05/01/2017

Visit Intel - Close business during a TRIAL run ....seriously!

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How many enterprise software tools  exist out there where  can you sign up for a 30 day TRIAL run  and ....
  • Deploy it literally in minutes
  • Start using it immediately
  • Close business before you even purchase the tool
  • Recognize the ROI before you even write the check to pay for it

  • I have no idea really..... but count Visit Intel as one of them.

    The above scenario actually happened last week and I am certain there will be other stories such as this one.  

    The best part about this one story was the CEO of that company had no idea about the impact  Visit Intel was already having within the organization.
Visit Intel is a B2B website visitor tracking tool that generates automatic emailed site visit reports when...
  • Prospects  
  • Leads    
  • Existing customers    
  • Competitors    
  • People who click on your Ads

...click through your website.

So here is the story and how it unfolded......The CEO of a company signed up to try Visit Intel about a month ago.   He reached out to me via email the other day because he thought  his 30 day trial of Visit Intel was about to end.  He thanked me for letting him use it and although he thought it was a great tool...he was not ready to move forward at this time.

Thankfully....the CEO cc'd his V.P of Sales on that email who quickly stepped in  begging him to make sure they kept Visit Intel up and running.  

The reason :  the V.P of sales was getting actionable reports from Companies that visited the company  website.   He NEVER would have contacted these companies if  it were NOT for the  Visit Intel Site Activity Alerts .

The V.P of sales replied back to the CEO with the following....

"Good Morning.  I am getting a lot of valuable information from this tool. For example, The ABC (had to use a fake name for this blog) School kept checking out our seminars but not signing up. I called him and we agreed to meet in person.  I ended up signing them up. I would not have been able to make this contact had it not been for the Visit Intel tool.

There are a lot of other good companies visiting our site that are not part of the email marketing campaign."


The CEO replied back to me this time and said they wanted to keep using Visit Intel .

Right now....without your knowledge.... there are people at companies clicking through your website anonymously as well.

You too are missing opportunities to follow up with these people.

When Companies visit your website...you will  receive a report like the one below emailed to you automatically for your action.

  A picture named M2

I just had to write about this as I have never heard of a tool that before you even move forward with it....you are closing deals.


Try it for yourself......Sign up for your 30 day trial HERE!!!!!!!!



03/17/2017

Your Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategy needs Visit Intel

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A picture named M2

Click HERE for a Free Trial


"I do not need Visit Intel.  We get our leads from Account Based Marketing (ABM) campaigns.

Frankly...by the time they get to our website....it is already too late.  We need to reach our leads/prospects  way before they land on our website.

Visit Intel would NOT really help us " said one of my prospects who I was talking to about our  website visitor tracking tool.

She gave me some valid points but I believe her reasoning above is somewhat flawed.  

We believe there is a place for BOTH ABM and Visit Intel.

Before we move on....Let's review what  both ABM  and Visit Intel are...

Account Based Marketing (ABM) -  ABM  is a B2B strategy that concentrates sales and marketing resources on a clearly defined set of target accounts within a market and employs personalized campaigns designed to resonate with each account.

So organizations who are trying to generate leads will hire advertising companies to create campaigns , banner ads etc that are  targeted to a predefined list of people with specific titles from specific companies.

This is an extremely effective way to get your message across to the right people from the companies in your target market.

Visit Intel is a  B2B website visitor tracking analytic tool that generates proactive automated Site Alert emails that  tell you when someone clicks through your website.

Visit Intel tells you....

-  What Company the person is from
- How they found your site -  ie. what campaigns, google Adwords, Key words social media sites etc. they used to land on your site
- What pages they clicked through
- and more

So although the prospect I was speaking with in the beginning of this post was correct in what she said about ABM she is missing a major part of the story.

ABM (in theory)  should drive the right people you want to sell to ....to your website.

Visit Intel  tells you who is actually visiting your website.  Are the people clicking through your site the ones you targeted in your ABM campaigns?

Visit Intel will give you that insight into whether or not your ABM advertising campaigns are actually working.....or not.

Also...Visit Intel is NOT only used just for Prospecting.

Wouldn't you like to know if your competitors are clicking through your website?

How about your existing customers?     They may click around your site showing interest in something you would have never thought  to talk to them about.  Could there be some cross sell or up-selling opportunities?  Of course there could.  Your customers are always your best prospects.  

