Do you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool in place, that enables small business owners to identify; a decline in sales, loss of existing clients, identify your best clients, the position of the decision maker, where your best sales are coming from and much more?

Or is your CRM tool seen as another irritant which takes up too much of your time?

Listen to my interview with Australia’s leading CRM expert Gill Walker. She will open your eyes to the huge opportunities your CRM system will give you to develop more business. Which all of your Sales People will love!

Transcript

Dylis

Hello everyone. This is Dylis Guyan from dylisguyan.com and I’m really excited to introduce my guest today. This is a lady from Australia and her name is Gill Walker, Gill is known as the CRM fix it woman. Brilliant title, I must say. Anyone that’s got issues with CRM implementation, then call on Dr. Gill to diagnose the issues and then prescribe a solution. And Gill says, I especially like making esoteric information easily understandable for everyone even if they know nothing about CRM, technology or IT.

You are just my kind of lady, Gill.

So Gill is a CRM thought-leader who’s been featured on Business Online TV, interviewed with big thought leaders in Australia. She’s appeared on Eagle Waves Radio and she’s been published in Source and Family Business Magazine. And she has a fabulous blog on a range of topics relating to CRM and especially Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Hello Gill! I’m absolutely thrilled to have you on the podcast today.

Gill

Hello Dylis. All the way from, well not sunny at this time of day but warm Sydney in Australia. It’s great to be here. Thank you.

Dylis

Well, it’s a pleasure to have you on. Gill, just really to get started, just give us a bit of your background, a bit of your story, how you got to where you are today.

Gill

I’ve been playing in the CRM space for about twenty years and focused on dynamics since 2001 since before it came to Australia. Although I am now Australian and live here, I am actually British. I don’t come from all that far from you. I am originally from Liverpool.

I’ve been working in what I’m doing since 2004 but also with other CRM solutions. I do what I’m doing and it’s very much a melding of different ideas. I got into CRM by accident from training and consulting, then I moved into Clarify and Seable then I got head hunted to come to Australia. That’s what brought me here.

And once that came to an end, I set up Opsis, my own company and that’s been keeping me out of mischief since 2004. It’s very much business focused and training focused.

Dylis

Just for our listeners, could you describe to us what is CRM exactly.

Gill

It’s many things to many different people. Start from the basics. It stands for Customer Relationship Management. Although unfortunately in a lot of instances it becomes more customer record management because there is a lot more focus is on the data than on the people themselves or the relationship.

To take it a little bit further, what it should be is a single source of truth for all of the relevant customer information that is made centrally available so everybody who needs it can access it when they need it rather than having to go into the office or having to ask somebody who’s not working today or having to do whatever they need to do.

It should make a lot of information readily available so that the relationship with that client or customer can be managed by a team.

Dylis

And it’s about the right hand knowing what the left hand is doing, isn’t it?

Gill

Absolutely! Well, of course the right hand could be in one location or even one time zone and the left hand is in a completely different location or time zone but you can still jointly serve the client.

Dylis

And the other thing that I see as being a huge benefit is the ability to grow your business; so to use it as a business development tool.

Gill

It’s massive! One of its key points is one of the best ways of predicting the future is to create it. And you can do that by looking into the history and seeing what worked, what didn’t work, maybe what type of people made good clients and equally what type of people made less good clients. And from that, you can make strategic business decisions as to where you should invest your effort and money. Obviously, once you start investing your effort and money in the productive profitable areas, your growth will just happen.

Dylis

I think it’s absolutely invaluable and yet over all of the years that I’ve been working with business people and salespeople whose companies have got a CRM system or not, they are muddling along without this huge asset, which can literally change the face of their business. So what in your view are the biggest challenges that businesses and salespeople face when they’re working without a CRM system either a basic version or a more professional version?

Gill

The biggest risk is the loss of information and there’s fundamentally two different aspects to that loss of information. There’s the sort of trickle loss of information that can be viewed almost like a dripping tap or a tap that’s been left running a little bit where people think: I’ll remember that. I’ll remember to get back to that person. I’ll remember to send that proposal, do that email, whatever. And then they just forget. And there is a degree of that, that is almost bound to happen.

But the bigger risk is when a key salesperson, maybe not even necessarily a salesperson but a key person leaves, voluntarily or otherwise. Maybe it’s a planned departure, maybe not and they take with them, maybe their laptop if they were using a private laptop and all of the data that they’ve been working with. And depending on what proportion of their sales force, it could be if you are very unlucky, 100% of your pipeline and future revenue walks out of the door when that person walks out of the door.

