I had a very interesting talk with one of our great Sugar users, Martin Umeh who is a sales manager at Control Technology. Apart from having an awesome name, Martin is a very bright guy when it comes to CRM adoption, and just has a great sales mind.

We were discussing the fact that major telco providers are dropping their “unlimited” rates for their cell phone plans from $99.00 to $69.00 (you may have seen some TV spots on the topic from Verizon). This in itself is a great example of value-based pricing, but that is a discussion for another blog.

Martin made a great point – he basically said (I’m paraphrasing somewhat): “Hey, these guys basically baked the cost of Sugar into the cell phone plan. Now there is no excuse for people not to equip all their sales guys with CRM and a blackberry.”

Apart from this being a great sales gimmick, this is an interesting point on a lot of levels. For one – most businesses did not blink an eye when they were asked to pay a hundred bucks (sometimes more) per person to imply use a phone and access emails. Yet, a lot of CRM companies are still trying to convince decision-makers that a CRM system is a tool they can’t live without.

I would like to think that core SFA systems have moved from the “nice to have” into the “must have” bucket. But this is not always the case. Hopefully, more people will see that with a $100 per person, per month budget – they can equip their sales agent with a complete desktop, laptop and mobile solution connecting them to their important data, their prospects, and each other.

Even though I spend every day thinking about markets, and lately the idea of “creating buyers” versus pushing products (thanks Paul Greenberg), I am still sometimes befuddled by the buying mentalities (and priorities) of companies.

How many times have you seen a major expenditure in your organization – one that will have zero effect on your customer’s success or satisfaction? Was it really 100% necessary?

Look, I know all businesses have to spend money to make money – and not all of that is on stuff that “touches the customer.” But as we move into a world where Enterprise 2.0 and social CRM concepts penetrate our operations – these are questions to ask…

What is your buying mentality? Are you investing in ways that – in some way – has the benefit of your customers in mind? The answer might surprise you.