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The Origins of CRM Part 1 – Call Reporting April 23, 2013

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Management, Microsoft CRM, Sales Management, Training, Uncategorized.
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The Origins of CRM, Early Days, Part 1 Call Reporting

I am very fortunate to have been involved right in the beginning of the computer based CRM industry. I was working for Kalamazoo Business Systems PLC in the early 1980’s before the introduction of MS Dos and when the concept of the Personal Computer was really in its infancy. Most companies had large mainframe systems or what was termed mini computers, however no one was doing anything that looked like CRM on these computers at that time. Many companies still ran manual systems for Accounting, Payroll and Cash Book.

Kalamazoo also had a manual Sales Reporting System which had remained unchanged from the mid 1960’s and I was given the task of giving this product a total overhaul as the precursor for the computer based sales management system we were planning. Principally this manual system had a number of quite interesting components, with the main selling objectives being:

  • A system to aid in the retention of customers.
  • The capability of monitoring of salespeople and their activities.
  • Something that was easy to use, and thus no extra work for the sales staff
  • Giving management some basic control and visibility of information over what the external sales teams were doing.

Sounds a little like modern CRM doesn’t it?

The way it worked was as follows: Each sales person was given a ring binder with a set of customer cards, just imagine an A5 card divided into two sections, the top section had all of the customer static information, name, address phone number etc. and the bottom section had a set of ruled horizontal lines each denoting an individual appointment or call made on the customer.

The sales person was also given a special clipboard onto which a daily call report was placed. This board had a series of pegs on the left hand side. This A4 form had the same ruled lines that were found on the customer card.

The sales person would make the call, and then remove the customer card from the binder, place it on the clipboard and update one of those single lines for the appointment. This card used carbonised paper, and therefore whatever was written on the customer record appeared on the call report. The sales person could then go onto the next call and by just lining the next card up on the next blank line on the report was able to do his work and the by product was a call report that was handed in. (see the link below)

Some of the changes that I introduced through the judicious use of form design meant it was possible to create a manual report that would give considerable management information and by ticking boxes on the customer record card, and selecting options from a key, it was possible from a single A4 report with 22 calls on it to determine many metrics just by looking at the form.

For example (See attached Image of a Call Report from 1984 from which the following can be derived).

  1. Brief Call Report. Only pertinent facts, no long stories (these can be transferred to the Action Request if necessary).

2. Time Utilisation. See how the salesperson used his time when there was a broken appointment.

3. New Business. After a broken appointment see if the salesperson was prospecting.

4. Action Request. Via the action request which is a short memo form, other departments can be notified as to actions that they must undertake. The salesperson keeps a copy and files with customer record card.

5. – 10  Call Analysis.

  • Is the salespersons activity above or below the national average, how does he compare?
  • What is the call to order ratio?
  • How many broken appointments?
  • No activity on product F, why?
  • Were there enough new prospect calls?
  • Which competition did I run into the most?
  • What is the discussion to order ratio?
  • Is the spread of market sector calls proportionate to orders?
  • How many action requests and queries?
  • How many quotes to orders?

11. Order Value. This is only for orders picked up by the salesperson, how does this compare to the phoned in orders?

12. Follow up Dates. These dates make for pre-planned calls. Transferred immediately to the new call report sheet to act as a diary. New staff would have a ready-made list of calls to be made, maintaining continuity.

13. Monitoring Opposition. For example in 22 calls, ran into opposition number 2 six times, and others only once or twice. Is there a trend here?

14. Detailed Product Analysis. Can indicate good and bad lines. Are sales people not discussing any particular products?

See Call Report here.

http://sdrv.ms/14KmcmP

When this data was entered into the VisiCalc Spreadsheet that I designed, management were able to get a consolidation of this information by sales person, team and office. This was ultimate Business Intelligence for sales people in 1983. Although it is possible to get exactly all of this from a new Microsoft CRM Sales Implementation, I don’t believe that many sales organisations actually go this far in 2013. Remember folks that this was 30 years ago. The key lesson here is that if you are able to capture information you will be able to use it, sales people are often the eyes and ears of the organisation, and as in the example above, if the sales person runs into competitor number 2 that many times, it would only become apparent if the information was recorded with the correct context.

It should be remembered that conceptually a CRM system in those days would not have involved the sales and marketing teams entering data themselves, this would be captured on manual reports and forms and entered into the system by a data capture clerk.

There will be more blogs to come on some of the other manual systems that were used and the computer based CRM system “Sales Generator” that we launched in 1985.

 

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1. The Origins of CRM Part 1 – Call Reporting - Microsoft Dynamics CRM Community - December 17, 2014

[…] Originally posted on Ivor's CRM Campus: […]


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