jump to navigation

Marketing Automation – and the impact of WannaCry May 23, 2017

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in CRM, Cyber Security, Management, Marketing Automation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Network Security.
Tags: , , , ,
add a comment

Simon the Hacker

As both an enabler and recipient of marketing automation activities, I’ve been very aware of the impact of recent cyber security events on email marketing, on both sides of the fence.

Being an avid photographer, angler and technologist, I belong to many groups and am the recipient of many marketing campaigns, many of them generated by marketing automation systems.

In my professional role of implementing Microsoft CRM and marketing systems I also see the world through the eyes of the marketers, help and assist with implementing the platform, and work closely with the related CRM data used in these campaigns.

Then all of a sudden along comes the big bad wolf. “WannaCry” malware has had an impact on the whole spectrum of e-mail based marketing automation activities. And again I find myself looking at this from both sides of the fence. There is a little bit of mistrust, often overdramatized by the press, but there is certainly a risk out there.

I open e-mails on my phone, my tablet, my work PC and my home computer, and probably like most people I skim the marketing material that I receive unless I have a particular interest and want to drill down – there is just too much content to read it all. But we are now cautioned to not open unknown e-mails or click on links we don’t recognize. Very good advice, but one can slip very easily, and the hackers often front the e-mails with names we know and trust.

These hackers make it more difficult for marketers to get information to me, as I might just be over cautious and ignore them, or even worse hit the spam button (when it is not spam) and then I stop receiving these e-mails.

From the other side of the fence, my customers are not happy, as their outbound campaigns can be hamstrung by a large event. I would imagine that any campaign distributed at the same time as this last worldwide malware attack would be severely impacted, which will have a direct impact as the returns of these campaigns may not be as high as expected.

Marketing automation, especially e-mail marketing using a nurture program to send out content or links based on background activities, or relating to data and customer interaction, may need to cater for “pausing” the program or branch activity should there be another world event. Email isn’t the only channel. CRM systems can produce mail merged documents that can be personalised, printed, folded, inserted into envelopes and posted.

Protecting your customer data and lists so that unscrupulous hackers do not gain access and use your lists to spam your customers should be a priority. And yet again as I sit on my personal side of the fence, I don’t want my monthly camera newsletter to stop, I want updates from my fishing club, and am happy to click on the links that they provide.

My original blog was going to be about deep predictive analytics in relation to marketing automation, and then this recent malware story broke. I’ll return to predictive analytics next time, and in the short term I’m expecting that the good guys will start to outsmart the faceless hackers in masks so we can all get back to normal.




Rapid Growth Syndrome February 12, 2016

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Change Management, Management, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Training.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Who moved my Cheese

Many of us have experienced this, working for a small innovative business where the sum of all the energy is transformed into great products or exceptional services. This requires the organisation to grow, hiring even more innovative and creative people and the cycle continues.

The business is growing, and then suddenly some of the processes seem to no longer work, and one solution is to throw people and resources at it, employ a HR person to handle all the interviews, Employ project managers to manage all the projects implement a CRM system etc. and before you know it the business is transforming from the small clique of initial staff members into a company structured organisation.

Very often this is happening in an industry where there are a number of other companies in the same market all facing the same issues and all growing simultaneously, (like the dotcom boom) so why do some succeed and other fail to gain the traction needed to progress?

One has to look at how well they managed the “Rapid Growth Syndrome” and there are a number of key aspects to evaluate.

Among other things this syndrome affects People, Process and Technology.


Are the management hires suitable, qualified and flexible enough to work within a rapidly changing environment?

One needs to ask the following hard questions if you are promoting one or some of the original staff members into these newly created management positions. Are they capable to hold these positions? Will this stifle their creativity? And more importantly do they have the experience and temperament to manage staff? Sometimes the really creative people just don’t want to do those roles, however as the business is growing they are compelled to take on these responsibilities rather than have an outsider come in and suddenly become their manager.


