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Archive for May, 2012

What does it take to be a CRM champion?

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"I pity the fool who can't do CRM!"

In Straight from the Gut, Jack Welch describes the personality traits of GE’s “A” players. Surprise surprise! Some of our customers display the same personal and business qualities. We like to call them “CRM champions” (as opposed to “CRM chumps”). These people:

  • Are charismatic and passionate
  • Make things happen instead of letting them happen
  • Are open to new ideas and ways to do things
  • Make business both productive and enjoyable
  • Display Welch’s four E’s of leadership:
    1. Have high Energy levels
    2. Energize others around them
    3. Have the Edge to make hard decisions
    4. Execute decidedly and consistently

CRM champions, we salute you!

Written by Dmitri Eroshenko

May 28th, 2012 at 9:56 am

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Ease of use vs. resistance to change

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"There must be a better way"

A prospective customer recently emailed us their CRM requirements:

…I have a growing sales team and so traditional contact management and sharing is needed. These are older, non-techie types most familiar with Outlook plugins, ACT! and have heard of but maybe haven’t used salesforce.com. Just to give you a flavor of how easy this has to be for them to use.

Seems to me that anyone who is capable of using Outlook with plugins has a very high pain tolerance. Even Outlook diehards themselves admit that it’s not so easy to use.

Clearly it’s not the ease of use that is the barrier to CRM adoption, but resistance to change.

Written by Dmitri Eroshenko

May 25th, 2012 at 9:24 am

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Happy vs. unhappy CRM customers

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We have two types of customers, happy and unhappy. Neither have a reason to be that way. Just kidding. Well, maybe not entirely.

Happy Unhappy
Our contact is owner, founder, partner or CEO Our contact is admin assistant, intern or tech geek
Tell us what Relenta should do Ask us what Relenta can do
Tell us how we compare to competitors Ask us who our competitors are
Choose Relenta because no training is required Require training just because
Spend lots of time to research and test drive dozens of alternatives Spend lots of time on silly RFPs and meetings; want us to do the same
Read the documentation Expect us to read them the documentation
Find our pricing very reasonable Insist that Relenta is overpriced
Always find workarounds Complain about missing features
Are assertive, articulate and cheerful Are timid, unclear and depressing
Get things done Not sure how to do things
Grow and flourish, add more users and intensify usage of Relenta Wither and decline, blame the economy, downgrade and eventually quit

It seems that happiness and success go hand in hand.

Written by Dmitri Eroshenko

May 18th, 2012 at 7:17 am

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CRM as good as you

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Eric Gill (1882 - 1940)

What does it take to be successful at customer relationship management? If you think CRM software, think again. CRM software can be easy or difficult, simple or convoluted – all kinds of things – but within its range it’s always neutral, and serves the purpose you assign to it. It follows that CRM software is just as good as the people who work with it.

A similar way of looking at the relationship between users and their tools is nicely expressed by British sculptor and typeface designer Eric Gill:

Bad workmen quarrel with their tools because good workmen don’t use bad tools.

Written by Dmitri Eroshenko

May 15th, 2012 at 12:00 am

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Bottoms up

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"Let he who has not sinned
cast the first stone"

There is a business theory which states that you should regularly fire the bottom 5 percent of your customer base. My theory is that this theory is theoretically flawed, because:

  1. It takes two for a customer to sink to the bottom 5 percent. It’s always someone else’s fault, isn’t it?
  2. Every customer is a learning aid. Getting rid of the difficult ones deprives you of the opportunities to improve, both professionally and personally

In any case, isn’t it better not to hire customers who aren’t your match in the first place?

Written by Dmitri Eroshenko

May 13th, 2012 at 1:53 am

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Silly autoresponders

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Just received this automated email in response to a contact form submission:

Please take a moment to make sure your request includes the email address so we can respond back to you

Is it possible that your automated replies need a reality check too? In Relenta, go to Settings > Autoresponders.

Written by Dmitri Eroshenko

May 8th, 2012 at 4:23 am

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Things we don’t do

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This is probably the biggest single lesson in my entrepreneurial career: Things you don’t do are as important as things you do do.

“They don’t understand the definition of work, then.” -- George W. Bush

Here are the things we don’t do, in the order in which we stopped doing them:

  1. Custom development
  2. Multiple concurrent projects
  3. Phone sales and support
  4. Free one-on-one product demos
  5. Private label and other partnerships
  6. ETA on releases

This may well be wrong, but we would rather be happy than right.

Written by Dmitri Eroshenko

May 4th, 2012 at 8:49 am

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Delaying software releases – the stages of grief

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Delaying software releases is like going through the six stages of grief:

Indeed!

  1. Shock and disbelief “WTF?!! We’ve already padded all our internal estimates by a factor of two and are still six months behind the schedule. This can’t be happening!”
  2. Denial “Nah. We’re almost there. There’s nothing to worry about. We’ll answer all these forum posts as soon as the release is out.”
  3. Bargaining “Hey, let’s stop doing what we do and release some BS intermediate update just to shut up ‘em up.”
  4. Anger “These people have no appreciation for our hard work. Homicidal bitching is all we ever get in return.”
  5. Guilt “We should have managed expectations more proactively. Now we let all these nice people down.”
  6. Acceptance “Hmm… Apparently good things take time. We still have the best app in the world and it gets better every day in every way.”

Written by Dmitri Eroshenko

May 2nd, 2012 at 10:37 am

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