How to Develop and Execute your CRM Strategy

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Ladies and gentlemen, members of the press, all my fans, friends, family, clients, and prospects out there, welcome to the program today! I am delighted to share this topic with you. It’s one of the most important topics for anyone that is either considering implementing a CRM, or maybe you’ve already implemented a CRM and you’re interested in the topic of developing a CRM strategy. My name is Warren Stokes. I’m the director of sales for Avidian Technologies, and the topic today is how to create and execute your CRM strategy. We’re going to be covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time, so I’ll move fairly briskly, but I do really enjoy sharing all this with the folks on the call today. One of the main reasons is that, I think, by helping people be successful, we become more successful. Our CEO is fond of saying that our management doesn’t pay your paychecks, our customers do, so this is really all about being customer-focused and having a strategy to execute on that. One thing: I hate to shatter your illusions or surprise you, but I’ve got to tell you that hope is not a strategy. And I’m often, often just astounded when I ask people what their strategy for next year is, and they say, “We hope we’ll sell more.” Well, that’s actually not a strategy, so I’ll share with you a little bit about topics and concepts on how to create and execute your CRM strategy. First of all, I would put it this way: CRM is not a product; it’s not a piece of software. CRM is a journey. So it’s not a one-time thing. Your strategy will continue, and I hope that I can help you with that journey! First of all, it is very important to have a written plan. Sounds obvious but it’s surprising to me how many people don’t have a plan when they say oh we’re going to implement a CRM or we’re going to re-implement our CRM or we’re going to focus on it. But you have to have a plan and that involves setting objectives, prioritizing what you’re trying to do with your requirements. And I always recommend following the format of ‘must have, should have, and nice to have’ in terms of functionality, features, and requirements. It’s very important to define the problems you’re solving. I think it’s a mistake to go out and just say we’re going to implement a CRM without trying to understand what problems you’re trying to solve. Maybe it’s revenue generation or sales growth. Maybe it’s better communication. Maybe it’s all of the above. But, and I’ll show you and share with you a lot of specific ways to do this, it’s very important to set what I call “smart goals.” It’s not a new concept, but smart is an acronym. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. So, you know, set some goals and your objectives, but make them smart goals. The very important thing with any CRM is to establish a common platform for everyone on which, with regards to all the data and all the communications, your calendaring, how people keep track of their time and their meetings, and you have to train people on that platform. We use Outlook, that’s our program. The examples I’ll be using today in today’s presentation and discussion will be based on an Outlook-based CRM called Prophet CRM. Many of you are likely customers of ours, but if you’re considering a CRM, just make sure that you establish a common platform so everyone’s on the same page for calendaring, email communications, storage of data and all of that stuff. I think it’s up to you, but we chose Outlook as our platform because it’s a very common and effective platform for these things. The key concept is to establish consistent and repeatable processes, often in CRM. It’s referred to more as a sales process, but it can actually relate to any other process in your business, and we’ll cover information on how to do that. If you don’t have goals or metrics that you’re trying to achieve, it’s hard to know if you were successful, so I highly recommend establishing some sort of basic metrics for us to help you define what you’re going to do, quantify it, and then be able to track it so that you can ensure that you’re actually performing to the plan that you set. Continued adoption is a key thing with all CRMs because the bane of any CRM is getting people to actually use it. Prophet is probably one of the easiest to adopt and use. We have Prophet CRM, which is our program, but this applies to any program and it’s not a one-time thing. You can get people launched and trained, but you have to ensure continued adoption and I’ll share with you how to do that. Reporting and analytics are a really key part of your CRM strategy because, otherwise, how would you know if you’re achieving your goals, and how do you get visibility into what’s going on with your system and your CRM application? A key part of all of this is being able to get that data into the system, make sense of it, and then make good decisions based on that data. We’ll also touch on Prophet CRM integration, or just integration in general, as one of the key ways to help make your CRM strategy a success. Not everyone has to do integration with other systems, but it can be a very useful concept. So let’s talk a little bit about some of the things you might achieve with the CRM program, whether it’s an existing program you’re trying to make use of better or if you’re newly launching a CRM. One of them is fundamentally just having better communication. It’s a key concept for all CRMs and businesses in general to have better follow-up, whether it’s existing clients, new clients, projects, you name it. Following up and having visibility on those that follow up is a key aspect of what you can get out of a CRM if it’s implemented correctly. This isn’t necessarily that big brother is watching you. We’re talking about basic job responsibilities, like being able to see how an individual is performing in relation to their own metrics or goals. A key part of many CRM implementations is to drive revenue growth, and that is absolutely a key part of what we’re going to talk about today. In fact, according to some recent research, CRMs can return 871 percent on a dollar invested. Our own customers report an average of 21 increases in revenue after implementing our Prophet CRM for Outlook. I think I changed this concept. This slide here transitions from management to leadership, and I’d like to explain why. know, leadership is something that’s not necessarily a title bestowed upon someone. People tend to follow leaders; you know, leaders lead by example, and other people see that it works and follow these people.So, you may or may not have a management title in your job title, but you could very well be in a leadership role or position. The role of leadership with a CRM is First, explain to everyone why you have invested in CRM or why you’re going to invest in CRM. It seems to be an obvious thing, but yet I find that a lot of people don’t do that, a lot of companies don’t do that, and it’s good to get that buy-in. It might be as simple as trying to help the sales team be more effective so that you can make more money doing things like that. But you also have to make your expectations clear. Why are you launching a CRM? That’s a key question, but what do you expect people to do with it? It might be as simple as they know things like when you make a sales call, log it into the system so that other people can see what’s been going on with that client or that prospect. It could be that you want a certain number of meetings to be held with clients or prospects, etc. but it’s important to make your expectations clear. What were you trying to get out of the CRM? It is, again, surprising that a lot of companies haven’t done that. and all these things go into your CRM plan. By the way, that we talked about initially, I think it’s important to track track metrics. A quick story on this: I was meeting with an existing client, a fairly good-sized one, and we were talking