Also you can judge how serious a prospect is in what you are selling if that prospect returns to your website as they get closer to moving forward with a purchase.

We can not dispute that ABM is an extremely powerful tool and there is certainly a major place for it in terms of generating leads.

However we can also say there is a complimentary place for a tool like Visit Intel as it gives you the REAL  information as to who is actually clicking through your website.

Want to try Visit Intel today....click this  LINK for a Free Trial


 

03/08/2017

Visit Intel - FAQ's and Answers

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A picture named M2

Visit-Intel is an analytical tool that turns anonymous website visitors who click through your website into REAL OPPORTUNITIES.

Visit-Intel provides automated Emailed Site Visit Reports that explain what companies are visiting your website, how they got there, and what they did while they were on your website.
To start using Visit Intel today....try it FREE by clicking on  this FREE TRIAL LINK

Frequently Asked Questions:

There are some common questions that we are often asked that I will quickly provide answers to below...

Question 1.         Does Visit Intel use Cookies to track site visitor activity?

Visit Intel Response :  NO!!!!   Visit Intel does NOT use cookies.  This is a good thing because in the UK, EU and Canada they really frown upon the use of 3rd party cookies like the type used by Google Analytics.   If we did use cookies you would have to have a disclaimer on your website and you really do not want to have a disclaimer that warns people about clicking through your website.

Question 2.        Does Vigilus collect and/or use the data that Visit Intel provides our users?

Visit Intel Response: NO!!!!  Vigilus does not collect or use ANY data that is collected from the website visits.  That information is for our customers ONLY.

Question 3.        How is Visit Intel different from Google Analytics?

Visit Intel Response :  This actually is the most frequently asked question we get regarding Visit Intel.

First off....Google Analytics (GA) is NOT a competitor of Visit Intel.  We see Visit Intel as a complimentary tool to GA.  We try to provide information that GA does not give you.

Visit Intel tracks ALL visitors that can be tied back to an IP address.  

Additionally....Visit Intel sends PROACTIVE Automated Email Site Reports.  So the reports come directly to you as people click through your website....with GA you have to log into it first and go after the information you desire.  Not to mention for the average person...GA is not that easy to use and navigate through. Also...GA uses Cookies to track stuff.  As I mentioned above...Visit Intel does NOT use cookies ever.

Question 4.        How does Visit Intel know for sure what company visited your website?

Visit Intel Response: The key to Visit Intel is ...we capture the IP address.  Our code takes the IP address of the visitors and runs it against many sites to give you with almost 100 percent certainty what company that ip address belongs to.

Question 5.        Does Visit Intel provide individual names with email addresses?

Visit Intel Response : First thing about the above question is...if there are companies out there that claim to give you exact names with email addresses that visit your site anonymously...they are lying to you.  Having said that...we CAN track names if you have a list of people with email addresses and we set up tracking ahead of time.  We can apply our tracking code to those email addresses and if those people visit your website in the future...that information will be displayed on the Visit Intel Site Alert Report.

Question 6.   How does Vigilus charge for Visit Intel?

Visit Intel Response :  Visit Intel is charged on a monthly subscription basis.  We charge per domain.  

For more information please visit https://visitintel.com

To start using Visit Intel today....try it FREE by clicking on  this FREE TRIAL LINK




02/02/2017

Visit Intel - Website Visitor Tracking Analytics

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"We launched our new website in 2016, and implemented Visit Intel from the onset. At first, I wasn’t sure of the value it would bring to my business, but now I can’t imagine life without it. It provides targeted insight that helps me drive marketing and business development outreach. It takes the mystery out of my process, and allows me to capitalize on potential clients curiosity. It’s a B2B game changer!!!"

Above is a Quote from the President of an Executive Search Firm who uses
Visit Intel.


A picture named M2

How does anyone know  the anonymous visitors who visit your website.    The key word there was "ANONYMOUS".


If you are already aware of the contacts that you have been sending  email campaigns to from Constant Contact for example...you will see the opens/clicks etc from the recipients of that newsletter.  But you already know who those people are and....it only gives you that information from that one mailing.


So much money is spent on advertising and most of what you are buying is based on faith that if you get your message out....you will get eyeballs and clicks on your website resulting in new business.


