CRM Training, You’re Doing it Wrong! | CRM Training

CRM Training, You’re Doing it Wrong! | CRM Training

I can say very accurately that over 90% of companies that have implemented a CRM system have failed in the education of their users in relation to the CRM system. How do I know this? Through my observation of CRM implementations since 1998. My bet is that your company is among those that have failed. Let me prove it to you … Continue reading →

Pay me now or pay me later

Pay me now or pay me later

In 1972 Fram Oil Filters ran commercials on television talking about their oil filters.  A mechanic was usually under a car working.  He talks about how a Fram Oil filter costs $4.00 and the cost of the repairs he was doing on the car that didn’t replace their oil filter was $200.00.  He ends by holding up a Fram Oil Filter and says “You can pay me now,” then holds up a piston and says, “or, you can pay me later.”  The ad was a huge success, and makes a great point: Not properly doing the small things typically leads to bigger things. Continue reading →

4 Got-Yas in Switching CRM Systems

4 Got-Yas in Switching CRM Systems

So, you’re thinking about switching your CRM system for another one.  Maybe you’ve outgrown your current CRM system.  Maybe you’re looking to lower recurring payments.  Maybe your users don’t use your current system and blame it on the software.

Whatever the reason you are considering switching, CRM switches can be a very successful boost to your company or huge flop.  Considering the following will help with the transition and hopefully tip the scale to the success side: Continue reading →

A history of man rejecting technology.  One big lesson to learn.

A history of man rejecting technology. One big lesson to learn.

John Henry
retold by
S. E. Schlosser

Now John Henry was a mighty man, yes sir. He was born a slave in the 1840’s but was freed after the war. He went to work as a steel-driver for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, don’t ya know. And John Henry was the strongest, the most powerful man working the rails.

John Henry, he would spend his day’s drilling holes by hitting thick steel spikes into rocks with his faithful shaker crouching close to the hole, turning the drill after each mighty blow. There was no one who could match him, though many tried. Continue reading →

4 Critical Questions to Save Your Company from Quick Sand

4 Critical Questions to Save Your Company from Quick Sand

This blog talks about business that are in the condition of “Quick Sand”.  They look good on the surface, but there is constant movement beneath the surface that agitates and upsets the continuity.  Let me start by talking about real quick sand…

First What is Real Quick Sand?

Quick sand is not a particular type of sand but a condition that is happening to the sand and is not dangerous. Continue reading →

Questions To Think About As You Move Toward CRM: Part 4

Do You Have the Internal Resources To Fully Implement a CRM Strategy?

I absolutely LOVE it when, in my prospecting efforts, I come across a CRM champion.  In my terms, a CRM champion is someone who understands the value and possibilities of CRM and more importantly understands what CRM could mean for the business for all future decision making.  CRM champions are usually on a mission to educate others in the company on the benefits of CRM and create excitement about it.

I call these people champions because the task I am describing is NOT an easy one.  I know and understand this, because this “project” they have taken on is my full time job.

Allow me to share some insight on how to accomplish this mission. The champion is correct in looking for alleys to join their mission.  CRM cannot be implemented in a bubble, or by a single individual or one department.  A successful CRM implementation has to start with a CRM strategy.  What does that mean?  In short, a CRM strategy is the answer to the following question:  How can we improve our processes to ensure happy, loyal customers?

I understand perfectly that is not an easy question to answer.  If you think it is, throw your quick instinctual answer out onto the conference room table with a group of individuals that represent all customer facing departments of the company.  You may find that your quick and easy answer is dissected and mutilated with the insight each of these individuals brings to the bigger process.  This exercise will demonstrate all the parties that will need to be involved in a CRM implementation.  These individuals represent the group that need to collectively answer the question that will result in a CRM strategy.

Back to that champion….this is a key area to focus your energy.  Generate the excitement among the key individuals in customer facing  departments by involving them in creating the answer to the CRM strategy question.  However, that’s only part of what you need.  More importantly, you need CEO and senior management buy in.  In order for a CRM implementation to succeed it MUST be a top down directive.  Depending on the internal dynamic of your organization, the order of that buy in may be more of an art than a science, but both are essential to success.

There are other internal resources to consider.  The most glaring being money.  Align your efforts with annual budget planning.  While considering budget also evaluate the potential impact (hours) on the departments that will be affected by process change and a new software implementation.  Don’t pretend resources won’t need to be allocated thinking it will further your efforts.  Rather, quantify everything to the best of your ability and present the full impact.  Both costs and potential return.

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The best advice I can give to CRM champions is, think like a champion.  If you owned the business what information would you need to make a decision?  What setbacks might be a result of change? Who will be impacted and what will that mean? Will this give us an advantage over our competition? What will we ultimately gain?  What will happen to us if we refuse to change?  What’s worse…the pain of change or the pain of staying the same?