about things like goals, things like that, and metrics. I mentioned the term “KPI”. By the way, it means key performance indicator. I said, “Do you guys have established kipis?” There was silence on the other end of the phone. Somebody asked, “What’s a KPI?” And I heard him ask that of someone else on the call, and I said, “Well, they’re like metrics.” “Well, what do you mean?” I said, “Do you guys have any goals?” And it turns out this company had over 100 sales people and they didn’t even have sales goals. It was kind of shocking! So we were able to help them establish some KPIs, or key performance indicators. What are some simple things that make everyone a little more clear on what’s going on and what’s expected of them? And the key thing is once you set your expectations you have to inspect what you expect otherwise you’re kind of wasting your time on that. Another part of a successful CRM implementation strategy is your process design. I’m going to focus and give examples on the sales process, but any process order entry, you know, customer support, whatever, you all have a process design behind them. And so we’ll cover some of the best practices for how to design a process. How to ensure repeatability. How to use analytics, which are some of the reporting tools we offer, to refine the process to see what’s working and what’s not. Just in case you’re wondering, kind of, what are the benefits of a consistent process? Well, I’ll share a few things. One of the things is helping you drive desired behaviors, which is always a key thing in sales. That could be, you know, making outbound sales calls or meeting new people, that sort of thing. Getting the team organized: A key concept of any process is to help people be organized so that they know how to do it. Now I use a tool called Vizio. It’s part of the Microsoft suite now to design processes. But this doesn’t have to be in a formal program. It could be an Excel file, it could be on a whiteboard, you can put it on a legal pad, it doesn’t really matter what you use in the way of tools. But the important thing is to have a consistent process that’s well documented. It’ll also help you shorten your sales cycle once you have a process and you know what steps you’re going to go through to move through it. It’ll help you collapse the sales cycle, which, of course, is always a good thing. Driving revenue is a key part of a consistent process, of course, but in a sales process, this is one of the main things you want to do. So you want to have a process that helps you drive revenue by moving your known contacts to leads to qualified opportunities; moving those through the stages. And eventually, it will result in more revenue. One of the benefits of a process is having better forecasting so that you can forecast your demand or your revenue, your income, your income streams, and your revenue. Some of the best practices for designing a sales process are, in this case, creating a sales process document. First of all, define what you want to capture. I mean, it’s not just data for the sake of data. You want to be very careful and think through what you really need. Because frankly, if you ask people to fill out 100 fields in an opportunity form or something, they’re just not going to do it. So you want to be a little bit careful about how much you ask people to do, but think carefully about what data you want to capture. Maybe what industry the customer or prospect is in, maybe where they’re geographically located. What’s the probability? How much revenue is it worth? and so on. Today’s program is more of a long conversation. I will be referring here momentarily to how this all looks in a CRM and what you know, kind of explaining more of the details, but the point here isn’t a functionality demonstration. I will use demonstrations to get across some key concepts. One of the key concepts is to identify the key sales stages. Those are the steps you go through in your sales process. If you haven’t done it, it has to be done. It’s a key part of the sales process design. If you have done it, you might always want to revisit them to make sure they’re relevant. Another thing to do is define the activities that occur at each stage, so you know what to drive and what the objectives are at each stage in the process. What kind of activities should you be pursuing? And a super important thing, often forgotten, is to involve the business process owners. If you’re going to define a sales process, you might want to talk to the sales people to at least understand how it’s done today so that you can improve it or at least assess it and agree on what you want to track. Do you know what your metrics are? What are you trying to do here? Do you want to see how much is in your pipeline? Do you want to see how many new contacts were created or what have you? But you need to agree on what you want to track. Maybe certain key activities are important, like how many on-site meetings were held, how many demonstrations were conducted, how many quotes were generated, things of that nature. And then, at the end of the day, a good process will help you do all this. But then you will continue to remember CRM as a journey. You will continue to benchmark, meaning set the kinds of goals and expectations that are relevant to the process and troubleshoot it if there are any problems with it and the activities in the sales process. To just touch on that just a little bit more has to do with what you do at each stage. Now this is just an example, but maybe when you first get a prospect or a lead from a potential new client, what do you do? How do you get that? How do you get to that point? Make phone calls. Send emails. Do webinars. Whatever it is, these are activities that you will already know about. When you’re qualifying again, more meetings, phone calls, maybe you do discovery calls, set appointments, things of that nature. So the point here is that it’s part of your CRM strategy. You need to think about what activities you want to do while driving. Ensuring continued adoption is an ongoing thing. We offer quarterly reviews. You really just need to do continuous training and reinforcement. As a CRM vendor, we know that’s important. We have various programs to help you do that. And really, the idea is that you first create your plan, then implement it, continue to check it, and then if you need refinements to it, take action to do that. At the end of the day, you’re going to be able to analyze all of this and see how successful it was through the reporting and analytics functionality of any good CRM. From the standpoint of the general presentation, I’m going to stop here and give you some specific examples, and one of them is starting with just the platform you’re on. So, as many of you know, if you’re already a Prophet user, we elected to build our CRM around the Outlook platform and the Microsoft Office platform. But that doesn’t mean that’s the only way to go. There are lots of successful companies, I suppose, that have used things just more like maybe another email system other than Outlook or another calendaring system. Some CRMs have that all built into them. But whatever you do, you need to get everybody on the same platform so that you can go in and look at, say, what’s going on with other people’s calendars. It is always an important thing to be able to keep track of people’s time. A common method for sending and tracking emails. I’ll show you an example of that in Prophet CRM. So, as you may know, Prophet is embedded in Outlook and one of the benefits of that, by the way, is just being able to go in here and say I want to see all of the emails associated with this contact. Well, these can all be Outlook emails or they can be Outlook appointments that you’re tracking. Things of that nature. And you can see all of the emails and notes associated with a contact, a company, or an opportunity. So by being on the same platform, that means everybody’s sending emails through Outlook; they’re all going