Been there, done that.

I had a conversation with Kym, one of my co-workers, the other day.  She was calling prospects and received a similar response from multiple companies when she asked them about Customer Relationship Management (CRM).  The response was, “we tried CRM, it didn’t work.”  I hear that and think, “of course it didn’t work!”

 

I bet I can guess why it didn’t work for each company that responded with the “been there, done that” type of response.  It is most likely one of these three reasons:

 

1)    The company self-implemented CRM

2)     The driving force for CRM was someone in the company’s IT department

3)     The company thought that CRM was a one-time event

 

 

In fact, as I look at those three reasons, I think that each would take more time to explain than I have in this one blog entry; therefore, my next three blogs will break down each of the three reasons for CRM failures. 

 

Luke Russell
Resolv, Inc.

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Scrap the demo … define the need!

I receive several calls each month from organizations looking for a demo of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software package.  Most of those asking believe CRM is something you can purchase.  However, CRM is not available for sale on a shelf, because it is not software.  If you are not familiar with my definition of CRM you will find it here.

 

 

CRM Software is a tool that can be used to help organizations manage the relationships with their customers.  Software also can help people within an organization to be more productive and better informed as to their customer’s historic purchase patterns, future needs, and overall strength.  Finally, software can alert of instances requiring attention, automate processes, and automate communications related to processes.  However, this all happens within the boundaries of an organization’s customer-centric business strategy.

 

 

Why would I say that CRM is not about software when part of my job is selling software?  It comes down to one simple philosophy:  I am only interested in implementing CRM software in cases where the implementation of software is in alignment with the organization’s customer-centric business strategy.  In this case, CRM software implementation will be a part of the solution for specific, defined business needs.

 

 

Think about this for a moment:  If you were to take your current practices of customer communication and tracking, and your cultural beliefs about your customers and your sales process and simply automate them would you be any better off?  Or, would you simply be taking poor practices and a less-than optimal customer culture and making them happen more quickly?  Ultimately, CRM software is only as good as the customer-centric business strategy that drives the implementation.

 

 

Luke Russell
Resolv, Inc.

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Do you have an expensive Rolodex?

Over the last 12 years (yes, I have been doing CRM consulting for 12 years now) I have seen many CRM systems implemented as an very expensive Rolodex, basically to perform the function of Contact Management or Sales Force Automation.  There is a difference between Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Contact Management.  So I thought today I would help define each step in the Contact Management to Customer Relationship Management chain:

 

Contact Management is typically contact based, and is more or less an electronic rolodex.  It is a mailing list for a specific user or group of users, and is normally not integrated across the entire organization.  It frequently does not meet all of the data needs required for managing leads, prospects, and customers, leaving many stand alone islands of data throughout the organization.  Often companies will know they need to move up from contact management when they begin to have multiple contact management databases or when they have to use outside programs like Microsoft Excel or Access to track additional data about their prospects and customers.  Contact management is a great first step into CRM, and Sage software with over 4,000,000 users of ACT! is the world-wide leader in this category.

Sales Force Automation is frequently account based, and includes enhanced note taking and opportunity tracking capabilities.  It allows for the tracking of more data though configuration, and can be deployed organization wide.  Making the step to sales force automation normally eliminates the need for many of the separate islands of data, leaving only one or two spreadsheets or outside databases for tracking additional data components.  Very often, sales force automation will include basic integration into the back office.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is account based, and includes advanced marketing management, opportunity management, quote management, contract tracking, support issue management, and forecasting to name a few key components.  Basically, it encompasses data from every aspect of your relationship with the customer.  It is fully customizable eliminating all need for outside islands of data about your customer (outside of your accounting/ERP system).  It can be fully integrated with back office and manufacturing and can be deployed across the entire organization, including remote offices anywhere around the world.  Sage SalesLogix is an excellent example of a true Customer Relationship Management tool.  Sage SalesLogix has been the industry innovation leader since 1998 and is consistently winning industry standard and user satisfaction awards.

