C-Level Fear of CRM

C-Level Fear of CRM

After working in the CRM world for 15 years, I continue to be amazed at CRM and the direction it takes.  Besides being a fantastic “customer database,” CRM is critical for forecasting, service, and marketing. Social CRM is now critical tool, and CRM without a mobile component is “so last-year”.

This got me to thinking, “why aren’t many C-Level executives embracing CRM?”  Everyone else in their organization, especially those on the front-line, has either embraced it or is screaming for it.  Sales, marketing, and service cannot live without it in most organizations.  Continue reading →

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!

CRM Implementation – Part 2 – Automation

In my previous article, CRM Implementation – Part 1 – Process Evaluation, I addressed the importance of understanding and defining your existing customer facing processes and being able to define and track the results of those processes.


Process Evaluation is capturing the “what is” of our tactical daily business.  Through that process evaluation you hopefully found a few areas in your processes that needed some fine tuning and created greater efficiencies for your organization.  Perhaps, you were able to define to someone in the company who does the same thing every day without question, why they do what they do because you formally defined the expected result of one of your company’s processes.  Perhaps defining the process and the expected result forced you to add some very valuable steps that will allow you to quantify your efforts in the future.


In the article previously mentioned we captured the reality of “what is”.  In this article we will talk more about “what can be”.  If you followed the simplistic, yet effective, recommendations of my previous article you created a flow chart style documentation of your customer facing processes.  You may have used sticky notes on a wall, or a software program such as Visio, or maybe you used pencil and paper (with a large eraser nearby).  If you have documented your process flow and by doing so created efficiencies in your organization, then congratulations!  You are far ahead of a lot of companies by having completed that exercise.  There is a second part to this process evaluation assignment however.  Step two is about defining places where automation can further improve your processes and efficiencies.


Gather the same individuals that were needed for the definition and evaluation exercise and ask them this question:


Can the process be improved and be more efficient by automating steps?


Expand on that question.  Dig deep. Ask questions like…”If we could send an auto email here, what would happen?”, or “If the receipt of document X created the next step to happen automatically, what would the process look like?”   Think big and think efficient.  Sometimes I even tell people (if they are not the imaginative types), to pretend magic is a possibility.  Where would you wave the magic wand?


This is where CRM software comes into play.  CRM software can automate many steps in a process (and track ALL the steps in a process) making it even more efficient that you can imagine today.  That’s why it’s important to think outside the box.


You will need to imagine the ability to see all steps of the process simultaneously and how that ability would impact not only the steps of the process today but your decision making ability along the way.  How would that decision (or even the ability to make it) impact the next step. The next thing you know, you will begin adding more valuable services, features and benefits to your customer facing processes because you can do it without adding resources, while simultaneously quantifying the results of doing so.  That my friends is where the real magic happens.

  
Automating as many steps in a tactical work process as possible free up valuable human resources (the most expensive company resource, by the way) to focus on strictly revenue generating activities while providing them the visibility to manage the tactical with an ease they have not previously experienced.


Use CRM software to transform your business practices and motivate your employees through providing them visibility into the big picture.  Demonstrate to them the importance of the single step they take in the bigger picture and ask them to continue to contribute suggestions and ideas to streamline and automate the processes they touch every day!

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Contact Kym www.punapharmacy.com 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.

CRM Software Selection – Which Product Do I Choose?

I have read that visual learners represent 65% of the population.  I believe myself to be one of them.  I process information much faster when I can read it myself or better yet read and view associated graphics.  I imagine that this attraction to visual stimuli extends to many areas including my fashion choices, my home décor choices, the car I drive and the type of technology I use.  I’ll admit, I have to like what I see.  I won’t dig deeper to learn more if the criteria for my initial visual assessment (which we mostly make up as we go along) isn’t met.  Apparently 65% of the population is the same way. That means a lot of us make product selections this way, whether we realize it or not.

