3 Foundational Truths to Pre-CRM Implementation Planning

3 Foundational Truths to Pre-CRM Implementation Planning

Your Internally-Devised Solution Will Look A Lot Like Your Existing Solution

I have found that the most successful CRM implementations happen when Resolv is involved early on.  This isn’t because we are mystical wizards, it’s because, as CRM facilitators, we understand what a CRM implementation will do to your sales force, your customers, and your processes.  We have first-hand experience, knowing what has worked in the past, and what hasn’t.  We can help you sidestep many mishaps that only come through years of experience.  We can guide you as to where to focus your money to achieve the greatest return on investment. Continue reading →

Utilization Frustrations With CRM … Why “Just Do It” Doesn’t Work

Utilization Frustrations With CRM … Why “Just Do It” Doesn’t Work

CRM ProfitIf you have a sales person who loves your CRM system, is excellent at updating deals, and is diligent at entering notes, I can bet one thing and win 99% of the time:  He or she is not your top sales person.  How am I so certain?  Most CRM systems are built with the end in mind (collecting data) on the means (enabling the sales person).

Let me be clear.  Enabling sales does not mean collecting data; enabling sales means providing data in the easiest method possible. Continue reading →

Increasing Sales Without Increasing The Size of Your Sales Force

Increasing Sales Without Increasing The Size of Your Sales Force

Day in the life a salesmanOn average, your sales people spend less than two hours a day selling.  This is according to Mark Ellwood, President of Pace Productivity Inc. (Mark’s report is here.)  Paul Vinogradov agrees with Mark in his post.  In fact, a simple goole search on how sales people spend their time will tell you that your sales people most likely spend the majority of their time on non-sales activities.  Continue reading →

The Unintentional Killing of CRM

The Unintentional Killing of CRM

Over my last fifteen years of facilitating CRM implementations, there are two programs that have been the unintentional death of CRM within many organizations:

OUTLOOK

In their efforts to implement a corporate calendar, increase mobility of CRM data, or simply to placate user’s demands, many organizations implement some sort of integration between their CRM system and Microsoft Outlook for the synching of calendars and contacts.  Often, this integration is clunky (a technical term for bloated and difficult to use) and fraught with issues. Continue reading →

CRM, easy as riding a bike?

CRM, easy as riding a bike?

Let me ask you a simple question.  Would you say that using your CRM system is easier than riding a bike?  Is it easier than driving a car?  Most of the time when I ask this, the answer to both questions is no, CRM is definitely more difficult than riding a bike or driving a car.

No kidding, your CRM system is more difficult than riding a bike or driving a car?  So let me ask you this, which did you spend more time learning to do, ride a bike, drive a car, or use your CRM system? Continue reading →

Great Expectations for Outside Sales usage of CRM

Great Expectations for Outside Sales usage of CRM

Setting realistic goals is critical for a successful CRM implementation.  However, just as critical is having realistic expectations.  What’s the difference?  A goal is what you hope to achieve through the implementation of a CRM system, an expectation is the anticipation of an occurrence.  For example, a company may have the goal of increasing quote conversion by 5%.  The expectation is that the sales people will enter their quotes/opportunities into the CRM system and keep them up to date.

Over the last 15 years, I have had the privilege of consulting with 100s of companies as they set realistic goals and expectations for CRM.  The goal of the next few paragraphs is to help my readers understand what is realistic in the realm of user expectations of your outside sales representatives. Continue reading →

If you want something to change in your business …

 … then you have to change something in your business.  

 

I don’t know how many times I am asked to implement CRM software to help a company do what they are already doing.  They want it to look, act, and report in the same way they are currently doing things.  And yet, they expect big changes out of the CRM implementation.
 

It just doesn’t work that way.  If all you are doing is implementing software to maintain the status quo of how you are already doing things then save your money.  Use the money for a nice vacation!  Better yet, use the money to hire someone new to manage and maintain the status quo that you have aspired to.

