actions, Notes… and many more
Newsletter with newsletter history
Campaign Details
Connect Contact with Campaign, Producs, CRM Users
Various Reports and Filters
Personal and Public Notes for personal organization
Common library for organization documents
Able to give access to customer for customer specific information
Use Calendar
Web based, can be accessed from everywhere
Easy of Customization and localization
No changes to Drupal core so you got all of Drupal Power.
Also available as Drupal Module.

you see more and get ecorCRM at

http://www.tecorange.com/index.php/download-free-open-source-software/89...

thank you

Submitted by John Locke on

Thanks for the contribution. Any details you care to share? Is this available at drupal.org? Are you participating in any of the Drupal CRM initiatives?

It looks like you've created a module as a feature, and defined the structure for a useful CRM. I'll definitely check it out...

Submitted by akku (not verified) on

The same reason that I have already had a Drupal system with a lot of customer data in it, and having a CRM integrated into the site makes it much more effective. And can't forget that is less expensive too. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article with us

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