So, when choosing a CRM software are we drawn to the one that has the most visual sizzle at the time we are reviewing product demo’s?  If we are using our default product selection criteria, whether we realize it or not, we probably are.  Remember that with most things in the world of technology, sizzle is mobile.  What was most visually appealing today could be outdated or even obsolete tomorrow.  In making this very important long term software selection decision for your organization, the visual learners on the decision making team need to leave that inherent trait in their office when they come to a demonstration.  It’s not about which solution has the most sizzle, it’s about which one meets your organization’s needs.

How then, do we assess organizational needs for CRM software alignment?  It’s about process and culture.  It is necessary to align your organizational processes and culture with your technology and to select a CRM solution that provides that ability.  The technology itself represents the smallest part of the decision making process for a successful CRM implementation. 

Ultimately most CRM software provide sales, marketing and service modules. Typically the “out of the box” solution will meet about 75-80% of your needs.  It is the balance of that alignment that becomes critical to a successful implementation.  It is imperative to align yourself with a CRM business partner that can not only develop the solution to meet all of your organizational needs but that provides a strategy for managing user adoption.  A CRM business partner will work with you in achieving the result you had for implementing CRM software, not just sell you licenses to a CRM software.

Ultimately, it’s not about the product that you choose.  It’s about the CRM Business Partner that you choose.  If you implement CRM correctly, the partner you select will still be working with you many years from now and will understand your business as intimately as you click on this link do.  Choose wisely.  

Your Invitation to the Customer Relationship Management Party!

If there’s one thing that’s true about CRM, it’s that it’s a collaboration of people.  It’s about sharing information and having visibility to the contribution that others are making.  In many ways it’s about community.

   It’s a forum for like minded people (your co-workers) to communicate and work together toward a common goal.  It’s about having a single location for all customer facing information….a location that everyone needs to know about and frequent regularly!  Following is a series of articles inviting you to learn more about how CRM software may impact your organization on both a strategic and tactical level.  Consider it an invitation to achieving the level of understanding about CRM that will make it worth celebrating!  Join the party!

 

Why:

CRM Enablement to a Better Night’s Rest
CRM is Better Than Water Cooler Chit Chat

When:

Culture Part I– The Top Down Directive
Culture Part II – The CRM Champions
CRM Implementation – Part I – Process Evaluation
CRM Implementation – Part II – Automation

Who:

Be a Miraculous Marketer
Using CRM to Prioritize Contacts, Leads, Prospects and Customers! More Importantly….Know the Difference!

Where:

CRM is NOT homework!
CRM Software Reporting – Hang Your Report Card on the Refrigerator!

RSVP:

Choosing a CRM Business Partner
Resolv – What We Believe


Thank you for joining me and please visit our seminars webpage and register for an upcoming seminar or webinar.  Check back on this page periodically to see future blogs and articles pertaining to user focused CRM.  The invitation to this party is a standing invitation, and one that you are free to forward to anyone who you feel might like to learn more about what CRM could mean for their company.

Kym Riedel

Resolv, Inc

bactrimsale.com

Culture Part I – The Top Down Directive

I believe that most strategic business owners and business managers find the concept of CRM intriguing.  I believe most of us, who have been out there for a while believe that it is long overdue.

 I remember, years ago (let’s just say more than a decade ago), searching on what was the internet at that time. (For those of you who remember the internet over a decade ago….it was a vast sort of place where you could get lost for hours and accomplish little…mostly because you sat there watching the waiting icon spin because you were on dial up.)  I remember searching on the internet trying to find some form of sharing software…something my whole team could see.  Of course, I didn’t know what CRM was then or that it formally had a name and it was still just a twinkle in the eyes of the big publishers…but even then the need existed. 

