Tag Archive: value

Is CRM Valuable?

July 30th, 2019

A Client Question
When clients decide to upgrade ERP, they also look at CRM (customer relationship management) because it makes sense to align the technology infrastructure into a common platform that will be fully integrated and scalable. However, what if it isn’t part of an ERP project? When does it make sense to jump into the CRM world? One client asked us just this question.

The Answer
In their case, they could achieve a powerful return on investment with CRM. It provided the tools and technology that would strengthen their relationship with their current customers, as well as help them expand sales with current customers and create a pipeline of new customers. Specifically, when meeting with customers, the sales reps gained insights into customer preferences and ways to strengthen the relationship. If they captured those ideas into CRM on the spot, the next person who interacted with that customer could see the notes and tailor the conversation. These seemingly small preferences can go a long way!

In terms of expanding business, they needed robust sales reporting that would tell them if they were falling off in a particular area or if they sold one product without its complimentary product so that the sales rep could follow up. Last but not least, they wanted a way to track potential new customers and expansions of business. For example, if a reseller was opening a new facility, they wanted to track it in CRM so that everyone had access to the timing, forecast, and other critical information. Also, since it was a collaborative sales environment, they wanted a way to track potential new customers and where they were in the sales cycle so that they could forecast future sales and the likelihood of it occurring. Sales forecasts were the 80/20 of success in this client because it was in a high growth mode where cash forecasting is of critical importance.

 A simple CRM solution fit the bill. A few years later, they were ready to upgrade their ERP infrastructure. At that time, they had the base CRM disciplines functioning and so it was an easy transition to a fully integrated system with CRM functionality. This client has been recognized multiple times for its substantial growth and success.

Food For Thought
Although CRM systems can be a great idea (as it was in our client’s case), if your sales and support teams aren’t ready to enter at least the key data, you’ve just bought an Audi that sits in your garage.

Start implementing process disciplines early. Enter information about your customers that will be handy at a later date.

Start tracking key meetings and prospects. Are you able to make good decisions from what you are tracking? If not, wait!

Aggressively push to start tracking vital information about your customers, even if you put it in Outlook or a spreadsheet to start. Soon you’ll be ready for a simple CRM solution, followed by more powerful ones as you get used to driving your car on city streets, you’ll be ready to brave the freeways.

If you are interested in running your situation by us, contact us.

Did you like this article?  Continue reading on this topic:
Obsession with Your Customer
A Systems Checkup


Global Consultants & The Value of Diversity

December 23rd, 2018

 

When I was in Australia recently week for a meeting with my global consulting strategy group, it hit home that there is power in diversity.  We represent 4 countries (Australia, Japan, U.S. and Canada), a diverse group of company types (from tiny to Fortune 100 businesses ranging from manufacturing to healthcare to nonprofit/government), a diverse group of specialties (strategy, innovation, organizational change, financial performance etc.) and more.  Diverse viewpoints definitely add value!

I joined the group around 3 years ago. At the time, I was the only woman (although another joined shortly after), and our mentor said he thought I’d add a unique value for that reason in addition to others.  I didn’t see his point until I was the only woman for a brief period of time, and it turned out he was right! I also have received significant value from the group members who have the least in common with me – a fresh perspective can go a long way!  Along the way, I’ve noticed that some of the best feedback comes from unlikely sources. Have you sought out diversity, even when it isn’t comfortable?

One tip to implement this week:
Let’s start by thinking about the groups and people we interact with on a monthly basis.  Are we hanging out with people who are just like us? For example, there is a member of my group who does practically the same thing as I do, just in Australia.  He is easy to talk to (of course), and he adds a unique value because he understands my questions/ concerns but if the group was full of these people, I imagine I would have received only 20% of the value to date.  

It is easy for us to become comfortable with people like us and not seek out diverse, sometimes scary opinions from others.  For example, I remember when one group member pushed back on my comments, and I truly didn’t agree at the time but when I listened to the session again in the car a few months later, I realized he was right.  I just wasn’t understanding and/or ready to think about it at the time. How many of these have you ignored, thinking you were right?

Although I see great value in the global nature of my group, it isn’t because I focus on having a global practice (although part of my practice focuses on international global corporations).  Instead, it simply brings a diverse viewpoint – even if I worked 100% in my hometown and never strayed (as one of our members does in a small Australian town), I’d get huge value from thinking differently.  He has no desire to move beyond his hometown yet he said our group is one of his most important priorities.

Don’t think about diversity in the light they talk about on the news. How many Fox News and CNN people listen to both programs?  Actually, I’ve heard more Australians who tell me they listen to both to understand than I’ve heard Americans. Instead, why not embrace that next person you think “on, no!  I don’t want him/her in my group” and see what happens and whether you gain a diverse perspective. I’ll bet 80% of the time, you’ll feel better off in the long run. And, remember, one bad apple (the 20%) doesn’t make a trend.

