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Boring Impersonal Ineffective CRM or Perfect Automated Sales and Marketing Tool?

Article by Thomas Von Ahn

How can a business with a sales staff turn their CRM system into a sales tool? The answer depends greatly on the system a company uses and the resources it has or is willing to have to make this happen.

Why would a company want to have this boring data be perceived as or used as a sales tool? The answer has more to do with psychology than process. The very nature and make-up of a sales person is such that they won’t use it fully, completely or honestly unless it actually aids in the sales process. In addition most sales people see a CRM system as a way for the company to capture their leads and track their effectiveness, and the majority of sales people don’t like that! This persona and angle gives them their edge.

Or does it?

Turing this into a tool that helps them make sales and be more effective and efficient is not just in the training and pushing of policy. It is also having a system that actually enhances, enables and drives the sales and marketing process while not being a mundane task or cold vehicle.

Pardon me while we get boring for a moment and review the basics of what a CRM is and thus isn’t. The aim of using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is to enable storage of readily available records, to enable such records to be kept in such a way that analysis of the relationship between each record can be enabled, that such knowledge about the customers and prospective clients within an organizations purview can be enhanced. This is typically done using the database feature, mining such data both internally and externally and applying common business intelligence and reporting systems.

In most CRM systems the knowledge a company has regarding a customer at the very least, which is stored in the database, are the basics. This includes but is not limited to their name, who they work for, what department they work in, along with all known forms of direct or indirect contact. Some systems are more complex and take the database fields, along with the activity logged in association with the fields, to come up with client profitability, transactional behavior, e-mail opens and clicks-to-links, call center or sales force contact and communication logs, customer satisfaction and retention ratios, and manual entry of the success or failure of legacy mailings and marketing campaigns.

Capturing the information from the processes (sales, marketing, installation, credit extensions, etc.) and from the various marketing channels (phone, personal interaction, web site) is not only mechanical, technical and part of the company systems, but more importantly, part of the big picture. It is this big picture that must be instilled within those who will be performing the mundane task along with benefiting from it financially and organizationally. A great system allows complete access to what the sales and marketing members need for tools to do what drives the company. Access and process training avoids duplicate client data and multiple versions of the truth.

As has been written on our blog and publicly published, the perfect sales and marketing business model is within the reach of even the smallest business today. These systems, incased within today’s CRM’s on steroids, will:

Optimize marketing effectiveness Attract prospective customers Enable automated cross-selling and upselling Aid in retention of clients and quality engaged employees who both are company advocates Enhance the analysis of client behavior to aid in the product decision making and development process while furthering the drive to utopia with regards to quality and profitability targets. Make way for tags, targets, groups and associations which enable the sales force to concentrate on identifying key prospective customers that cut their transaction time and increase their relationship building time. Allow for the near prediction of customer defection and identification of those team members who contribute most to what the stakeholders seek. Most importantly, the best systems automate the marketing process based upon behavior and choices and nearly eliminate the prospect falling out of the pipeline follow-up.

There are many businesses today that have a CRM system and some even have the best of the best. But the select few have put to use the one that changes the game, that levels the playing field, that can enable David to take on Goliath and that give their sales team a real too they trust and use because it helps them make sales and obtain & then retain loyal customers.

While the system is about data it must be about being a difference maker in the eyes of the users. The users must be able to visualize the results, understand their role, believe in its impact and trust that they will gain from having made this tool work for the betterment of all.

The perfect system does exist, and while they can be complicated, they are capable of performing the following tasks almost automatically when combined with your current web site and marketing efforts:

Attract web traffic and prospective customers via webinars, white papers, blogs, testimonial publications, social media and SEO enhancement. Then informing sales and marketing of the results. Capture information and data by clicks, hits, visits, web forms, opt-ins, recorded conversations, electronic business cards, e-magnets and pod casts. Then informing sales and marketing of the results. Nurture the reluctant prospect by educating and building a relationship through e-zines, blogs, caring personal conversation starters and an email series once a defined area of interest is established. Then informing sales and marketing of the results. Convert leads and prospects into customers. Then informing sales and marketing of the results. Deliver products and services, while automatically billing, collecting, renewing subscriptions and informing sales and marketing of the results. Add-on, upsell and cross-sell. Then informing sales and marketing of the results. Refer and collaborate with vendors and like businesses. Obtain and publish references and testimonials. Then informing sales and marketing of the results.

In today’s world of information overload, you will find many tools and techniques to help you accomplish a perfect sales and marketing business model. However, as all of us frequent the businesses where we are the customer, our fresh set of eyes and perspective see things and know things the internal leadership does not. This is why the perfect business model rarely moves beyond the conception phase. Many times this is a business without a great CRM system that has the backing of leadership and the engagement of employees. Your business must generate excitement, spontaneous enthusiasm, buzz and traffic. Your business must know how to capture leads with systems, how to consistently follow up with those leads, and how to turn them into advocates by creating an experience surrounding their purchase. Your business must have a sales team that knows this system will only enhance their performance through increased opportunities and conversion of leads to customers.

Thomas von Ahn is president of Viral Solutions Inc.

His passion, work ethic and drive to make a difference for his client is contagious. The diversity of his resume’ and the breadth of his knowledge leave many relishing the time they spend with him. From his roots in Iowa agriculture, retail construction materials, financial serives and his love of sports, you will find Tom, in the thick of any discussion.

Tom had the original vision for Viral Solutions. Tom believes, that most companies don’t know what they don’t know, and that the problems they have everybody else knows, but won’t talk about it.

His favorite book & movie brought him a quote that lives within his very being. “Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you….” -Alexandre Dumas (Count of Monte Cristo)

He is highly regarded by his peers and the following quote speaks volumes:

“I worked with Tom in a high volume, past paced, “customer is right” environment. His management and customer relationship skills are superior to any manager I have worked with / for in 20 years. Tom is a “diesel engine” when it comes to doing what is right for the business and level headed when it comes to tough negotiations and difficult customer satisfaction challenges. He is reliable and faithful and projects only a positive image that inspires those around him. Tom has a keen sense for optimizing a business model for long term growth and profitability. Tom has a great history of hiring great talent and keeping them.” – Dan Koch, GE HealthCare

I’ve tried my best to translate this show. Please pardon me if there’re errors! Thanks! Taiwanese drama: Black & White. Starring: Vic Chou, Mark Chao, Ivy Chen, and Janine Chang.
Video Rating: 4 / 5

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