thomas.wieberneit@aheadcrm.co.nz
How to avoid the looming CRM crisis

How to avoid the looming CRM crisis

A short while ago the CRMKonvos team had the opportunity to invite Frank Tjaben of SugarCRM into our living rooms or home offices for a lively discussion about whether businesses are facing a crisis of customer relationship management and if so, why. To use some slightly clichéd terminology, Frank has been both a hunter and a farmer throughout his career, putting him in a unique place to talk about exactly this topic. He has seen it from both sides—as a user and seller of CRM software. He started his career as a call center agent, and then held various sales and sales management positions, including customer advisory roles for both enterprise organisations and SMBs. He says that a sales person’s main objective is to get into an as good as possible dialogue with the customer, regardless of one’s actual role. At the end of the day it is about solving a customer’s problem. He firmly believes that those who understand the customer best are the ones who close the deal. This is where the value of CRM systems begins. These systems are good for managing to-dos and activities, which is important in sales. It is important to be reliable. “It might sound conservative, but then sales is a conservative craft,” Frank says. “If you make an appointment for next week, then this is what is meant, an appointment.” He maintains that this, although important, is only a part of it. It only looks at the basics. The business evolves. Therefore, customers need to also know that the vendor’s product vision matches their future needs. The big question is: What...
How to avoid the CRM crisis

How to avoid the CRM crisis

Customer relationships are on the cusp of a crisis, are they? And if this observation is correct, what can we do to avoid the crisis, or even get out of it in case we happen to have taken the step over the precipice? In this CRMKonvo – sponsored by SugarCRM – amongst other things, we talk about the results of the 2021 CRM and sales impact report. Core questions are what has a positive, or negative, impact on sales performance or customer loyalty. The report covers insight gained by 1,000 sales pros.  We are discussing with Frank Tjaben, who moved on to sales after having gained considerable experience in various different roles in call centers and other types of organizations. Frank now uses his experience on the other side of the force and has a lot of interesting stories to tell about how a CRM helps or does not help, depending on its implementation. This CRMKonvo is in German language (the report is available in German and English language and definitely worthwhile having a look at)....

Rising to Swift Challenges in App Development

You may have heard about The Lean Startup by Eric Ries, or the idea of an MVP (minimum viable product). These methodologies say only build what subscribers ask—and will pay— for. Business app development isn’t a one-way street; sometimes a customer will come to you with an idea for a product you wouldn’t otherwise have had in your cycle. When that happens, a responsive company with a close relationship to its customers will be able to deliver something new. Such was the case when financial advisory firm White Glove came to Fastcall with a request regarding Einstein Conversation Insights.Salesforce recently introduced Einstein Conversation Insights. ECI transcribes a recorded conversation, identifies keywords and records metrics (such as talk time per recipient) from phone calls, and provides recording shortcuts to quickly review the calls. Rob Lyons, head of technology for White Glove, identified a natural fit for ECI with his company’s existing use of Fastcall. “I saw this feature was available to us as HVS users,” Lyons says. “I wanted to see if this AI could give me insight into our sales calls beyond standard activity logging.”Such requests are part of the job for Fastcall founder Rich Rosen, and they often spring from curiosity. “Subscribers ask us for stuff they do not really plan to implement,” Rosen says. “We do the work, it does not get used, but is available for the next subscriber.” Even so, this is where innovation is born. “It was worth doing as this is a differentiator,” Rosen says. “Not many other CTI apps have the integration. And it gave us a chance to reach out to...
Ecosystem Play – One Game at a Time

Ecosystem Play – One Game at a Time

It is not that uncommon that a software company creates new software based upon customer requirements. Actually, this is the way things should be done; not exclusively, but to quite an extent. Now, there are few software vendors who are truly independent. Most vendors are, and need to be, part of one or more other vendor ecosystems. This is simply a matter of scale, as there are only a few vendors who have the size and market power that are necessary to surround themselves with a good number of customers, ISVs, system integrators and other partners. And the number of these ecosystems is rather shrinking than growing.  What this means is not that these few companies can implement and deliver what they want, but that the other ones need to carefully check two things. First, which ecosystem(s) to belong to, be it one or more than one. And as the CEO of 3CLogic, Denis Seynhaeve in a recent CRMKonvo said: It is important to choose wisely, which ecosystem to commit to. One of the fundamental consequences of this decision is the degree of dependency on other vendors that the smaller vendor has. This degree naturally decreases with the number of ecosystems it participates in, although they can never be truly independent – which is also not wanted when playing the ecosystem game. Conversely, participating in more than one ecosystem increases options and the potential reach. On the other hand, there are some other factors that come into play. The software architecture and the software itself will become more complicated when different vendors’ systems shall get augmented. Deep knowledge in...

Only Is a Great Word For B2B Customer Focus

This post is a guest piece from Richard Rosen, CEO and founder of Fastcall, a Salesforce CTI vendor and one of my clients. I was talking with Rich about customer focus for focused businesses in a crowded market, and our talk drifted into how limits aren’t a bad thing.Our chat was fun. It was deep. Quotes from the Tao Te Ching and/or a Star Wars prequel may have been thrown around, and I didn’t want to keep it private. To that end, I asked Rich to turn it into something applicable to other business readers. Fastcall is my client and it’s my job to show its strengths, so of course it’s the example in play here. But Rich presents a much-needed perspective whether you’re a user or developer of business applications. I turn things over to him now.Representing your brand as an owner requires a tricky balancing act in an industry where integrity and thought leadership are highly valued. You want to attract new customers and shout the qualities of the product, of course. But that’s making a sales pitch, and nobody wants to read a sales pitch. Then again, integrity and thought leadership mean revenue in the future, when your company (especially a smaller one) needs revenue now.I’ve been holding back from writing about what Fastcall is capable of—that’s what the website and the AppExchange listing are for—but this is an incredible company and there’s plenty for me to brag about. So here’s my plan: I will talk about what we at Fastcall do best, but with as little reference to our products as possible. It’s about why...
Work from anywhere done right

Work from anywhere done right

Work from Anywhere needs the right culture and the right tools The pandemic has taught us through the past year that it becomes urgent for businesses to adequately deal with the need for new working models that help employees to become as productive when working from any place as when working from an office. This is all the more important as research indicates that the change that we are undergoing now is going to stay at least to some extent. And that is reasonable, as with all the investments made by businesses it is possible to combine the best of both worlds. Many, if not most of us, will be able to truly work from anywhere. After all, some activities are better done in office spaces, others work better in a remote setting. And then there is a good chance that travel will increase again. Travel time often is unproductive time. And with all the infrastructure that is now in place, travel time can get brought to more productive use – if not driving a car, that is. But what does it take to be able to work efficiently from anywhere? The answer is: More than just technology. It is equally, if not more, important to have a corporate culture in place and to credibly send the message to employees that makes them truly believe that it is their choice from where they work. A good part of this is that managers rather look at results than monitoring time spent. While the latter cannot be ignored, at the end of the day it is about achieving results. This is...