 



How You Learn More By Teaching

August 14th, 2018

If you want to learn, teach!  

Recently I taught a Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) class for my APICS Inland Empire Chapter, and it reminded me of this fact.  In order to teach anything (whether in a classroom or one-on-one), you need to brush up on the subject matter and think about examples, case studies or metaphors you can use to explain the concepts.  TAs my consulting mentor always says, he learns more than the students when he teaches.

Which topics should you become proficient in to enable success? What have you taught lately?

 

One tip to implement this week:

 

Whether you are the owner/ corporate executive or a team member with no power, you can teach.  Start by picking a topic. Let’s identify two subjects upfront for you to choose from: 1) A topic you are expert and comfortable in.  2) A topic you need to become more proficient in to excel in your career or so that your company will be successful.

Next, begin by developing a short session about your topic.  Identify your audience, and then put yourself in their shoes.  If you were sitting in your session, what would you want to know?  What would be the most benefit to you? The key is to think from the student’s point-of-view. How can you make sure it is clear?  Perhaps examples, case studies or metaphors will add value.

For example, in our CSCP class, we use four instructors because it provides a higher value experience for our students.  One of our instructors provides insightful examples from stories in the news. Another provides a theoretical education and gives excellent helpful hints to remember formulas . The third and fourth provide practical examples from everyday work experiences/case studies from different points-of-view. Each provides a unique value, and the sum is better than the parts.  

Give it a try. You might surprise yourself with how good you’ll be and how much you’ll learn!

 



The Value of New Beginnings and the Old

May 24th, 2018

This weekend I was in North Carolina for the wedding reception of my Godson Alex and his bride, Grace. They were happy, planned the perfect day and it all went fabulously……such an impressive – and young (or maybe I’m just getting older) – couple! I spent lots of time in high school and college hanging out with my best friend Sandi and her family, and so it is always great to go back to spend time with family.

 

 

 

 

 

Sandi and I turn 50 in the next month and so we plan to do a few trips this year to commensurate the occasion.  It is great to have a friend that I’ve known most of my life. There is certainly value in the old as well as the new.  Are you appreciating your long-term customers who have been with you through thick and thin as well as your new, ideal customers?

One tip to implement this week:
Don’t we tend to take our long-term, valuable relationships for granted?  Admit it! Of course, it is easy to do so.

Perhaps we should think about valued customers, suppliers, employees and other partners.  Pick up the phone and give them a call or stop by for a visit. I find it is always good to catch up. There were several relationships from my first large client that got me started.  I wouldn’t be successful today if it weren’t for what I learned from them and/or the chance they took on a new consultant.

Although I started this by thinking of new beginnings, I am reminded that I fly back at a terribly early hour on Monday (as anyone who knows me would be horrified) because one of those key contacts from my first client is in town and we are going to our old haunt, Red Robin.  Should be fun! Later that day, I meet with some new contacts to start new beginnings. Nice to have a great mix.

Who will you be first on your list to connect with?

 



Hidden Figures & Providing Value

January 16th, 2017

supply chain

I went to see the movie, “Hidden Figures” last weekend and really enjoyed it! It was an uplifting story about what perseverance can achieve. Three brilliant African American women were the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit at a time when women, let alone African-American women were not considered important or involved in anything important.

One of the women ran the group of African-American women known as human computers (although wasn’t recognized as a supervisor). As a new contraption came on board (an IBM computer), she realized they would be without a job. Instead of digging her head into the sand or complaining, she found a way to continue to provide value. She taught herself Fortran (computer language) and developed the group into computer operators. Do you take this approach with much less threatening situations?

Hidden Figures movie

One tip to implement this week:

I find that we have gotten into a bit of a rut — there is a lot of complaining, talk about “they” causing problems, and looking for blame in organizations. This week, let’s jar ourselves out of this rut!

The next time you think about a frustrating topic or someone brings up a topic and wants you to commiserate about the sad state of affairs in your company, department, government or whatever else might arise, STOP. Think about these brave women in Hidden Figures who were at a much higher risk for just doing a good job. How could you respond to the situation more productively?

Can you find a solution? Can you brainstorm with your colleagues to contribute to a solution or path forward? If nothing comes to mind, perhaps follow the old school route of these women — get a book to stir ideas. You probably won’t even have to steal one from the library! These days, we can find almost anything we need on the Internet. Or, get in touch with a trade or industry organizations. There are countless resources available — and we don’t have nearly the roadblocks on our road to success that these women in Hidden Figures experienced. Think solution; not roadblock.

Persevere and I bet success and personal fulfillment will follow.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”