CRM: From a chance of success to proactively creating opportunities

The journey from being responders to actively driving change

The business environment has changed dramatically over the last few of decades.  In many ways businesses have been given the ability to be much more competitive. Businesses now have more tools to use to differentiate their service from their competitors.  However many companies are yet to take advantage of this and still have a passive way of approaching their business operations.  Surprisingly, these problems could be stemming from a lack of business knowledge that results in problematic deployments of tools, poor collection/collation of data, and the inability to transfer data into useful knowledge.  In the long run this can be a big problem as it is increasing knowledge and understanding that underpins innovation.

This does not need to be the case 

CRM systems such as Zoho CRM can be important tools that help businesses move from a place of hoping for success to making business success happen . Using  data, tools like Zoho CRM help businesses connect with the reality of business performance.  Through the right analysis this data can then be used to make wise business decisions that take the initiative in seeking out new opportunities.

It is important to note that while  the Zoho CRM tool is helpful, it is not in itself the driving factor of such change. What is key is the application of the CRM tool.

 With intelligent implementations, businesses will no longer have to rely only on their gut feelings as a basis for their business decisions.  Systems like Zoho will enable the transformation of data to knowledge, and it is this knowledge that will be the true driver of smart business decisions that lead to innovation.

How to start the process

 The first thing businesses will have to do is to centrally store their collective knowledge of their account management, sales processes, and both their online and offline activities. 

This raw data then needs to be analysed, interpreted, and delivered in a way that is relevant to the right audience.  This is all with the aim of having the right data get to the right decision makers in the right form. 

Once this data has been processed it can be applied and reinterpreted to assist in achieving a multitude of businesses objective or in the resolution of many issues that companies may face. Empowering people with the right information when they make plans and decisions is akin to giving people a map when they are trying to get from point A to point B. This process can benefit everything from growth, to operation effectivity,  and ROI.

An added benefit is that this can organically promote collaboration between different departments and stakeholders within the business – thus enhancing the collective intelligence of the organisation.

Iterative use 

Once these changes are made, the process of data collection and interpretation using your Zoho CRM continues.

Data related to the causes and effects of business decisions continue to be collected, and over time this process allows for valuable learning to occur.  Without this process, business experience often leads only to hunches and emotional decision making.

This iterative process essentially means that future decisions can become smarter and smarter, as the wealth of knowledge that informs them grows.

To learn more about how an investment in CRM can help your business make smarter decisions contact us. We are certified Zoho CRM Consultants as well as Certified Zoho CRM resellers,  who are also experienced in using Salesforce and Sugar CRM.

Getting your CRM and KPIs to work together

Key symptoms of a failing CRM system – and how a certain KPI contributes

Is there a key symptom of a failing CRM? One that leads to an under performing sales team?

The question above is one we get asked time and time again, and after years of installing and driving CRM systems we see that one of the key symptoms of a failing CRM is an over-reliance on a certain KPI – that being the KPI that tracks the number of meetings and phone calls your sales team is having.

An over emphasis on this KPI can be a ‘canary in a coal mine’ – one that should act as a warning that the current way you are using your Zoho CRM.

What can this lead to? 

A myopic focus on this KPI can gradually foster the following dynamic:

  • Diminishing sales team performance
  • Constraining initiative and creativity
  • Fostering short-term focused behaviour
  • Increase in shortcuts being taken and cheating
  • A cooling-off of intrinsic motivation
  • Makes holding on to good people difficult

How this could reflect on management? 

Placing this KPI at the centre of a companies focus is often a symptom of the following management style.

  • Perfectionist & authoritarian
  • Constantly requiring people to seek permission
  • Management by tasking and tight controls
  • Over reliance on discipline procedures

The problems in depth

This KPI has a focus on the past, and lacks a future-focused orientation.  It also has a huge focus on compliance.  When complacence and a retrospective perspective dominate your team management – high performance, initiative, innovation, creativity have less space to grow – let alone flourish.

While in some scenario attention to meetings and phone calls is appropriate – often the figures it generates are out of context, or encourage a picture of  black and white – of ‘this is the good group and this is the bad group” – of achiever and non-achiever.  This oversimplification can cause even the most valuable salesperson to seem unproductive.

the outcome of heavy focus on this KPI may also promote  management to not take any responsibility for the team’s performance – exonerating them for helping/training the sales team to achieve better results.

This kind of disconnection with the reality of business performance is major cause of management and leaders losing empathy for the sales team and the challenges that they face.  When empathy and sympathy are gone, the void is often filled with blaming.  It results in the business losing focus of important holistic issues such as the effectiveness of the business model or the quality of leads the sales team is working with, and puts a spotlight on hoops that salespeople are ordered to jump through.

It is important to remember that we are not saying that following KPIs for meetings and phone calls is bad all together.  They are important – just not as the cornerstone of your CRM.