But what happens when people who you do not know and never met visit your website? Or what happens when your existing customers, prospects, business partners, click through your  website?  


Wouldn't you like to know that information so that you can proactively turn that activity into a sale?


That is why you need
Visit Intel.

With Visit Intel....when someone who is working for a Company visits your website....the Visit Intel code looks at their IP address and matches it up with the Company Name that is visiting your site.


Visit Intel then Proactively emails  a "Site Visit Report" to the correct person in your organization.  


The Visit Intel reports tell you ....


- What keywords visitors typed in to find you
- What banner ad or other promotional campaign they clicked on to land on your site
- What Search engine they used

- What Social Media site they used to find you

- What Campaign led them to your site

- What they did on your site


The tool helps to...  

- Turn your website  visitors into prospects for your sales team or partners
- Track website activity from existing customers for upselling opportunities
- Automatically route proactive Visit-Intel reports to the correct people for their action
- Monitor research done by your competitors on your website
- Measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns and promotions


A picture named M3

For more information contact me at jsinger@vigilus.net


06/23/2015

You are focusing on the wrong things when evaluating CRM apps

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If you are tasked with  choosing a CRM application for your organization this blog post is for you.

Do you respond  to catchy buzz words and/or  are impressed by pictures of pie charts?

Is it difficult for you to figure out the annual cost of a per user per month pricing model?

 If so.....you are NOT fit to make a decision on your enterprise CRM application direction.

Life is hard.  So is choosing the right CRM software.

Below are some items that you should NOT focus on when evaluating your enterprise CRM system.....

Pie Charts -  In the present day.....there are soooo many tools that handle reporting like Excel.

I have never seen someone actually utilize the charting functionality that a CRM tools come with.  

Usually you export data out of your CRM tool and use a third party tool like Crystal, Excel, or countless others.

Yet it is virtually impossible to not see of picture of a pie chart when evaluating CRM packages.

A picture named M2

Dash Boards -  I hear it all the time.....I need a dashboard for ALL of my stuff so I can see when I need it right on my screen.

I use the analogy of a poor college student.   Not poor in the  "having no money" sort of way...I mean poor like " not a very good student".

When poor students read their text books .....they highlight every word.   So in doing so....you make the highlighted items meaningless.....the important things will not stand out if the entire page is highlighted.

The same with dashboards.....do not fall in love with the idea.

Your calendar, email, forecast and contacts is all you need.

Not to mention that most users are using their smartphones now for CRM......the real estate on an iPhone is not really conducive for a dashboard.

Automatic Calling and Logs -  You are lying if you say you do not have time to call your customers and enter what was said on that call in your CRM application.

If you can not do that...you should not be working in a customer facing position.

Popular Brand Names -  this could be a trap.  I find the larger the company and the "bigger" the name....the worse off you will be in terms of support you get from that vendor.

It sounds like a Yogi Berra comment like....No one goes there anymore it's  to crowded....but I am serious.....the bigger the company....the more your support and other services will suffer from that vendor.

Negotiating price for product and services is more difficult as well.   They may feel they do not need you since they have so many customers already.  

Public Companies -  Just like the popular brand names need to be dealt with caution.......When a company goes public...everything changes.     They are much more worried about their bottom line, answering to the board  and wall street analysts then worrying about the customer care.

Rather.....When choosing a CRM application choose it because ....
  • It  is simple to use
  • It is Integrated with your email and calendar platform
  • You feel you are dealing with an experienced Vendor that knows your Industry...... and can provide real references
  • You feel you can cultivate a long lasting partnership with the Vendor
  • The CRM application also has a really good Mobile user interface
  • Pricing makes sense -   Add up the per user per month cost and multiply it by 12....that is how much it costs PER YEAR.  Don't be fooled by what seems like a reasonable monthly expense.  And...most importantly what does the pricing include?

Some companies make you pay extra for functionality like.....Exporting data, Opportunity Management and Forecasting, eMarketing.

Go for a CRM that gives you as much as possible for one per seat price.

One great test is to see how your Vendor captures and understands your requirements and based on what they gather....how long do they take to deliver a proposal.

If a company can not deliver a proposal when they say they will and offer no good reason as to why....this is a great indication as to how they will be to deal with in general.

Contact Vigilus for help.  Although we have our own proprietary CRM application that we sell....we can provide consulting and point you in the right direction for other CRM apps as well.