Suddenly with a large influx of staff, some at a junior level, will come the implementation of rules, where in the early days the core group might go out for long lunches or take some time out to be very creative now this process and activity is frowned upon and sometimes actively discouraged as it is setting an incorrect precedent for new staff.

Business processes need to be put in place and followed, some of the start-up entrepreneurs that I have known over the years are dreadfully poor at paperwork and are happy to admit this openly. They cannot be seen to flaunt the new processes which are being implemented generally to streamline and keep the business efficient, so they leave and create another startup.


With growth comes the realisation that data needs to be captured, processes need to be in place to use and manage systems. Therefore there is often a requirement for some new systems, be they CRM, ERP, Manufacturing, Time Keeping or whatever. The implementation of any system needs to be well thought out (even if delivered in an agile manner) and if the new system is going to be that important, it is vital that its implementation does not impose constraints on the business.

In my solution consulting role I visit many organisations and therefore have first-hand experience of this syndrome at work. It’s a balancing act and there is no silver bullet. A deep understanding of change management is probably the most important element. Remember this is not new, this has been going on for years and there are plenty of case studies of organisations that experienced this, therefore is still amazes me to see organisations falling into these traps and making the same mistakes all over again.

See this very good article on how slack time can aid innovation https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-slack-time-so-important-innovation-phil-mckinney?trk=hp-feed-article-title-like )

But back to the central point, why do some succeed and others fail? I believe that adaptability is probably the major key along with the propensity to continually innovate, this still needs to be deeply inculcated into the culture of the business even as it grows.

In one organisation where I worked we provided all staff with a copy of the book “Who moved my cheese” by Spencer Johnson which is a really good business parable on change management and adaptability. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Moved_My_Cheese%3F we were able to see a marked improvement in the acceptance of some of the changes we were implementing as the business grew.

And to quote Haw from the book, “If you do not change, you can become extinct”.


CRM used as a Data Cleaning Tool November 26, 2015

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in CRM, Management, Microsoft CRM 2015, Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
add a comment

There is often a lot of talk about poor data within CRM systems and sadly this tends to be the case in many instances. However it is possible to make use of the system itself as a mechanism to assist in data cleansing. It might sound anachronistic that bad data sitting in a system, can actually use that system to assist in cleansing the data, I will outline how this can be done. It is not quite a self-cleaning oven, not yet.

By the creation of Views, Special Advanced Find’s, Business Process flows and by adding “Data Cleansed” fields to various forms and by monitoring these elements, Microsoft Dynamics CRM can indeed assist in the cleaning of data.


For example a view can be created that shows all customers with no Business Phone or Address. The criteria being all records where <field> “does not contain data”, and other filtering as necessary.

This view would facilitate a view for management on how many records still meet this negative criteria, and by keeping records one can manage how these numbers decrease on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

The same as is done for performance, you can create a chart from these views in a data cleaning dashboard. And unlike the performance chart, the objective is to see the graph shrink.


If a field is added to CRM for Account and Contact, which gets updated with a date once the record has been cleansed. It is possible to pull reports from the system showing the number of records updated over a specific period.

What is best in this scenario is for someone to validate that the record has been cleansed and is up to date by selecting a tick box field, this then becomes read only and also populates a date field and also records who performed the action.

A similar process can be undertaken on an annual basis where records are checked for completeness.

Targets can be set and this can be linked to incentives. Again special views get run on all records that have been classified as cleansed to ensure that the standards are being kept.

Once the system is live and all the data is clean, these fields can be removed from the forms if required.

Business Processes

You can create a business process that requires data to be collected, cleansed or otherwise updated. This business process will immediately alert you to the fact that the customer record is incomplete. Again some reporting can be effected on these processes.


You can create an advanced find, select every field that is on the form, and export to Excel, have a look at all the white space where there is no data. You can then populate the Worksheet and reimport this back to CRM

The functionality of Excel to copy down data can also be used, especially where you may have multiple contacts at an account record and the addresses are incomplete, export them all, and copy down the addresses and other static data and reimport.

