As a "horizontal application," Salesforce.com can be used for SFA and CRM across a wide range of companies and use cases. It's also a platform for building business applications in vertical industries such as financial services or real estate. Almost all these classic CRM applications involve customer acquisition, service, and relationship management-all related to revenue.
But Salesforce.com is also used for business processes that have little to do with "customers," and this is where the definition of "CRM" may be a little limiting.
CRM for Fundraising
For example, fundraising is a function done by vendors (finance), private equity / venture capital (investor relations), and non-profits (donor development). The details of each of these fundraising efforts are very different, but they have common process elements. The fundraising function requires tight communications with the target audience, collaboration among the participants, and development of a pipeline. It's beginning to sound something like the sales function, but in a very different context.
CRM systems already know how to manage contacts, accounts, and communication sequences. It can be easily extended to handle relationships among contacts and accounts (such as affiliations, board memberships, reporting relationships, and other types of influence). The CRM system knows about pipeline status and forecasting the outcome of a sales quarter; it's not that big a jump to managing the pipeline of a fundraising campaign.
To keep things effective for the users, however, some modification is required. If you're already using a CRM system, it's almost always best to have a separate instance of your CRM for fundraising. The reasons? Most CRM systems just aren't flexible enough to present distinct user environments for different use-cases. Most CRM systems' data access isn't flexible enough to keep the fundraising records cleanly separated from the rest of the users.
What are the modifications needed? Of course, you'll need new fields and screen layouts. You'll need different data validation and trigger thresholds. Workflows and alerts will need to be severely reworked. And reports will be totally new. The more challenging changes, however, are the pointers among the tables and values. For corporate finance, there's the abstraction of a road show, the board member relationship, the earnings call, and the investor briefing. In private equity and venture capital, fundraising management adds many more abstractions such as:
o limited partner, discretionary advisor, non-discretionary advisor relationships, bank, and referring relationships o entrepreneur, banker, due diligence consultant relationships o fund requests, allocations, and capital calls o fund investments, commitments, performance, and wind-down
Non-profits need different fundraising abstractions, such as:
o One2One and Person-Account types o Fund drives and events o Donors, pledges, commitments, and donor classes o Proposals and grants o Applicants and beneficiaries
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