Having spent over twenty-five years in the semiconductor industry, I have experienced almost every account management, opportunity tracking, contact management, and reporting option available. Starting with SAS on a VAX system, using Excel spreadsheets and Access databases, through today’s best CRMs — one thing that is apparent, no matter how “state of art” and customizable the tools become, the semiconductor industry is unique enough and the market niche enough, that very few solutions actually target and/or meet the semiconductor business requirements. This is especially true with today’s CRMs.
I was somehow elected at a previous company to find the best CRM solution for our company, after we had exceeded the spreadsheet size limits of Excel with our 36 month rolling forecast that included waterfall reporting. (The last column in Excel is KLZVXZZZ?) I thought this would be an easy task as I knew all the business processes, information and reporting requirements like the back of my hand. All I needed to do was search for CRM and semiconductor and I would choose whichever of the 10 or 20 solutions best matched my requirements.
Well it seemed to become much easier when the search turned up zero solutions at that time. Today that same search may give you many results, but truth is there is only one or maybe two that truly cater to the semiconductor supplier.
Back to my story. During my search, it always gnawed at me when the sales person had to end our call early, even though they hadn’t answered all my questions, so they could be on time for their call with their big real-estate or banking client. Since when are the banking and real-estate businesses anything like the semiconductor business? As these sales calls continued, I became more frustrated and more aggressive. “You know what, you guys wouldn’t even be in business if it weren’t for semiconductors being at the heart of every electronics system in the world, including your servers. You should be paying us a commission.” Right, that worked! I ended up going with the leading innovator at the time. Seemed like the techie thing to do. I then spent the next year customizing the heck out of it, adding apps from other vendors, and ended up with Frankenstein CRM built specifically for our business.
Today, not much has changed, with the exception of NEHANET, which has over 30 modules addressing your kind of business all available and proven and designed specifically for the semiconductor or electronic component market. Rolling forecasts, opportunity tracking that includes Reps, distributors, contract manufacturers, design in, ship to and bill to locations. Ship and Debit, Split Commissions and did I mention rolling forecasts. Functionality that would make Frankenstein CRM green with envy.
I will write several follow-up Blogs highlighting some of the key NEHANET features that are designed specifically to support the semiconductor industry. My goal is to highlight the fact that alternatives do exist and you don’t have to settle for using the same CRM that is designed for the banking and real-estate markets. Hopefully you will find them informative.