CRM For Best and Next Practices

I attended a leadership seminar in the CRM software industry where the expert speaker made the comment, “If you just copy you will always be behind. The only way to get ahead is to focus on not best practices, but next practices.” 


I believe it is human nature to emulate a best practice.  It is also natural (and often expected) for a company to emulate the practices of industry leaders.  After all, they must be doing something right.  So, is there anything wrong with emulating best practices?  I don’t think wrong is the right word.  It’s not wrong to adopt and implement excellent ideas.  It’s not wrong to be effective and efficient.  The larger the company the more important that is.  Waste of time and materials can become exponential very quickly and very painfully.  Evaluation of existing processes and measuring them against a predetermined criteria (the “best practice” measurements) isn’t ever a bad idea.  I think the lesson of the statement mentioned above is that when you become complacent in best practices and stop reaching for continuous improvement you are likely going to plateau.  Where you really want to be is where there is no one better to measure yourself against, right?


Because I live and breathe CRM solutions when I heard this statement, wrote it down, and re-read it several times I realized it was speaking to me on two levels.  One was mind set (the “best” and “next” parts of the sentence and the strategic planning they were referring to), and the other was execution (the reference to “practices”).  It’s really about getting the innovative and creative objectives we have OUT of our heads and into our daily lives where we can execute them.  There is the challenge.  Most of us are either highly capable of one or the other, but rarely both.  We are big planners and thinkers with little desire to perform the daily tasks to bring those big ideas to fruition or we are daily doers who love the tasks and hate it when someone comes along with yet another big idea that will mess up our day to day flow.  What is the answer? How do we get from best practices to next practices? How do we prioritize, organize, and execute on the big ideas without derailing the entire organization?

CRM software is how you do it. Not only can CRM software be used for existing process and culture alignment, but it can also be the tool that captures the big ideas and systematically makes them part of the existing workflow.  It can be used to measure how much time and resources are being used on a given project and allow those strategic thinkers to make educated decisions about what direction to provide next.  The brilliant idea of last month may not be holding water to the brilliant idea of this month that is expected to cost less to produce, get to market faster, and sell more.  Putting the project details in a single location so you can make educated decisions is one of the primary reasons for CRM.  CRM was designed to enhance the customer experience received from your organization.  That includes making the right decisions internally to improve your corporate and branding image to the outside world.  When there is a disconnect within your organization, there is likely a tool to aid you closing that gap.


CRM software is a tool that can not only take you to a place of emulated best practices but to a place of continuous improvement, and provide a platform for industry next practices.

Contact Kym Riedel at Resolv to learn female cialis 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 is Better Than Water Cooler Chit Chat

You are standing at the water cooler at work, making chit chat about what you did last weekend when the conversation slowly turns to work related topics.  You find out, standing at the water cooler, the company has received knowledge about which new products a key account will be accepting .  This information has an extreme impact on your day to day priorities.  A new product prototype that you were responsible for developing was a key component in the presentation. You had been anxiously waiting to hear if it had been accepted, because the future development of that product were hinging on the acceptance of it by a key account as was what you would be focusing time and energy on in the upcoming months.  You aren’t even breathing as this particular water cooler story is told.

  
“They want it?” you say, excited and a little scared. “When did we hear?”  You find out the long awaited decision finally came through in the early part of last week, and that they want the product immediately.  Of course they do.  “Last week?” you say, “As in, we found out a week ago that they want this product right away?”  You are looking dumbfounded at the sales person, who is still standing there with a large grin on his face and his chest all expanded with pride.  “You realize that was a prototype you presented? You know the product doesn’t actually exist yet, right?”


That did it.  The smile is gone and the chest deflates like a balloon with a gaping leak.  That is when the excitement really starts.  Why didn’t the salesperson know it was a prototype? Why didn’t the sales person tell product development the moment he received word the product had been accepted?  Marketing had given him detailed sales materials, so he had every right to assume the product was already in inventory, right?  Why did Marketing create the sell sheet already if it was still in prototype phase?  Is it being manufactured overseas? How long is it going to take to get here?  Oh no! How much will air freight be coming from overseas?  This is a nightmare!  This is a key account, we HAVE to hit the agreed upon delivery date!  


