March 6th, 2014 by
Yesterday, I read a very interesting article titled “Why all these CRMs are terrible for your business”. The article listed every CRM provider from Salesforce, SAP and Oracle to Zoho and Sage. The author’s premise was that while each of theses providers had good software, the issue was that the CRM for the most part was not implemented correctly for the buyer.
That set me thinking on what MUST be done to enable successful CRM implementations. So here’s a set of thoughts on the issues that must be followed through to ensure that your CRM is used correctly and is successful for your business.
- Clearly define the problem that you want solved.
- Articulate the problem definition with your team
- Get inputs from the team and visualize what you want achieved
- Map out your business process clearly
- CRM is a business issue, not a technology implementation. The business team needs to be involved
- Set up a reasonable time-frame within which you want the system implemented.
- The biggest challenge for CRM implementations is lack of usage. Ensure that your team is on board. Answer the What’s In It For Me question clearly
- Emphasize features that will be of benefit to the team such as reminders, integrated views of customers, templates for repetitive tasks, email integration, faster expense reimbursements
- Ensure that you have management support for the implementation and that it is clearly visible to all the stake holders.
- The Implementation
- Migrate existing data that’s scattered across different people’s Excel sheets to the CRM system
- Ensure that you clean up the data on Excel before moving it to CRM. Remember Garbage In Garbage Out.
- Pilot to a small team and work out the kinks
- Ensure that YOUR process and terminology is reflected in the CRM
- Get best practices from your high performers modeled in the system
- Ensure that a set of good reports are properly configured and automatically delivered to senior managers
- Ensure that automatic reminders and alerts are set up for your team so that they are reminded of important meetings and tasks
- Get alerts set up to escalate issues to managers.
- CRM usage
- Launch the system with fanfare
- Have an initial training session, where you tell the team what to track and how to do it
- Send out reminder mails to your team during the first few months to ensure that they are using the system
- After a month, repeat the training and answer questions
- Ask one of the more advanced users on your team to be a mentor to the rest of the team
- Don’t accept excuses for non-usage
- Offer verbal encouragement or a small gift for consistent usage.
Follow through on these simple steps for a successful CRM implementation. Do get back to me with any additional thoughts you may have on this issue.
February 17th, 2014 by
All of us at Impel get very excited when we add a new customer. One of the things that our Customer Engagement team looks out for in the first few weeks is to see how users work with Impel. We use a variety of screen sharing technologies to do this, so we can watch how users interact with Impel.
Recently, one of our Customer Engagement people noticed that users at a new customer were taking a very long time to add trouble tickets. There was a huge volume of calls and emails coming in and users were struggling to cope with the volume.
When the engagement had started, we had been given a set of fields that the customer wanted to track on the tickets. And a basic process that they wanted followed. As our Customer Engagement person now watched, she realized that there were a lot of fields that were not being used at all, that fields were not set up in the order that the users were getting the data in and several other glitches that we could easily remedy in Impel.
So here’s what she did to fix the issues that we noticed:
- She spoke to the customer point of contact and got him to agree to a set of absolutely essential fields
- She then changed the ticket add and view pages to reflect this set of fields
- She added other sections to the screens where the other non-necessary fields were moved to
- She changed several fields that had a standard set of data to combo fields, so that the users could just choose the data, instead of having to key it in each time
- There were two groups of users who handled different types of cases. She changed the screen layouts of the second group to reflect the fields that they needed
- She set up data views (lists of tickets) to give each group access to those tickets that they needed to work on
- She enabled a workflow alert such that the customer contact raising the ticket, would get an email alert every-time the ticket status was changed by the user
- She used a simple administrative function to copy the layouts that she had changed for one user in each group to all the users.
All of this took about 3 hours of work on our part. But for each of our customer’s users, time per ticket reduced by over 50%. The thanks that we got was effusive.
That’s what we aim to do with Impel -not just solve a customer issue, but delight them in the process.
February 10th, 2014 by
Often I have been asked this question in my sales calls and discussions. I tell them “Impel is diversified yet United” Why don’t you login to see what sets us Apart!
I don’t really consider there is a comparison for us in the market. Being India focused is a major factor. We are in your time-frame when you need us. We speak in languages that the customer is comfortable with. Most importantly, we are available t the end of a phone call. With us, customers get to speak to a live person, rather than always having to deal with emails, chats and forums. That immediacy of response is very important to most of our customers.
When a customer calls us for support they know they are directly talking to the company that built the software and not to a channel partner. So, the chances of a delayed reply are very low. Our interest is in getting people to use the system as much as possible, as quickly as possible. Our interest is not in creating and padding professional service hours.
No other solution in our market segment gives you the breadth of functionality that we provide via the Cloud, mobile and SMS. With this, we are able to allow customers to start simply with just SMS and then move to other functionality as their dispersed field force gets used to the idea of using CRM.
Most importantly from lead generation to sales automation to sales operation (including order, invoices, collections, inventory) to post-sales support, we cover everything that most mid-size businesses would require. With our flexible configurations, you can give different people in your organization, access to just the functionality that they need, without confusing them.
That’s why we say talk to us – When ERP is too complex to handle and just CRM is not enough.
- Unlike other CRMs in the market Impel stands out for its vast functionality .
- Complete Integration- The ability to integrate seamlessly with any other existing software. Impel’s deep API and our Front-End API mechanisms ensure that Impel lives as a responsible component among multiple systems that you may use, some in-premise and some on the Cloud.
