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Common CRM Questions

Jun 26, 2013 12:21:00 AM

I recently had the pleasure of conducting a webinar for the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America and they had some fantastic questions about CRM.  I thought would benefit everyone so I decided to add them here...


What is a typical implementation timeline, and what are the biggest challenges?

To keep it simple, every implementation follows these 4 phases:

Planning/Design, Development, Installation, and Training

The time from project start to finish varies on the system complexity and client culture.  A typical CRM implementation project averages about 30 – 60 days.

The two biggest challenges are executive “buy-in” and user adoption.


For a low cost system for a Microsoft company, could Outlook work?

Although it is a great e-mail tool and personal manager, Outlook typically is not considered a “CRM tool”.


Can the CRM programs gather information from other programs, ex. quickbooks

Yes.  Most systems are “extensible” and offer a programming method to interface or import/export data from other computer systems.  The top systems also offer “add-on” programs that provide common functionality at an affordable price. 


How long would you estimate it would take to be up and going for say a $2M/yr company?

A typical CRM implementation project averages about 30 – 60 days.


How do you determine , by your standards, what is a large business compared to a small business? I have used ACT Before, what would you think the advantage is in going to a large business CRM system, such as, Salesforce.com?

Our initial questions aren’t about company size but focus on CRM goals & objectives.  For instance, if a large organization only wants a centralized database to manage marketing and sales basics an ACT! system may be a suitable solution.  However, if a small organization wants full workflow automation, a service calendar, and a customer service ticket system they may need to consider a more powerful CRM system like Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Salesforce.com.


Is making phone calls from phone book a viable place to start?

Every organization has to start somewhere but a more progressive approach would be to purchase and import leads into an entry level system so you can track the sales process.


No sales structure...how do we set up a realistic sales plan with a slim budget

One of my favorite sayings is, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something!”.  It’s true and marketing and sales fuel all businesses.  Find someone to help document your sales process.  Then you can work on documenting the key variables as a “suspect” moves through your selling cycle to become a “lead”, “prospect”, and finally “customer”.  Once you have information you can work to streamline and improve the process.  Of course, a CRM system can help with this.


Our biggest concern is as you stated about the BMW is, ""Buyers remorse""!  Any quick answer for helping relieve this feeling? It usually occurs 1-3 days after we finish the project.

Yes, following up.  Ideally, a friendly human may call to “check-in” and alleviate any concerns the customer may have.  If this isn’t possible it may be nice to follow-up through correspondence (e-mail or “snail mail”) so the client feels connected and nurtured.  This technique is highly effective.


What one point would you recommend we as salespeople, use to build our relationship with our client?

Communication!  Try to remember, customers buy when they’re ready to buy – not when you’re ready to sell to them.  The key to increasing sales is to be on your customers mind when they’re ready to buy and make it easy for them to reach out to you.  Personal communication is great so phone calls are best; however, that isn’t always possible.  As a substitute e-mail communication that provides compelling, useful content is the best way to continue to nurture the relationship.


I am new to sales and will be attending a Trade Show soon. Do you have any specific tips for that arena?

Leads, leads, leads!  The goal of attending a trade show is to collect as many leads as possible.  I’ve attended a lot of trade shows over the years and have seen many clever ideas to attract prospects to their booths.  Giveaways, magic acts, tattoo artists, entertainment, contests, etc, etc.  Of course the success of your trade show attendance will be what you do with those leads after the show.  (I’ve dropped my business card into many fish bowls only to never hear from the organization again).  Make sure the leads are entered into a CRM system so they can be followed-up with directly by a sales person or entered into an automated “trade show follow-up” e-mail campaign.


What do you consider a good closing ratio?

One that maximizes your revenue.  Funny answer, huh?  You may think a high closing ratio (90%) would always be desirable but the truth is you may be leaving money on the table if your closing ratio is too high.  Progressive organizations measure their closing ratios over time to gauge if they are increasing or declining and by other metrics (salesperson, geography, lead source, etc) so they can determine if their business strategies are aligned with the market and competition.


Thanks again to the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America for the opportunity to discuss CRM with them!

Steve Stroz


Topics: CRM

Steve Stroz

Written by Steve Stroz

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