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This is the second installment of our excerpt series from our White Paper, “The Beginner’s Guide to CRM: An Honest Look at the Pros and Cons.” Go here to download the paper.
If you are exploring CRM, you probably have lots of questions. Questions about feasibility, questions about cost, questions about implementation, the questions may seem to never end.
Instead of suffering from analysis paralysis, just focus on these ten main CRM questions, and all the other issues should begin to resolve themselves.
While you may get the impression that CRM platforms are inevitable for your business, now may or may not be the right time to make the leap.
If you answer “yes” to many of these CRM questions, than a CRM system might be a good fit.
- Can you afford to fix your system “if the plumbing breaks” and something goes wrong with your data?
- Would you rather have more clients-per-agent or to simply hire more agents?
- Do you have someone you can call if you get in over your head?
- Would it harm your company if your competition were building proficiency with CRM while you are not?
- Do you have people who can champion this initiative that are knowledgeable about technology, data systems, and your business processes?
- Will your CRM team be able to take the time to learn about this platform?
- Will your CRM expert be able to teach the rest of your organization how to use the system?
- Do you suspect there may be inefficiencies in your sales processes?
- Will you be able to encourage adoption within your organization so that your team actually uses the system?
- Do you have the time and patience to read and understand CRM best practices?
It’s normal to answer “no” to a few of these questions, but more than five negative responses is a pretty strong sign. If you are unhappy with the results of the quiz, try speaking to a consultant who can help you prepare a strong foundation for your CRM.
Still have questions? We’re here to help. Contact us for a risk-free CRM consultation.
This is the second installment of our excerpt series from our White Paper, “The Beginner’s Guide to CRM: An Honest Look at the Pros and Cons.” Go here to download the paper.
CRM systems are powerful tools, but there are some CRM mistakes to avoid.
The following are seven most common CRM mistakes that can send users to “CRM hell:”
CRM Mistake # 1: Failing to commit to learning. High-end CRMs have substantial learning curves, even for technology and data professionals. Further, the curve differs not only from solution to solution, but also from organization to organization.
CRM Mistake # 2: Not doing comprehensive business planning. For many CRMs, implementation is 80 percent business planning, 20 percent technical work. The business planning should take place before the technical work, not during.
CRM Mistake # 3: Improvising the implementation. Most businesses that fail with CRM do so in implementation. Before beginning the process, seek out implementation guides and study them carefully.
CRM Mistake # 4: Over-relying on intuition. Do not assume that you are using your CRM correctly; read the best practices, train the users, and ensure everyone is following the rules.
CRM Mistake # 5: Having under-qualified people in charge. Often, CRM implementation and administration falls on the lap of someone who cannot support it, usually a sales or data-entry person. If an expert is not available, ensure that the project manager is thoroughly well-versed on the CRM best practices.
CRM Mistake # 6: Over-extending the platform. It is important to know the limitations of the platform and not go beyond those. For example, many CRMs are not suitable for project management. Trying to use or modify CRMs can create data and usability problems.
CRM # 7: Being too lax on data-entry processes. Record creation processes must be strictly followed at all times. At first, many teams see the CRM as a laborious data-entry exercise. But if they don’t respect the data entry rules and processes, the whole system can fail.
Still have questions? We’re here to help. Contact us for a risk-free CRM consultation.
GeauxPoint is pleased to release its newest white paper, The Beginner’s Guide to CRM: An Honest Look at the Pros and Cons. The CRM guide will help businesses get the most out of their investment, avoid CRM pitfalls, and learn CRM optimization strategies.
This blog post is the first installment of the series on the white paper. The series will go into depth about the topics presented in the document.
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems can be either the best or the worst thing to happen to your business. While many sources say that CRMs are quickly becoming must-have business tools, not everyone will experience an easy adoption.
This guide will help sales managers and business owners to fully understand, evaluate, and get started with CRM. It will explain what CRM does, evaluate CRM platforms, and provide a series of tools to help the reader decide if CRM is a good fit for them. Ultimately, the reader will gain a healthy understanding of CRM pros and cons, and will be able to make an informed decision of how to proceed.