to be Outlook based. If you’re sending out appointments, they’re all going to be on your Outlook calendar. But the main concept there is to have a common platform that everyone is on. In terms of Outlook, I’d like to delve a little deeper into that. I’m a long-time user of Outlook. I think I’ve used Outlook since it was first invented, back in like 1993 or something like that. I’ve been using it for a long, long time. I really like it because it’s effective and our CRM integration with Outlook helps you do a lot of different things. For example, I could be looking at an appointment but I could open the record associated with that appointment because they’re all integrated together. So I can open, in this case, an opportunity that’s associated with that meeting. I can see emails associated with that opportunity or contact or company. So the main point I’m getting across is that the platform you’re on is an important aspect of the whole CRM strategy, so you have to agree on that platform. There are a lot of functions in Outlook that you know, and I’m often surprised at how people don’t really scratch the surface of Outlook itself. I hold training on it. We can do consulting for your company or training on it specifically for you or your business. But you know, things like color coding and things like automating the color coding based upon the subject line or automatic automating email templates and things of that nature. So there’s a lot that you can do with Outlook that will enhance any CRM experience for that matter. So let’s talk a little bit about how all this data gets in here because without data, none of this will ever be useful. As a result, getting good data into the system must be part of your CRM strategy. There are a lot of ways with different CRMs to get data into it, but one of the basic things about Prophet is that it utilizes Outlook data. So contacts, for example, are Outlook contacts. We can add some features to an Outlook contact. What this means though, is that when you implement Prophet, or if you’ve already implemented it and you’re just wanting to increase adoption, well, you can. It’s set up intrinsically out of the box so that all somebody has to do is create an Outlook contact, and unless it’s marked private, which is an Outlook function, it’ll go right into the CRM database. So think about adoption for a minute. I mean, without adoption, a CRM is a waste of time and money. So I’m like, yeah, it’s a little self-serving here, but the idea behind having things based on Outlook is that if people already know how to use Outlook and how to create contacts in Outlook, how to send an email in Outlook, all of that is part of the adoption because it’s all utilized. Once you put your CRM in whatever system that you implement, and whatever CRM you choose, you have to keep in mind that adoption is the key. So the whole key is to make it easy to create contacts and easy to do things like communicate with email, easily create appointments and so on. Another aspect of that is that when you first install Prophet, if you’re just looking to install it, you’re going to find that people’s Outlook contacts will come over natively and they will be part of the CRM database unless they’re marked private, which is an easy thing to do. You can just go down and check off the contacts that you don’t want in the CRM here. So what I’m getting at here is that the platform is all important for adoption as well, so you want people to have a familiar environment that they can hopefully utilize. The other aspect of adoption that I wanted to point out is that, first of all, everyone will likely have been trained initially with the CRM. It is certainly the case with ours. We provide training at the outset. But as I mentioned, CRM is a journey, and here’s kind of how I find it works: the more someone learns about a CRM, especially if it’s based on Outlook like Prophet, the more they want to learn about Outlook. So again, we provide training just on Outlook if you wish. In fact, let me just share with you a couple of places to find this information. We provide a lot of material that’s free. If you go to our main website, Avidian.com, you’re going to find there are webinars and there are learning videos. Here’s one on getting started with Prophet using reporting tools and setting up automation. And what you’re going to see is that there’s just a bunch of information about Outlook here. “How to tame your Outlook Inbox” – that series has over 1.5 million views on it right now. A very popular topic! We have advanced and intermediate Outlook training. So my point is that whatever your environment is, it’s important to train people on that platform in that environment. But, before we go any further, let’s return to the data. Contact data can be created from our contacts. Now Prophet has a very interesting functionality. When you create a contact in Prophet, which is an Outlook contact, it automatically creates the company record associated with it. Which means someone doesn’t have to do data entry to create a company record, which most CRMs force you to do. And in the Prophet CRM, if I create a contact, it creates the company record automatically, and as I create additional contacts associated with that company, you’ll see that those contacts are automatically added to the company record, which is a very useful function of how Prophet works. So here I have three contacts that were created, the first one and then two others, and they automatically got associated with the company record. So when I am talking about getting data into the system, part of your strategy has to be adoption so people will do it. Well, that eliminates a whole one whole step of data entry. That is how the company record is created automatically. Getting data into the system. You can also import data; there’s an import utility built right into Prophet. Many of you, I’m sure, have already used this. But it makes it really easy to get data in, as long as it’s from an Excel format. I’ll show you an example of that. So this is the importing utility. I just went to get my tools. And remember, this isn’t functionality training today. This is really just meant to give you some concepts on how to make your CRM implementation a success. So here we have some files that I’ve created. I’ll just pick one here and what I’m going to show you is how easy it is to import data, in this case, from any Excel spreadsheet. so what I’m going to do here is I’m just going to add that to my import list okay. I’m going to select which worksheet I want to use and then I will do what’s called mapping the files. Prophet automatically maps if you have the same names but then you can line up like by drag and drop – company name goes to company, company phone goes to business phone, etc. – there’s some dedupe options after that, and then away you go you’ve imported your data. The main work in that by the way is just getting your Excel data in a clean format. But that’s another way to get data into the CRM. If you don’t have data in the CRM, it won’t be adopted. The ability to integrate with other systems is a key part of this. So, while we’re talking about getting data into the system, that’s one way to do it. You can import data at any time through the import utility. You can create Outlook contacts. But you can also get data into Prophet through integration with a CRM. Integration is the basic platform for interoperability of different systems. How that works is that, basically, you can have different customizable fields in addition to all the standard fields. You know, like company name, phone number, address, city, state zip. You can have additional fields here. Perhaps you’d like to have things like year-to-date purchases revenue last year, credit limit accounts receivable over 90 days, or something along those lines. And there are 72 customizable fields just in the company record alone. But my point is that this can be integrated so that information can flow from a system such as