Our Resident Sales Expert, Chris Corbett has been in this business for a really long time, and he has some really good stories to tell. My favorite story is the one about how he used to manage his leads and contacts. It’s amazing to me to think of Chris with a rolodex of business cards and think just how far we have come since those days.
As with most things that evolve, there have been several steps that have led Chris to using a “modern-day” CRM system.
Step 1: The rol-0-dex-days
Remember when cold calling meant grabbing a business card? Fifteen years ago, before lead indexing was electronic, the most common and effective way to manage your potential clients was through indexing their business cards. To follow up with his customers, Chris would refer to his trusty rolodex that housed his cards. On the back of each card Chris had written notes for follow up. The biggest problem Chris had with this system was if the card got lost, the information he wrote on it was gone as well.
Step 2: Managing your contacts through Microsoft Outlook
After a couple years of losing a few key business cards, Chris moved to managing his clients through Microsoft Outlook. While he still collected business cards, and wrote information down on the back of them, he also stored the information in his Microsoft Outlook Calendar. That way, if the card got lost, he would have a way to know when his next appointment was and how to contact the person for follow up. Though information wasn’t being lost anymore, Chris still had no way to inter-relate his data. Every contact he entered into Outlook was its own silo of information.
Step 3: The introduction of Business Contact Manager
Finding it increasingly time consuming to manage each individual contact without being able to see how they related to one another, Chris sought help from a Business Contact Manager. Solutions like ACT and Goldmine allowed him to see which contacts belonged to which company. What Business Contact Mangers did not do, however, is allow him to assign tasks to other people in our organization, track finite details of my marketing campaigns, or report on sales efforts. He could only see his individual activity, and as a sales manager, that was proving to be troublesome.
Step 4: Customer Relationship Managers
Our CRM system allows Chris to do everything that he had been hoping to do in the past. He can see others' activities, he can generate reports showing sales meetings, or opportunities, and he can understand what is involved with my marketing campaigns. He can also create tasks for any of his team members, and keep track of his contacts in an efficient and productive way. Everything Chris wants to know about his customer is at his fingertips.
Step 5: Welcome to the future: xRM
Once Chris got used to the concept of managing everything from the customer perspective in one location, he began to think of the greater capabilities he could have with our CRM system. This created the need for him to turn his CRM into xRM. xRM systems are anything relationship managers, they extend beyond the customer and allow Chris to manage any aspect of our business. For example, if one of our customers has a service request they can submit a request via our online portal and it will be created in our CRM system.
What Chris has learned from his long journey through the evolution of CRM systems, is that the future of CRM is incredibly bright, and the possibilities are endless. Chris still keeps a stack of business cards on his desk to remind himself of just how far CRM has come in the last fifteen years. This allows him to be thankful for the information that he is able to electronically receive today. Do you remember the days of the rolodex? Are you thankful for our modern day CRM systems?