So if we use our dripping tap analogy, that’s not a dripping tap. That’s the tap coming off the wall and a complete disaster.

Dylis

Absolutely! And that can be devastating to a business.

Gill

I’ve seen businesses go under when that happens. because if we take it even further, if the salesperson in question is malicious, they might even go and set up in competition and you’ve got the overhead and the infrastructure. They’ve got the pipeline and the clients. You go under and they are the Phoenix that rises from your ashes.

Dylis

Yes, absolutely. I cannot really get why anyone wouldn’t have a CRM system. However, having said that, one of the other issues I come across is that people are reluctant to complete it, to add the data. And I’ll say this very politely, rubbish in, rubbish out.

Gill

You’ve led me beautifully into my sausage machine story.

Dylis

Oh, please share!

Gill

You could have the best sausage machine in the world but if you put sawdust, recycled paper and a few slops of lard in the front end, you are not going to get good quality sausages out of the other end. And it’s not the sausage machines fault. That same sausage machine once it has been cleaned up a bit, given some good quality meat, bit of onion and all the other things, and I’m not a sausage maker, that same sausage machine will produce glorious sausages that will win you awards.

Dylis

Yeah, absolutely. So why do you think there is this reluctance to put accurate data in on a daily basis, to give you those good results? What is it that’s holding people back?

Gill

It’s probably two things overall. The first and the biggest is that when the solution was designed and I like to use the word solution rather than system because system has a very technology feel to it. Solution acknowledges that CRM includes technology but also the includes very much the people who need to use it.

When the solution was not designed thinking about the needs of those users, typically salespeople, so it was made too difficult, those users are thinking very much what’s in it for me and they don’t see any personal benefit. They see that the system/solution has been put in for their managers, for their boss, for the CEO to spy on them, to get reports and all they have to do is key in the data. There’s nothing in it for them. And that comes down to the original scoping of the system and whether it’s designed just for report or whether the data input user was considered as well and the training.

Let’s face it. None of us, including me, were born knowing how to use any CRM solution and so many companies just don’t bother. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard “my team are bright and will pick it up” I wouldn’t be on this podcast now.

Dylis

Exactly! And I think also it’s explaining why and the benefits to them. Like we spoke earlier about how you can develop your business from the data that they’ve collected.

Gill

That’s very important and all users need to understand that why and part of that is knowing not only how to do the job they need to do but understanding where that fits in to the entire business process of the organization and specifically the data flow that is an integral part of that business process.

So the data entry should be seen not just as, I have to sit in front of this screen and use this keyboard with my fingers which I hate doing and type this in there, it should be taken above that. Yes, that might be the technique that has to be used, but it is done so that the information is captured and managed to serve the customer, the user and the business more fully.

Dylis

Absolutely! The other thing that they can use it for is to identify strengths and weaknesses. Where I’m I doing well, where I’m I not doing so well, where do I need some development here? Managers can use this system in that way with the salesperson to help the development of their people to become more expert in what they do.

Gill

Like anything, once you can measure it, you can manage it. So depending on what particular data you’re talking about, you certainly can watch trends. Maybe one particular sales person does really well in one type of business or in one geography or if we look at the particular buyers they are selling to, it might be particular personality types. That can be used in a couple of ways. We can take the flip side of that and say, well, this person doesn’t do particularly well in these industries, these types of people these geographies, so give them some training to help them in whatever those areas are. Alternatively, we can take that and say, well, this person is good in the areas that they are good and allow them to pass this expertise on to other members of the team.

Dylis

Oh, I agree with you wholeheartedly, Gill and this is just missed so often and I’m sure you see this too, that you have people in companies and businesses where there are individuals silos of information. There isn’t enough sharing of skill, of knowledge, of business intelligence, sharing of knowledge in a particular market place and if that was implemented, it gives the opportunity for such business growth and of course the CRM system is the platform to discover that.

Gill

It absolutely is. It eminates from fear, where you’ve got a sales group and I don’t want to use the word team, but a sales group who all have very individual targets and no group or team level target, you are asking for that sort of behavior because people feel threatened. They don’t gel as a team, so they don’t work as a team, they don’t look at helping each other because it’s all about, I need to get that sale because I need to make my targets with my clients and my my my.