06/11/2015

It takes a Village to Raise a CRM Application

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Customer -  "I'll take it.  Can you turn it on and let us start using it today ?"  

Me -  CRM Vendor -   "Well you will have to be trained first and before we get to the point where we can train....what reports would you like to generate?  Also...do have data from a legacy system you would like to migrate into the application ?    And what about security.....we need to discuss the rights and roles of each user .  What about populating the drop downs and assigning values to the Undefined User Fields?    "

CRICKETS!!!!!!

And then........ a long  sigh.

This is what happens when I sell CRM software to a generation who wants everything RIGHT NOW as well as it must work perfectly from the get go.

Thanks Steve Jobs.

There is this illusion that you can just turn on collaborative enterprise software applications and unicorns and rainbows will appear.  Your customers will automatically be happier with better service and you can take the rest of the summer off.

I can not stand when I see other CRM packages advertise this.....and give users the illusion of how  configuration and deployment takes minutes.  
 
This is a flat out lie.  

How can you deploy an enterprise collaborative software tool to users with different responsibilities across different business units and not take into account...

- Setting up Users with the proper rights, security and roles within the application
- Data migration from legacy systems -  wouldn't it be nice to migrate contact/company data from your old systems
- What about duplicates -  shouldn't we make sure the data is clean from the start?
- Setting up pop ups and undefined user fields -  Aren't users going to want to search on criteria that is housed in fields?
- Understand what reports will need to be generated -  Begin with the end in mind....if you know what reports are needed....you will know what fields on forms need to be filled out by users
- Best Practices -  How will your users use the system and why - without guidance....users will use the system to meet their individual needs.
- Training -  End user as well as Application Administration training needs to happen.      WHO will be conducting the training and  when/where will it take place?
- Support -  do you have a support plan in place with your Vendor and Power Users?

The above is true whether your CRM application is hosted by the vendor or in house on your servers.

When a baby is born....you do not throw your newborn the keys to the car and say pick up dinner....you are on your own.

It takes time and  a village to raise a child the right way.

The same is true for a CRM application.

For your child ( CRM application)  to be successful it will take your village (userbase) to make sure it is raised (deployed) correctly so that it makes a positive impact (return on investment)  on society (your business).

It is not just one thing or person who can get a CRM application off the ground.

A CRM deployment needs....
  • A Business Sponsor -  These are the  parents who are in charge.  They have the purse strings to make things happen.  They need to be involved ....hands on.  It is not enough to just foot the bill.
  • Trained Users -  You will send your children to school before they go out into the real world.....same thing here.   Arm your users with knowledge and guidance.
  • Power Users -  These are like  teachers, counselors, big bother/sisters....etc.  They understand why the application was put into place .  They understand how it needs to be used and what reports need to be generated.  They have a macro understanding of what information needs to be housed in the system.
  • Vendor that is a Partner -  Your vendor should be a Mentor -  they have seen how the application has been used with other customers in your industry as well as others.   You need to have a partnership with your vendor so choose wisely.  This is the key to everything.   You will need to lean on them for guidance.









04/15/2015

An Open Letter from your 2 Year Old CRM system

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Dear CRM user,

How are you?  I am fine.  You have been "using"  me for a couple of years now.  

I must admit at times....I feel neglected.  There are times I fear you have forgotten about me altogether.  I hear rumors about the possibility of you moving to another CRM system.

I ask myself.... why?  Why would you leave me when you barely know me.  If you got to know me things would be different.

I can help you in so many ways RIGHT NOW to be more productive as well as effective in managing your relationships.

I can make you more money if you would just use me correctly.

Whenever I think you have given up on me....there is always some reason that brings you back.  
Then just like that....you are gone again.

Most of the time when you do use me...it is for all of the information that I house like....phone numbers, email addresses ect.

I can be so much more to you than a rolodex if you would just  give me the chance.

I know it is not ALL of your fault.  Your business sponsor has given no direction and on top of that....she left the company.

Now you have no direction at all.  But you know what ....that is not a great excuse.

Reporting -  You know those ridiculous excel reports you have to create that are time consuming....well...I can do those in a fraction of the time it takes you .  If the data is in the system...you can report on it with a few mouse clicks.