Using CRM to Manage Without the Mystery

Many times in my career I have managed people.  Sometimes small teams and sometimes large ones.  I believe management, like most things in life, is a skill that is developed and honed over time.  Much like parenting, you want your employees to respect and trust your judgment enough to emulate it in your absence.  You want them to want to succeed and do their very best whether you are there to see it them do it or not.  And like parenting, sometimes those hopes are more easily fulfilled than others.

  Sometimes employees march to the beat of the corporate objective without pause and sometimes they fight every step of the way. It is not uncommon to have two employees who sit right next to each other perceive the company or your management style differently.   Your influence on their behavior is sometimes great, and sometimes not accepted at all.  Much like parenting, managing is not always easy, yet can often be one of the most rewarding things you do.


Unlike parenting, it is often easier to take a step back and subjectively evaluate a situation.  It is after all, business.  It’s not personal.  Good managers know when to shift away from emotion and manage a situation based on facts and the logic that follows those facts.  Therein lies the challenge, however.  What are the facts?  Unfortunately, managers are often forced to make very important decisions about employees and situations based on hearsay and assumptions.  A lot of the tactical day-to-day work that employees do is often immeasurable or difficult to capture.  It is also more and more common for businesses to allow employees to work from home and many positions (like sales for example) require off site flexibility.  That makes facts even more difficult to capture.


What is the solution to the problem?  Establish a measurable criteria that can be managed within a CRM system.  Truth be told, good managers do NOT want to micromanage their employees.  If they do, they don’t belong in management.  Good managers want to surround themselves with people who are better than them at what they do, give them the tools to get it done and stand back and watch all the pieces come together the way they are suppose to.  That being said, they also need visibility to progress on an individual and collective basis.  The way to accomplish those objectives simultaneously is through a CRM system that captures predefined employee activity in a way that progress is measureable.


For employees, this is nothing to be afraid of.  It is a good thing to capture the activity of those who are successful so that their committed efforts are documented  and their activity can be emulated by others in the organization who may need guidance.  As for management, the objective is not to micromanage every employee entry, but rather to capture the progress of individuals and the department as a whole in a quantifiable manner.  When a difficult situation does arise you are able to assess the facts that led to that situation.  Where did the breakdown occur? How can it be prevented in the future? Is it a common problem among many employees or an isolated problem with a single employee?  What actions are required to fix this problem and by whom?


Part of the solution provided by CRM in this environment is an upfront agreement to a mutual goal.   Don’t keep the expectations or quantifiable targets a secret.  Share them with everyone and obtain their agreement to achieving them.  Ensure they understand how achieving those objectives impact the overall success of the organization. Paint the picture that their contribution, no matter how big or small, is in part how the doors to your company are kept open every day.  When used effectively CRM software can be a very powerful culture foundation to focus punapharmacy.com employees on a single target.  The success of the company.

Who Is The Consumer In A CRM Implementation?

My background is working for large manufacturing companies who produce Consumer Goods.  In that industry we call the end user “the consumer”.  By definition a consumer is one who “uses up” something or is “engrossed” or “devours”.  Devour.  I like that word.  It’s a passionate word.  In the CRM industry, we want nothing more than for the users to devour the product we provide.  We want them to “use it up” everyday and come back the next day insisting to use it again.


In the CRM sales process, we typically work with senior management.  As it should be.  The purchase decision for a process and culture changing solution for a company should always come from the top.  But who really, is the consumer for this tool?  Who will devour it?  Who will insist that it be there for future consumption?  Depending on the organization, the answer to that question will vary.  Sometimes the CEO of the company is masterful at using CRM.   More often however, it’s those who have direct responsibility for the customer.  It’s the sales team, it’s customer service reps, it’s marketing managers that are the CRM consumers.


In the consumer goods industry we would spend countless hours (and dollars) researching, developing and producing products that the end user, the consumer, would devour.  We would allocate tremendous resources to consumer focus groups, graphic design, and marketing tag line development to create demand by the consumer.  It’s not always about filling an existing need (a demand), but bringing awareness to the consumer they have a need (creating a demand).


If you have made the determination you are going to implement CRM software at your organization, who is your consumer?  I mentioned earlier that the purchase decision for CRM typically comes from the top.  That means a board, or a senior management committee in most cases. As a member of that board or chosen team, have you given any consideration to how you will create demand for the product you are introducing to the consumer (your employees)?


CRM is a tool that can truly revolutionize the way you go to business.  It can propel you to a level of efficiency and ultimately success you have not been able to achieve in the past.  Without it, your competition (who does have CRM) will capture your market share. These are compelling facts that are a very solid foundation for a consumer marketing message.


Implementing, or maximizing the use of your existing CRM, is one of the most important strategic decisions your company will make.  It’s at least as important as the launch of another new product, if not more so.  Shouldn’t you create an internal marketing campaign for the consumers of  your CRM?  Just like with the launch of a new product, it could mean the difference between success and failure.

