I have just read a great article written by Joshua Minton about converting leads in your Salesforce.com CRM system and although it was directed at salesforce CRM users the content is just as useful for OpenCRM and in fact anyone that uses a modern Lead > Opportunity based CRM solution.
I have copied a link below to the original article so that you can see for yourself the tone of the argument that Joshua raises and have paraphrased a few of the key elements with my own comments as I believe in many cases this single area forms the ‘missing link’ when considering your sales pipeline and how your sales team use OpenCRM. If you like our brand of common sense then this article maybe of interest to you.
Why did you just convert that lead?
I think that this raises a really important point, most users of CRM solutions don’t know why they pushed the button to promote a Lead to an Opportunity. Well in all honesty they do, in a lot of cases it has more to do with the numbers [or noise] for the impending sales meeting rather than anything to do with good data management.
If your CRM system is going to work for you then you have to feed it properly, too much of the wrong things and you end up with an ‘overweight data’ system with little relevance to your agreed sales processes.
The assertion here is that you should not convert the Lead unless you can confirm that the prospect has ‘Ability to purchase’ or ‘Desire to purchase’.
It’s a hard watermark to reach but it is a good one.
Why else would you convert from a suspect account to a prospect account without this basic sales knowledge? Who wants to spend money chasing any luke warm business thinking its qualified and ‘ready to go’?
Some salespeople like to live in a fantasy world where their pipeline is huge and ever expanding and Windows doesn’t crash! The reality is that all you are doing is spreading any available resource thinly across this bloated pipeline.
Work from the Opportunity until it is Closed WON or Closed Lost
Of course your Activities list is a great place to spend time making sure that you don’t miss anything specific that has been scheduled but sales people should invest their focus on their Opportunity list. Now this is always a difficult one for me, I understand how people might see this as confusing being told to look at their activities to trap anything needing their specific attention, but also living in their opportunity list, two places to look NOT one? Well it is a challenge [in the same way opening doors or remembering to drive on the correct side of the road] but one that pay dividends.
The idea is simple, look at the business you have in your pipeline, massage it, focus on it and develop it. Look at what message you can communicate to help move things on and as the boys from Glengarry say 'Always Be Closing……
Take a look at the original piece below and don’t hold it against Joshua that he wrote this with a focus on salesforce CRM as it is just as relevant to us as it is to others.
Joshua Minton is based in Columbus, Ohio and is a Certified Salesforce.com Cloud Consultant, Developer and Advanced Administrator.
Do you ever feel bullied into a particular way of thinking? You know, the guy in the corner who has a strong opinion and because what he says ‘sorta’ sounds right, you end up going with the flow along with everyone else in the room and the more people that get behind his argument the more difficult it is to uncouple your carriage from his train? Well that’s in a way what I worry about with Social CRM. Lots of people trying frantically to shoehorn their business strategy into the ‘this is how you should do it’ force-fed ideas.
All the big CRM hitters are spouting off about ‘cloud computing for the social enterprise’ or ‘engaging with the relationship as well as the people’ how do you get past the noise and out into your own patch of sunshine?
Now I admit that I am a technical kinda guy and as a business OpenCRM is normally a step ahead of the rest of the pack, but with Social CRM I am struggling to ‘get it’ how this will work in the 'real world'.
Its not that I don’t understand the cornerstone of the argument, as Wikipedia points out it’s the “use of social media services, techniques and technology to enable organisations to engage with their customers” as well as Paul Greenberg’s assertion ;
“Social CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It's the company's response to the customer's ownership of the conversation.”
What’s frustrating and confusing for me is the way that some of the players in the CRM market are trying to claim the high ground for themselves, trying to shout loudest about what Social CRM ‘is’ which under investigation translates into what social CRM elements they are adopting (or acquiring – sorry no names).
One thing that we can all be sure of is that Social CRM is not going to mean the same thing to a Small Business Owner, Corporate Dept Head or CRM Development Company, in the same way that the term CRM has yet to shake down into a single definition. As Paul Greenberg says, it’s the use of this multitude of ideas and technologies, coming together in your unique strategy that makes Social CRM come alive and my point is to make sure that the strategy is yours and not formed by someone else’s agenda [or feature set].
So what about what we do and what we are looking to do in the future? For me it’s all an extension of CRM, just getting the Customer to have a better Relationship and then Managing this process using these Social tools. Of course we are looking to hold more information in OpenCRM as well as providing better ways to access the conversations that are relevant to you and your prospects, customers, partners or suppliers.
Its going to be an interesting 12 months as we see Salesforce.com deliver Radian features direct into their Winter 12 edition as well as other Social tools promoting easy ways to aggregate their information in a more meaningful fashion. Just like when CRM adoption started in earnest, here we go again… once more from the top!
Regardless of whether you currently have a CRM implementation, or are thinking of adopting one at some point in the future, there are a few things which you can do which will not only help you with your CRM adaptation but will also make your contact management so much easier and beneficial to your organisation.
One big hindrance to a good working system is the lack of policy for data capture and treatment. There are many aspects of this which may seem small or insignificant, and yet can have a genuine impact on the efficiency of your organisation and data. You may have people that are on first name terms with their contacts, and compile a great list of contacts, which ultimately are useless to anyone else. Somebody else might only collect email addresses and attaches them to company records without noting a contact. Someone else created a spread sheet with person and company name contained in one field.
The scenario I am painting is a fast growing collection of databases that have no cross compatibility. Your organisation has no intelligent way of sorting or displaying the data, so using this information becomes hard work and as a result you have a redundant database.
