Don’t waste your money on CRM if …

Don’t waste your money on CRM if …

Over the last 18 years of CRM consulting and software implementations and integrations, I have come to learn several truths.  The most basic of these is the role software plays in a CRM implementation.  And over the last 14 of the 18 years I have been sharing this CRM implementation chart. The funny thing is that at least 95% of the executives I share this with agree that a CRM implementation is about so much more than technology. In fact, I believe it is roughly 10% technology, 30% process and 60% culture (or people).

With 95% of the executives I speak to agreeing that CRM is so much more encompassing than software, how many of them truly believe it? How many of them actually spend the time to analyze their processes and people in relation to CRM? How many of them actually make a plan for incorporating CRM into the Process and Culture of their organization?  Less than 5%! Continue reading →

Back to the Basics

Due to the recent popularity of our new CRM webinar “What is CRM? And 10 Reasons why CEO’s should be demanding it.” I have come to the understanding that many are struggling with a definition of CRM.  Today’s blog post will hopefully help with that.

First, let me point out the obvious, CRM is an acronym for Customer Relationship Management.  CRM has been around for thousands of years.  It may have been termed other things like:
  • Sales management
  • Customer management
  • Relationship marketing
  • Customer service management
Trust me, as long as there has been buyers and sellers, there has been CRM.
 

CRM Business Strategy

I believe that CRM is a customer centric business strategy.  Bob Thompson, CEO of CustomerThink Corp. & founder of CRMGuru.com, put it this way, “’Customer-centric’ means giving your customers what they want.  ‘Business strategy’ means accomplishing the goals of your organization. Accomplish both at the same time, and you’ve got the win-win that CRM is supposed to be about.”
 
As I think about a customer centric strategy, other terms come to mind like a customer centric philosophy, approach, tactic or plan for doing business.  My full definition of CRM can be found here, but ultimately it is about maximizing your business potential with your customers.  It’s about keeping your customers happy, since the only way to maximize your business potential is with happy customers.
 
There are those that believe the CRM is all about software.  While there are plenty of CRM software system available:
 
  • SalesLogix
  • SugarCRM
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Sage CRM
  • SAP CRM
This list is growing daily!  CRM software publishers would like you to believe that CRM is about software.  However, in all honesty, software is not required for a solid CRM business strategy.  This is coming from me, Luke Russell, who has been a SalesLogix software developer and a SalesLogix support technician since 1998. 
 
But the truth is that CRM is about knowing who your customers are and making them unbelievably happy customers. Saying that CRM is all about software is like saying that accounting is all about software.  Sure, software makes performing the action of accounting easier and faster, but accounting software does not do the accounting for you.
 
However, software can play a role in CRM strategy implementation.  CRM software helps businesses to bring together disparate pieces of information about customers, prospects and buying trends so an organization can:
 
  • More effectively sell and market their products and services
  • Increase customer “happiness” and; therefore, increase customer loyalty
  • Help an organization to remember and keep its promises to a customer
In its most basic form, CRM software helps users in:
 
  • Identifying and targeting their best customers
  • Implementing marketing campaigns with clear goals and objectives and generate quality leads
  • Optimizing information shared by multiple employees
  • Streamlining existing processes
  • Allowing the formation of individualized relationships with customers
  • Identifying the most profitable customers and providing them the highest level of service
  • Knowing their customers, understanding their needs and effectively build relationships between the company, its customer base and distribution partners
There are many ways having a CRM system can help you sell and market your products and services more effectively, increase customer loyalty and drive competitive advantage, no matter how big or small your company is, but it all starts with a customer centric business strategy.
 

Knowing what you are selling helps CRM implementation

Once again, today’s blog post is prompted by a quote.  This time the quote is attributed to Charles Revson, Founder of Revlon.  Here is the quote: “When it leaves the factory, its lipstick.  But when it crosses the counter in the department store, it’s hope.”  

 

What are you selling?When I read that quote, my thoughts went instantly to “ah ha!, When implementing CRM, you can learn a lot from lipstick!”  This is the golden nugget to CRM implementation, know what it is you are selling.  I’m not talking about what your product or service is, I’m talking about what your product or service “IS”.  It has been called so many things over the years: “your unique selling points”, “your differentiating qualities”, “your distinguishing value proposition”, etc.  However what it comes down to is the value that you provide to your customers.  Charles Revson certainly knew his value: HOPE. 

Understanding this value is 70% of your CRM business strategy.  The rest is simple; you simply define how you are going to communicate your value throughout every facet of your organization; from marketing and sales to delivery. To help, ask yourself questions similar to these:

 

  1. What is more important, the product/service you provide to your customer, or the value that you provide to your customer? (my hope would be the later)
  2. Does everyone in your organization understand your value?
  3. Is your value clearly communicated through all you do? (what do you need to change?)
  4. Should your sales process be modified as you focus on this value?
  5. Does changing the process and communication from product/service to value require any changes in the way we track our customer data?
  6. Does the way you view the demographics of your customers (and most importantly your top 20% customers) change as you shift to focus on value?
  7. How does your CRM software system need to be modified to support the value sales methodology?

 

 

Luke Russell 

Resolv, Inc.

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A Faster Horse

A quote that is widely attributed to Henry Ford is the focus of today’s blog post.  The quote is as follows, “If I were to ask my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse” –Henry Ford.  Whether this is actually a quote from Henry Ford is not my point, the point is that oftentimes self diagnosis and prescription does not return the proper results.
 

The Value of a Consultant

Let’s walk through this.  Two brothers own an ice cave and deliver ice to everyone in the town.  They have a horse and cart to deliver the ice.  The cart can hold enough ice for three deliveries, at which point they have to return to the cave to get more ice.  Seeing that there is only so much they can do with their slow horse and cart, they determine that a faster horse is the solution, and go out shopping for a faster horse.
 
This example is overly simplified, but it is repeated thousands of times every day.  People look at their problem, ask one question, and make a determination as to what will best solve the problem.
 
It may be that the brothers even brainstormed other possible resolutions:
  • Get a bigger cart (and return to the cave less often)
  • Get another horse and cart (and double their delivery capacity)
  • Offer discounts for those customers that wish to pick up their ice.
However, it is highly unlikely that either of the brothers in the ice business would have thought about inventing a truck.
 
Our solution to the problem is based upon our knowledge and we limit all resolutions to what we know.  Often we force a resolution to work because we cannot see any other possible solution.  This is where a consultant comes in.  A consultant adds to your knowledge and helps you to expand the possible resolutions to the problem.  Hopefully, a consultant will blow you away with their creative response to the situation.  The true value of a consultant lies in not just offering the solution that the customer is looking for, but in digging to the heart of the issue and providing the most effective resolution.
 
 

Luke Russell 

Resolv, Inc.

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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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