Using CRM to Eliminate the Dreaded Forecasting Meeting

It’s that time of year.  It probably should have happened last month, or even two months ago, but your company, like all the others has been postponing the dreaded annual forecasting meeting.  If you operate on a calendar budget, there have been meetings scheduled and canceled and rescheduled and canceled and now rescheduled again with the red exclamation mark next to them for the meeting that must happen.  2013 Forecast and Budget Planning (horror music playing in the background).

  It’s the meeting where most commonly the senior finance staff generated a number the company has to hit next year to keep everyone employed and the stakeholders or owners happy.  Now, sales must lock themselves in a room and figure out how they are going to achieve this number.  Is that as backwards as it sounds?  Indeed it is.


What typically happens is senior finance staff looks at sales reports (post sale data) from previous years, adds an arbitrary percentage increase and then says, find it.  “We don’t care where, we don’t care how, find it.”  Aligning that arbitrary increase to top performing accounts makes the budgeting process for the next year more efficient, but rarely is it accurate.  Is there a way to eliminate this senseless charade?  There is.


Use your CRM to demonstrate what would be required in time and resources to achieve the stated increase in new accounts and increased sales on existing accounts.  With CRM you will have pre-sale data that conveys actual effort to closed sales.  How long is a sales cycle? How many sales have to be in the pipeline, by when, to achieve the magic number that has been provided? Is it even possible? If not, what is required to make it possible? How many new product presentations were given to existing customers last year to drive increased sales? How many more will be required to achieve the new target? Has that number of new products been scheduled for creation and distribution? How many incoming leads were created last year through marketing efforts? How many of those leads generated new accounts and orders?  How many will be required to achieve the new target?


Locking sales management in a room with an arbitrary sales percentage increase and asking them to put their heads on the butcher block for their share of that number is NOT logical forecasting.  Use CRM software to measure pre-sale activity and base sales growth on the resources required to support that growth.  Everyone wants to succeed. Everyone in the company wants to increase sales.  With pre-sale reporting provided by CRM software everyone in the company can align resources to the new sales targets and everyone can work together to achieve success!

#1 Key to CRM Implementation Success: User Adoption

CRM User AdoptionI was recently asked what I believe drives a successful CRM implementation.  Is it glitzy software?  Is it solving a big problem with a lot of ROI?  Is it having a project sponsor that pushes CRM down the corporation’s throat?  My answer is simple, you can have the latest and greatest software with all the bells and whistles, but without incorporating the change into your users everyday lives, your CRM implementation will be a miserable failure.  User Adoption is the number one key to CRM success.
 
Speed:
 If that is the case (and let’s say for the sake of argument, that I am right on this point) it stands to reason that the speed of user adoption is critical.  Therefore, user adoption planning and education needs to start prior to the CRM implementation.  It begins with understanding your users and defining the key factors that will encourage or hinder CRM adoption.  This includes looking at your users current skill-sets, job descriptions, behaviors, and attitudes.  It also includes reviewing your organizational processes (or lack of processes), communication plans, and leadership culture.
 
Understanding these things helps to improve adoption as you shape your CRM adoption strategy.  It helps you to design the software with the user in mind, and helps you to determine just where CRM fits into your organizational processes.
 
Learning:
Many associate training with learning, and while training is a step in the leaning process, there is much more to it.  Learning may start with training and communication, but has to include a feed-back mechanism and opportunities for reflection and application.  Before, during and after your CRM implementation it is key that you work with your users to understand what is working and what is lacking in the learning process.  Don’t be afraid to try new things and toss out those that aren’t working.
 
Essentiality:
One of the most effective ways to facilitate learning and drive CRM user adoption is to make the CRM system essential to your users.  This means to give your users more out of CRM than you are expecting them to input.  Things like sales by product line by account for a period of time, open orders, outstanding invoices, and industry data about an account make CRM an invaluable tool to your users. This facilitates decision making, and drives users into CRM on a regular basis.  
 
Incorporating CRM into your processes is another way to make it essential, and ensures that your CRM implementation is in alignment with your organizational processes.
 
The role of software:
If you know me at all, you will have seen the chart showing that a CRM implementation is only about 10% technology.  They other 90% is process and culture.  In other words, people.  Keep this in mind when you are working on your CRM adoption strategy.  Its not about the technology.  Its about your people.
 
I have seen many companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on what they believed to be the best looking, glitziest CRM believing that would drive user adoption.  Everyone was sorely disappointed when they realized there is no correlation between the slickness of the software and user adoption.   I’m not surprised, since software is only 10% of the equation.
 
Adoption strategy:
Finally, write out your adoption strategy.  Assign ownership of the strategy.  This should be someone with the authority and required resources to initiate and maintain CRM user adoption.  
 
Be sure to include in your strategy a list of your current user types, and what you can do to facilitate adoption prior to, during, and after your CRM implementation.  Keep in mind; however, that your adoption strategy will need to change as you receive feedback from your users.