As you run (literally) back to your desk to try to find answers to some of these questions while simultaneously expediting the development and shipment of this product, a thought creeps into your head.  When exactly would have I found out about this if I hadn’t happened to be standing at the water cooler at that exact moment?  Seriously?!  The communication in this office is REALLY messed up!


Does this saga sound familiar?  Who needs reality television, right?  Real life is SO much more exciting!  Only in real life reality, nobody wants THIS kind of drama, do they?


It really doesn’t have to be this way.  CRM software provides the single platform for multiple departments to share information about key accounts and projects in a live environment.  All of the communication gaps that led to this predicament could have been avoided through the use of CRM software.  It is a single location for all customer facing information in an organization.  Information will no longer exist in department silo’s.  Individuals across the organization can make daily tactical decisions based on solid information instead of speculation.  Can you imagine how empowering that would be?


In a situation like this it is not uncommon for a company, after the fire has been put out, to have a meeting.  In this meeting everyone will be expected to take accountability for their part in the communication breakdown and then everyone is supposed to commit to never letting this happen again.  Wouldn’t it just be easier to implement the right tools?  What is worse? The cost of change or the cost of staying the same?  In this case you could answer that question rather quickly.  What WAS the cost of air freight?

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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.

Be a Miraculous Marketer

I have been tasked with writing the company newsletter in my past lives…and anyone who has shared that responsibility knows the associated dread that comes as the next publish date approaches.  It’s tough being creative on queue! 

You know you had a brilliant idea at one point during the last 30 days that you fully intended to carry the newsletter with, but it now escapes you as you stare at the blank template.  When these dark moments come you start thinking even more negatively.  “Who even reads this anyhow?” you start to ask yourself and “Am I just wasting my time?”
 
Though I am using a newsletter as an example in this story, we know these same doubts often apply in many marketing campaigns.  Marketing sometimes feels subjective.  You have to “believe” your efforts are having an impact because you haven’t been able to actually quantify them.  Marketing is an important role that sometimes leaves its champions feeling a little lost behind the scenes.
 
Allow me to let you in on a secret.  It doesn’t have to be that way.
 
I like to think of myself as creative (at least selectively), but more importantly I think of myself as analytical.  Show me the numbers!  The beauty of CRM is that it can provide analytics for previously subjective activities.  You can use CRM to track how many of your email campaigns have been open, viewed or read.  You can begin to quantify that fact that leads came from your marketing efforts.  And here is the real magic….when you are feeling creative you can create campaigns (like newsletters!) in advance and set up automated processes for them to release on a predetermined schedule. 


Imagine…writing all 12 of your newsletters in one industrious day and allowing the automated process to send them on schedule.  Better still, let that automated process automatically update the contact record that it has been opened and read by the prospect and then auto notify the appropriate sales person so they can call in “warm” instead of “cold”.  When that prospect becomes a client…you now KNOW your efforts played a part in securing that business.  Create a report in your CRM that notifies you on a monthly basis of all the prospects that were converted to clients after having opened and read your marketing emails.  Evaluate which marketing campaigns created more leads, improve your campaigns or target market based on specific groups to achieve the results you desire.
 
You won’t believe what an impact creativity combined with analytics can do for your departmental objectives or for your morale! It will seem miraculous!

How a CRM software tool can help with your business strategy

I am often asked for examples for how an integrated CRM software system can help with business strategy, this blog will hopefully serve as a starting point as you consider using CRM software as a tool.

