Tag Archives: social crm

Is your company already out of touch with social media?

It’s been said before but I am going to say it again…If your company has not hired or is in the process of hiring a social media manager you’re already out of touch!  That’s right, and if your sales, service and marketing teams CRM platform is not connected in  some way to a social strategy to listen, respond and collaborate with your supply chain and customers you are already losing market share.

Good news it’s not too late! This week’s blog is focused on lighting a small fire under your firm’s tail with focus on three simple things to take action on so you can get started –

  1. Take the time to develop a Social Media Manager Job Description that maps to your organizations goals then make the hire!  You may want to make that hire a woman based on a recent Techcrunch article on why women excel in social media! I will leave that one up for reader debate but tend to agree based on personal experiences.
  2. Establish your firms Social Media Policies  to prevent missteps by your staff.  Very important because rouge social media activities can create more harm than good.
  3. Outfit your frontline sellers with tools to succeed.  This goes well beyond just a CRM system and stale database.  SocialCRM will provide your users with key givebacks which will drive user adoption of your system.  Bottom line…if your CRM system does not give your users updated news feeds on companies you’re working with, key contact names to prospect to and response tools to take action against then your tool is out of date!  What’s the point of CRM if the tool does not enable your staff to have meaningful dialog and execution?  I will write more about this from a front line user’s perspective and what I think you should desire over the coming weeks.

Always remember that your organization should keep the mentality of user experience or as I say user givebacks as a priority to generate strong user adoption when deploying technology and policies.  If you do this then you will drive ultimate return on your investment.

Watch for my next blog on “Stop wasting your time with CRM systems” – why do companies always get low user adoption?

– Tracy

 

 

 

Time to put your CRM system on a features diet!

Yes it’s true when your company departmental leadership team gets finished with a CRM project they have included the sky, the moon and the stars as desired functionality but what you get as a user is a bloated unusable CRM system.

My recommendation is to put your CRM platform on a CRM features diet and get lean and mean if you want strong user adoption.  The key message is priorities your features & configurations based on the benefits you are trying to deliver to the end user community ala sales, marketing and service teams who have to live within the system you build.

Ideas on how to execute on your CRM features diet to create immediate impact or benefit to the user might be:

  • Clean up forms and only include required database fields.  Ask yourself why you need specific information and when was the last time anyone used a specific field.
  • Provide drop down selections to keep data consistent and clean.
  • Integrate with 3rd party data providers to insure data is up to date and relevant.  My personal favorite can be found here!
  • Build automated process to eliminate repetitive tasks.
  • Call your top 3 sales, service and marketing eagles up and ask them what can be done in the CRM platform to deliver a better solution.
  • Consider a cloud based deployment to minimize IT involvement.
  • Incorporate a 3rd party marketing tool to drive drip marketing campaigns that provide relevant and actionable data.
  • Ask the users what personalization they are after and then deliver it by role in a real time dashboard!
  • Eliminate screens, commands, views and reports not relevant to the targeted users.
  • Toss in telephony integration with screen pops to give back something to users!
  • CRM now equals mobile so make sure you deliver on this as a top user priority.

Make CRM system adjustments a ongoing priority and your organization will demonstrate successful, repeatable processes with performance measurements that will deliver strong CRM user adoption.

– Tracy

The DNA of a Sales Rainmaker!

One thing is for certain if you are tagged as the “Rainmaker” in your company you can count on your quota going up year over year!   You can also count on your peers and leadership team looking over your every move to understand you’re DNA.  During this week’s blog I will focus on what I think makes up the DNA of a Sales Rainmaker and point out the tools that must be sprinkled in to keep the DNA in check. 

Below are 8 “DNA” qualities I think make up a great sales professional:

Patient “It takes 7 sales touches to win a deal” – Author Unknown

Creative “You need 2.5X in pipeline to make revenue goals” – Author Unknown

Performer “Work hard & get lucky” – Friend CS!