an ERP or accounting system into this CRM and vice versa. Could be that if you create a new account and it’s not already in your ERP or your accounting system, that data can be pushed into the accounting or ERP system. And I wanted to talk a little bit about the types of integration because adoption is going to be greatly enhanced if you automate the ability to get data from one system into another. So we, and with our system with Prophet CRM, do offer an open API. If you don’t know what that is, it won’t mean a whole lot to you, but it’s the application programmer interface that basically provides that interoperability between systems. So Prophet has its own API which means it can be integrated with other systems that have APIs. Most accounting and ERP systems do this, by the way. So that’s right out of the box. Another platform we support for integration is called Zapier. It’s an integration platform that has hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of apps on it that can be integrated together if they’re on the platform as we are. That’s not an Avidian product, that’s a different company, but it’s a very popular integration platform. We also offer database direct integration, SQL to SQL. We assure you that we will not confuse you with technical jargon, but will instead provide you with SSIS SQL Server Integration Services. We can do simple integrations by having data spit out once a day, once a night, exported to an FTP site, if you will, so we can do FTP site integrations. We can do single-direction integrations, you know, bi-directional integrations, and we can also do multi-directional integrations depending on your requirements. Just to let you know, we do offer these as turnkey projects, so we can do the integration for you or we can consult with you on it if you need some help with the API or all of the above. So, integration The reason I’m mentioning it in the context of today’s discussion is that integration can help with a lot of things, including end-user adoption. And again, the less you have people enter data manually, the more they’ll adopt it and the more value you’ll get out of your CRM. So all of this data is now in the database. The question then becomes, what do you do with this data? We talked about, you know, setting some KPIs. Well, one of the KPIs could be simply how many contacts you created this month, last year, this week. And I’ll get into some of the analytics and reporting on that, but I’ll show you some simple things. Maybe you want to see when contacts were last updated or accounts were last updated with less information. So you can easily go in here and simply do a sort or a filter by date and you can see the contact updated date. That’s the system modified date. If you want, you can go in and look at what those activities were. You know, you can go into the notes and things like that. But the main idea I’m getting across here is that when you start setting objectives, like, what are your objectives? Maybe you want so many new contacts created in a certain period of time. Maybe you want people to have a certain number of meetings or update leads or opportunities within a certain time frame. And that’s quite easy to do once you are in a view in Prophet. Just as an example, you can easily create a view that shows all of the contacts that were updated in a certain period of time, either by just sorting and scrolling or you can actually do a filter here. And Prophet has a lot of built-in filters that let you analyze the data without even getting into any real reports here. So I can say, see any contacts that were modified or updated between, you know, a month ago and today, whatever. You can put in a date range and then now you can view that data. So I had 24 contacts that were updated in that date range, so I had 48 contacts in this list. Again, just a little filter if you want to start getting some data out of Prophet, which is kind of the segue into our next part of the conversation. You can just click the Excel button once you’ve created a list like that and say export all rows or selected rows. You’re now able to take some action on your goals, like how many contacts were created in that period of time for a particular person. Well, here they are. There’s a simple report that you can get. And it all comes back to the fact that you’re going to set goals with your CRM. If you don’t set objectives, how will you know if you’re successful? So remember to do so when you’re first developing your CRM. I want to reiterate that it’s important to have a written plan with set objectives. Then that’s a key part of what we’re talking about here. It should be easy to be able to determine whether or not you’re meeting those objectives. Take another example. Let’s go into opportunities. Maybe you want to look at opportunities by value because you know the whole goal is to drive the value of your pipeline. So I can just go into my opportunity manager, which, as you may know, is just a folder in Outlook here, and I can sort my opportunities by largest to smallest. So if I want to just look at, you know, I can just see how I’m just using my keyboard to select here. Here are my top 10 opportunities in my pipeline right there, worth 10 million dollars. great. What if my boss asked me, what do I have going on? What’s in my top ten? Well, it’s easy to do. I just go into this list, sort by revenue, and select the top 10 and I don’t even have to run a report. Again, if I wanted to run a report or just generate some sort of report on that, I could say I just want to export those top 10 rows that I just selected. That’s my top 10 pipelines. I could now file-share or send this to somebody as an attachment or a PDF and away we go. All of it was simply Microsoft Office. Right, so I can send that off, give it a subject line, “top 10 funnel”, and away we go. So I’m just showing you some basic concepts in terms of executing your CRM strategy once you’ve set some goals. It teaches you how to make some useful knowledge out of useful information. Another thing might be that I want to see how many opportunities were updated. Just like we did with the contacts, I can sort or filter by date range and I can see how many opportunities have been updated in the month of October, for example, or some other time frame. Again, you can just select or you can use the filter button, which is just like Excel. And being able to start tracking whether or not you’re achieving your objectives, how many opportunities you’re creating, how many contacts you’re creating, things of that nature. While we’re in the opportunity view, I wanted to focus in on the concept of the sales process. As we talked briefly about the sales process, for which, by the way, we have additional consulting and training available, I’m going to go back to that diagram that I showed you earlier briefly. The sales process basically consists of identifying the steps you go through in your process but boiling them up into these what we call “stages.” By default, in the system, they’re called sales stages or stages. These are the key milestones you’re attempting to achieve in your sales process. are represented here in the sales stage drop down in the opportunity. Now, these are entirely up to your company as to how you define them. Every company is different. We have defaults. We have a lot of different industry templates. These tell you where you’re at in the sales process, and that’s a really key thing for understanding your sales pipeline. So, for example, if I wanted to go in and look at my sales pipeline by stage, there are a couple ways to do it. I could just sort that list by stage. Here’s all the deals in stage one. As you can see, here’s all the deals in stage two and so on. But I could also filter, which is like an Excel filter by the way. If you have a lot, you don’t have to really look through the list. You can just start typing in the first few letters of it. And now I’m looking at everything in the proposal stage. It could very well