Address Validation Software

Address validation software where postcodes and complete addresses can be sourced from databases can be used to populate the CRM system. Although there is normally a cost involved in implementing one of these tools and they generally require some integration and setup, the results are very powerful and once implemented you can inspect and update existing records, and ensure that new records address details are always accurate and up to date.

More importantly someone needs to be made custodian of the data and be held responsible for its accuracy and completeness. This needs to be at executive or senior management level.



Change Management for CRM Implementations November 20, 2015

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Change Management, Management, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft CRM 2016, Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Tags: ,
add a comment


In the last few weeks I have again been reminded that as CRM 2016 nears there is a huge amount of technical and application related tweets, blogs and other postings filling the airwaves, the list of the new features in Microsoft Dynamics 2016 is staggering.

And meanwhile back on the front line some companies may be struggling with the reality that the introduction of any new system, technology or process involves change. It is evident that some of the new functionality if embraced, will require a level of change.

In order to illustrate the impact of change I will just highlight one feature out of the current Microsoft Dynamics CRM offering and outline what change means just for this single context.

Consider for a moments the “Goals” functionality, this is a very powerful and sophisticated toolset that sells easily to higher management, where the reality for the implementers and users is that the introduction of this functionality is likely to involve some considerable change in the day to day operation of the business.

For example once the functionality has been implemented there will be the capability to showcase total visibility as to the Target and Actual, for any number of metrics that can now be measured. And as we all well know from management 101, “If you can’t measure it, it is hard to manage it”.

However to implement this functionality encapsulates a lot more than just this measurement. For example In order to have targets for phone calls and appointments set in goals, it would also mean that the users have to create, complete and then close those appointments and phone calls in the application. This could be another change to the current process, accompanied by a very real possibility that there may be a little resistance from the ranks at this change.

There are therefore many steps and logical machinations that require change management just for this one small single aspect of the system, and if as is the usual case the implementation is using many more of the wonderful elements of functionality within the Microsoft CRM system there is scope for change management for each and every one of these, there is a ripple effect right across the business.

You really can’t address this with a blanket statement “There will be change” and expect that everyone will rally around on day one and gladly embrace all of the changes.

So what can be done? There is no magic wand, however when organisations are undergoing rapid and considerable change either by the introduction of new systems and processes or even as the result of takeovers and acquisitions some form of change management fundamentals need to be implemented, these can range from the appointment of a Change Management Officer, through to some adequate training for the project managers and administrators who will be implementing the new systems or processes. The overarching element is communication, something you need to be really good at, if you are driving any form of change.

This is a training issue, a management issue and ultimately a corporate responsibility issue, as the introduction of a new system may involve some considerable capital outlay the effect of which needs to be maximised and not wasted.

I think another look at the aviation industry is in order, an Airline introducing a new airliner will need to train the pilots to accept the changes in technology, however the cabin staff need to be trained on the emergency procedures for this aircraft, the ground staff, fuelling and loading cargo specialists need to be trained on the changes that are needed, the list just goes on and on. Everyone has to accept the changes, adapt and ensure that the new processes and procedures are in place. This program of change will be thought about, planned and executed, there is no time or place for non-compliance.

Unfortunately far too often I hear of systems being implemented without the requisite change management planning and even more disturbingly a lack of training. Both of these activities take time and have a cost, an investment that just needs to be made. So when I am on your project, expect to hear my change management chant regularly.

Can you actually call on all your customers? October 30, 2014

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Management, Microsoft CRM 2013, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sales Management.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Recently a customer of mine mentioned that with the roll out of CRM they were getting lots of data from the sales team to be imported to the new system. These are contacts and customers. The issue was that in some cases there were more than 500 names in the lists provided and the thinking was that they will never realistically call on all of these customers.

