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CMS confusion

2012 February 26
by Tom Watson

I recently saw a post in LinkedIn about CMS asking what is the best system. It seems there is some confusion about what “CMS”, so I thought I’d post my thoughts on the subject in my blog. There are two CMS acronyms:

Contact Management System, also known as Customer Relationship Management (CRM). A Wikipedia entry says it very well: “a widely implemented strategy for managing a company’s interactions with customers, clients and sales prospects.”

Content Management System, according to another Wikipedia entry, is “a system providing a collection of procedures used to manage work flow in a collaborative environment.” This is a very broad definition because content management can take many forms depending upon the user’s need. For example, it can mean a document management tool; a file management tool; a tool for storing and making content components such as text, images, video, etc. available for specific uses; or a tool to control validity and compliance, and more. These systems span  scale from local to enterprise-wide, but the key is managed storage, access and collaborative use of content data.

When most people say “CMS”, however, mean a Web Content Management System, which is a very specific but widely used CMS. As defined by this Wikipedia entry, it is “software system that provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages to create and manage website content with relative ease. ”

So with that in mind, which systems are better? I’ll only address CRM and Web CMS here:

If you are talking about CRM, I recommend two systems: SugarCRM or They are both powerful systems that help you manage your contacts in a relational context and nurture qualified contacts into closed sales. SugarCRM’s advantage lies in the fact it is an open source solution with users contributing to its features around the world, and you don’t get charged for every little thing you add along the way. Plus, there are many plugins available that increase the function and value of your application. If you want your leads to become more qualified before going over to sales, than you should develop a demand generation strategy, and implement that using a marketing automation solution coupled to your CRM. Then you can connect your marketing automation to your CRM, for best marketing-to-sales-to-close results. But you must define your strategy and develop your content first or you will waste your time and money.

If you are talking about a web CMS, then I recommend – the self-hosted version you install on your own server or hosting service. It has become a very powerful web site development tool with thousands of themes and plugins, and is easily customized – including that ability to create your own custom theme. Because it is blog-based, It makes raising your search rankings much easier by allowing you to easily and frequently post new content and adjust your SEO. Because it easily connects with other blogs in the blogosphere to the degree you allow, you can get links with other blogs and websites, which can significantly boost your rankings.

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