be one of your CRM objectives and strategies to increase the number of deals that you’ve quoted, as you’ve qualified these prospects and leads. This is an obvious thing to do. And by the way, here you can just select all in a list if you want, and it’ll give you a quick summary. This shows I have 19 active deals that have proposals out there and there’s about 6.1 million dollars worth. Great! That’s actually huge, key critical information for the company, right? And again, you can do that for any stage. Maybe you just want to see who’s not been qualified, so I can just uncheck a box and put them in here. I’m just showing you kind of how to inspect what you expect. And that is a key part of developing a successful CRM strategy. As we go through this there’s a few things that will enhance the adoption but also just the success of the CRM and one of them is the ability to set automated workflow. So let’s just say I had one of these new leads that came in or these new prospects. They’re in stage one and I wanted to reach out to contact them and then make sure that I have some follow-up. That’s called workflow. Notice there’s no workflow set here. But these stages I was talking about: they can each have their own set of automated actions. So in stage one maybe the action is to send an email and create several follow-ups. This is part of the sales automation, and increasing adoption is making it easy to use, right? So this just created that first email for me from a template. And we do have videos and training on how to do this. I can consult with you more if you don’t already use this function but that’s awesome. I got the introductory email. I could still edit it. Here’s a reminder to follow up with that person. But look over here: now I’ve got a whole series of additional follow-ups each stage a week apart or two weeks apart or whatever your timing would be. and by the way they can be emails; they can also be reminders which are task reminders; they can even be meetings on your calendar. But what this serves to do is it helps ensure that you’re following a consistent process so that at each stage you have certain types and you know numbers of communications or what we might call touches. So literally with one action I created six touches: an intro email, a reminder to call them, and four more follow-up emails, and all of that serves to drive the sales process forward. The more you drive forward of course the more revenue you’re going to generate. Another key way to do that in terms of just how the system can work to help ensure adoption and that you’re driving your sales process is simply to always set a next step. A simple little thing. Many of you probably already use this. But imagine if your sales team members always set out to establish the next step with the client or prospect, and when they put a date on it, it automatically reminds them, or it can automatically remind them with an Outlook reminder. That’s going to obviously drive the process forward because every time you’re in a certain action with the client or prospect, if you set the next step, then it continues the sales process and it all goes back to that sales process design that we were just talking about. The whole purpose of a process is to get from one step to the next, to the next, to the next until you’ve completed the process successfully, or maybe in some cases, you closed it out because it wasn’t qualified. But nevertheless, everything I’m showing you right now is designed to help you make it easy to follow the process that we’re talking about here. So, let’s get into some of the questions of, “how do you get the information you need to find out if you’ve actually done it?” And why do we want to do this? So I consider any kind of report or dashboard or anything of that sort to be focused around something that’s actionable. Otherwise, why are you reporting on it? I don’t believe in reporting for the sake of it. So you might be asking what makes some reps more productive than others. Are they planning more meetings? Are they creating more contacts? What are they doing? Getting more deals to the proposal or quote stage? What lead sources are producing the most revenue? It would be a really good part of your CRM implementation strategy to try to understand and then drive more leads to the sources that are working for you. So that’s an actionable insight. You know, find out what’s working and do more of it. interpret your sales pipeline. It might be that some people have a much healthier pipeline on average than others, and you might want to understand why that is. Where’s your new business coming from? Where is it geographically located? So there are a number of reporting tools in Prophet, and to wrap up I just wanted to kind of bring this all back together with the visuals of some of those tools. One of them of course is just to be able to easily export filtered sorted lists and from the database right out of Prophet get an Excel sheet. People like Excel. They can use it all day long. There’s also a reporting tool built right into Prophet; there’s 30 or so reports that come with it. I won’t get into that in any depth today but many of you know about that but one thing to keep in mind with this you can also create your own reports. We can and do provide training on this if you want to create your own reports. These create kind of traditional reports. I want to center in on a report format that I like a lot. It’s called analytics. Right out of the box you have a simple version of this if you’ve enabled it or have it enabled. I use the desktop version that I’ll show you, based on Microsoft PowerBI, and it connects to the Prophet database in real time. You can run this from any of your devices or even deploy it to the web. What this gives you is actionable insight, in terms of data that’s been formatted in such a way as to really give you insight into what’s going on. So for example on the lower right here this is my funnel. I have 16 deals in the demo stage, 16 deals in the proposal stage, five awaiting payment, two have reached the project stage and so on. And the whole point of this is to help me inspect the health of my funnel pipeline. You can see who has revenue by user. You know how much revenue is in the pipeline by user. You can change the date ranges on the fly here, you can filter it by any of the criteria in the report. But this example is the outcome of a successful CRM strategy if you’ve implemented your CRM correctly. And with our help you will be able to determine whether or not your CRM strategy is being effective. I have a question over here about Google Maps. I’m going to get to that in one second, so hang on for that. But look at this. How many active opportunities do we have in this range that we think we might close? How many were lost? That’s cool because that creates your conversion rate, your win ratio. You can see who’s converting the most or the least. You can see how much value that represents. So there’s one dashboard here called the pipeline, and that’s a key part of any sales organization. Another one is activities. Activities drive sales. Let’s just face it. Well, activities drive any process, but we’re probably mostly a sales audience today. How many call activities were generated? How many emails were generated? How many of those automated workflows were generated? What’s the overall activity curve look like? How many companies were engaged? Who’s doing who’s driving the most or the least activity? And again, I can assure you, if you’re not aware of this, that activities drive sales, and if you don’t get that, you might want to go back and look at it separately, but I believe activities drive sales, and activities drive results, as long as it’s the correct activity, and then you can look at your team in terms of how many contacts were created. Remember KPIs? Well, that’s where this comes in. You can see things like how many new contacts were created, and it can be filtered by the user. That would be the