This got me thinking, I then created a small Excel model into which I categorised customers based on how often they need to be called on by percentage. Therefore 5% of the customers need to be called on twice a month etc. These numbers are sensible for organisations that continually get repeat business from their customers. This also takes into account the traditional 80:20 rule.

Twice a Month 5%

Once a month   15%

Once every 2 months    20%

Once every 3 months    25%

Once every 6 months    35%

If you apply this across a customer base the following is quite interesting:

To call on 100 customers using this model you will need to make 12 calls per week. 200 customers would be 25 calls a week and 500 would be 61 calls a week.

This does not take into consideration annual leave, illness, public holidays and other time away from front line selling and or prospecting for new business which ultimately bloats this number.

So therefore I wonder, how many of your customers are getting neglected because the sales team physically cannot get around to the them all?

My recommendation, do the numbers, count number of customers by owner in the CRM system and see if it is realistically possible that all the customers can get called on based on your own specific metrics, if not maybe some alternative strategies of telesales and nurture marketing could supplement the real time calls that are required.

Bringing the data to life – Four important lessons February 10, 2014

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Business Intelligence, CRM 2013, Management, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft CRM 2013, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Training.
add a comment

Bringing the data to life

We have a customer who has been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM for just over a year, they added ClickDimensions to the mix some months later and now have a real set of rich data with which to work.
The customer records are updated nightly through a process from a data warehouse and CRM is the mechanism for marketing and outbound communications.

Many companies talk about mining their data and have lofty ideas about what they want to do, these are often tabulated and postulated about before a new system is implemented where the reality of the data and the perceived marketing ideals do not really converge.
As I have found with my customer, learning about the data as the system evolves is the way that great marketing ideas come about and the requirements become more identifiable. I have watched this data come alive, I have seen how with filtering and intuitive understanding more and more effective marketing comes about.

The key lesson here is that during the analysis phase it should be generally understood that data mining and analysis are going to be important and the data model incorporated into CRM must be correctly designed, however presumptuous interpretations about what you perceive will be the results should be avoided. It is not a light switch and it is unlikely that on day one there will be this large data revelation.

Our customer is still learning, they understand that. They know that they don’t know everything there is to know about their data. ClickDimensions adds a whole new perspective to the data analytics and with Web capturing which we recently added, even more interesting data stories are beginning to unfold. There is no long list of things that are wanted, it is now much more spontaneous and with each iteration and Advanced Find query saved, more and more understanding is added to the overall model. It’s a building learning iterative process.

In effect they are bringing the data to life little by little, and when I am asked to assist and I see what is starting to happen, I can see the beginnings of the data taking on a life of its own. Their marketing model is all about customer retention and regular interaction which lends itself to this type of analytical systems approach.

Four important lessons
1. Good data is probably the first and most important element:
The core transactional data coming from the business systems via the data warehouse feed in this instance keeps the integrity of the data on a very sound footing. The understanding of the relationships between certain elements of the data within the customer record becomes pivotal to the analytics.
2. Constantly review your data and campaigns:
The customer found that the subsequent marketing data related to outbound campaigns and the resultant activities and further incoming data based on these campaigns all correlated together make for a full picture about how a specific customer was affected by an individual marketing campaign. When aggregated, segmented and analysed it showed trends that they did not perceive would be possible when starting out.
3. Make use of visual data:
They have also been using CRM dashboards to visualise the data, this too has been an evolving process and certainly were not defined up front. Dynamic exports of views and pivot tables to Excel can also be very effective.
4. Have the right people doing this work:
I also believe that the people doing this type of work, need to be marketers, not pure data analysts, they need an affinity for the business, an understanding of their industry coupled with the intuition to bring this all together. This just screams out to me as people who are passionate about their industry. Once they have a good system we can teach them how to get the most from their data within the system, and from that point forward it is growing and learning experience.
And the key to success is?
Start small, be pedantic about the quality of your data, record results and try and understand what they mean. Build on each step and I am sure in time you too will also start seeing your data coming alive.