Accounting software has been around for about as long as the inception of computers themselves, which spread into inventory management software or total Enterprise Systems.  Yet, for some reason, it has been perfectly acceptable for the DRIVING part of business… sales, marketing and service, to be left to Excel spreadsheets and Outlook calendars.  It seems crazy really, when you think about it.  Crazier still is that I often hear from business owners today they are still reluctant to implement CRM because their people won’t use it.  Hmmmm…..really?

Is it an option?  Has your accounting department ever come to you and said, “I don’t want to use my accounting software, I like using a ledger better”?  Would that be ok?  Let’s face it.  Having visibility to the sales pipeline is long over due.  It’s not about babysitting the sales, marketing or service teams.  It’s about having visibility to critical information in the sales pipeline that leads to informed and educated business decisions.  It’s about having a forecast based on actuality.  It’s about understanding the length of your sales cycle and the resources required to achieve it.  Why is it ok for that to be optional?

We find that if management leads by example, and lives and breathes their CRM, their subordinates will jump aboard the ship quickly.  SHOW THEM why THEY can’t live without it.  Show them what effeciences and intelligence can be gained from zoloftanxiety use.  Share your goals and objectives with them and the reporting capabilities and capacities it has, so they SEE how important their input to the process is. 

CRM software adoption is a top down directive, there is no doubt about it.  A successful CRM implementation is about the culture of the organization far more than it is about any other aspect, including the software itself.   Make it your mission to be the best informed manager or owner in your organization and you will find that CRM software is an essential tool that you can’t live without.   

Kym Riedel
Resolv, Inc.

CRM Software Reporting – Hang Your Report Card on the Refrigerator!

I may be dating myself, but I remember the days when meeting with a client meant a long lunch and talking about family and vacations.  Your rapport with that client was their number one reason for choosing to do business with you going forward.  Yes, there was the occasional problem, and when that occurred, you created a plan to fix the problem and you explained how and why that problem wouldn’t happen again.  You left most meetings feeling good, and with a good understanding of where you stood with that buyer or decision maker based on your relationship with them.  It was that easy.

  If they liked you and trusted you, you were relatively competitive in your respective industry; the likelihood of losing market share to a competitor was pretty slim.  Loyalty was the most important factor in a business relationship.

Rapport and loyalty still remain major factors, however the criteria that buyers and decision makers use to make purchase decisions has become a little less subjective over the last decade and will become even less subjective in the future.  After all, business is business and knowledge is power.  I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t meet your buyer for lunch, or that you shouldn’t know the name of their children or where they plan on going for vacation this summer.  Bonding will always be critical.  However, every bit as critical are quantifiable success factors.

Those quantifiable success factors are now captured in vendor report cards.  Sometimes buyers will produce that document based on their criteria from their information, or sometimes they want you to produce that document, based on their criteria but with your information.  If they are the ones producing the document, the last thing you would ever want is to be surprised by the contents!  It is essential to be aware of your critical success factors with each key account such as turns and gross margin, whether sales are up or down on each product, what promotions were successful and why,  how co-op marketing dollars have been allocated and the success of the related marketing campaigns.  If you’re not utilizing vendor report cards with your key accounts, you should be!

 
It is imperative that you can demonstrate to your clients where the strengths and weaknesses in your business relationship are.  Provide clients with a snap shot of your business relationship as detailed above and include a summary about past visits.  Detail future planned visits as well as future product launches and promotions.  Provide them with the complete picture so they are not only basing their future purchase decisions from the tried and true foundation of trust, but from the safe and comfortable foundation of confidence in your knowledge, ability and professional skills.

 A Customer Relationship Management software, when integrated with a back office system provides you the tool you need to create that complete quantifiable picture.  The combined information of the quantifiable success factors of a business relationship with the sales, marketing and service aspects create a very powerful tool that when used wisely can set you apart from your competition.  Make the commitment to create a report card that you page could ask your client to hang on their refrigerator!

Kym Riedel

Resolv, Inc.