Prophet users. You can see how many company accounts were created and how many opportunities were created. You can see where they’re geographically located. You can also see that we use a little AI and fuzzy logic to determine the kind of job function that extracts things from the job title and so on in context and tells you if you are getting the right kind of contacts by job function. Well, this tells you I got a VP Manager, an Owner, and a Director. That’s the kind of stuff you want to see. So that’s awesome! Since this is the kind of scheduled end of our webinar, I did have a question about one of the topics, whether you can see prospects or customers on a Google map. It is on our mobile apps, but I’m going to show you here momentarily where you can find it. I think it’s in one of these webinars right here. Yeah, so if you go into the webinar section here, you’re going to find a YouTube channel and one of them is here. Let me just find the exact one so the person asking that question can locate it and then we’ll wrap up. If you go into any one of those videos, you’ll wind up on our YouTube channel, so let’s see here. Yeah, you’re going to see that there’s a video on how to import contacts into Google Maps right there. So go to our website and search our YouTube channel for how to import contacts into Google Maps, and you’ll find it. By the way, again, we have a lot of training materials online that you can access. They’re publicly available at no charge. We have a series of learning videos that we’ve developed that are very robust. We can also go into the webinars which are recorded webinars like today’s webinar, which will be posted. This is a great one for structuring and interpreting your CRM data and all the Outlook training stuff. There are lots of resources there for you all. Well, it is the scheduled wrap up time for our call today. I want to thank you all for your time. I really trust that we’ve added some value to your day, and good luck with creating and executing your CRM strategy. Be safe. We’ll talk to you again soon! Ladies and gentlemen, members of the press, all my fans, friends, family, clients, and prospects out there, welcome to the program today! I am delighted to share this topic with you. It’s one of the most important topics for anyone that is either considering implementing a CRM, or maybe you’ve already implemented a CRM and you’re interested in the topic of developing a CRM strategy. My name is Warren Stokes. I’m the director of sales for Avidian Technologies, and the topic today is how to create and execute your CRM strategy. We’re going to be covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time, so I’ll move fairly briskly, but I do really enjoy sharing all this with the folks on the call today. One of the main reasons is that, I think, by helping people be successful, we become more successful. Our CEO is fond of saying that our management doesn’t pay your paychecks, our customers do, so this is really all about being customer-focused and having a strategy to execute on that. One thing: I hate to shatter your illusions or surprise you, but I’ve got to tell you that hope is not a strategy. And I’m often, often just astounded when I ask people what their strategy for next year is, and they say, “We hope we’ll sell more.” Well, that’s actually not a strategy, so I’ll share with you a little bit about topics and concepts on how to create and execute your CRM strategy. First of all, I would put it this way: CRM is not a product; it’s not a piece of software. CRM is a journey. So it’s not a one-time thing. Your strategy will continue, and I hope that I can help you with that journey! First of all, it is very important to have a written plan. Sounds obvious but it’s surprising to me how many people don’t have a plan when they say oh we’re going to implement a CRM or we’re going to re-implement our CRM or we’re going to focus on it. But you have to have a plan and that involves setting objectives, prioritizing what you’re trying to do with your requirements. And I always recommend following the format of ‘must have, should have, and nice to have’ in terms of functionality, features, and requirements. It’s very important to define the problems you’re solving. I think it’s a mistake to go out and just say we’re going to implement a CRM without trying to understand what problems you’re trying to solve. Maybe it’s revenue generation or sales growth. Maybe it’s better communication. Maybe it’s all of the above. But, and I’ll show you and share with you a lot of specific ways to do this, it’s very important to set what I call “smart goals.” It’s not a new concept, but smart is an acronym. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. So, you know, set some goals and your objectives, but make them smart goals. The very important thing with any CRM is to establish a common platform for everyone on which, with regards to all the data and all the communications, your calendaring, how people keep track of their time and their meetings, and you have to train people on that platform. We use Outlook, that’s our program. The examples I’ll be using today in today’s presentation and discussion will be based on an Outlook-based CRM called Prophet CRM. Many of you are likely customers of ours, but if you’re considering a CRM, just make sure that you establish a common platform so everyone’s on the same page for calendaring, email communications, storage of data and all of that stuff. I think it’s up to you, but we chose Outlook as our platform because it’s a very common and effective platform for these things. The key concept is to establish consistent and repeatable processes, often in CRM. It’s referred to more as a sales process, but it can actually relate to any other process in your business, and we’ll cover information on how to do that. If you don’t have goals or metrics that you’re trying to achieve, it’s hard to know if you were successful, so I highly recommend establishing some sort of basic metrics for us to help you define what you’re going to do, quantify it, and then be able to track it so that you can ensure that you’re actually performing to the plan that you set. Continued adoption is a key thing with all CRMs because the bane of any CRM is getting people to actually use it. Prophet is probably one of the easiest to adopt and use. We have Prophet CRM, which is our program, but this applies to any program and it’s not a one-time thing. You can get people launched and trained, but you have to ensure continued adoption and I’ll share with you how to do that. Reporting and analytics are a really key part of your CRM strategy because, otherwise, how would you know if you’re achieving your goals, and how do you get visibility into what’s going on with your system and your CRM application? A key part of all of this is being able to get that data into the system, make sense of it, and then make good decisions based on that data. We’ll also touch on Prophet CRM integration, or just integration in general, as one of the key ways to help make your CRM strategy a success. Not everyone has to do integration with other systems, but it can be a very useful concept. So let’s talk a little bit about some of the things you might achieve with the CRM program, whether it’s an existing program you’re trying to make use of better or if you’re newly launching a CRM. One of them is fundamentally just having better communication. It’s a key concept for all CRMs and businesses in general to have better follow-up, whether it’s existing clients, new clients, projects, you name it. Following up and having visibility on those that follow up is a key aspect of what you can get out of a CRM if it’s implemented correctly. This isn’t necessarily that big brother is watching you. We’re talking about basic job responsibilities, like being able to see how an individual is performing in relation to their own metrics or goals. A key part of many CRM implementations is to drive revenue growth, and that is