As you probably know from reading my blogs, and from researching CRM on the internet, CRM is not about software.  CRM is a business strategy, and software is a tool that will help you with specific areas of your overall CRM business strategy.  Here is a short list that I have come up with on how an integrated CRM software system can aid a CRM Business Strategy:
 

CRM Sales Stragegy

Sales:
  • Provide greater visibility into the sales pipeline
  • More efficiently and accurately report on sales pipeline  
  • Better track probability of close, products, lead source, status and competitors
  • Eliminate the need to browse for exceptions by automating alerting users as to the exceptions (for example, quotes requiring follow-up and customers that have not ordered in xxx days)
  • Reduce attrition through fading customer alerts
  • Qualify prospects with a standard qualification process
  • Manage customer and prospect relationships from virtually anywhere via the web and wireless devices including BlackBerry and Pocket PCs
  • Increase average customer value by increasing the number of orders per year and the size of orders
 
Marketing:
  • Streamline marketing and sales campaigns 
  • Create customized marketing campaigns
  • Better analyze ROI of marketing campaigns
  • View campaign results in real time to better analyze performance of campaigns in progress
  • Evaluate forecasted vs. actual return for each lead source, region or media type
  • Automate distribution of leads
  • Automate lead follow-up
  • Coordinate between marketing and sales
  • Service:
  • Quickly resolve customer questions, issues and requests
  • Reduce cost of each customer transaction
  • Provide everybody in your company with access to the same customer data
  • Develop a knowledge base for future problem solving
 
Process:
  • Automate the sales cycle
  • Standardizes and automates processes (such as sales processes based on product line, deal size, territory or lead type)
  • Ensures that procedures and processes are being followed
  • Standardization of quoting practices
  • Increased quote conversion through automated follow-up and best practices
  • Reduce the amount of time spent to generate a quote
 
Efficiency:
  • Shorten new employee ramp-up time with data visibility in one place
  • Save time by eliminating multiple sources of data and auto populating all systems at the same time
  • Provide a single view of the customer that allows everyone to view all interactions with the customer and the customers purchasing behaviors
This by no means is an all-inclusive list (since I think that would be impossible to create).  This list was taken from our seminar “The secrets to customer acquisition, retention and increased profits.”  If you would like to know more about implementing CRM software to coincide with your business strategy, you can request more information here.
 

Luke Russell 

Resolv, Inc.

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CRM software benefits

Often I am asked how CRM software can help various departments with their CRM business strategy.  Here is a short list of the benefits CRM software can provide your departments:


Sales:

 

  • Provide greater visibility into the sales pipeline
  • More efficiently and accurately report on sales pipeline  
  • Better track probability of close, products, lead source, status and competitors
  • Eliminate the need to browse for exceptions by automating alerting users as to the exceptions (for example, quotes requiring follow-up and customers that have not ordered in xxx days)
  • Reduce attrition through fading customer alerts
  • Qualify prospects with a standard qualification process
  • Manage customer and prospect relationships from virtually anywhere via the web and wireless devices including BlackBerry and Pocket PCs
  • Increase average customer value by increasing the number of orders per year and the size of orders

 

Marketing:

 

  • Streamline marketing and sales campaigns 
  • Create customized marketing campaigns
  • Better analyze ROI of marketing campaigns
  • View campaign results in real time to better analyze performance of campaigns in progress
  • Evaluate forecasted vs. actual return for each lead source, region or media type
  • Automate distribution of leads
  • Automate lead follow-up
  • Coordinate between marketing and sales

 

Service:

 

  • Quickly resolve customer questions, issues and requests
  • Reduce cost of each customer transaction
  • Provide everybody in your company with access to the same customer data
  • Develop a knowledge base for future problem solving

 

In addition to the department specific benefits, you can also improve process and efficiency throughout your organization:

Process:

 

  • Automate the sales cycle
  • Standardizes and automates processes (such as sales processes based on product line, deal size, territory or lead type)
  • Ensures that procedures and processes are being followed
  • Standardization of quoting practices
  • Increased quote conversion through automated follow-up and best practices
  • Reduce the amount of time spent to generate a quote

 

Efficiency:

 

  • Shorten new employee ramp-up time with data visibility in one place
  • Save time by eliminating multiple sources of data and auto populating all systems at the same time
  • Provide a single view of the customer that allows everyone to view all interactions with the customer and the customers purchasing behaviors