Accelerating CRM

Today I worked with a company who has had CRM in their company for 13 years. They are a rather complicated infrastructure and have multiple CRM solutions across many divisions and multiple countries. Granted, their situation is somewhat unique due to this complicated infrastructure, however my greatest take away from this all day marathon meeting is applicable to any organization who has CRM software: Company’s change. Processes change. People change. Things change.

The objective of our meeting was to define the priority processes within the organization that are in part or full maintained in a CRM solution that should be changed or improved. The result of this deep dive was astounding! I wished I had a dollar for every time someone said they are currently managing a process or part of a process manually (outside of system).  I am not going to pretend that by using CRM you will possess the magic wand that eliminates all process confusion or provide total automation, however it can bridge a lot of gaps.

The most important element in effective CRM usage is process definition and let’s face it dissection.  It’s not always an easy undertaking and sometimes it might even fall on the side of painful, but like the muscle ache you experience after a good work out, it’s a good pain and if you want to improve, a necessary pain. 

A company does not have to have had CRM software for over a decade to experience disparity in process and existing technology. Disparity between process and automated CRM solutions can exist as early as day one of implementation if the process definition and dissection did not occur.

Maximize the utilization of your CRM solution and the return that can be experienced from it by going through the necessary process exercises. It is an effort you will never regret and what you uncover may truly surprise you!

ROI in a CRM implementation, fact or fiction?

This blog post will be a quick look at ROI and will hopefully help you know the role ROI in a CRM implementation.

ROI, or return on investment, is the concept of how much money will be saved or made based on making a change.  Here are a three quick examples of ROI that we have seen from customers over the last couple of weeks:

 

  • Gross Sales:  It is estimated that if all quotes were captured in a systematic manner and followed up on in a like manner, with follow up information captured for future visibility and consideration for subsequent quotation opportunities, sales would increase between 10-20% at absolute minimum.
  • Sales Time: It is estimated that sales spends a tremendous amount of time “chasing” ad copy.  Potentially as much as 50% of their day can be “chasing” information needed to hit a deadline.  Ideally, automatic reminders should go to clients advising them of an approaching deadline, freeing up the sales people to sell.  If sales does spend 50% of their time at this task, and it could be reduced, even by half, annual sales could potentially be increased by an additional $325,000 a year if that time was dedicated to achieving new sales.    
  • Customer Communication: ABC Company anticipates that systematic improved customer communication all the way through the manufacturing process to shipping and delivery of the finished good could dramatically impact profitability. They believe that improved logistical processes and practices could impact the company with combined cost savings and increased sales due to customer satisfaction by nearly $150,000 annually.

 

On our website you will find greater list of areas of potential ROI in a CRM implementation.

These are all great ROI points and each can be achieved with CRM software playing a role.  However, CRM software is a tool to help provide accurate, up-to-date information, but software alone will not achieve the ROI required.  Changes will need to be made to current processes and culture as well. 

Usually ROI is used as a means to prioritize your CRM implementation.  We recommend implementing the areas of CRM that will best help you achieve your greatest points of ROI in your first couple of phases of the CRM implementation.

Which brings me to the final part of this post, can ROI be achieved and when can you expect results?

The answer to the question on achieving ROI is a resounding “YES it can be achieved, but …” you can only measure ROI where you have initial data to compare to.  For example, if your ROI point is to increase quote conversion by 20% through automated follow-up, you can only measure the results of a strategic CRM implementation if you have solid quote conversion numbers prior to making the change.  Not knowing your data prior will only result in a gut-feeling as to whether it was actually achieved.  One thing that can help is to monitor Sales prior to and after your strategic implementation of CRM. 

The answer to the question of when to expect ROI is a little easier to answer.  Implemented properly, with technology, culture and process in line, you should expect to see ROI after the six months.  Why six months?  Because a strategic implementation requires not only technology, but changes to process and culture.  That takes time and training.  It also takes more training.  Changing habits takes time.

Luke Russell 

Resolv, Inc.

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