I'm on day 2 of an evaluation of X2Engine. What began as a skeptical test has quickly turned into a migration, complete with importing all Contact records and re-creating automated tasks. X2Engine is obviously a well polished, thoughtfully designed, and robust web application for CRM. A few subtle features are missing, however this is easily my preference versus poorly integrated and often buggy features in other systems.
My experience with CRM systems, in the past, has been a frustration, almost to the point of being a nightmare. In comparison, X2Engine (or XCRM if you prefer) has worked out of the box. In two days I have familiarized myself with the nuances of this systems Lead and Contact routing and how it manages the sales process (in my case, the customer service process, but more on that later). Later moving on to quotation forms, e-mail templates, and advanced features with automation (X2Flow).
In my experience, automation is the most difficult to accomplish in any system. The most common obstacles are visualizing logic paths, diagnosing failed triggers, and interacting with related records. X2Flow masterfully answers this by providing a visual flow chart with easy to follow graphics, a per flow trigger log that expands to provide step-by-step success/fail messages (super handy), and the ability to switch record types mid-flow. The latter requiring all sorts of error prone hoop jumping to accomplish.
X2Flow also has a healthy selection of variables (called attributes) that may be placed in form fields (as well as used anywhere else in the system). My only suggestions would be that formulas be expanded to include dates, and that the quote and calendar modules be as well integrated with XFlow as Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities, etc. (It actually feels bad to mention this as it works so well this is almost being too picky.)
For my purposes, a CRM is best used to provide a consistent high level of service to people that require my services in residential home inspection, commercial property condition assessment, and related consulting and design work. Since there are usually many individuals involved, contract values in real estate tend to be very high, and there is a high degree of reliability expected of my services; coordination and documentation are very important.
In 48 hours, this is what my system has been configured to do, with a great deal of assistance from templates, processes, workflows, and built-in relationships:
9:22 AM A potential client calls to require a home inspection.
- Made new Contact and Account over the phone
- Started a Quotation using a standardized template, set status to Draft
- Inserted several standard products into Quotation
- Saved Quotation, triggering an automatically created Opportunity
- Quoted client by e-mail (this later triggering Quotation status to be set as Issued)
- Issued Quotation triggering:
- - updated Contact lead information (status = working, deal value, assigned, confidence, etc.)
- - updated Account lead information (similar... and I wish I knew why we do this twice in CRMs)
- - E-mailed Contact a standard introduction
- - Created an Action reminder to set Quotation to Won before:
- --A 1-day follow-up
- --A 30-day closing.
- Updated the Quotation to Won (thank you to my new client)
- This automatically triggering:
- - Updates to Contact, Account, and Opportunity values
- - Starting the Inspection and Report Process to stage one, Quote Accepted
- - Several Actions to remind me to send notices to various 3rd parties including the property owner
- The Opportunity is used by me as a means to track each inspection contract, as it is the module that most easily connects several related records. Therefore, it is here that I add other Contacts as related to this record:
- - Buyers Agent
- - Vendors Agent
- - Property Owner (usually private sales)
- - etc.
- At any point, I can visit these other Contacts and see all the times we have worked on the same properties.
- Once an inspection is scheduled (this is manual, as Calendar is not well integrated) and the Inspection and Report Process is updated to that stage, a reminder is set to create the invoice.
- Creating an invoice sets various reminders, including 30, 60, and 90 days.
- Once a report is issued, I believe follow-ups are important. Mainly to see where assistance may be required, but also because feedback drives improvements:
- - 24 hours, e-mail to confirm report received, can be opened, and if any questions have been raised (more than 1/2 the time clients have questions they didn't feel comfortable calling to ask).
- - 2 days, e-mail requesting feedback with link to form
- - 3 months (roughly following a change of season), a remind to revisit the report and address the most important areas as they relate to the upcoming season
9:30 AM I'm having coffee.
All these above 29 steps were easily built into my own work flow and help me best serve my clients. I don't believe this would be reasonable for an individual to tackle by themselves, but with the help of modern technologies, like X2CRM, the service level of my business is first class.
I hope these serves as a testimonial for anyone considering X2Engine for their own business, sales or otherwise. If this can be accomplished in 2 days, by one person, what can a team of people do in a year?