So, should you set up a CRM right now? Although you may get the impression that CRM adoption is inevitable, it’s better to wait until you can commit the time and resources to a successful implementation.
However, once you are ready, a successful CRM launch can lead to breakthrough results for your business. This, of course, depends on your ability to implement and administer the system in accordance with best practices.
On next Thursday, June 25th, GeauxPoint will release its newest white paper, “The Beginner’s Guide to CRM: An Honest Look at the Pros and Cons of Customer Relationship Management”
In addition to simply introducing the topic of CRM to the un-initiated, the guide will explore both the good aspects to CRM as well as the bad. This is unusual, since most Web content for CRMs is mostly about making sales. GeauxPoint’s paper, however, seeks to make audiences think twice.
“Too many clients were coming to us after they’d failed with their CRM,” says John Nettles, GeauxPoint consultant. “We’re happy to help, but we’d wished they’d have succeeded the first time. It would have saved the a lot of headache and tons of money.”
The white paper paper will help sales managers and business owners to fully understand, evaluate, and get started with CRM. It will explain what CRM does, evaluate CRM platforms, and provide a series of tools to help the reader decide if CRM is a good fit for them.
If readers do determine that they want to move forward with CRM, there a tools to help them get started. One such tool is a chart comparing multiple popular CRM platforms.
Another purpose of the white paper is to let audiences know that if they become stuck, there is always someone they can call.
“We don’t hard sell our services,” says Nettles. “When someone calls us, if the answer is simple, we help them right then and there, no strings attached. If the answer is complex, we offer higher services as well as pointing them in the right direction if they want to help themselves.“
The paper will be in the latest of a series of GeauxPoint publications. The consultancy hopes to continue to publish guides whenever it spots a widespread business problem the company can help solve.
If you’d like to speak about CRM, contact us directly.
As salesforce.com for nonprofits increases in popularity, many organizations are making the same avoidable mistakes with the platform.
We’ve identified 5 salesforce.com pitfalls for nonprofits to look out for. This list comes from experience in working with dozens of non-profit clients.
When performing nonprofit implementation and administration for Salesforce.com, look out for the following traps:
Pitfall #1: Thinking Salesforce is a Purely Technical Endeavor
In reality, Salesforce implementation is about 80 percent business planning, 20 percent technical work. While the technical work is important, it’s easy to get lost in the “how to” and lose focus of the “why.”
For this reason, if you choose to hire a consultant to help you implement Salesforce, you should be sure to find one that understands the trinity of business planning, Salesforce.com, and technology. Too often, GeauxPoint is contracted to fix the mess of “technology consultant” that said “sure, why not” when asked if they can help implement Salesforce.
Pitfall #2: Over-relying on Vendor Support
Often times, Salesforce users add apps to their platform for certain functionalities, such as mail-merges or household management. However, these clients often underestimate the complexity of what they are trying to accomplish, and become dependent on the sometimes reluctant support of third-party app vendors.
For many non-profits, configuring apps will often require some involvement on the vendor side. Their support teams often have to tweak things on the backend or provide essential info directly to clients.
However, vendors are feeling the burn from needy non-profit clients, and some are even turning away non-profit business. This can leave the client in a bad spot.
The reason vendors are turning off to non-profits is that it costs too much to support them. When the vendors realize that a client is trying to do something that is way more complex than what their budget can support, the vendors will choose to walk away client rather than adopt a lifelong series of problems.
Pitfall #3: Not Accounting for “Total Cost of Ownership”
Salesforce only grants ten free licenses. You can get more at a discount, however.
When budgeting for any project, it’s important to look at the big picture. In Salesforce’s case, some commonly overlooked expenses training, implementation, and process development. This is not to say that total cost of Salesforce is super expensive; the non-profit licensing model makes it very affordable. But you should know what to account for.
Note that this is especially true for open-sourced alternatives to Salesforce, where costs are commonly underestimated. For these solutions, the difficulty is higher for both the implementation and administration, which is especially expensive in the long-run.
Pitfall #4: Loading the Instance With Apps
There are some really great apps available for Salesforce, but it’s a best practice to do as much as you can with the native Salesforce instance. You can do more than you think with the pure instance, and those apps are a lot harder to remove than they are to install.