Multitasker “80/20 rule or 20% of your prospects make up 100% of your goal” – Author Unknown

Fearless, “Treat every day like its month, quarter or year end and you will exceed plan” – Me

Honest “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you” – Jesus

Persistent ”There is no one giant step that does it. It’s a lot of little steps.” – Peter A. Cohen

Embracer“If the deal is not identified in our CRM system you don’t get paid” – Your Sales Mgt.

The need for tools to glue the DNA strands together:

According to the Just Sell Blog a sales process consists of Prospect, Interview, Analyze needs, Present, Negotiate, Close, Service & follow up.  Multiply that many steps across multiple prospects and you have ingredients for disarray.  Add to this the need to harness the power of Social CRM channels and your rainmakers will quickly loose their mojo and become reactive vs. prescriptive in their rain dances! 

The Recommended Tools:

  1. CRM platform that gives back value.
  2. Sales intelligence platform to tell you who you should call.
  3. Mobile sales platform allowing your staff to use the mobility tools they want in order to update the CRM system you have in place. 
  4. Strong sales leadership.
  5. Effective compensation plans that have sales teams and sales leadership in alignment.

Incorporation of these ideas and others provided through the resource links will drive your company in the right direction around sales excellence and good customer relationship management!

–          Tracy

A great sales blog authored by Kelley Robertson on the 6 Reasons why sales people need to watch American Idol.

The Chris Farley picture referenced in this blog is for education purposes.  All Rights Reserved to Chris Farley Movies.

Social CRM – Hype, Hurt or Help?

In life we encounter many “hype, hurt or help” suggestions that can ultimately confuse the heck out of us!  A short list of things that come to mind are exercise, diets, vitamins, the internet, facebook, antibiotics, family, technology in general and yes Social CRM

Just a small set of examples were the word hype, hurt or help all can apply based on the way you incorporate each one into your personal or business lives.  During this week’s blog I would like to spend some time reviewing the hype, help and hurt aspects of Social CRM because I see many of my customers confused by all of the hype and solutions offered.

The hype of Social CRM.  I would say 100% of the top CRM vendors have some claim of integration or offering to this fast moving target?  Of course why not with the speed at which the social media revolution has taken off.  The question you have to ask your self is how applicable are the features offered when looking at your front line sellers, service teams and marketing staff?  I am not convinced the average sales, service or market staff have the time to dig in and understand and use all the social CRM features being tossed around.  The space of social CRM is in its infancy and lacks clear definition but I do believe in time all organization will need to embrace the hype and get on the bus in order to stay competitive. 

The hurt of Social CRM.  The number one hurt is the confusion which exists in the marketplace around the topic.  To many CRM vendors are tossing the social CRM message around but the solutions delivered only offer a subset of the social aspect.  My recommendation to customers is to define a clear playbook on what areas of social CRM you are trying to address with three specific areas of interest to focus on which are:

The help of Social CRM.  There are a number of really good examples of how a company can benefit from Social CRM.  One of my favorite today is a technology set delivered as an add-on to most CRM vendors called InsideView.  This falls into the first category identified in the hurt section around external social channels and does a great job of delivering relevant business & social insights about prospects & customers directly inside your CRM platformAs a sales profession I see this as a true CRM system giveback.

I believe that if your organization defines a clear playbook for Social CRM and keeps productivity a priority for your sales, marketing and service staff experiences, you will be able to leverage and embrace the social revolution.  I would love to get your personal feedback on the hype, hurt and help aspects of Social CRM.

– Tracy

Featured picture courtesy of Mark Smallwood

Dear Santa all I want this holiday season is Social CRM!

Now that we are past Black Friday and Cyber Monday it is time to make sure our holiday lists are in check.  This year I am thinking about asking Santa for a social CRM for dummies book!  

If you are like me and the rest of my customers the topic of social CRM is a bit overwhelming to say the least.  It seems like everyone has an opinion or tool but so few responses I get are consistent around this topic. 

