In the last blog we looked at 3 quick tips that focused on terminology, business objectives and business outcomes:
- Tip 1 – don’t mention CRM (if you’re not comfortable with the term)
- Tip 2 - the IRACIS concept
- Tip 3 – problems, solutions, benefits
The following two tips will help build an initial understanding the product, describing features in terms that you can relate to.
Tip 4: Think of product features in “small bundles” rather than “broad sets”
When looking at Sage CRM for the first time, it quickly becomes apparent that there is a lot that you can do with it. So it helps to focus on smaller packages of related features, to better understand the business benefits. A couple of simple examples of “feature bundles” are as follows:
The Four Cs
This focuses on some basic CRM functionality. As a business owner, you will have companies you deal with, and contacts who work in those companies. There will be various communication channels used to deal with all these people, and a calendar in place to manage all your appointments and meetings. Other key people in your business will have the same relationships and commitments in their day-to-day job. Focusing just on the four Cs – companies, contacts, communications and the calendar – can greatly help introduce the product to you and how to get value out of it straight away.
Examples of the four C’s:
- Companies – customers, suppliers, partners, wholesalers, retailers, distributors, service providers
- Contacts – CEO, CFO, COO, Head of Sales, Head of Marketing
- Communications – Email, Phone calls, Social Media, Letters, Documents, Agendas
- Calendar – Days, Weeks, Months, Years, Business, Personal, Local, Global
The PLC refers to “Pipeline, Leads and Conversion”. Most businesses succeed (or fail) based on how well they manage their sales and marketing funnel. So a business owner or buyer should ask specifically how Sage CRM can help you grow revenue by optimising the pipeline. A demonstration could raise the following questions around your sales and marketing effectiveness:
- Top of the funnel – how many leads am I generating? Do I have enough campaigns? Are my campaigns good enough with a wide enough reach? Am I using the right channels? What can the system tell me?
- Middle of the funnel – Am I getting good quality leads? How well am I qualifying my leads? How are my telesales team doing converting early-adopters? Are my field sales team following up? What can the system tell me?
- Bottom of the funnel – what is my conversion rate? How much revenue am I bringing in? Am I on budget (against forecast)? How are my reps doing individually? What can the system tell me?
The PLC demo touches on marketing and sales functions in CRM, and introduces the concept of leads. The business focus is revenue generation.
The P.S. focuses on the “Post-Sales” functionality of Sage CRM, covering customer service and account management. As a business owner, you may face the following challenges:
- Product recall – how do I recall a product quickly and how do I know how many are impacted? How do I contact only those who bought the product? How do I communicate key issues to my customers?
- Customer Service Expenditure – how do I know which customer takes up most of my time? Or the least amount of my time? Who logs the most cases, or sends back the most returns? How often?
- Product/Service Assessment – which products are costing me more than they are bringing in? Is it a similar customer base with the problem, or is it widespread? Is it local or international?
Post-sales service is a key component of customer retention, and can provide valuable insight into how your product/service offer is performing. We also know that poor customer service can have a hugely damaging effect on business reputation, so it is important to know how Sage CRM can support existing processes. Finally, the ongoing cost/benefit of servicing particular customers can help you decide who you should be spending more – or less – time with.
Tip 5: My favourite ice-cream is….Vanilla
It is a fact that Information-based goods, such as software, have different characteristics to other products and services we use every day. For example, if we go clothes shopping we can try something on and make a decision as to whether we want to purchase it before we go ahead and pay. However when it comes to software, we only really understand what we want or need once we start using it. This initial experience will often uncover new needs that may not have occurred to you before. In summary, buyers of technology will often not know what exactly they want, until they try the product out. This will be the same for all users of the system.
It therefore makes sense for customers who are still unsure what specific features they need, to use a standard product (known as a “vanilla” version) and allow yourself time to form those ideas before customising it further. In addition, it can make more sense to start off with a small, focused project in a particular area, to build user confidence and understanding of what the system can offer.
That concludes our “5 Conversational Tips”, hopefully this will help you as a business owner or buyer to focus the conversation on the things that matter to you.