Microsoft CRM Outlook Client is a game changer June 17, 2013

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Management, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft Office, Polaris, Sales Management, Uncategorized.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

Microsoft CRM Outlook Client is a game changer

It was in 2006 that I attended a Microsoft sponsored business breakfast where I first saw a demo of the then CRM 3.0 with the Outlook Client. At the time I was so very much impressed with what I saw, that the very next day I took decisive action to join a Microsoft partner just to be part of this amazing journey that I perceived was coming. it is now 7 years later and I was not wrong.

As with the demo I saw that day, today I still think that when used properly the CRM Outlook Client is fantastic and makes using CRM just so easy and very very powerful.

There are however a few things that really stand out, and recently I met with an enthusiastic user who, even though he had been using this client for two years, was unaware of some of the features, So I am going to outline my top 5 features, the first three of which this user did not even know existed.

Many of the Outlook Client features are in fact pure Outlook or even Office functions and if used correctly can enhance CRM usability.

You may need to use Outlook or CRM help if you are not sure, or look up a You Tube video, as I am not giving a click by click step through on how to use these functions. I am just outlining the basics so you can go and explore.

1.  Reading Pane Advanced Actions

Just as you can use the reading pane on your e-mail, you can use this when looking at CRM views in Outlook. Once you open a reading pane, you can scroll down the view and the data will change contextually within the reading pane. The Customize Reading Pane button is where the real power is, it will allow you to add and remove sections from the record in the reading pane, as well as being able to sort and move the order of the data around. What this actually means is that you are able to build a view of a CRM form that is totally different to the view you would see when you open the record.

2. Quick Access Toolbar

This is a standard Office function that few people use, and if used with CRM it in effect allows you to have access to CRM items with one click from anywhere in Outlook. Right mouse click in free space on the ribbon and select the Customise Quick Access Toolbar. Once it is switched on, either above or below your ribbon you can then go to other areas of CRM and select menu items with a right mouse click and add them to the toolbar. I have accounts, contacts and leads on mine and no matter where I am in Outlook I can with one click create a new record. Obviously you can use this for standard Outlook and Office functionality as well.

If you add the CRM record icon to this view, you get the dropdown for all CRM Records. If you have everything that you use regularly, you can close the ribbon and get some more screen real estate.

3. Recent Visited Records

When you go to the left navigation pane of Outlook and look at CRM entities, if you right click once on any of these items, you will see a Recently Visited option, this then shows the recent records that you have viewed. This is a really fast way to navigate to those recent records.

This also works on custom entities and is very useful.

4. Conditional Formatting and Categories

This is one of my all-time favourite options. This is standard Outlook functionality, which if used correctly will allow you change the formatting of different views, and when working in tandem with Categories (you can make the colour of different rows within the view different based on the category or categories that you have added to the view). This really has a powerful application in CRM, in that it is easy to highlight information.

You need to go to a view, select the View Options and then Conditional Formatting. It is not quite as extensive as the condition formatting in Excel, but comes a good close second.

5. Filter

For those of you familiar with the Excel Filter, this is a similar tool and allows you the capability of looking at views of CRM Data that are filtered. Just click on the Filter button and you are away. As with Conditional Formatting it also works on custom entities.

It is not a ribbon button but is found at the top of the view, hence a few people miss it, however once you use it you can have your filtered records on screen with a customised reading pane and conditional formatting giving you a fantastic view of your data all with real context.

Give it a try I Dare you.

Asking Difficult Questions June 10, 2013

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Management, Microsoft CRM, Sales Management, Training.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

The Board Report (Asking those difficult questions).

Some years ago I was involved in a CRM project for a Financial Institution, where the Microsoft CRM system we were implementing was to replace an existing legacy system. One of the primary requirements of the new system was that the reporting should replace the manual reporting that was currently in place for the monthly board report.

