Kanban and CRM

Are you wondering what is the relation between Kanban and CRM? The Google definition of Kanban is below

“Japanese manufacturing system in which the supply of components is regulated through the use of a card displaying a sequence of specifications and instructions, sent along the production line.”

The word in bold and italics holds the link between Kanban and CRM.

Traditionally in CRM systems the opportunities are managed by a set of well-defined Sales Process that takes the Opportunity through a set of stages like Appointment Scheduled, Qualified to Buy, Presentation Scheduled, POC Scheduled, Decision Maker Bought In, Contract Sent, Closed / Won and Closed / Lost etc.

Basically, sales stages are a sequence of specifications & instructions like Kanban to handle the Opportunity in a structured manner to ensure high success rate. The stages are a sample representation only and can vary / can be customized depending on Organization’s Sales Process.

If you see an Opportunity as a component, then it is basically subjected to these process steps to reach to an end state as in Kanban but the way the way Opportunities is typically displayed to the end users in CRM systems is a simple list view that is used to display any other business data like Accounts, Contacts etc. A sample representation is below

If you click an Opportunity, the Opportunity is displayed in a 2 column layout presenting the Opportunity details

Recently many of the CRM providers started presenting the Opportunity list and Opportunity detail using Kanban as a Metaphor and it makes a lot of sense from a User Experience standpoint. A sample representation of a list view in Kanban way is below

As you see above it neatly displays to the users the list of Opportunities (Metaphor to Components in Kanban) under Various sales stages and provides a drag and drop option for the users to promote the Opportunities from one stage to another stage (drag and drop, Metaphor of putting through a set of instructions). Similarly, in the detailed view, the Opportunity detail is presented as below

You can set the stages as appropriate (point and click with all visual cues that tell precisely where you stand on this opportunity) and take the Opportunity to a closure and  in each stage showing fields of relevance / importance to that stage.

This is a welcoming change though the adoption of Metaphor in CRM world is a very late….There are many other applications designed to handle tasks management, agile project management etc using Kanban view in today’s app world.


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