I am finding that so many companies have existing CRM systems and are monitoring social activity but the two systems are horribly disconnected.  I am also seeing customers confuse the topic of social internal collaboration with external social CRM!

During this week’s blog I will try and take a stab at a social CRM for dummies narrative around this subject with hopes that I do not get any coal in my stocking!

Definitions of “Social CRM”:

Why you and your company should take action:

  • Competition is already dabbling with it and some are doing a great job.  3 Examples of Stellar Social Media Customer Service [Mashable Awards]
  • A number of your current and potential customers are already very active in social channels today.  Buyers are becoming savvier with their research and listening channels when executing on the buying process.
  • It can be used as a differentiators vs. competition within your sales, marketing and service organizations.
  • Fuel and provide direction for your research and development of existing and future offerings.
  • Can keep you in touch with the moves your competition is making.
  • Help your marketing and public relations team build and maintain relationships with industry influencers.
  • Drive your company’s service, sales & marketing alignment .
  • Aid your sales organization in moving from a sales 1.0 to sales 2.0 model which is about merging the best practice methodology with the best technology that accelerates the sales process.

What your focus should be as you get started:

  • Building a social CRM steering committee with representation form all key areas of your business.
  • Securing an enterprise wide top down commitment to social CRM.
  • Establish tangible goals and work to develop an ongoing ROI model.
  • Defining the processes you will put in place to insure you can leverage the information coming at you.
  • Development of a social playbook for all to leverage.
  • Ensure your organization is also set up in all relevant channels.
  • Selection of the right CRM platform and social media monitoring tools that will enable the automation of the processes. 

I am not suggesting that organizations need to throw out current CRM platforms as long as your vendor or implementation partner is providing a roadmap, processes and tools.  As the social CRM topic matures so will the social CRM add-on solutions to existing vendor platforms.  One great example of a social activity dashboard provided by an established CRM vendor can be found here. 

Incorporation of these ideas and others provided through the resource links below will help create a recipe for driving your company in the right direction around social CRM!

–          Tracy

Resources links – Altimeter Report: The 18 Use Cases of Social CRM, The New Rules of Relationship Management,  Social CRM World (SCRM),  Must Read Social Business ( SCRM + E20 ) Blogs,  Social Media ROI for DummiesThe 3 Threats to Social CRM & Social CRM Group on Linkedin

CRM system end-user givebacks?

Don’t assume that a trip to the barber shop will produce a predictable outcome!  The end result for the individual can actually create more work like the need to apply hair gels, mousse & hair spray with no givebacks for the effort.  I survived this experience but can tell you I received nothing for my investment outside of a great conversation piece many years later.

That brings me to this week’s blog topic of “What do users get in exchange for buying into a CRM platform?”  My 26+ years’ experience working directly with customers has generated a common theme.  That theme or promises is that the users will see productivity gains and process improvement, but the facts point to a high percentage of post implementation let downs. 

The root cause behind most of the lets downs starts with the selection and implementation committee.  This team is driving the CRM platform decision and many times  is out of touch with the day-to-day needs of the user community they are trying to service.  Yes the committee usually does departmental use case interviews which produce a standard collection of requirements.  Then comes the challenge of balancing what the users need out of a CRM system vs. what senior leadership wants to justify system costs.  Below are my thoughts on this topic.