Mobile User Interface -  I see how you are always looking at your smart phone.  It does make me a little jealous I must admit.  I wish you gave me that kind of attention.  You do know I can be used  on your smart phone right?  

Before Management modifies me -  I do want to ask you a favor....can you please tell management how you need to use me?   Management thinks they know what I should be doing but they do not always know what is best for the end user....YOU DO.  You are the one who is on the front lines.

You know what information you need about your relationships.  Granted....reports are important....but only you know what will make you more successful and productive.  Speak up please!

Be consistent -    I can help you but please remember to enter data in the same way as ALL of the other users ALL of the time.  I want to help you but please HELP ME HELP YOU.  Uniform data entry will insure reporting and search results are accurate.  If not....you will make me into a garbage dump and I will be blamed for something that was not my fault.  I will get thrown away.  You will then be forced to use another CRM system and guess what...you will have the same problems with garbage data in = garbage data out.  You will miss me when I'm gone...they always do.

Understand why I am here in the first place  -  Do you really understand why I am even here? I am  not some form of torture ?
 
 I can help you...
  • close deals
  • keep tack of forecasts
  • create call reports
  •  keep track of your calendar events
  •  communicate with your relationships on a mass scale
  •  categorize your relationships for target marketing campaigns
  • collaborate with your colleagues and so much more.

If you see something ....say something -  Do not assume error messages are normal.   In general...if something is not working correctly....speak with the vendor or your IT support.  You may be doing something wrong or there may be an issue that will be easily fixed.

I get blamed for EVERYTHING........most of the time....you are doing something wrong.  Try not to be so quick to assume I am the problem.

Training and Best Practices -  I was purchased by management for a lot of money.  But they did not want to "waste" money on training you how to use me.  So....just like I mentioned above....if there is a problem...I get blamed .  This is hurtful and most of all....damaging to my reputation.

How can you expect to know how I should be used without training?   Also....the business  sponsor should communicate to you how you should use me and why.  This will alleviate much of the frustration you are having with me.   If you have context....I will make so much more sense to you.

New and "Better" CRM systems -  Do you think I am oblivious?   I hear you talking to the big names like salesforce.com.  I know it is tempting.  But do not get caught up in marketing machines.   I can do everything they can do and for a fraction of the price.  Just give me shot.

There is so much more I want to say but I think I have said enough for now.  I will leave you with this.....I am here to make you better.   If you use me correctly I will make you successful.  You will have more time to look for business rather then create reports etc.  Just give me a chance.  I will not let you down...I promise.

I just had to get this off my chest.  I feel like we do not even know each other any more.  I miss you  and I know I can help you be great if you gave me the chance.


I love you.

Sincerely,
Your CRM system.

To meet a great CRM app in person.....please visit vigilus.net




03/18/2015

8 Step Guide to waste your Company's money

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The path of least resistance is not always the best way to go about your business especially when you work for a Company.

Are you an empty suit who reiterates buzz words with no meaning?  Are you someone who takes directives from people  even when you know they are clearly wrong?

Well if not....congratulations but the above describes most (not all) of corporate America.

Benign neglect is one of the most destructive forces in the universe.

People are so scared to put their neck on the line for fear they may mess up or be wrong. In more cases then not...they go about their business like a scared squirrel who does not know which side of the street to run to for safety.

Have a spine.  Speak up if you know a decision that was made is wrong.  Even if you do not change a mind....people will know you have an opinion and will want to hear it the next time a decision needs to be made.

We do not need anymore "yes" men.

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Below are some common ways these people behave and (inadvertently) waste money when it comes to  software decisions .....
  • Migrate away from a stable platform for messaging and collaboration -  I spend a lot of time in the Notes/Domino world.  I can not tell you how many times organizations migrate away for no reason.  There are some times when it makes a lot of sense...in a merger for example...but I have yet to see a compelling reason to migrate away from the Notes platform.  
    Microsoft is ....
  1. NOT cheaper,
  2. NOT easier to maintain/administer
  3. Not easier to upgrade
  4. Not more secure
  5. Not easier to create applications
  6. and so much more .