Ultimately, without making a conscious decision to change your business, your business will not change.

Before implementing a CRM system ask yourself:

 
•What business need is CRM going to fulfill or improve upon?
•How will your current process need to change with implementation of the CRM system?

•What positive outcomes are you expecting as a result of the CRM implementation? 

Using CRM to Prioritize Contacts, Leads, Prospects and Customers! More importantly…..know the difference!

We are currently preparing to attend a local tradeshow for manufactures.  Tradeshow preparation can be a little daunting.  You want to make a grand impression.  You want to be memorable.  You want to reach your target audience. You want to make new contacts and gather new leads.  Most importantly you want the effort to result in profitable business.  How does one translate all of those goals and actionable results?  The trick really is being able to clearly define who it is you are talking to.  Is the person standing in front of you simply a contact or are they a lead?  Are they truly a prospect? What is the difference?

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We find that if companies create the definitions for these terms prior to attending a tradeshow and ensure that everyone in the organization understands those definitions, expectations and outcomes are often better aligned.  For example, if the marketing department has created a contest, provided a raffle giveaway, or another reason to generate traffic into the booth that collects names, emails and telephone numbers does everyone in the group agree these are leads?  Likely not.  Unless every individual has to meet a very specific criteria before stepping onto the show floor, it is most likely that the vast majority of names in that drawing are not qualified leads.  They may not be leads at all, only contacts.

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So, what constitutes a lead? Different company’s sales processes manage these terms in different ways and there is no right or wrong as long as there is agreement to the intended meaning of each term and the expected action that each is to be met with.  In our company we classify a lead as someone who has “raised their hand”.  In other words it is someone who has said, I know what you do and I’m interested in that.  That alone would constitute a reaction from us that is different than a name we would have gotten from a booth drawing, however, a raising of the hand is still only a lead; not a prospect. This is where we get particular about qualification.  Our CRM software is helpful in outlining our qualification questions for each record and collecting the answers to those qualifications in a single, quickly reference able location.  Once all qualifications regarding interest, size, time, decision makers, and budget have been collected we can officially classify them as a prospect.

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In our world, a prospect is someone that has moved into the sales process. Again, CRM software is highly beneficial in streamlining activity for all classifications of records.  If you have a specific contact process that you would like to engage in to convert a lead to a prospect, a CRM solution can help automate many steps of that for you.   We all want to convert prospects to customers, and there are undoubtedly steps in your sales process that can be automated to expedite that result.  Often, even automated reminders to ensure action is being taken can make the difference in converting a lead to a prospect or a prospect to a customer.

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Tradeshows are only one way that leads enter our sales system.  They come in from many directions and a CRM solution can manage the classification of these records in a language that is mutually understood by all in the organization and it can help you manage those records in an effective manner that will result in more customers and more revenue.  Before you start planning for your next tradeshow, have a planning meeting to determine what your goals are for contacts, leads, prospects and customers.  When everyone is speaking the same language the expected outcomes will also be understood by everyone!

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Contact Kym Riedel at Resolv to learn more about what a CRM Business Strategy and what a software solution could mean for your company.  Kym can be reached at kriedel@resolvcrm.com or at 920-268-4074. Visit  www.resolvcrm.com  to read other educational articles specific to CRM solutions.

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CRM is CRM, right?

I have been asked the same question several times in the last week or so, so I thought I should blog about it. The question, “What makes Resolv different?”


So here goes … First, I have been working in the CRM industry since 1998.  That’s right, I have been doing nothing but CRM consulting and CRM implementation for over 13 years.  Over the course of time, I learned a few things, but one thing really stands out.  That one thing is:

Implementing CRM is not success.

SalesLogix CRM Success

What I mean is that when I started in the CRM industry, I started working for a SalesLogix Business partner.  This partner would sell CRM as a need that all companies had.  A company would bite, and the goal was to implement CRM.  We would successfully implement CRM, and we had many successful failures.  We failed because implementing CRM software should never be “the goal;” it is part of the solution.   This means for an implantation to be a success, businesses need to define what need or needs that CRM software will play a role in solving.