- Highly Scalable, Secure, Configurable.
- Integrated with cloud telephony providers Ozonetel, Knowlarity . Call Dispositions can be tracked in Impel. One can upload the Campaign lists to the phone system for progressive dialing
- Call pop-ups and online order
- Data Views- View your data in ways that make sense for you with exact columns and filters . Give people access only to specific filtered data .Set up filtered data views in tabs for ease of use include fields from related entities.
- Email Campaigns -Create and send out Email campaigns to Leads, Contacts .Segment your data precisely using Adhoc Reports .Schedule your campaigns for maximum impact .Monitor delivery, Opens, Reads within Impel.
- Front End Rules – Complex logic for business rules. Pre-fill data column based on value of another column . Buttons on screen based on rules.
- Geo-reporting – Tracking salesperson calls –Android tablets . Geo-coded reports of salesperson daily locations. Correlate for Expense Management.
- Type based Orgs – Based on Account Type, Contact Type or Opportunity Stage. Different fields and layouts based
- Immediate Start. Most customers go online within two or three weeks of sign-up, since most work is Configuration, not Customization, and no server roll-outs, etc. are needed.
- Evergreen Technology. Impel is constantly updated – new features have been rolled out every 4-6 weeks. So you’re never “out-of-date” in terms of technology or feature-set, all as part of your standard subscription.
- Multiple Access Modes. Impel’s integrated SMS, Impel Touch on Android handsets and our Cloud offering make sure your users and your customers are never out of touch, no matter how you choose to use Impel.
- Workflows -Triggers, Automations and Escalations. Alerts can be sent out as pop-up reminders, emails or SMS.
- Integrated Email -Send and receive emails to customers within Impel. Switch between email and CRM tabs within the same browser .Emails added as Activities to the Contact / Opportunity . Convert email to Lead / Opportunity or Ticket from drop down.
- on the type.
With the changing technology world and rapid growth , CRM functionality growth is a concern for you . But at Impel we have always impelled ourselves in terms of functionality. We believe our Customers are the right decision makers of this. We talk to them and come up with the list of feature roll outs. Today I can confidently say Impel is different . So what are you waiting for – Get your value for money solution now!
January 9th, 2014 by
Over the last six months, 80% of our customers bought us for something we don’t say we sell. Yes, you heard that right: 80% of our recent customers looked for something, found us, bought us and are very happy with their decision, but they did not buy us for our CRM capabilities. They mostly bought Impel for our ability to provide a full-circle solution in order management, invoice processing, inventory management or field-force management. None of these things, we are told, are typical “CRM” functions. This is a very big problem for us: we think we are CRM, but our customers don’t think we are. When we insist on being CRM (by saying things like “This is Kishore from Impel CRM” when I call), they politely – but firmly – ignore the last part. Where do we go from here? Help!
The fault, like the man said, is in ourselves. Over the last 18 months, we’ve leveraged the core design of Impel to do a variety of things that our competitors are not working on. The gorilla in the space, $FDC, has focused on being Social and building/buying Marketing functions, since that’s what they see as being needed in the West. Others have followed $FDC – after all, if the big guy does whatever, that’s where the market must be. We, on the other hand have focused on what our customers and prospects tell us they need. Integration with Tally and with Cloud Telephony providers, combining our Invoice processing with our Inventory tracking, extending Inventory to cover batch-level inventory with expiry dates, improving Impel Touch (our field-force offering) – these are the things that’ve kept us busy. And these are the things that’ve taken us further afield from plain-vanilla CRM.
The point, though, is that all this is actually needed in today’s businesses. I’ve heard prospects say: “But then, you’re not CRM, you’re ERP!” The reality is that we’re ALSO whatever-they-say-we-are. What we’ve built, we’ve built with the perspective that they’re important for our users to work with their customers. And I think that’s the big difference in our approach: we don’t see CRM as a category that we must adhere to. We see CRM as the set of things that our customers/users do to keep their customers growing and coming back. And if that means we need to improve our Tax Calculation mechanism, we’ll do that (and we did). If it means we need to track the geographic location that a change was made at in Impel Touch and show that on the Cloud, we’ll do that (we did that, too).
Given all this, we’ve kind of moved on from the CRM bucket, into what we believe is the CRM2 (CRM Squared) domain. Like one of our customers says, this is really about putting your customer in the middle of everything and building technologies and processes around them. In our Customer Portal, for example, our customer’s customer (the Consumer, to save me a mouthful) can place an order and track its progress. The track, though, is what the Impel Workflow Engine provides within our customer’s operations, where users are using Impel, not the Portal. So while Impel users work behind the scenes to process an order or process a return, the Consumer has a clear, real-time picture of what’s going on at every stage. For example, when someone delivers a shipment for a Portal-originated order and marks that on Impel Touch, both the Impel user back in the office and the Consumer at the Portal know right away, all within the same framework. That’s what CRM2 is all about: for Impel to be where the user is, so s/he can do what his/her Customer ultimately needs.
There’s this joke I must tell you in this context: a penguin walks into a bar and asks the bartender if he’s seen his brother. And the bartender responds: “I might have. What does he look like?” That’s the reality of the CRM market: everyone looks similar. And they’re all looking in the same direction. Luckily for us, we have customers that make sure we look different and see differently!
January 1st, 2014 by
From all of us at Impel – to you and your family – we wish you a bright, happy and healthy 2014.