    But....corporations move off anyway.  Most of the time these decisions are made out of pure ignorance.  You have heard it before....."Notes?   Why are we on Notes.  That is so 1990's."  Blah blah blah.  These people have no idea what they are talking about .
  • Purchase salesforce.com -  Again....there is comfort in numbers.  People feel comfortable that so many other organizations use salesforce.com.   Can everyone be wrong?  Of course.  This is the same behavior you see when the stock market crashes.  Everyone thought the market will go up in a straight line forever.  Who would have thought that everyone including the talking heads on television could be so wrong.  And wrong they all are so many times.  People....there are other just as good and less expensive CRM systems besides salesforce.com.  
  • Rewrite your Notes applications -  The Notes platform is perfect for great , easy to use and collaborative applications.  Developers can develop Notes applications in a fraction of the time and cost it takes to create an application for the Microsoft platform.   When organizations move away from Notes...they need to replace the Notes applications.  Basically recreating the wheel for no reason.    This becomes expensive and time consuming.  Not to mention...once the applications are rewritten... users need to be trained on software they already knew how to use.
  • Retrain your users -  see above.  When you rip out a platform and need to create brand new applications.....you have to retrain ALL of your users.  HUGE waste of time/money.
  • Do not Train -  Just as retraining is a drain....you still need to do it if you are deploying new software.  How about the organizations who try to skimp out on training.  This is one of the biggest sins of all in the software world.  Purchase new expensive software or develop new software in house and trust your users  they will figure it out on their own.  This is a recipe for a failed deployment.
  • Do not create Best practices -  Along with training....there is the idea of BEST PRACTICES.   Explain when to fill out certain forms/fields and why.  How should the fields be filled out....type in the field  or select from drop downs.  Explain the end game....meaning...what reports will be generated.  
  • Do not force your users to use ONE system for capturing Customer data -   That's right.   Be a cool boss.  Tell you kids ummm I mean employees they can do what they want.   Without your users entering data in a uniform way....a manager will never get a handle on anything.   In the same way a Dog wants to be trained so they know right from wrong....your employees want to know the best way to do things for themselves and the company as a whole.  If not...you will have useless disparate islands of data. Reporting will be impossible.
  • Make modifications to satisfy ONE user -   There is always that one user.  That one user who is loud , complains and always has a problem.  So what do you do...you try to shut them up by giving them what they want rather then making decisions that will better the userbase.  Companies will spend thousands on a modifications that will only help ONE user out of many.  This is just bad decision making.  

  • A picture named M3

    There are many more but you get the drift.  Speak out when you see something wrong.  Take a chance and you may just get promoted.


03/10/2015

Cheat Sheet - Successful CRM deployment

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The  CRM industry as a whole is a bunch of malarky or at least it seems so according to most of the articles and data statistics available regarding this type of software. 

There is some validity to the above statement.  There is an alarmingly high rate of failure when it comes to measuring the return on the investment of a CRM deployment.
 

This failure however can largely be avoided and success CAN be recognized.  How do I know....I have seen it first hand as a Principal in 
Vigilus....a CRM company. 

I have written many blog posts as to why CRM deployments fail .
 

But how about  the successful installations?  Do they exist?
 

I am here to confirm they actually do exist.  Luckily I have been involved with many of them so you can hear it from the horses mouth.
 

So what are the characteristics of a successful CRM installation?
 

What do the successful stories have in common?
 

Below are characteristics of a successful CRM deployment....
 