Further, third-party apps can create data issues. Many apps require you to move data to the app-holder’s database, where ownership lines get hazy. Further, being developing your business processes around an app means that if that app producer goes out of business, you may have to re-develop your entire salesforce strategy.
Pitfall #5: Not Reviewing Salesforce Best Practices
Many organizations that fail with Saleforce do so because they try to use the platform for something that it was not designed to do, or in the way that it was designed to do it.
Before planning even starts, it helps to understand Salesforce and how it works. This can be accomplished by thorough review of Salesforce best practices. This will ensure that your business goals align with the capabilities of the system.
Salesforce is a registered trademark of salesforce.com and is used here with permission.
Any questions about Salesforce for your non-profit? Drop a line below or contact us directly.
GeauxPoint is experiencing an influx of clients who need help opening call centers. We believe that this is indicative of opportunity for existing health and human services call centers at large.
Many new healthcare-related call centers are springing up because of a reform-related payment structure known as “capitation.” Under a capitated payment system, insurers give healthcare providers lump sums to care for entire populations. For example, one million dollars might be allocated to care for the elderly, mentally ill, crippled, etc.
Also, under capitation, the healthcare providers keep what they don’t spend. This encourages efficiency. Under the old system, providers were commonly reimbursed for whatever clients spent.
One way that healthcare providers are becoming thriftier under capitation is by setting up call/contact centers, most often referred to as care centers by the providers.
There are several reasons why the care centers are cutting costs. One is that the centers provide cost-effective alternatives for patients to receive information. For instance, under the old model, patients might unnecessarily go to the ER just for information. With care centers in place, the patients have an accessible and cost-effective alternative.
Another way that care centers are more efficient is through technology-empowered communication. For example, automated reminders are proving to be effective at reducing expensive and wasteful appointment no-shows.
A third way that care centers are increasing efficiency is by created a better-informed client base. The call centers help patients understand what their obligations are and how they can prepare for hospital exams and events.
So where is the opportunity for existing call-centers?
There is no good reason for healthcare providers to waste millions setting up and operating call centers when others can do it better and cheaper.
Currently, the providers are creating care-centers in vacuums, essentially re-inventing the wheel for each unit. Once the care centers are implemented, the providers are left to figure out what makes a care center tick. When left alone, items like quality control, scheduling, management, and reporting are figured out largely by trial and error. Often times, the care centers operate under woefully inefficient processes for lack of knowledge of an alternative.
If the providers won’t give up control of their care center completely, existing call centers can at least help them set up the facilities. Lately, GeauxPoint has been perfecting a model to develop these centers. A major component for the model is taking the business objectives of the providers and retrofitting these with existing best practices of health and human service call centers. Also, the methodology includes components for training (management and specialists), quality control, staffing, and recruiting.
Existing call centers that are seeking new revenue-generating opportunities should be on the lookout for new care centers. For a more aggressive approach, the established call centers can propose their own care-center programs to healthcare providers who have recently come under capitated funding structures.
If existing call centers work quickly to fill this space, the result could be long-term revenue generating relationships. However, if the healthcare providers fill this need for themselves, the opportunity could be gone for good.
Expect more content on this subject to come.
Have any questions or comments about capitation and capitated payments? Drop a comment below.
Salesforce® is the most valuable investment that many businesses will make this year.
A large percentage of the companies that adopt a Salesforce instance will choose to implement it without outside help. However, many of these businesses will fail for reasons beyond their control.
The #1 Reason Why Businesses Fail at Salesforce Implementation and How to Avoid it
We’ll let you in on a little secret: most GeauxPoint Salesforce work is in re-implementations. This means that the client unsuccessfully attempted to set up Salesforce themselves, and then later realized that maybe they need a little help.
Implementing a Salesforce instance without outside help is certainly possible and there’s tons of content out there to help DIY’ers. Still, missteps are frequent and costly.