Encouraging a uniform approach to data entry is beneficial to all – you have information that anyone can use without having to adopt somebody else’s mindset. You are able to sort and re-arrange the information in a manner that suits you – for example grouping people from the same postal area together, sorting records into an alphabetical list, or sorting potential customers according to their industry.
Sales Pitch: OpenCRM encourages you to keep data in a logical and clever manner. By making certain fields mandatory you can ensure that this vital information is never missing from a record. As well as encouraging best practise for data management, we are also able to assist new clients in exporting, sorting and importing data into an OpenCRM system.
As part of our marketing effort sin the United Arab Emirates we have secured new clients in the IT and Business Services sectors.
BetaIT are a large IT Services company based across UAE and Saudi Arabia located in 5 offices. BetaIT chose OpenCRM over a long list of competitive products.
MyResourcer an innovative company based in the UK have selected OpenCRM as a replacement for their salesforce.com CRM solution.
MyResourcers clients include some of the biggest names in recruitment who they offer a lead generation service, tracking employment vacancies on a clients key selected websites giving them the jump when any new vacancies are announced. Previously a salesforce.com Enterprise subscriber they migrated across to OpenCRM and we imported their data as part of the project.
One of the areas of OpenCRM that we have been working on which is about to be launched as a full production BETA is custom forms on the key entities in OpenCRM.
This feature will allow CRM subscribers to create custom forms that can be set to be displayed instead of the main forms already provided in OpenCRM.
What this means is that you can create data fields for all of the pieces of information that you need to record and then create a custom display of this data, streamlining what is visible and killing off all the bloat of irrelevant fields. Web based CRM solutions have traditionally been weak in this area.
Now, this has been 'sort of' possible for sometime in OpenCRM by setting fields to only be visible to certain profiles, however where this really takes hold is the ability to create custom forms, including the layout of fields and then add these as alternative displays OR as a default display for a specific type of user. Perhaps sales people only need to deal with the collection of sales and marketing information and having a specific layout of this information will help them with the questions that need to be asked and the order in which asking these questions usually works. Operations users may be interested in a different sub set of data with the majority of sales information being irrelevant, again this is easy by creating two custom forms and then assign the defaults to the relevant teams.
One client has a unique method of working that requires certain data to be available to the telephone adviser at key parts of the transaction and creating custom forms and allowing the operator to select the form that best suits their needs works well for them.
Early adopters are being considered if you would like to see how this feature works, just drop an email to your account manager and we will contact you to discuss the process.
The Campaigns module is the ideal home for your marketing strategy. You can filter and sort your records – leads, contacts and companies to set up the group of people best suited to your next marketing campaign.
When you have established your target audience you are able to send emails directly from the Campaign itself – you can mail the entire group using one email. The next stage is to use the mechanisms built in to follow and evaluate the success of that marketing effort. Tracking bounced emails means you can accurately measure how many messages were actually delivered and which were undelivered, and the click-through figure shows how many people have viewed your message by clicking on links within your email. Tracking those bounces is also an automated way of updating your contact details, as invalid email addresses will be marked as such.
You are also able to log any financial details of the Campaign right there. You can track the costs and check that against the revenue generated as it comes in at opportunity, quote and invoice stage.
A key point worth mentioning is that the Campaign you have created is targeted. You have used filters within your CRM solution to create a list of recipients appropriate to the message you are putting across. This saves time for both you and your clients – you are sending mails to customers you think are interested in the message so you stand a real chance of capturing their imagination and gaining their business. For the client, the mail they receive will be of relevance to them and is likely to be picked up on and read rather than sent straight to trash.
To briefly summarise, a Campaign is a place in your CRM solution where you can store details of that campaign, the marketing tools used such as a good looking email template complete with relevant hyperlinks, and a list of the recipients, all grouped together.
Sales Pitch: OpenCRM’s Campaigns module is a place for you to create, send and record details of a marketing campaign. The related modules for contacts, emails and transactions are all linked and help build up a complete picture of the Campaign throughout OpenCRM.
Selima the experienced provider of HR, payroll and expense management solutions has migrated their internal CRM systems to OpenCRM. with their Head Office in Manchester they selected OpenCRM over a list of competitors. Selima are no stranger to the concept of SaaS (Software as a Service) as they deploy their EnvoyWorld application using this always on technology.
Let’s have a quick look at the letters CRM and what they stand for.
A lot gets written these days about adding “Social” to CRM, but this really is nothing new. The common goals of Social and CRM are to attract new customer and provide the best customer service there is. It’s always been necessary to provide interaction on a social level in order to make the machine work, the three letters C, R and M still provide the backbone of a solid business structure.
There are many ways of using your CRM solution to interact with social activities and to capture this data to enhance your customer data, improve your marketing skills and to optimise your sales techniques:
Ultimately with the Social media world changing on a daily basis there is no one-size-fits all solution, and each organisation will have different levels and ways in which they choose to interact with the social world. The CRM tool remains a stable structure which an organisation can use to collate it’s social CRM efforts.
Sales Pitch: CRM has always been there to enhance the customer interactions, and good use of OpenCRM provides you with the framework to manage your social customer interactions too. With the recent development for Googlesync with OpenCRM this opens up a whole host of synchronising options for your CRM solution.
Leadership development specialists Common Purpose have commissioned OpenCRM as a replacement for their in-house developed CRM solution CPO2. This has involved extensive customising and data migration from their SQL based systems across to OpenCRM.
Common Purpose have offices in 12 countries with hundreds of users around the globe. OpenCRM is being used for general sales and marketing activity along with event management and course tracking. OpenCRM will hold all of the information surrounding the ever-growing alumni membership for their thought leaders in different companies.