This is the formula that venture capitalists apply when weighing investment in a software company. For the last few years they've weighed a number of customer relationship management companies and, for the most part, liked what they saw. The resulting investment has helped fuel innovation and growth in this dynamic field.
The same formula may serve you well in assessing CRM suppliers for your company. Before you make a six-figure investment in a mission-critical software system, you need to know that the vendor you've selected is going to be around to see the project to completion-and to support you for years to come. Your job-maybe your career-is on the line.
In this month's cover story, Doug McWhirter talks to venture capitalists and analysts, as well as software companies that have gone through the VC process. It turns out software companies go through the wringer to get those venture dollars ("The horror," one software exec told Doug). You may not be in a position to twist the screws quite as hard as a potential investor with a few million bucks to spend, but the questions the VC analysts use to make their buying decisions will provide you with some guidelines for your own due diligence.
Elsewhere in this issue, we look at the more prosaic but no less important topic of software training, track the rise of marketing automation and consider the role of videoconferencing as a sales force management tool. And don't overlook two editorial bonuses in this issue: eCRM, which looks at the growing role of the Internet in customer relationship management; and Field Force Automation, our look at tools and techniques for the mobile workforce.