absolutely a key part of what we’re going to talk about today. In fact, according to some recent research, CRMs can return 871 percent on a dollar invested. Our own customers report an average of 21 increases in revenue after implementing our Prophet CRM for Outlook. I think I changed this concept. This slide here transitions from management to leadership, and I’d like to explain why. know, leadership is something that’s not necessarily a title bestowed upon someone. People tend to follow leaders; you know, leaders lead by example, and other people see that it works and follow these people.So, you may or may not have a management title in your job title, but you could very well be in a leadership role or position. The role of leadership with a CRM is First, explain to everyone why you have invested in CRM or why you’re going to invest in CRM. It seems to be an obvious thing, but yet I find that a lot of people don’t do that, a lot of companies don’t do that, and it’s good to get that buy-in. It might be as simple as trying to help the sales team be more effective so that you can make more money doing things like that. But you also have to make your expectations clear. Why are you launching a CRM? That’s a key question, but what do you expect people to do with it? It might be as simple as they know things like when you make a sales call, log it into the system so that other people can see what’s been going on with that client or that prospect. It could be that you want a certain number of meetings to be held with clients or prospects, etc. but it’s important to make your expectations clear. What were you trying to get out of the CRM? It is, again, surprising that a lot of companies haven’t done that. and all these things go into your CRM plan. By the way, that we talked about initially, I think it’s important to track track metrics. A quick story on this: I was meeting with an existing client, a fairly good-sized one, and we were talking about things like goals, things like that, and metrics. I mentioned the term “KPI”. By the way, it means key performance indicator. I said, “Do you guys have established kipis?” There was silence on the other end of the phone. Somebody asked, “What’s a KPI?” And I heard him ask that of someone else on the call, and I said, “Well, they’re like metrics.” “Well, what do you mean?” I said, “Do you guys have any goals?” And it turns out this company had over 100 sales people and they didn’t even have sales goals. It was kind of shocking! So we were able to help them establish some KPIs, or key performance indicators. What are some simple things that make everyone a little more clear on what’s going on and what’s expected of them? And the key thing is once you set your expectations you have to inspect what you expect otherwise you’re kind of wasting your time on that. Another part of a successful CRM implementation strategy is your process design. I’m going to focus and give examples on the sales process, but any process order entry, you know, customer support, whatever, you all have a process design behind them. And so we’ll cover some of the best practices for how to design a process. How to ensure repeatability. How to use analytics, which are some of the reporting tools we offer, to refine the process to see what’s working and what’s not. Just in case you’re wondering, kind of, what are the benefits of a consistent process? Well, I’ll share a few things. One of the things is helping you drive desired behaviors, which is always a key thing in sales. That could be, you know, making outbound sales calls or meeting new people, that sort of thing. Getting the team organized: A key concept of any process is to help people be organized so that they know how to do it. Now I use a tool called Vizio. It’s part of the Microsoft suite now to design processes. But this doesn’t have to be in a formal program. It could be an Excel file, it could be on a whiteboard, you can put it on a legal pad, it doesn’t really matter what you use in the way of tools. But the important thing is to have a consistent process that’s well documented. It’ll also help you shorten your sales cycle once you have a process and you know what steps you’re going to go through to move through it. It’ll help you collapse the sales cycle, which, of course, is always a good thing. Driving revenue is a key part of a consistent process, of course, but in a sales process, this is one of the main things you want to do. So you want to have a process that helps you drive revenue by moving your known contacts to leads to qualified opportunities; moving those through the stages. And eventually, it will result in more revenue. One of the benefits of a process is having better forecasting so that you can forecast your demand or your revenue, your income, your income streams, and your revenue. Some of the best practices for designing a sales process are, in this case, creating a sales process document. First of all, define what you want to capture. I mean, it’s not just data for the sake of data. You want to be very careful and think through what you really need. Because frankly, if you ask people to fill out 100 fields in an opportunity form or something, they’re just not going to do it. So you want to be a little bit careful about how much you ask people to do, but think carefully about what data you want to capture. Maybe what industry the customer or prospect is in, maybe where they’re geographically located. What’s the probability? How much revenue is it worth? and so on. Today’s program is more of a long conversation. I will be referring here momentarily to how this all looks in a CRM and what you know, kind of explaining more of the details, but the point here isn’t a functionality demonstration. I will use demonstrations to get across some key concepts. One of the key concepts is to identify the key sales stages. Those are the steps you go through in your sales process. If you haven’t done it, it has to be done. It’s a key part of the sales process design. If you have done it, you might always want to revisit them to make sure they’re relevant. Another thing to do is define the activities that occur at each stage, so you know what to drive and what the objectives are at each stage in the process. What kind of activities should you be pursuing? And a super important thing, often forgotten, is to involve the business process owners. If you’re going to define a sales process, you might want to talk to the sales people to at least understand how it’s done today so that you can improve it or at least assess it and agree on what you want to track. Do you know what your metrics are? What are you trying to do here? Do you want to see how much is in your pipeline? Do you want to see how many new contacts were created or what have you? But you need to agree on what you want to track. Maybe certain key activities are important, like how many on-site meetings were held, how many demonstrations were conducted, how many quotes were generated, things of that nature. And then, at the end of the day, a good process will help you do all this. But then you will continue to remember CRM as a journey. You will continue to benchmark, meaning set the kinds of goals and expectations that are relevant to the process and troubleshoot it if there are any problems with it and the activities in the sales process. To just touch on that just a little bit more has to do with what you do at each stage. Now this is just an example, but maybe when you first get a prospect or a lead from a potential new client, what do you do? How do you get that? How do you get to that point? Make phone calls. Send emails. Do webinars. Whatever it is, these are activities that you will already know about. When you’re qualifying again, more meetings, phone calls, maybe you do discovery calls, set appointments, things of that nature. So the point here is that it’s part of your CRM strategy. You need to think about what activities you want to do while driving. Ensuring continued