Posts Tagged ‘CRM’

The CRM Debate Goes On: Do We Really Need It?

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Over the years, we’ve worked with literally thousands of companies considering a CRM system. Big companies, small companies, in-between companies. Some bought ours, some bought someone else’s, and some did nothing. It is this last group that this paper addresses.

I recently polled an industry group of manufacturers who sold capital equipment and services to a narrow, B2B market segment. Their sales cycles are long, complex, and varied, the competition is stiff, and the repeat business substantial. A dream market for CRM. Over half of them have no CRM system, and no active plans to implement one.

One part of me says “great, more sales opportunities for me.” Another part says, “why not?”

The reasons I hear (and interpret):

  • “We don’t need it.”

This is usually accompanied by “Excel/ Outlook/ Quickbooks/ Other works just fine.” But you do need it. You think you don’t because business is going along as it always has, so why rock the boat? The answer is because your customers and competitors are already rocking the boat, and you’re gonna get swamped sooner or later.

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Successful CRM Implementation #4: The Checklist

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Reading about CRM implementation is one thing, and actually doing it is another one altogether. To maybe help the transition from theory to practice, here is a checklist of all the things that you need to consider and do as described in the first three installations.

We have included the full paragraph of each checklist item for context, and then listed the steps you should be taking. Here it is.

  1. To preclude either of these outcomes, the existing state of the business has to be reviewed in detail to see how the new technology will fit. Bad procedures have to be cast aside and effort given to developing new ones that will work with your technology of choice.
    1. Review the existing state of the business.
    2. Identify and eliminate bad procedures.
    3. List the necessary new and replacement procedures.

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Successful CRM Implementation #3: Make It Work

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In this installment, we’ll take a look at the remaining steps to a successful CRM implementation, starting with your processes.

Hone up the Processes

Process is intrinsic to CRM systems—they live and breathe through process. But these are not processes based on moving paper around from desk to desk, these are electronic processes that move around instantaneously on a computer network. Existing processes will inevitably need to be tweaked or changed before the CRM project gets underway, and new ones will need to be developed to take advantage of the technology. The better and more freely-flowing the old process, the easier it is to duplicate it on the computer.

Bring the groups together that are responsible for processing all of the customer’s transactions and look how information flows between them. Is it efficient, and does it work? How will it work when the computer is pushing digits instead of people pushing paper? When you try to move a paper system to an electronic one, current problems will surface very quickly. Moving to CRM provides an excellent excuse to get on a new page and to fix the disruptions, road blocks, and delays caused by established bad or poorly-defined practices.

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Successful CRM Implementation #1: Getting it right first time

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Over the years my team has been involved in a large number of CRM implementations to all types and sizes of company. I think we’ve done a good job overall. One reason for this is our CRM technology was developed for running our own sales distribution company – we learned on the job.But still, today, over twenty years since the idea of CRM was first developed lots of CRM projects are failing or not getting the traction they deserve.

The next four posts are from material we wrote a few years ago, tuned up for changes that have occurred since then (although there haven’t been many.)

If you are just getting into CRM or having a rethink on how your current system is working these posts will be of interest.

Keith Thompson
Sept 13, 2016

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Baseball, Big Data, and Selling.

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A while ago I wrote a post on Sabermetrics which us using baseball statistics to make strategic decisions in improving a team’s performance especially when it came to individual performers. This was the subject of the story in the movie “Moneyball” staring Brad Pit. My post was how to use some of these ideas in building sales teams.

Now there is another book that discusses the role of Big Data in baseball.  (“Big Data Baseball ; Math, Miracles, and the End of a 20yr Losing Streak,”  by Travis Sawchik. This idea takes Sabermetrics a bit further and looks at the idea of sifting the huge amount of Big Data that has amassed in baseball to make long range decisions on a Club’s success rate.

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The TASC Top 10 – Number 1 You have no idea how much time is left on the game clock.

Written by on . Posted in Sales Cycle, Sales Methodology 1 Comment

We’ve been researching and studying and analyzing the sales process and methodology for a long time. Back in 1999, our CRM was called MODE and consisted of three modules: FIND for marketing; TASC for sales; and CARE for after-sales support and service. TASC was an acronym for Territory, Account, Sales cycle, and Contact, and it incorporated the ASPEC technology, although it wasn’t called ASPEC then.

It was, as I said, 1999, and CRM was in its infancy, not really understood as a software tool by most businesses. We wrote a series of ten vignettes illustrating various situations where CRM would solve some business problem and published them as the TASC 10. They are still relevant today, and sixteen years later, here is Number 1 – You have no idea how much time is left on the game clock.

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Probability and Priority – Do You Need An Umbrella?

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Recently I heard a piece on National Public Radio about probability in weather forecasting. The central question was, what does a 20% chance of rain really mean? To some it meant take an umbrella, while to others it meant pack up the kids for a picnic. To statisticians, it meant that when you look at the 1,000 days with the closest variables to the day you are in, it will rain on 200 of them.

In the first case, you’re risk averse and probably a little pessimistic. In the second, you’re a risk-taker and willing to play the odds. As the statistician, your value lies in being able to provide the basis for the decisions of the other two.

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20 Reasons to Share Your Sales Process With Your ComputerReason No. 3 – Singing from the same page.

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The common way for sales teams to get automated is through a CRM system. Early adopters of CRM have managed to iron out the flaws and have settled down to life with CRM doing a pretty good job of assisting with customer experience—making it as good as you can.

Salespeople and sales managers use the CRM system. If the CRM is implemented correctly, they have to. Sales, however, is the last bastion to get into the CRM fold and sometimes only with kicking and screaming. There are reasons for that which are a fairly common topic in my posts. Let’s think a bit about what the sales manager wants out of computer involvement with his team and his processes.

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20 Reasons to Share Your Sales Process with Your ComputerReason No. 2 – Because It’s the Best List Manager on the Planet!

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You can’t get lists out of your life – we depend on them. Before writing this I did a bit of research on the history of lists. Belle Beth Cooper in her wonderful article on lists says, “We pack all the madness and ambiguity of life into a structured form of writing. In short, making lists is a great way to increase our overall happiness and feel less overwhelmed.”

Beth’s was the first piece I turned up in my research and it drew me in so deeply I didn’t bother to go any further. She has some very excellent tips for those of us that are always searching for ways to pack more productive time into our lives. But, back to the post—I’m interested in the list as it applies to salespeople.

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20 Reasons to Share Your Sales Process with Your ComputerReason No 1 – Because It’s Cool

Written by on . Posted in General Sales Topics, Sales Methodology, Sales Process No Comments

Well right off the bat, computers are cool. Every salesperson has one in some form or another. The choice is not limited to laptops or desktops—might as well include smartphones, tablets, phablets, ultrabooks, chromebooks and, of course, pads and pods. And now there’s wearable computing—soon salespeople will be looking through Google Glass, and reading their schedule on their iWatch, Gear 2, and so on (and on).

Technology has proven valuable for salespeople, assisting in a zillion different ways to do things better, faster, and overall, just making things easier. The effect is, or should be, more sales. But all of this is not that new— can it be cool? Cool easily becomes a passing fad.

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