When I started Resolv, I vowed that we would not implement successful failures.  If a company’s goal is simply to implement CRM, Resolv is most likely not the right partner for them.  However, if a company is looking to implement CRM in response to real business needs and goals, we are the CRM company for them. 

It’s rather simple; our goal is to help our customers to be unbelievably successful! We implement CRM software in alignment with solid business strategies.  We understand that CRM software, process, and culture all must be in alignment with business goals for a CRM implementation to be a success.

Luke Russell 

Resolv, Inc.

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Harnessing the Value of a Consultant

I have been consulting on CRM (CRM best practices, CRM user adoption, and CRM implementations) for over 13 years.  During this time, I have learned a thing or two about CRM.  I have spoken in over 70 seminars on CRM covering such topics as: Avoiding CRM Pitfalls, Realizing ROI in a CRM implementation, Improving Forecasting, Increasing Customer Retention, etc.  The list is quite long, actually.  So why am I telling you this?  Because, over the past 13 years I have seen many customers successfully harness my knowledge, and the knowledge of my team, to their great profit; I have also witnessed many others who truthfully didn’t gain anything from a relationship with Resolv.  Which brings me to my point, how can you harness the value of a consultant?
 

First, I believe that a company needs to understand the difference between a "consultant" and a "value added reseller".  According to Webster a consultant is "one who gives professional advice or services : expert"; likewise, according to Wikipedia "A value-added reseller (VAR) is a company that adds features or services to an existing product, then resells it (usually to end-users) as an integrated product or complete ‘turn-key’ solution. This practice occurs commonly in the electronics industry, where, for example, a VAR might bundle a software application with supplied hardware."  Unfortunately these two definitions do not help to draw a difference and there-in lies the inability for some companies to truly harness the knowledge of a consultant.
 
So, what is the difference?  In my own words (and in relation to CRM) a VAR adds value to their clients by implementing CRM to meet a company’s self-prescribed expectations and guidelines.  Everything they do is related to the product or products they are implementing.  While a consultant may do this, they also do many of the following:
  • Seek to understand the current business and user culture and make recommendations for change related to CRM and CRM system roll-out and integration
  • Review current processes and relay the need to change processes as systems change with recommendations for an improved process
  • Actively seek to avoid known areas of failure and major pitfalls through change management
  • Ultimately, a consultant assesses the weaknesses of an organization (in relation to a CRM implementation) and offers recommendations and solutions to address the weaknesses.  Often a consultant is called upon to assist in implementing the recommendations.
If you always do what you've always done ...Knowing this, it is easy to see why some companies do not receive value from a consultant.  Many companies are simply looking only for a VAR to implement a list of items developed internally, rather than have someone consult with them as to the viability of their ideas and assist them with best practices.  They do this believing that they know their business better (which they do) and they have a solid understanding of what CRM is (most likely not the case); however, they have a fear of change, so they simply seek to implement a CRM system with as little change to their processes, user experience, and existing methodologies as possible.   Therefore, in their reluctance to change, or their fear of change, companies avoid the process and culture sides of a CRM implementation and simply implement features and functions, basically keeping the Mark Twain adage alive: "If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got."  The bottom line:  Simply implementing CRM software is not doing something differently.
 
The goal of a consultant is to ensure that you don’t always do what you’ve always done in relation to CRM.  But change can be frightening, and is therefore avoided by many companies; even change for the better.  So, companies rely on internal resources (who have got them to where they are now) to implement CRM and the change related to CRM, rather than following the advice of an expert who has multiple times more knowledge of the way to successfully implement CRM software for maximum impact.  Ultimately, A CRM consultant understands the roles process and culture play in the overall implementation of a CRM system and recommends the best course of action for a successful implementation.
 
 

Luke Russell 

Resolv, Inc.

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