We recently helped a customer migrate from Salesforce to Jira Service Desk. Their Salesforce CRM system was central to their customer care, so this was a big move including the migration of thousands of customers, environments, and customer case records from Salesforce to Jira Service Desk. As we performed the necessary work, it became apparent that others might be interested in replacing their Salesforce CRM with an Atlassian solution. If you think you may be one of them, this article describes several important considerations.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a critical business function for most organizations today. There are several popular CRM solutions in the marketplace, with Salesforce being the clear leader.
Some of the more common functions that a CRM tool provides (and what would likely need to be replicated in a Jira-based implementation) include:
- Opportunity and lead management
- Account / contact management
- Case management / end user support
- Team collaboration and communication
- Sales forecasting and reporting
Often teams that are using a full-fledged CRM tool can achieve similar or better results by implementing a similar solution on the Atlassian platform. There are a variety of ways to do this, and we will get into a few of these shortly.
Why would you want to use Atlassian as your CRM Platform? There are four key benefits to using Jira as your CRM platform:
- Cost advantages
- Better integration / tighter collaboration with other teams
- Ease of use
- Customizability / integration
We’ll look at each of these in a bit more detail below.
Jira Provides Cost Advantages Over Other CRMs
The typical cost of a popular CRM solution ranges from about $25/user/month for a very basic set of features to more than $300/month/user. For organizations that have 100 to 200 users, this can get very expensive, with $90,000 to $180,000 per year being a fairly typical cost for a low-to-middle-of-the-road solution. For larger organizations (1000 to 2000 users) with a higher end feature set, costs can run well over $1M per year.*
Compare these costs to Jira at approximately $50,000 per year for 200 users, or $123,000 per year for 2,000 users, and it’s easy to see why companies of all sizes are interested in using Jira as their CRM platform.**
* These costs are based on salesforce.com current published pricing as of August 20, 2018 at $75/user/month for the professional version, or $150/mo/user for the Enterprise edition.
** Costs can often be reduced further by limiting the number of agents and only purchasing Jira licenses for users who will be working cases. Also, quoted prices include Jira Software, Jira Service Desk, and Confluence. Some teams may be able to get away with Jira Core.
Jira-Based CRM Enables Tighter Collaboration
The Atlassian suite of products has been built with collaboration in mind. Often organizations have existing Software, IT, or other teams that are using Jira for project management, bug tracking, Agile processes, etc. In some cases, Support teams may also be using Jira Service Desk (or another service desk tool) for managing support requests, along with Confluence for documentation.
It is already a very natural experience for customers to report issues into Jira Service Desk, for Support teams to manage these issues within queues in Jira Service Desk, and for Support teams to escalate issues to Development or other teams—all within the context of Jira / Jira Service Desk.
Implementing lead management within Jira can extend this capability so that all teams are operating on the same toolsets. Atlassian’s tools also integrate closely with chat tools such as Slack for real-time collaboration. Jira Service Desk includes customer communication capabilities as well.
Jira Offers an Easy-to-Use CRM Solution
Many CRM solutions are very complex and can be difficult to use and understand for occasional users. Atlassian’s products are flexible, configurable, and easy for most users to pick up and understand. Often, many teams have already been using these products for other purposes and are already familiar with them. This eases both deployment and user adoption.
Jira CRM Is Easier to Customize and Integrate
Most CRM solutions have the ability to be customized, via an existing API, an app marketplace, etc. However, often these approaches require that you be on a more expensive plan. They can also be costly (for appexchange solutions) or complex to implement on your own.
Atlassian Tools allow customization on several levels including:
- Marketplace apps
- Customizable workflows
- Custom fields
- Custom events / email communications
- JQL / issue filters
- Custom dashboards
- Workflow post-functions to trigger events / actions
- Customized Agile boards
- ScriptRunner and Powerscripts apps for real-time automation / integration
- REST API
Cases, Accounts, Leads, Opportunities, and other CRM entities can be created as their own unique issue types within Jira and then managed in Jira Projects with workflows customized to each of these issue types and your specific organization as needed.
Custom issue link types can be created to connect various issue types to each other, cases, leads, and opportunities to accounts, etc. Each of these issue types can have their own unique set of custom fields that support the unique needs of your organization.
Custom events and customized email templates can be created to support customer communications within the tool.
Confluence knowledge bases can be used to connect customers with FAQs, how-to articles, and common support cases.
Dashboards and reporting apps, such as EazyBI, can be used for developing custom reports based on the CRM data that has been stored within the Jira instance.
How to Get Started with Jira as a CRM
Migrate Your Existing CRM to Jira
Migrating data from an existing CRM instance to Jira is a relatively straightforward process. Simply export data from your original CRM system into a CSV or JSON structure, and then use the Jira external system import capability to import the existing data.
In some cases, some massaging may be desired or required. 6kites has created a set of Salesforce migration tools to assist with this process as well.
Use CRM Apps from the Atlassian Marketplace
Need a simple way to get started with Jira as your CRM? Well, there’s an app for that. Several Marketplace apps are available that provide out-of-the-box CRM-like capabilities that may serve the needs of your organization with one-click implementation.
A couple of the more popular apps include:
CRM for Jira
For financial metrics, apps such as Tempo Budgets can be used to track lead, opportunity, and project profitability.
There are several apps that provide the ability to calculate values based on other fields. A few of these include:
How to Automate and Customize Your Jira-Based CRM
To provide automation, such as emails for contact communication, it is possible to use custom events and templates within Jira to trigger emails to certain sets of users based on a JQL filter, for example. More advanced customizations can also be implemented using post-functions, Adaptavist’s ScriptRunner, cPrime’s Power Scripts, Webhooks, or the REST API.
Of course, not all CRM users will benefit from migrating completely off their existing CRM solution. For organizations who tend to be light- to mid-level CRM users, moving to or implementing a CRM using Atlassian will make sense. Other organizations who have many “power users,” who have invested a lot into the platform, or who use a significant amount of advanced functionality may be better off staying where they are, unless cost is a big concern.
For organizations that are heavy users and would not consider migrating away from their existing CRM solution, often integrating with Atlassian platform is a viable option and there are several apps that can be used to provide this sort of capability.