Whereas if you could turn it on its head and encourage support and sharing of information, that then will help the customers. So customers can be helped potentially 365 days in a year if that’s appropriate without any one person having to work those sorts of numbers.

Dylis

Yes, that’s right. And of course there’s another angle to this as well in terms of motivation because people have this idea that individuals won’t share because of the very things you’ve just said. But when you give them the opportunity to maybe speak at a meeting or to share with a group or to be a mentor or a buddy to someone, it’s really motivational for them and they blossom in that space. But again, the leaders have to create this.

And back to what I said, it’s all information that you can gather from your CRM system. It’s a wonderful tool that will give a wealth of information and so underused. So Gill, what would your top tips be for any business owner or salesperson or leaders in big businesses who want to introduce a CRM system? Tell us what your top tips are first of all and then we can talk about any added benefits. We’ve talked about a lot already but we can look at any further ones. So your top tips for introducing a CRM system.

Gill

My top tips for introducing a CRM solution anywhere in an organization, whether it’s organization wide or just to one department team within an organization is, well the top tips are three fundamentally.

Tip number one is scope the project correctly. Scoping is the design of the solution and make sure that the design meets the needs of both the reporting in other words the data that you want out and the people that have to put the information in. That is always step one.

 

Dylis

Sorry, Gill. That’s like you begin with the end in mind.

Gill

Yes. Then we need to go into the design, the building development phase. In that phase, this is one of my top tips, I would say stay as close to vanilla as is feasible and that will depend on the individual business.

Top tip number two is testing. Make sure that before you roll that system out to a large or larger number of users, it’s been tested thoroughly.

Top tip number three which cuts across the whole of your project is the training, not just end user training but training at the beginning of the project so you know what your selected technology will deliver out of the box. Training so people understand how things are developing. Make sure that your technical people really do understand the technology that they are developing.

And then your end user training, make sure that all of your users get training that focuses on their job and not just the how but the why of their job and shows them where their role fits into the process, the flow of the organization as a whole.

Dylis

Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! And if people put this, forgive me, I use the word system and I love the fact that you are referring to it as a solution, are there any additional benefits that we haven’t touched on?

Gill

I think we’ve touched on the important ones in that you can grow your business, you can get people working much more as a team and one of the things that you do see in some businesses is you’ve got marketing and sales working as two completely siloed bits of the business.

A properly implemented CRM solution can get the marketing and the sales people working perhaps not as one team but singing from the same hymn sheet like four-part or two-part harmony, both different but nevertheless the two together make much more than the two working as individuals. And that comes out from a whole range of ways.

We can then take it further into the people that are doing the customer service or the implementation of whatever goods or services the organization in question supplies and sells and then we can move the loop around further so every part of the business can feed intelligence into every other part of the business.

Dylis

Going back to what you said about sales and marketing, the number of times I see sales on the seventh floor and marketing on the fourth floor and never the twain shall meet. They don’t even talk to each other. They are linked. You can’t have them divorced one from the other.

Gill

When you put that social divide from the fourth floor to the seventh floor or even just either side of division in the office, you then hear: These leads that marketing provide are useless. We never get any sales from them. And marketing will be saying: We put all this effort into brochures and product development, marketing and lead generation and sales never want to take our leads. They want to do their own thing. They just throw rocks at each other.

But if you get that flow where marketing follow a process where they are involved in the early nurturing and then can get to the point where it’s a qualified lead that gets handed off along with a whole load of information to a sales person who can then start delving much more deeply into those qualified leads, needs and desires and craft a solution that works, all the while of course maintaining the information management within CRM so that intelligence is gained and feeds back. So that we can do the whole lot all over again without having to completely reinvent the wheel every time we want to take the car out of the drive.

Dylis

Exactly. For me, a CRM solution is essential to every business no matter how big, no matter how small. It’s absolutely essential. Gill, honestly, that has been such fabulous insight and I hope that the listeners have gained a lot from that. And if there is anyone listening who would like to talk to you further or would like to find out more, how can they get in touch with you?

Gill

Probably the best place to start is from our website which is www.opsis.com.au. That includes full contact details or if anybody can’t wait that long to get to the website the phone number is Australian so it is +61282123480.

Dylis

Brilliant! Gill, thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure to speak to such a thought leader on this subject and you’ve given us some absolutely superb insights into the reasons why and the benefits of having a really good CRM system in place. So thank you once again and have a great day.

Gill

Thank you. Good night.

Dylis

Bye for now.

Dylis

Thank you so much. Bye for now.

 

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