Be Likeable… and Use your CRM System

Posted by on May 17, 2017 in Blog |

Why are some sales people less successful than others? They create customer relationships that should lead to a sale, but it doesn’t. Does CRM make a difference? What can they learn from successful sales people? In my youth, shortly after beginning my career in business (which was a long time ago), I got to talking with a salesman on a long train journey. He was making notes in a black book. (This was in the days before Blackberry and PDA’s and IT-supported CRM.)  He noticed my curiosity; didn’t seem to mind my rudeness. I asked what he was doing. “These are my customers”, he said. I said, “It doesn’t look much like an address book to me; you seem to be writing a lot about each one. He said, “I write in the names of spouses and kids and birthdays and anniversaries.” I said, “Why?” He said it helped when visiting a customer to ask how his wife was or to ask how the kids were or if one of his kids had some critical exam at school; how did he get on? I don’t remember what he was selling, but he had to keep in touch with over 500 customers. “Remembering something personal establishes some common ground”, he said, “which helps a lot. It helps re-construct some relatedness from previous calls and visits before we talk about new products and getting an order. I might not have had an opportunity to visit for 1-2 years so I can’t remember things like I would with personal friends.” I was a recently graduated engineer and was working in a team at Dupont, where remembering personal things about colleagues was an unconscious part of working together. I had difficulty feeling comfortable with this ‘black book’ kind of relationship-support way of relating to people.  I said, “This sounds a little bit phony to me;  don’t people find it offensive?”   He said not. “If you ask about someone’s son Arnold and how was their skiing holiday, they take it as a compliment. Get his son’s name wrong and it’s an insult.” “It takes a little while to learn how to do it sincerely; it’s a different kind of relatedness builder, but it’s not dishonest. It has to become part of who you are, seamless, you know? You just need to remember that there is a business purpose to your relationship, and you don’t have all day, and you need to close the deal; and that’s who you are.” This was my introduction to CRM systems (though the label and the TLA came much later). Looking back on this encounter with many years of sales force consultancy work and CRM projects behind me (JI Management Consultants),...

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How to select the right CRM system in 3 easy lessons

Posted by on Apr 5, 2017 in Blog |

Lesson one is: Bigger isn’t always best; Cheaper isn’t always better value; Best isn’t always most appropriate. It should go without saying that appropriate business choices benefit the business; it’s a shame when people don’t stop to consider what ‘appropriate’ means.  In simple terms it means understanding yourself, your needs, your payback possibilities. Meet those and you’ve got a good business decision. But that’s not the way people approach business purchases today, so it’s little wonder that the CRM success rate of 25% of projects pleasing their owners with acceptable benefits has remained unchanged for 12 years. Nancy Sinatra said it, ‘Right is right, but you ain’t been right yet.’  And CRM shoppers this is for you; …. the chances of you getting it right are slim. The industry hasn’t yet come up with a successful way of making good CRM decisions. For many, the ‘brand leader’ is the no-brainer choice. It used to be said that if you don’t understand what you are doing you won’t get fired for buying IBM. Anyway, why should you put extra effort/thought into understanding the CRM choice. Why is CRM so difficult? I believe that one reasons is that people think it should be easy. Delegating a software purchase to the staff sounds like good participative management. It’s democratic. Knowing the CRM business as I do, and with 20 years experience watching people fail and helping some to succeed it looks insane. Why? Well for a start, a staff committee can’t know what the business needs to do to transform customer relationships into business growth. Today we have been educated to believe that business purchases can be managed using the same skills we learn when shopping at Tesco. And we are all aware how we demand immediate gratification. Go to the right aisle select the best you can afford, put it in the shopping basket; Job done! We also know that with so many excellent products to choose from we can quite rightly say ‘If it isn’t on the shelf, I can’t buy it’. If it was rubbish Tesco would not allow it on the shelf. Of course you could always try Sainsbury’s or some other similar outlet or web shopping, and the answer would only be slightly different. There is little risk of getting it wrong. I know this is not yet sounding like a lesson in how to buy CRM, but stick with me. If you go shopping for CRM in the belief that you can’t get it wrong you might just skimp on the diligence with which you ask how the benefit will materialize. If you want coffee you want coffee, so go to the coffee aisle and make...

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Setting the Context for Successful CRM

Posted by on Oct 15, 2016 in Case Studies |

JI-MC was retained by a large multi-channel brewing and alcoholic beverage group to look at and quantify the ways that a corporate CRM system would help the business to be more competitive and grow in the face of stiff competition and a declining market. In our methodology is enshrined the proposition that senior people/directors know how the business works. Our consulting and discussion record process enables us to identify what is known, what is relevant and what is misleading. Our contribution is to scout out the way ahead, and ease the processes of change, but we always start ‘from here’. As a leading CRM consultancy of over 20 years experience, we find it is always instructive to be reminded that every organisation is different and what works for one company cannot be assumed to be right for a ‘similar’ company. On this assignment we discovered that what was right for one division would not work for another.  Large CRM projects are notoriously expensive and we felt that the CRM payback from many different CRM support processes mighr become compromised into a corporate oversimplification by and insensitive CRM system vendor. We identified 8 sets of customer intereaction processes and 8 different types and levels of expected payback; and that was before we began to engage with management on exactly what customer centricity meant. In any business the customer’s perception of a supplier’s delivery quality is the only truth worth looking at (internal performance statistics need to be kept but they measure effort; they don’t measure satisfaction). How to create that desired experience of ‘delighted customer’ every time is not well understood, so difficult to achieve; and people are often apprehansive about sking the customer directly. If, with the support of an appropriate CRM solution your staff create the delighted customer perception time,after time, after time, your CRM investment will pay back, and the magic of this often elude the IT mind. We were pleased to have contributed to setting the context for success for such an important corporate...

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Our Style

Posted by on Nov 15, 2012 in Featured |

We work in partnership with management providing clarity so that their desired outcomes happen. We know that all actions in an organisation result from management decisions; management facing difficult times need the supportive consulting style the helps them better see the road ahead. JI-MC consultants provide just that.

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Tell us what you want to do

Posted by on Oct 16, 2012 in Blog, Featured |

You are ready to grow. Your market is there and moving. Your part of the economy is not bogged down so the time is now. Mervyn King just said so, and Carney is on the way! You’ve survived. You know that in good times your business needs to be scalable, but you are not. So how do you get to ‘there’ from here? You can see that there is competition for the business that you want to close. The customer interface is where things need to change. More activity, more lead generation (and better lead qualification; don’t want to waste time). Is it marketing that needs expanding? Is your web site doing what it should? Is the social media thing quite beyond you? Is it sales relationships, more tele-selling, more staff? Working to what disciplines? Will a spreadsheet do? No, it will have to be a CRM database. Have you got a sales process? Is there a sales cycle understanding that you can pass on? Is your sales resource scalable (this is a very difficult area for SME’s seeking growth). We can help you build the customer interface with sales marketing, customer service web analytics; the whole package…. So tell us what you want to do. We’re different… We...

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