OK, let’s face facts, CRM is not the new kid on the block that everyone has to have! Although the technology provides immense benefits and is almost a competitive necessity in modern business, many more people have iPhones than use CRM software! This a mature product line with a rich history and a bright future.
Warning! Short history lesson ahead: Way back in the dark ages of computing (1980s) Pat Sullivan created ACT! software and Michael McCafferty conceived TeleMagic. From these two Contact Managers (CM) sprung the next generations of sales force automation (SFA) software followed by Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and now the bright and shiny thing on the horizon is Social CRM. My bet is that in the very near future companies like Google, Apple, Amazon (and many others) will make today’s application software look like ancient DOS.
Today sales organizations are looking at completely mobile applications. Sales people want to have everything running on their smartphone, tablet or smartphone. Don’t burden us down with a heavy old laptop, at least give us a shiny new ultrabook to carry around all day. Wait, never mind — I will just use my own personal [insert your favorite device here] — everything is on the cloud isn’t it?
Do we really need all this technology just to go out and sell our products? Or do we just need the information to do our job? I am the classic early adopter, bleeding edge, technology end user — and I think that we spend way too much time managing technology and not enough time making the connections that can spell success for our business.
Suppose I sent you an email each morning detailing your sales activities for the next week along with all the opportunities you had in the pipeline. And let you dictate your call notes directly from your mobile phone? And I would support your sales efforts through more website optimization and drip marketing to your TARGET market. Of course you would have to keep your calendar up-to-date and let me know where you were in the sales process of your prospects, but I would do all the reporting after that and send the reports to you by email, text or an easy to use web portal.
Throwing hot new technology at the sales function may seem like a great idea but in practice it can be a disaster. The successful implementation of software into an organization to enhance the sales and marketing effort takes careful planning, corporate adoption and support and training for all users of the product.
I have always said that the deployment of a software product to support the sales team is not a destination — it’s a journey. Business changes – you don’t do business now the same way you did two years ago do you? Not if you are still in business today. The business environment changes constantly – your sales team may grow, you will pick up new product lines and open new offices across the country. The sales software you choose will have to be able accommodate those changes.
So as long as you are going on this journey to sales nirvana, it is a good idea to choose a good trail guide to accompany you on the trip. Do you have someone in your organization who has successfully brought a CRM system into a company? Or perhaps a trusted associate that you can get for a period of time to help guide your organization through the technology minefield. If not, select a consulting firm that specializes in the deployment and support of CRM software systems – and knows how to manage your project.