NetSuite: From Cloud Pioneers to CRM Solutions & Beyond

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Michael Zunenshine
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Flexible. Nimble. Ready and able to pivot as necessity dictates. No, we’re not talking athletic prowess here. We’re talking NetSuite, a cloud-based business platform that over its two-decade+ tenure has gradually added all forms of business management features including ERP, Analytics, CRM, Commerce, email-marketing, PSA and HCM functionality to help simplify work processes. 

Cloud origins

NetSuite is a pioneer of SaaS, an originator of cloud-based services, and the earliest purveyor of applications delivered and run from the web.

Remember (maybe, if you’re a Boomer or GenXer) bringing home a stack of floppies or CDs and installing them one by one, at painstakingly molasses speeds? Do you remember how hard it was to fix bugs, make updates, add new tools, or even nimbly pivot the direction of the entire application? Downright impossible.

Thanks to NetSuite, and its role in spearheading software in the skies, the modern business app solution is as flexible as the modern business must be. And with their impressive massive stack of tools for a hefty handful of products (CRM, ERP, PSA, accounting, etc.), NetSuite solves for nearly any enterprising slowdown, ossification, or rut.

CRM gets off the ground and takes for the skies

NetSuite CRM balances a wealth of customer data, project tracking, omnichannel communication, workflow automation, marketing campaigns, sales efforts, and customer service needs all in a simple dashboard and intuitive interface.

One of the reasons NetSuite’s CRM can handle so many jobs is its ability to exist in one single platform that unifies data, letting companies pick and choose the perfect plan, add on modules as they grow, focus their efforts on one department or another, and of course, pivot as the market may dictate.

The marriage of cloud-based software with CRM was truly sanctioned in digital paradise. A great CRM is the magic tool that can transform any business or project, no matter how small, into a well-oiled operation, with many moving parts all operating in info-coordinated sync. 

NetSuite features 

Beyond its cloud offerings, NetSuite is also a major contender in offering the best CRM solution. And to top it all off—since we’ve been discussing staying light and nimble—you can use NetSuite anywhere on the go with a mobile app for iPhone or Android.

Customer management

The meat-n-potatoes of any CRM, this feature gives every department in a company or organization full access to customer data. Updates happen in real-time so nobody gets stuck with old info. 

For customer service especially, this helps expedite support tickets from any channel and can learn to auto-route certain issues to the best rep. A customer-in-need can get fast help through a knowledge base, or personalized access to an interactive customer portal, where they can enter tickets and check their statuses, edit their profiles, or view their purchase histories.

Marketing automation

The marketing automation suite of tools not only takes over repetitive tasks like data entry, but it also serves as a streamliner of useful intel for the intended marketing-to-sales handoff. It then helps track the effort of each campaign or lead against expected ROI.

NetSuite helps you build high-ranking web form pages that auto-sync the contact input into the CRM database.   

Beyond the form pages, NetSuite also offers email marketing campaign management through it’s Bronto Marketing Platform. These can be created with templates, then targeted and sent out based on a variety of segmentation factors: age, location, marital status, profession, or other demographics; shopping patterns and items purchased; or factors related to support issues.

Sales automation

Once marketing has passed the torch, NetSuite’s sales tools take over. The real-time dashboard tracks every lead and alerts reps of potential re-sell, up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. 

NetSuite’s sales automation follows through with quote creation, order management, all the way to fulfillment. It even helps organize sales reps’ commissions.  

One of NetSuite’s more unique features is its sales forecasting tools. It combines the trove of constantly-updated data with probability-based weighted measurements to keep expectations and expenditures on track with reality (in real-time).

Each sale can become a new forecast category, or feed its data into a previously-created one. These categories are always fine-tuning the forecasting accuracy of each new opportunity. 

There’s also something called a “mood ring” forecast, which allows certain predictions to remain impervious to illogical processes (like sales rep “sandbagging” — holding back on actual numbers to lower managerial forecasting expectations, so that later the rep can too-easily know it out of the park).

Partner relationship management

When people think of CRM, they think “customers,” and rightly so. Partner relationship management (PRM) is a fresh take on all the other important contacts a business needs to manage that aren’t customers. These could be third-party agencies, freelancers, independent contractors, or any outside individual or firm that you use to help with marketing or sales. 

The CRM-PRM combo makes the sharing of data and documents easy, either via streamlined email or a shared portal. From there, all activity done by partners gets logged and stored, just like any customer activity would.

Oracular histories

NetSuite has been around since before the days of Web 2.0 (1998, to be exact) when the idea that data can flow back from users to websites was still pretty sci-fi in scope. At the time, NetSuite’s focus was on web-based accounting software.

The early promise must have stood out like a blinking opportunity among all that pre-dot.com crash clutter because none other than Larry Ellison, co-founder, chief executive, and CTO of Oracle, became an early seeder of NetSuite.

Fast forward to 2002 when NetSuite’s new CEO Zach Nelson and founder and current EVP of Oracle NetSuite, Evan Goldberg were pretty sure of one thing: Soon, all apps and software would be run off the internet. Nelson forecasted the rise of SaaS and saw NetSuite as the vehicle to finally take the software revolution off the ground. 

He was right, and who took notice? None other than the multinational computer tech cooperation, Oracle. 

In July 2016, Oracle got down on a proverbial knee and made a proposition: Will you be acquired by me? The answer: I do. It’s been the second biggest acquisition made by Oracle ever. 

More flexible together

Today, NetSuite continues under its own name and still has its own line of signature products and tools. 

For years, Oracle’s size kept it at bay from being an attractive option for SMBs. With NetSuite in the family, that’s less the case. It’s a mutually-beneficial co-existence and an added boon for businesses of all sizes.  

This is CRM for all, big and small—along with ERP, accounting and more—served up from on high in the cloud, and delivering real-world results right here on the ground. Pretty sweet. Pretty NetSuite.

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