Kinsey’s stab at defining what user’s really need out of CRM  –

  1. Should be able to access the CRM systems through companies existing message and calendaring standard to remove additional authentication or log in time.
  2. Must eliminate need for user driven reporting – my favorite!
  3. Goals & performance should be surfaced at the user level through dashboards.
  4. CRM system interfaces should have some level of personalization.
  5. Entry of data has to be simple and fast.
  6. Each way to access CRM should demonstrate some level of consistency (fat, thin & mobile client)
  7. Performance must be well-tested.
  8. Data should be filtered so I am only working with “my” relevant information and not sifting through yours!
  9. Duplication of data should be addressed prior to system go live…I do not have time to figure out which T, Tom, Timmy and or Timothy is the right record to record my activities against.
  10. Should not be asking users for their list of prospects or important customers that should be added to the holiday card mailing list.  Marketing lists should be dynamic and maintain by the systems.
  11. Sales stage and or probability of a deal pursuit should not require an update by me.  If a sales process has been implemented the CRM system should update automatically when I complete required steps.
  12. Every department that interacts with the customer in any way should be using same CRM platform.
  13. Modification of data fields and forms should be easy to do at the administration level or forget it.
  14. Users had better be able to go offline because we all know that on any given day the janitor just might kicked the plug out of the wall and your internet connection will go down.

I believe that if your organization keeps the mentality of user experience and productivity as a priority you will generate strong user adoption and the gains promised which in turn will drive ultimate return on your investment.

Watch for my next blog on “CRM system training” – why do companies always get low user adoption?

– Tracy

How important is the next new feature in a CRM system?

Some would say to be the best at playing the air guitar you need a tennis racket, a pick and some great 80’s rock ‘n’ roll.  I would argue the extras are just nice to have “features” not requirements and your focus should be on the user experience.  Universally we all enjoy playing the air guitar and I would guess if we keep from adding too many features to the process all of us could be rock stars!

This is how I feel about Customer Relationship Management “CRM” systems in general.  Just too many cool features with little value add to the intended audience or user experience.  Today buyers are inundated with flashy features that come with little definition such as social marketing, sales methodologies, business planning & lifetime value monitoring just to name a few.

I do believe there is a place for a set of must have CRM system features.  I am also a strong proponent of CRM systems providing both integrations and insight into the social boom.  With this in mind let me take a stab at Kinsey’s core which I believe will set your organization up for greater user adoption, ability to measure results, improved productivity and calculate true return on your investment.

Kinsey’s top 10 must have CRM system features in no particular order –

  1. Simplified UI that keeps the user in a familiar environment – Microsoft Dynamic CRM’s user interface is a natural extension of Microsoft Outlook.
  2. Strong integration to productivity tools for message management, activity management & quote generation – Microsoft Dynamics CRM surfaced through Outlook allows users to manage customer e-mail, appointments, tasks, and contacts from a single business application.
  3. Dynamic reporting – Microsoft Dynamics CRM ha built-in integration to Microsoft Excel which provides users the ability to export static and or dynamic reports.
  4. Automated processes to support the sales, marketing and service processes – Windows Workflow Foundation is an out of the box set of functionality allowing users to automate defined business process.
  5. Ease of configuration to support system change – Microsoft Dynamics CRM administration allows database field creation, forms editing and ability to create new custom entities.
  6. Mobility support – Mobile Express for Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables access to Microsoft Dynamics CRM data in a web browser on a mobile device.
  7. Deployment flexibility – Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides choice and flexibility in how you implement and customize your CRM application so you can achieve the best fit for your business by providing On Premise, SAAS or partner hosted deployment options.
  8. Open architecture to support legacy system integrations – The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Software Development Kit (SDK) contains information for developers writing server-side code, custom business logic, integration modules, workflow assemblies, and plug-ins.
  9. Collaboration – Microsoft Dynamic CRM supports iframe integration to Microsoft SharePoint to store content supporting team collaboration.
  10. Data integrity tools – Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides the option to create duplicate detection rules to maintain data integrity.
  11. Ok I am going with a bonus feature “Social Interaction Tracking.”  The reason I list this as a bonus must have feature is that the social space is still being defined, not all of your customers have embraced it and the application of ‘social CRM” is still being defined – The Social Networking Accelerator for Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help you build and maintain social information systematically and efficiently.  With integrations to LinkedIn and Twitter, you can automatically track the activities of your contacts directly through Microsoft Dynamics CRM. 

Watch for my next blog on “CRM system give backs” – what do users get in exchange for buying into a CRM paltform deployment?

- Tracy