The Most Common Failure Scenario: 3 Critical Mistakes to Avoid
About 70 percent of clients that approach GeauxPoint for Salesforce assistance have attempted and failed at a Salesforce self-installation. This equates to thousands of hours and dollars lost. In many cases, failed implementation can harm data systems, which then require laborious and expensive “unwinding.”
Why do so many business fail at implementation? Usually, they make the following three critical mistakes for Salesforce implementation:
Critical Mistake #1: Procuring the Wrong Products or Licenses
Usually, clients make first contact with software products like Salesforce-based solutions through marketing, such as on the Web or through a vendor at a conference. It’s not clear to them at this point what their options are. They only understand the potential benefits presented by the marketer. As a result, the client purchases licenses, overlays, and third-party apps that aren’t appropriate.
Critical Mistake #2: Jumping Into Implementation
Right after obtaining licensing, clients jump right into what seems the next logical step: implementation. The client may read and review some of the many guides available, but often times they improvise through most of the process.
Critical Mistake #3: Retroactively Planning
At this point, obstacles begin to emerge, and it’s often too late to fix them. Clients slowly become aware of fundamental problems in their implementation strategy. They then deploy a series of Band-Aid fixes and outside applications that only make matters worse
After these three mistakes, clients are usually faced with a choice: either abandon their Salesforce investment or perform a re-implementation with an expert.
By now, Salesforce is a big deal in most industries, and the ones that are lagging behind are quickly catching up. The following five industries are seeing lightening-fast adoption of Salesforce and the gains that come with it:
Salesforce for Biotechnology
“It’s not okay to keep your customers at arms length. You’ve got to be engaged with them at every step of the way,” said New England Biotlab CIO and head of IT, Ken Grady, in an interview with Salesforce.com
In an industry that grew 10.8 percent from 2009-2014 to $289 billion, business leaders are clambering to form closer relationships to prospects and customers. With such high growth potential and high incidences of success, effective sales-pipeline management can catapult growth.
GeauxPoint says: Biotechnology is certainly an industry ripe for Salesforce adoption, and we expect the demand for CRM to increase from this industry.
Salesforce for Higher Education
Colleges and universities are elevating their fundraising, recruiting, and admission efforts to new heights through Salesforce. Their large and complex alumni and donor-management strategies benefit greatly through advanced relationship management.
Some popular draws to Salesforce from higher education institutions include:
- Campaign management,
- Real-time analytics
- Web portals
- Team collaboration
- Mobile access,
- The ability to build custom applications without having to code
GeauxPoint says: Many of the principles we coach non-profits on are being used to great effect in higher education.
Salesforce for Financial Planners and Wealth Managers
Although initially Salesforce faced a lukewarm reception from some financial planners, many have since seen the light.
Effective use of CRMs like Salesforce are becoming essential components for competition in the financial planning world. The company that can provide the perfect number of touches in the most efficient and accurate manner possible are winning larger and larger market shares.
GeauxPoint says: It’s an exciting time to be in the financial planning world. The financial businesses we’ve served have been our most enthusiastic and grateful clients.
Salesforce for Associations
The way people use associations is changing, and many such organizations are modifying the way they bring value to their clients. One thing is certain for associations: closer member relationships are essential. Through Salesforce, associations are increasing member retention, growing their constituencies, and creating stronger relationships with existing members.
GeauxPoint says: CRMs are especially critical for associations who are trending to the negative. For associations who are worried about their long-term health or that are doing better than ever, Salesforce is a powerful growth engine.
Salesforce for Non-Profits
Thanks to the Salesforce Foundation, non-profits can license the platform at an affordable rate. This helps them step up their fundraising games drastically. Also, since Salesforce doesn’t require much in the way of upfront tech investments, even small non-profits can use the system to great effect.
GeauxPoint says: Advancing worthy causes by promoting innovative technology is a core value of GeauxPoint and we’ve witnessed their success first hand.
Innovation is one buzzword that never seems to outgrow its welcome. Perhaps this is because when true innovation is effectively cultivated, growth always follows.
This can be easily observed in the nonprofit world, where funders are changing their funding habits and processes to better accommodate forward thinkers. For example, organizations like the Drucker Institute, established by famous innovation consultant Peter Drucker, dispense $100,000 annual awards to organization who bring about change “that creates a new dimension of performance.”