Hopefully having an understanding of what CRM includes will help you as you focus on the business goals that you are looking toward CRM software to help you accomplish.  Don’t forget that your CRM strategy and corresponding software implementation is an ever-evolving  part of your organization.   While CRM is not about software, we do have a couple resources on our website that will help as you are evaluating software:

Luke Russell
Resolv, Inc.

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But wait, there’s more …

Today’s blog post is going to be a bit on the satirical side … but it makes a point about an issue I frequently encounter, the “CRM in a Box” mentality.  It amazes me when someone asks what my CRM software can do for them, as if they are looking for the “magic bullet” to Customer Relationship Management to come from a box.  Simply install the software and all of their troubles are over.   Unfortunately, it’s not that easy,  but if it were, you can be sure Ron Popeil would have an infomercial for it …

 

 

Sage SalesLogixWrapped up inside this box, I have a CRM software solution work for each and every one of your businesses.  There is no need for you to think about your customers, configure it to match your processes, or integrate it with your accounting software.  This software is built on the only best sales practice currently known!

·         It will generate leads for your sales people,

·         it will retain your best customers,

·         it will manage all of your opportunities and accurately forecast sales

·         All with no input from your sales team. 

 

But wait, there’s more … act today and we’ll throw in our latest version which will

·         proactively reach out to fading customers and

·         guarantee sales people meet and exceed their quota!

 

Basically, CRM in a Box will help you to slice and dice your competition!  That’s right, you can have all this and never have to coach a salesperson again!  But even more exciting is that you can have this for only three easy payments of $995 … don’t wait, this offer won’t be around long!

 

But wait, there’s more, buy now, and

·         we’ll throw in our famous book “superior sales people without the coaching”, and

·         our best selling CD “customers like it when you hide behind technology.” 

 

Folks, get all of this for only three easy payments of $995!  With CRM in a Box, what could go wrong?

 

The plain and simple … CRM is a business strategy, software is a tool.

 

Luke Russell
Resolv, Inc.

Link to me on LinkedIn

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Inauguration Day …

This is my inaugural post on our new Blog.  I am sure that over the course of the next several months, this blog will become filled with my thoughts on a number of useful subjects relating to CRM, Sales, Marketing, and Technology …

This is my inaugural post on our new Blog.  I am sure that over the course of the next several months, this blog will become filled with my thoughts on a number of useful subjects relating to CRM, Sales, Marketing, and Technology. 

However, I cannot begin to pontificate on CRM without first helping you to know what it is.  Luckily, our website is filled with great information of what CRM is.  For example on this page you will see information on what our definition of CRM is (A business strategy) and what a typical CRM implementation looks like.   Another great page is where we talk about our philosophy relating to CRM software; basically it is a tool to help you with your customer-centric business strategy.   

This blog is not meant to replace or repeat what is already clearly visible on our website.  It will hopefully be an expansion of what is there and will lead to a deeper understanding of CRM and what it can do for companies around the world. 

With that being said, welcome to the Resolv Blog.  Be sure to subscribe to a RSS feed if you want to be the first to view new blog entries. 

Luke

Our Philosophy

CRM PhilosophyResolv has one simple CRM philosophy: CRM software should only be implemented in companies where it will be in alignment with an organization’s customer-centric business strategy (See our definition of CRM). In this case, a CRM software implementation will be part of the solution for specific, defined business needs.

Our goal at Resolv is to enable companies by providing a single view of the customer through a comprehensive, company-wide CRM strategy.

We focus on solving business issues related to sales, marketing, service and most importantly the customer. We work on improving the end-to-end cycle time for sales, enabling sales to work more efficiently, improving and automating communication, and strengthening the customer relationship; at the same time giving sales people more time to focus on the customer. We work to eliminate multiple data sources and clicks to streamline daily tasks. We focus on delivering key data to enhance decision making, planning, management, and execution of all customer related activities.