Create companies, add contacts to, view activity stream for a company
We tested this new feature and, unfortunately, found it to not be worthwhile for us as currently implemented.
My colleague's assessment was as follows:
"The only payback I could see is that when you need to send an email to a contact that is not first on the list of emails, then it gets their name right. Other than that, it's more work to create and manage a record for each contact plus a record for each company. It would explode the number of items in our database with no other benefits."
One major concern I had when I tried to make it work was that there's no support for having groups that are associated only with companies. We use groups like this: "Owns product A", "Owns product B", "Downloaded trial of product A", etc. We need to track these things only at the company level. Manually synchronizing these groups between different contacts at the same company plus the company object, or having to be sure to ignore these groups when looking at an individual contact and switch to a company to view or set them, would add a lot of work and be much more error prone than simply not using the companies feature.
What we really wanted was a way to have a single object (from a primary UI perspective at least) that represents a company and all of its contacts. No having to switch back and forth between contact objects and company objects. No duplication of information that we only want to track at the company level. Really, something pretty similar to your "emails" field now would be enough for us. If we could just associate a name with each of those emails, and have the system be aware of that when listing and sending emails, that would be great. It would save us time instead of costing us time and introducing possibility of mistakes.
It may sound like we're just resisting change since we've grown accustomed to using Relenta after using it every day for years now, but we really wanted to like the new company object feature. It's annoying to have to work around Relenta's assumption (in many aspects of its operation) that we're only communicating with one contact at a company. Unfortunately the way you tried to solve this problem just doesn't work for us. I hope my description here is at least a little helpful in understanding why.
AdminRelenta (Admin, Relenta) commented
Now that the Company object has been out for a while, you probably have some thoughts about what it's been like to use it. We'd love to hear them. Please feel free to post.
AdminRelenta (Admin, Relenta) commented
@EF: Thanks for feedback!
When you create Company from a contact, details are pre-filled for convenience only. You can delete any details you don't need, or add as many as you'd like.
Other users have told us that Company object should contain the same fields as a personal contact. The reasoning behind it simple: in many situations sales people start with company's generic contact information, and don't yet have any actual person(s) they can enter into Relenta.
We think that the current implementation is as flexible as it gets. It gives you complete control without getting in your way, and it's nearly identical to what you've described in your original comment on this discussion thread on Jan 15.
If you think additional work in the Company object is needed, please provide the concrete details and your reasoning behind each specific request. We're all for making a good thing better.
I don't completely get it. In real life, the Company is not a 'contact', and it does not have contact details (such as email address) or group associations. In Relenta, it does have all of these. In fact when I create a Company from a Contact, it inherits all the contact's details. So instead of a different dimension (like Contact vs Group), the Company has been defined using the Contact concept and hence shares everything with it...??
Either I am missing the point here, or this needs more work. Creating Companies from Contacts is sensible but it should not inherit the contact details. Also, seeing Companies in the same overview list as Contacts just doesn't make sense. But I'm happy to be set right by a slightly longer explanation of the use-case than the blog text provided.
Exciting news today.
I want to be able to buy this product, but not being able to search by company and see all the related contacts and their activities means this product does not currently meet our requirements
Sebastian Flåterud commented
Please implement this in a way that still makes this a good system for B2C
Another way i have seen this is to add a contact name with all the relavate information including a company name. A company record is also set up as a contact and they are linked. When you add a new contact, with the same company name, you have an option to pull the company information into the new contact. How soon on this one?
This the THE critical missing piece in Relenta. Users who are B2C focussed may not notice, but those targeting B2B simply cannot do without. The company is the target, not the individual - so a CRM that does not recognise that is missing a vital piece. In our case we have developed our own (parallel) system to keep track of company activities - which of course is essentially a waste of time - Relenta should do it!
Initial implementation should not be too hard. Create a Company object, allow Contacts to be added to it, and provide some additional views including a list of Company Contacts & a single list of all activities / emails related to a Company (as well as the ability to add activities for Companies). And of course the ability to clone a Contact, so that basic details (Company name, address) do not have to be entered several times.