  • Training -   I never understand why organizations will spend a fortune on software but do not spend a dime on teaching  users how to use the system in a uniform way. The users need to understand why they are using the system, what is the ultimate reason they are using the system  and how the system will make them do their jobs better.   They need to be armed with "Best  Practice" guidelines.  
  • Beginning with the end in mind -  Before a deployment takes place...management needs to have an understanding as to  what they are looking to "get out" of the software.  There could be various things they are looking to achieve like... How effective certain promotions are,  how often are your sales people communicating with  customers,  how are they creating new prospects, how much business is being won, lost or being put on hold and why? And so much more from Samples processing, to complaint tracking etc.   What ever those items are....management needs to understand them all ahead of time so that they can arm your users with the tools to produce that information accurately  .
  • Business Sponsorship - Without someone with clout on the business side buying in to a CRM deployment and making sure the users use the system....the CRM deployment will ultimately fail.  There needs to be someone with power, probably the person who signs off on the software in the first place, who needs to be the champion.  A person who has skin in the game in making the CRM install successful.  I can not tell you how many times I see CRM failure because of lack of business sponsorship.  Warning signs of this is when you hear things like....our users can use CRM if they want to.  There should not be a choice.  Everyone in the organization needs to be on the same page for CRM to be successful.
  • Relationship with your Vendor - This one is a little less obvious but maybe the most critical aspect of CRM success.  Without a true partnership with your Vendor....CRM will fail.  I think smaller CRM companies have the advantage here.  You will not get the hand holding needed if you work with a giant software company.  Their support and consulting tend to be elementary compared with boutique CRM companies who themselves have skin in the game in making sure the deployment is successful.  Your success is their success.
  • Ignoring the latest buzz phrases and trends -  With technology changing so rapidly....it is easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest new applications let alone gadgets.  As the saying goes...the more things change...the more they stay the same.  At the core...ALL CRM APPLICATIONS DO THE SAME THINGS.  Do not get caught up and change direction so quickly.  The odds are...the same things preventing success with your current CRM system will be the same issues stopping success with the new one.  Remember...meet the new boss .....same as the old boss?
  • Power users - It is important to have a few "Power Users" who understand why the CRM application was put into place.  These power users will understand how forms need to be filled out so that reports will be accurate when generated.  They understand business requirements.  They can be the first line of defense as well if support is needed.
  • Data Cop - These users may also be power users.   They need to be vigilant and make sure the important fields are being filled out in the correct way.  Remember.... garbage in....garbage out.
  • Application Health Check - This goes along the same lines as having a close relationship with your vendor.  Once or twice a year....get together with you vendor to make sure the application is configured correctly based on your evolving needs.  
  • Mobile -  Unless you live under a rock....availability of  CRM data on your smart device is a must.  Make sure your CRM application comes with a user interface for your smart device.  Shameless plug...VMobile CRM for IBM Notes and Outlook Users is a beautiful easy to use mobile CRM tool.
  • Email and Calendar Platform -  Be sure to consider a CRM application that inherently  integrates seamlessly with your Email and Calendar
    The take away is....CRM is a must and  should be an asset to your business.  CRM Apps have been around in some shape or form for decades.  With the proper buy-in from upper management, planning  and training...success can be recognized along with a positive return on your investment.
  • Offline capability -  Are there time where your users will want to access their CRM but do not have internet connectivity?  You would be surprised how many dead zones still exist.  in Bejing ....spotty internet connections is the norm.  So you may want to consider a CRM that can be used OffLine.  VMobile for example can be used over a Browser, on your smart device as well as offine...discounted in island mode.

10/21/2014

No news is NOT always good news

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"My users are happy....I have not heard from them since we rolled out the VMobile CRM application.  So....I think we really do not need Vigilus to train our users"  said one of my customers from one of the largest financial services organization in the world.

I quickly responded with the following....

"......In my experience...no feedback from the users is not always  a good sign.

That could mean...

-  they are not using the system
or
- they are using the system but not correctly

Remember....ALL of the users need to be using the system in a uniform way to ensure data quality.

Data quality is important because you want your reports to make sense.

For example....they need to understand what fields need to filled out as well as why they need to be filled out and how to fill them out ie.  choose from a picklist or freely type  in themselves.

Again....With data quality comes accurate reporting.

Otherwise it will be garbage in ....garbage out.

If users are not trained early on they tend to figure out how to use the system in a way that works best for them as individuals rather then the organization as a whole.

Also if not trained early on....they develop poor habits that become very hard to break in the future.

Having said the above...you know the pulse of your users much better then me.

Remember ...begin with the end in mind.

The end game is usually reporting.  Once you know what reports you need to generate....that will determine what fields MUST be filled out by your users and how they are filled."

BEST PRACTICES

Without a destination in mind....any destination will do.

I  gave my customer a generic best practices document  as a starting point that can become a nice cheat sheet for his users as to how and why they are to use the system.

This cheat sheet will make the user understand....
  • what fields need to filled out on what forms
  • how to fill them out ie. select keywords in picklists
  • why are they filling the fields out...it is not to torture them....it is to make sure reporting is possible and oh by the way....the system is useful to them and the group as a whole

Protect Your Investment and recognize a ROI

By training your users and explaining why the CRM application you just gave them is important to the business will ensure your investment will have a real recognized benefit to your business.

Without guidance and training....CRM will be a failure.

By the way...the above is true for ANY software rollout not just CRM.

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