What they were doing at the time was taking information fom the existing system, supplementing this with data from some other places and eventually charts and tables were created in Excel all of which were incorporated into a weighty tome, beautifully printed and bound and then delivered to the executives on a monthly basis. I was told that the new auto generated Board Report should look identical to the manually created one.

As we needed to create these charts with SQL Server Reporting Services, I was very surprised to find that a number of the charts were identical, in one version the X Axis and Y Axis would represent the data, and then in another chart the axis’s were switched around but it was exactly the same chart with the same data. This was repeated with the tables.

When I queried this I was told, that this is the way it has always been done (See my blog… http://wp.me/s1kkKG-129) and that the executives on the board would not take kindly to having the monthly board report changed. I was told “They won’t like it if you change it”. Not being one to shirk away from asking difficult questions, I made an appointment to speak with one of the recipients of the report, who quite cheerfully told me that this 50 page report that was supplied had very little information of real importance with the exception of the financial summaries on the final two pages, which was the main metric for the management of the business.

What is important here is a valuable lesson in business analysis. Sometimes junior staff will not question things when they involve very senior management and the assumption that you need not question the executives as part of the project is bit of a misnomer. Always ask the questions. In this case the information supplied in the board report was vital for management in terms of decision making, but only a little bit of information.

This is blog number 11 in the series “The more things change the more they stay the same”.

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.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

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.


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.


More information on why CRM projects fail April 7, 2013

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Management, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft Office, Sales Management, Training, XRM.
Tags: , , , ,

I read an interesting blog today on Why CRM Project Fail by Mark Smith the nzCRMguy


And although in principle I agree with the four main reasons Mark outlined, I think that not to offend modern sensibilities and rock the management boat, has meant that one of the other real main reasons for pure CRM sales project failures, Weak or Poor Management is often not tabled as a reason or not even talked about.

(Generally I am not talking about complex XRM implementations, but CRM as it is used to support sales and service organisations which also have a high failure rate).

I have been implementing CRM systems since 1985, I have seen all kinds of failures, and over time have seen one common thread. A little bit of the tail wagging the dog.

A sales persons’ job is to go out get orders, process the orders, handle customer queries etc. and these are things that you would expect your sales team to do in order for them to keep their jobs and keep on getting paid. It probably also means that you would not tolerate them writing offensive e-mails to customers, looking at porn on the company network and generally not doing what they are asked to do.

Using systems is and should be part of the job, end of story. Most employees use Outlook or a mail program and are expected to use Word if they need to create letters and documents. If a sales person does not hand in an order for a product, or issue a quote to a customer, there are generally consequences.

So how come we get into the situation where the sales person does not bother to enter a Lead, or complete an Opportunity or starts getting stroppy and starts complaining that the new CRM system is different, too difficult to use and they don’t like it, and so won’t use it? And the project fails!

The only reason is: They are allowed to get away with it, and that unfortunately points to weak or ineffectual management. Certainly we want user involvement, all working together with the project team, making sure that adequate training is given, and the fundamentals of change management are considered during the process, however if at an individual level, a staff member just elects not to use the system, they are and probably should be in violation of their employment agreement. And action should be taken.

In one of my previous blogs I talked about the management at a large bank where I implemented CRM. We issued a mantra, “If it is not in CRM it did not happen”. Staff who forgot to enter sales calls that they actually had made, ended up not getting bonuses as they had not met their KPI. Which was, everything you do you enter in CRM.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is easy to use, and with the Outlook Client, it does not take extensive training. The system can be an exceptional tool for a motivated and energetic sales person, and will give management tremendous business intelligence information, and really should be embraced.

A little bit of management leading by example also can be quite helpful.

If I was spending money on a system, there would have to be much more of a reason than “The staff don’t like change” for me to allow my management team to just bend over and give up.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Everything CRM and other cool stuff

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Team blog

Everything CRM and other cool stuff

Hosk's Dynamic CRM Blog

All views and opinions are personal opinions of the Hosk