Selling software is like selling water, claim it’s from a Pacific Island, market it to your sales people, throw in lots of cotton candy and coffee mugs, and charge a lot of money. At least that is what our competition does. You will be told that great things come from adopting their system, and when it fails, it’s your fault, you should have evaluated your needs more carefully.
This time you hire an army of consultants, to match your needs to the myriad of choices, and this time, you will find the right fit. You failed again. The consultants just had a song and dance to play on your latest lament, and empty your bank account.
Here is the fact you just won’t learn. No single computer program is going to handle everything. Some CRM systems dial your phones, others post to Facebook, some even interface with Quickbooks or manage a website shopping cart for mp3 audio files.
The answer is not to find one with the right features, but to quit looking. Quit looking for something that will never exist, and start building on what already works.
The heaviest selling occurs around ‘Customer Relationship Management,’ i.e. more than one of your employees needs to keep abreast of the activity on a given customer.
But an employment agency has dozens of recruits (inventory) and a handful of customers. You need to manage your inventory. Your workers are your inventory. Your clients need first and foremost to get willing, sober and responsible individuals to fill temporary employment positions.
Let’s look at what CRM claims to accomplish;
- it helps to improve and enhance customer communication
- it streamlines daily operations
- it allows you to focus on your customers
How about steak instead. What have they bought in the past? When? How much did they pay? What is their phone number? If you are providing temporary help for a handful of local businesses, manage your inventory. If you sell lots of widgets to hundreds of customers with a dozen customer service people sending the same or similar quotation each hour, a shared contact book may suffice, but if your 10 or 12 sales people have hundreds of products and hundreds of customers and dozens of orders, you need a system.
That’s actually not CRM. That is ERP. So why are you shopping for CRM? Because you are shopping for the wrong thing. You have been mis-educated. By the very people that want your money, giving you what you don’t need, all while patting themselves on the back.
Why does CRM deal with fluff and not the steak?
Because to deal with the steak, you have to deliver results. Take for example a program like QuickBooks. You can produce invoices, make payments, and ultimately produce financial statements that can be used to evaluate the success of your enterprise from year to year. It can be used to complete your taxes, to enforce cash controls, reconcile accounts, monitor budgets and track expenditures.
But CRM is different, it’s a rolodex, that multiple people can use at the same time! Very little benefit for way more money than you paid for QuickBooks.
Also simple, but you will fail. You should start with Microsoft Exchange Server. Because with that, the company now can use email to communicate with your client base, all with a shared rolodex. The server is a few thousand dollars and the IT consultants are twice that per year. But the benefits are finally defined.
- aid communication among your team
- contact prospects, clients, leads, build relationships with contacts
- coordinate and communicate with co-workers
- distribute written policy guidelines and instructions to your sales force
For many businesses this would be worth amortizing thousands of dollars a year. But here is the problem. Why would you spend thousands of dollars for something that is practically free? You can implement gmail shared contacts for dollars per month. For ten people in your office, you could have save yourself the cost of servers, IT consultants, dedicated computer rooms, new network wiring and a proprietary framework and the expenditures might well be less than 200 dollars a year. A little elbow grease, and you save a lot of money. If you have fifty people in the office, the cost of an enterprise level server for email and contact management might change.
QuickBooks doesn’t look so bad. Quickbooks for the bookkeeper, the owner and the Vice President of Operations and gmail for everyone else. You can even cloak your gmail addresses behind your companies domain name, your customers will not know how simple you keep things.
The problem is not that everyone is gullible. The problem is that your sales force is gullible. And once you commit to a system, your sales force will be the first to jump ship. So before you begin, stop lying and let’s make an honest assessment.
- Do you need a trouble ticket system?
- Do you need to measure marketing campaigns?
- Do you need an industry-specific calculations to complete a quotation?
- If you budget 1 percent of gross revenues for software training and customization, what’s your budget?
If an approach fails, can the data be quickly moved? Can the system communicate by phone, fax, email, post, Federal Express overnight, text messaging, multimedia messaging, whatsapp? Your number one goal should be to take the next step, not the next leap.
Wow, OK. Maybe there is a system that can do several things. Wrong again.
If you are looking for CRM, find a solution compatible with Zapier.com as this will be a step toward verifying that you can insert information and extract information from your CRM solution without undue expense.
Technology now makes the communication of data (if authorized) possible. Leverage that. Don’t enter into a system that does not meet that low threshold. That means, if you are comparing the notion of installing QuickBooks to Zoho cloud, the choice is made for you. If you are comparing the prospect of cloud based vs. local network-server QuickBooks, the decision is obvious. Whatever drawbacks there are to the cloud are outweighed by the pick up and move to a new platform criteria.
How much training did you receive from google on searching? On using email? If your CRM solution fails because of a lack of training, it wasn’t the solution they sold you. It was a lot of wasted training. You failed again.
You will fail by being idealistic. Be pragmatic. Form a solution, move on. Your workforce may need written policy. Write it and enforce it. Until you change it. If they don’t like it, they can work for another company, where they may finally learn to accept it.