One effect of this elevated value of innovation is the spread of start-up culture into non-profits. Rather than traditional practical but dry paperwork-intensive funding cycles, organizations like Pitch It! hold Shark Tank-like showcases, where entrepreneurially minded non-profits pitch new and exciting ideas to a business-savvy panel.
This represents a cultural shift for many non-profits, who are accustomed to speaking the language of the academic – logical, straightforward, and terse. Now, the non-profits are learning to speak and think “entrepreneur,” – that is, excitedly, hopelessly optimistic, and inspirinal.
Innovation Consulting in For-Profit Businesses
Meanwhile, in the for-profit world, businesses are uncovering new uses for innovation consultants all the time. In doing so, they are re-discovering their entrepreneurial spirit and bringing a sense of excitement and adventure to the workplace.
In the current business climate, a passion for innovation is change is almost necessary to stay relevant in many industries. Leaders must not only navigate change, but also seek it out. In GeauxPoint’s white paper titled “2020: Can You Get There?” we identified the four major sources for change in the insurance industry, namely disruptive innovations, technological upheaval, consumer-culture shifts, and price-determination fluctuations. The same challenges are being posed to other industries besides insurance, as well. In cases such as these, innovation consultants often times are the first to spot large problems that may go undetected by entire industries
Increasingly, businesses are looking outside of their walls for assistance in dealing with large-scale changes. These organizations are reaching out to tech-savvy, trend watching professionals to help them blaze new trails.
A main benefit of this is that powerhouse consulting — such as that offered by world-leading consultants like Deloitte, Pew, Kaiser, etc. — is being brought down to the local level. Now, small and large businesses alike can meet face-to-face with knowledgably professionals who are dispersing from technological can innovative epicenters to smaller cities.
The rapid pace of innovation and change that is driving the demand for innovation consultants will likely continue for some time. As these consultants continue to scale up to meet demand for their services, businesses are eager to retain these professionals. A positive working relationship between an innovation consultant and business can be a lucrative venture and may even be a necessity for industries in the midst of transformation.
I&R needs to change how it handles data, and fortunately AIRS is providing leadership and action on this by developing a linked data strategy. As AIRS continues its progress with the linked data strategy, the rest of I&R should begin preparing for the advent of I&R linked data.
What is an API? What is Linked Data? How did this come about?
If you’re up-to-date on the linked data strategy, skip this section. In 2014, AIRS recognized the need to develop an application-programming interface (API) for I&R data. This would allow the I&R data stores more accessible to each other and to the outside world, and enable key technologies such as mobile app development.
Without getting too technical, AIRS decided eventually on a “linked data” strategy. This strategy would give each data item a series of uniform characteristics that make them index-able. It’s similar to the way search engines like Google work. For example, when you search for “How to make eggs benedict,” Google displays a list of recipes. This is possible because the website-makers told Google that their content is indeed a “recipe,” and that the recipe is for “eggs benedict,” and so on. This may be an over-simplified analogy but you get the basic idea.
I&R’s Next Huge API Hurdle
The development of the linked data strategy is a tremendously technical task that is in capable hands. But once the AIRS team has built the “airplane,” how are we going to fly it? Where will it take off and how is it going to land? These are questions that I&R leaders should be exploring immediately.
For instance, one major issue will be data management. Data is a shared digital resource that needs to be maintained, like water in a swimming pool. If it’s left to stagnate, it’ll get funky. It’s too costly a job for just one organization to maintain and having everyone chip in a little effort is laborious to implement.
Another issue is getting all the service providers on the same page in regards to data management. Linked data is a great strategy but it requires some unification and industry-wide change. For example, everyone has to agree to standards and adapt their businesses to include these guidelines. The diverse interests of I&R providers could make this difficult.
These are just some of the tasks I&R must begin to address, and no doubt more obstacles will surface. AIRS is taking a huge step forward on behalf of I&R, but implementing the linked data strategy will be a major undertaking even after the technology is developed. To prepare, I&R leaders should begin receiving direction on how to get ready for the advent linked data.