What is the solution?

The solution is in moving from a focus on process to a focus on outcome.  There are many ways to do this, but a good way to start is to figure our how KPIs like this one fit in your business model and your sales cycle.

If you are interested in learning more about how to create effective KPIs then contact us to.  We are certified Zoho CRM consultants and can share our experience in making Zoho CRM systems perform.

How CRM & Marketing Automation can drive up business value

Your CRM and Marketing Automation can increase your business’s value upon resale

Regardless of whether or not you are looking to sell your business in the near future, most business owners and directors are focussing their activities on driving up the value of their business. 

Most of these efforts will be focussed on growing the value of their business by either a) reducing overheads, or b) increasing profitability.

During the industrial revolution, business efficiencies dramatically increases due to the use of machines to automate tasks.  Two hundred years later another revolution looms.  This time the dramatic increases in efficiency will not be from physical machines, by t from cloud based software.

By using software such as Zoho CRM, businesses are able to automate many ares of their business, from lead generation and customer acquisition through to support and customer retention.

Only recently have businesses started to realise that these solutions using these solutions is only the first step in revolutionising their business operations. The real value is realised when business apply sharp strategic throughout in the configuration and application of these solution.  This step is what Lumen specialises in.  Think of it this way: just because you have a Formula 1 car, does not mean you are able to drive that car well.

Imagine a situation where you are speaking to a prospective purchaser of your business whereby you could explain:

  1. You have an outsourced telemarketing team producing new leads for your business costing $X/month.  Based on historical information the amount of new leads they find produces $Y/month.  In this scenario all the business would have to do is increase the value of $X and $Y would increase proportionately.
  2. You business has collected a large number of email addresses of potential prospects and relevant information is sent out to them telling them what they want to hear when they want to hear it.  This is done through an automated process.
  3. Unlike traditional website which are a one way street giving information to your visitors, your website has been transformed into a powerful information gathering tool which helps you learn about your customers.  This let’s your prospects tell you what their hot spots are and when they are ready for your sales team to contact them without having to do anything.
  4. Each member of your team is presented with information that they need to carry out their functions quickly and efficiently and they won’t feel like ‘big brother’ is watching them which has a positive effect on uptake of your CRM solution.
  5. You online advertising is no longer targeted towards certain keywords, instead you are significantly boosting your return on investment by targeting specific people and companies with your advertising, and by targeting them at a time when they are most receptive.
  6. You can identify your existing customers that are at risk of being lost to your competitors.  This is done when you can still do something about it, not when it is too late.

This would all be music to the ears of someone evaluating a business for purchase.  The best part is that this sort of intelligent automation has until now been out of reach from small to medium size businesses.  Previously these have only been available to massive organisations as such systems came with a price tag in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  However, through advances in technology and savvy execution from Lumen, the service is now available for businesses of all sizes.

To find out more about how Lumen’s services can drive productivity gains and revenue growth at a  realistic price point click here.  We can give you a free demo of how we can increase the value of your business the boosting business performance.

How to Improve Customer Retention with CRM

CRM to keep your customers happy

Does your business know when your customers are at risk to being stolen by your competitors? Or do you simply leave it to chance?

We often pose this question to businesses. Their first answer usually is “Of course I do, our customers have a great relationship with our business!”.

However it is only when we delve deeper we see that things are more complex.

The above answer is based on the assumption that the customer is always letting a business know how they feel. This is a dangerous assumption that is a major cause of the loss of customers to other businesses.

There is a more intelligent way to manage this process. It is a method that reduces the customer churn experienced by your business. After all, it is much cheaper to keep a customer than to find a new one.

The Lumen solution to this issue begins with monitoring and recording all customer interactions and touch. This is done through an integrated CRM system.

Many businesses rely on guesswork when it comes to understanding how and when customer issues are resolved.

Most businesses rely on their staff to solve these issues. This may be somewhat effective but it is usual forgotten about once the problem blows over. Valuable information about how business operations can be improved are lost, and customers rarely receive the ongoing support they would benefit from.

This is where your relationship with your customer is likely to break down.

The next time they experience an issue with your business they are at risk of being lost. This is because you don’t have an accurate record of their previous interactions.

With a Lumen CRM software solution you will have a way of:

  • Recording each interaction with your customers both good and bad
  • Having these records available and rated to let you know when a customer is at risk of leaving because they are having multiple simultaneous issues

This system is a key part of the Lumen Ecosystem  and one many of our customers have benefited from.

To take it a step further, there is even a way to prevent the above happening in the first place. An automated, pro-active customer retention strategy is the way to do this. This pro-active approach means that customers are actively contacted to discuss their account. This reminds them of your efforts to go the extra-mile.

Through your Lumen CRM system you will be prompted when to contact your customers and how to approach the interaction.

This is just one of the intelligent solutions that can streamline your business and make your life easier, and your customer happier.