The topic of this my first blog post is the need of business development tied into Customer Relationship Management.
A lot of companies have had bad experiences with CRM projects in the past, mainly due to poor consultancy (or complete lack thereof) of the implementing partner and looking to technology and tools to solve your business problems for you – not a good approach!
CRM isn’t technology – now what the @#%! does that mean?
Let’s see, CRM can mean many different things depending on the organisation looking to benefit from it. As an example, let’s look at a sales-driven organisation.
If you are primarily a sales-driven organisation with a medium-to-large sales force, a high volume of leads coming through your pipeline and quite a short sales cycle it means you want to make sure that your sales people are spending their time on the right things.
In this case CRM is typically about sales force automation (SFA) and your main priority and benefit of CRM is probably to correctly measure and control your sales activities.
In order to benefit from any CRM solution (beyond the obvious perks of having a central database of leads, opportunities, accounts and activities) you need to model the processes you use to find leads, convert them to opportunities, convert opportunities to won business deals so that you can segment your data accurately each step of the way.
Basically this should start out as a whiteboard exercise where you outline your current processes, try to identify potential bottlenecks, decide what KPIs to measure and how to segment your leads/opportunities/customers.
Once this exercise (which is great fun!!) is over you will have an embryo of your sales process in place.
The next step should then be to try to identify which parts of the process that could potentially be automated.
For example, is there any step in the lead qualification process where a machine would be better at performing the initial qualification rather than one or more people sifting through hundreds of leads per day to try to figure out which leads should be considered as qualified.
Once you have identified what you think you could potentially automate, in our example it might be the initial lead qualification process, this is where technology can assist us.
For example we can imagine using a nurture program, most marketing automation solutions include this feature, we can let the solution send out an email to our leads, and based on their actions we can then start qualifying/disqualifying and segment our potential customers.
The example above is from ClickDimensions which is a marketing automation solution (www.clickdimensions.com)
This automated process will then keep spitting out qualified leads that you can work on turning into opportunities and business!
What I wanted to highlight with this post is the fact that technology in and of itself does not solve our problems or give us the edge over the competition, and that properly modelled processes adapted to and implemented through the technology is what we should be looking for