The Lighter Side

The ABC’s of CRM Success: S-U

So Catch This…

The ABC’s of CRM: S-U

Sales, Trust, and Utilitarian

Whether you are planning a net new CRM installation, or an upgrade to the latest release of your existing CRM products, our ABC’s of planning and executing your implementation/upgrade will apply. With the ProfessionalCRM “ABC’s of CRM” series, we have fun with words.  This installment highlights S, T, and U: We will talk about the importance of understanding that at your firm, most people doing the selling actually do not consider themselves part of a sales team, but rather the owners of the work they win, and the contacts they bring in. Trust becomes a large issue here, if they consider themselves owners of their clients/contacts, then what defines a firm contact? Utilitarian may not what be the first word that comes to your mind when you think of your professionals, but you must educate the firm on the usefulness of having access to contacts, and client information. Put it in terms they can understand. $$$$

sales (noun):

the act of selling; a quantity sold; opportunity to sell; a special disposal of goods, as at reduced prices; transfer of property for money or credit; an auction. 

For our purpose: sales is a misnomer for professional service firms, and sometimes a dirty word actually.  Partners, even though they carry the burden of making it rain, do not consider themselves sales people.  It is critical, when approaching this constituent with a CRM solution, to support these individuals to drive home the point the capability is there to “enable” their efforts from activity tracking/reminders to core intelligence about the client/prospects needs, without imposing a methodology that “feels” like a sales process.  There are also cultural issues in many firms where partners feel their efforts are being measured vs. others in the firm, and therefore are resistant to adopting the CRM solution, which leads to “Trust.”

trust (noun):

reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confident expectation of something; a person on whom or thing on which one relies; the obligation or responsibility imposed on a person in whom confidence or authority is placed.

For our purpose: although this cultural impediment is diminishing in many firms, trust issues still abound in many professional service firms, especially with the trend of mergers, acquisitions and lateral movement of partners/practices coming full circle yet again.  If trust issues exist in your firm, it will be critical to adopt what we refer to as “Rules of Engagement.”  The rules will set the framework for what a firm contact is.  As an example, if a contact is employed by an existing client, or is known by “x” number of firm colleagues, these rules would set the context for what a firm contact is. Another rule to incorporate is to have the users understand that just because a contact exists in the CRM system does not provide carte blanche rights to reach out and make a pitch.  We always recommend firms create a criteria of “Relationship Manager” for companies and key contacts, and a business process that promotes engaging with the Relationship Manager and collaborating together before making the pitch, strengthening the concept of team selling. Sometimes trust concerns are simply about if “I share my data, how can I be sure it does not get messed up.”  Well with a strong CRM system, this will not be an issue, but a critical aspect of functionality that needs to be reviewed closely, because as we have seen for years, you mess up users data, they will not participate. Ultimately, a foundational key to CRM success is to create the framework of trust in your organization and the system supporting your efforts.

utilitarian (adjective):

pertaining to or consisting in utility; having regard to utility; or usefulness rather than beauty, ornamentation, etc.

 For our purpose: usefulness is one of the keys to supporting adoption of the CRM system by the users.  When implementing a CRM system you will be asking the users to change how they work within the framework of your core applications.  Obviously, some CRM systems require significant change, while others provide a level of integration that the “change” in user’s normal usage is very subtle, an extra click here and there. However, some users will balk at that extra click, or business process change, so it very important to provide users with more than they provide you in the process.  For example, sharing a contact provides unique access to previously unknown relationships (Who Knows Whom, or Relationship Intelligence); sharing a calendar appointment creates knowledge; generating activities enables insight into the newsletters contacts receive, their attendance at events, and overall broadening of your institutional knowledge. Mentioned before in this document, but worth stating again, the system must address each constituent’s personal “what about me” idiosyncrasies. Catch Ya Later…

Categories: The Lighter Side

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