adoption is an ongoing thing. We offer quarterly reviews. You really just need to do continuous training and reinforcement. As a CRM vendor, we know that’s important. We have various programs to help you do that. And really, the idea is that you first create your plan, then implement it, continue to check it, and then if you need refinements to it, take action to do that. At the end of the day, you’re going to be able to analyze all of this and see how successful it was through the reporting and analytics functionality of any good CRM. From the standpoint of the general presentation, I’m going to stop here and give you some specific examples, and one of them is starting with just the platform you’re on. So, as many of you know, if you’re already a Prophet user, we elected to build our CRM around the Outlook platform and the Microsoft Office platform. But that doesn’t mean that’s the only way to go. There are lots of successful companies, I suppose, that have used things just more like maybe another email system other than Outlook or another calendaring system. Some CRMs have that all built into them. But whatever you do, you need to get everybody on the same platform so that you can go in and look at, say, what’s going on with other people’s calendars. It is always an important thing to be able to keep track of people’s time. A common method for sending and tracking emails. I’ll show you an example of that in Prophet CRM. So, as you may know, Prophet is embedded in Outlook and one of the benefits of that, by the way, is just being able to go in here and say I want to see all of the emails associated with this contact. Well, these can all be Outlook emails or they can be Outlook appointments that you’re tracking. Things of that nature. And you can see all of the emails and notes associated with a contact, a company, or an opportunity. So by being on the same platform, that means everybody’s sending emails through Outlook; they’re all going to be Outlook based. If you’re sending out appointments, they’re all going to be on your Outlook calendar. But the main concept there is to have a common platform that everyone is on. In terms of Outlook, I’d like to delve a little deeper into that. I’m a long-time user of Outlook. I think I’ve used Outlook since it was first invented, back in like 1993 or something like that. I’ve been using it for a long, long time. I really like it because it’s effective and our CRM integration with Outlook helps you do a lot of different things. For example, I could be looking at an appointment but I could open the record associated with that appointment because they’re all integrated together. So I can open, in this case, an opportunity that’s associated with that meeting. I can see emails associated with that opportunity or contact or company. So the main point I’m getting across is that the platform you’re on is an important aspect of the whole CRM strategy, so you have to agree on that platform. There are a lot of functions in Outlook that you know, and I’m often surprised at how people don’t really scratch the surface of Outlook itself. I hold training on it. We can do consulting for your company or training on it specifically for you or your business. But you know, things like color coding and things like automating the color coding based upon the subject line or automatic automating email templates and things of that nature. So there’s a lot that you can do with Outlook that will enhance any CRM experience for that matter. So let’s talk a little bit about how all this data gets in here because without data, none of this will ever be useful. As a result, getting good data into the system must be part of your CRM strategy. There are a lot of ways with different CRMs to get data into it, but one of the basic things about Prophet is that it utilizes Outlook data. So contacts, for example, are Outlook contacts. We can add some features to an Outlook contact. What this means though, is that when you implement Prophet, or if you’ve already implemented it and you’re just wanting to increase adoption, well, you can. It’s set up intrinsically out of the box so that all somebody has to do is create an Outlook contact, and unless it’s marked private, which is an Outlook function, it’ll go right into the CRM database. So think about adoption for a minute. I mean, without adoption, a CRM is a waste of time and money. So I’m like, yeah, it’s a little self-serving here, but the idea behind having things based on Outlook is that if people already know how to use Outlook and how to create contacts in Outlook, how to send an email in Outlook, all of that is part of the adoption because it’s all utilized. Once you put your CRM in whatever system that you implement, and whatever CRM you choose, you have to keep in mind that adoption is the key. So the whole key is to make it easy to create contacts and easy to do things like communicate with email, easily create appointments and so on. Another aspect of that is that when you first install Prophet, if you’re just looking to install it, you’re going to find that people’s Outlook contacts will come over natively and they will be part of the CRM database unless they’re marked private, which is an easy thing to do. You can just go down and check off the contacts that you don’t want in the CRM here. So what I’m getting at here is that the platform is all important for adoption as well, so you want people to have a familiar environment that they can hopefully utilize. The other aspect of adoption that I wanted to point out is that, first of all, everyone will likely have been trained initially with the CRM. It is certainly the case with ours. We provide training at the outset. But as I mentioned, CRM is a journey, and here’s kind of how I find it works: the more someone learns about a CRM, especially if it’s based on Outlook like Prophet, the more they want to learn about Outlook. So again, we provide training just on Outlook if you wish. In fact, let me just share with you a couple of places to find this information. We provide a lot of material that’s free. If you go to our main website, Avidian.com, you’re going to find there are webinars and there are learning videos. Here’s one on getting started with Prophet using reporting tools and setting up automation. And what you’re going to see is that there’s just a bunch of information about Outlook here. “How to tame your Outlook Inbox” – that series has over 1.5 million views on it right now. A very popular topic! We have advanced and intermediate Outlook training. So my point is that whatever your environment is, it’s important to train people on that platform in that environment. But, before we go any further, let’s return to the data. Contact data can be created from our contacts. Now Prophet has a very interesting functionality. When you create a contact in Prophet, which is an Outlook contact, it automatically creates the company record associated with it. Which means someone doesn’t have to do data entry to create a company record, which most CRMs force you to do. And in the Prophet CRM, if I create a contact, it creates the company record automatically, and as I create additional contacts associated with that company, you’ll see that those contacts are automatically added to the company record, which is a very useful function of how Prophet works. So here I have three contacts that were created, the first one and then two others, and they automatically got associated with the company record. So when I am talking about getting data into the system, part of your strategy has to be adoption so people will do it. Well, that eliminates a whole one whole step of data entry. That is how the company record is created automatically. Getting data into the system. You can also import data; there’s an import utility built right into Prophet. Many of you, I’m sure, have already used this. But it makes it really easy to get data in, as long as it’s from an Exce

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