Product Review

ABCrm

Reviewed by: 
CRM Idol Primary Judges - EMEA

Company Background

ABCrm was one of the last presenters at CRM Idol EMEA. We had seen 17 presentations and demos before. But they kept our attention because they had a very well prepared storyline and product presentation. We were very impressed by the tool, the format of presenting and the passion shown by the company

ABCrm started its activities in 2006 with an existing CRM solution. Having seen the issues and problems of their clients in previous CRM projects gave ABCrm a good foundation for creating a CRM solution that would address users’ needs and help them be prepared for the CRM journey. So what actually led ABCrm from the beginning was integrating the voice of the customer in their own product development – CRM as we see it meant to be. The company´s business model hence is built on 3 pillars: users need a less complex system, change management needs to be supported, users are looking for more than “just a system”.  

Today ABCrm employs a total of 9 professionals operating from the Netherlands, and reaching a turnover of about 250K € quarter run rate. If you understand Dutch have a look at their website on www.abcrm.nl.

Market

ABCrm targets the SMB market in the Benelux region. Their ideal customer is a B2B company with about 5-10 users who need more than only a CRM system support to integrate CRM processes and workflows into their daily work. And that´s the niche ABCrm is focusing on with their business model: they want to be a partner for their customers rather than a software provider or CRM consultant; they accompany their customers in the whole process of change when implementing a new solution. This is an intelligent strategy as most vendors are interested in selling their solution, doing some consultant and support work, but then go further to the next client. Even if the market cannot be characterized in monetary volume, there definitely is lots of potential to positioning ABCrm as a serious partner for CRM to SMBs. What limits their growth potential in other European markets or even on international level is that they only have a Dutch language edition.

Product

Delivering an easy to use, customizable and intuitive solution has been the credo for ABCrm to offer their CRM suite. And they managed to fulfill this credo. The product has a complete set of basic CRM functionality across marketing, sales and customer service:

  • E-mailing campaigns
  • Workflow management
  • Workforce automation
  • Social CRM

In addition to this, project management and time registration functionality is also offered, in order to enhance the product by basic needs of their clients other than CRM. In their own words, ABCrm is totally customizable to client needs without big efforts in design and integration. Their API platform makes integration to websites, VoIP, financial systems (accounting and invoicing), e-mail (fulfillment agencies), Amazon S3 and Rackspace possible. Also, real-time integration with Outlook and other mail clients like Apple or Gmail is supported. One of the integration scenarios that we have not seen with other contestants is the ability to integrate with templates for communication or with productivity tools (MS Office, OpenOffice, PDF). This seems banal but is crucial for a SMB to facilitate their employees’ daily work and letting the system appear as less scary.

ABCrm´s UI is nice, simple, well structured and makes front-office activities much easier. Have a look at their dashboard for instance:

In order to support their clients in leveraging system usage by its users, ABCrm invented an interesting approach: Edupoints. A user can collect Edupoints and convert them into free training, system documentation, support templates, etc. Just for logging in the system a user for example gets 15 Edupoints, equivalent to 30min online training. Not only is this is a very good strategy reduce resistance to using a new environment, it also aligns with a contemporary valuable trend  called “gamification” which works on the principle that human beings are more responsible when able to play and when rewarded for that play.  Edupoints does that with some real style and gives users the support they need to become “power users” in the long term.

The pricing for using ABCrm is 15€ / month / user, which is a very competitive pricing compared to the tradition CRM vendors with SMB focus and/or functionality. If support is being offered and not covered by Edupoints, a support hour costs 93€ which also is a fair price.

Vision

ABCrm has presented a well defined roadmap focused on the mid term (2012) in terms of time planning and on their existing marketplace Benelux. No expansion plans to the rest of European markets was mentioned. But that´s fine, it´s a question of limiting the region but really joining forces with partners (e.g. CRM business school in the Netherlands) to be a local key player. CRM Idol is actively being used and considered as very important channel for ABCrm´s marketing strategy, which we are glad to see but caution that it is only a small opening act, not a whole play.  If this is followed up the way it should be, other marketing campaigns will be undertaken soon after CRM Idol, not much later.

The main product objectives to 2012 are integrating vertical ABCLogistics and a standard interface to banking, social media monitor integration, and setting the basis to include HRM functionality.  In terms of channel the partner program is meant to be expanded with resellers, advisors, functional partners, and an incentive program to facilitate recommendations. The Edupoints concept will stay the key measure to support the ABCrm customers in user acceptance and usage. As the Edupoint concept is unique within the CRM Idol EMEA contestants here goes a more detailed overview:

Final Thoughts

All in all ABCrm is among the group of CRM Idol contestants who prepared their product demonstration, business model and storyline very well. While the functionality is the standard fare for CRM, their use of gamification via Edupoints is something that we see as important, both as a differentiator and as some that enables change management and user adoption, And as mentioned in other reviews, SMBs are looking for not only an excellent, easy to use CRM solution, but especially for excellent service and “being there” to solve an incident when required. This is something that ABCrm is able to fulfill, even if restricted to a small segment of potential customers in Benelux. We would hope that ABCrm would consider other language editions and expanding their market. Their product and approach to it are something we would like to see beyond just the Benelux market.