5 ways CRM can help improve your sales team’s performance

Sometimes it can be hard to put your finger on just why your sales team isn’t hitting the mark, but don’t worry not all is lost. CRM will not only help you identify areas of improvement but also help boost your team’s performance.

 

1.-effective-follow-up-on-leads.png1. Effective follow up on leads

 

If leads are not being followed up and nurtured, sales leads won’t convert. If your sales team is following up leads, your business won’t be losing sales. It is essential that your team has a CRM system that allows them to record leads and progress each opportunity through the sales pipeline to its conclusion. You will also have full visibility to effectively monitor lead follow-up and address any unfollowed-up leads before it’s too late.

 

 
2.-better-use-of-email.png2. Better use of email

 

Now GDPR is in place how you approach your prospects is even more important, it’s a well-known fact that personalised emails improve click-through and conversion rates.

Email is, for many customers and prospects, the communication method of choice. It is therefore essential that sales staff:

  • Use email to contact customers/prospects where appropriate.
  • File emails against customer/prospect records for future reference.
  • Use email templates and email automation tools as far as possible to increase efficiency and reduce manual intervention.
  • Use email for new marketing efforts.

Keeping emails stored against customer records in a CRM system ensures a full audit trail for communication and a better understanding of each customer. 

 
 
3.-valuable-organisational-understanding.png3. Valuable Organisational Understanding

 

Your team needs to identify and understand each client so they target the correct person with each sales effort:

  • Who are the deal influencers?
  • Who are the decision makers?
  • Who are the gatekeepers?

CRM systems that capture the organisational structure of client companies will save time and get deals in front of the right person.

 
 
4.-long-term-relationship-building.png4. Long-term Relationship Building

 

Relationships are built on trust, which is why your sales team needs to deliver on promises. If a client requests a call back, they must receive that call when they ask. CRM systems provide the ability to record call notes and set reminders for follow-up.

 
 
5.-no-opportunity-is-overlooked.png5. No opportunity is overlooked

 

Well-established customer relationships provide opportunities to upsell and cross-sell. There are two key factors to make this happen:

  • A solid, trusting relationship between customer and account manager. The personal information required to maintain a relationship with each client stakeholder. Data that allows account managers to match products to customer preferences for upsell opportunities. 
  • A good understanding of the client’s needs, preferences and company culture.

CRM systems can store:

The personal information required to maintain a relationship with each client stakeholder. Data that allows account managers to match products to customer preferences for upsell opportunities.

 
 
and-remember.pngAnd remember…

 

A CRM system offers many ways for sales teams to improve performance. A CRM system enables you to provide a higher level of customer service and achieve a greater ROI.

Find out how Workbooks CRM helps drive business success – Read our customer success stories.

 

 

Falling back in love with CRM

Just like your first love, inexperience, excitement and unrealistic expectations may contribute to your first CRM project not standing the test of time. 

Let’s be honest – with the first CRM deployment, no business knows exactly what to expect. So if your first CRM experience has not been great, no need to worry: you can easily bounce back! And if you learn from that first experience, you can get it right the next time!

 

So, let’s take a look at WHAT MAKES A CRM PROJECT GO WRONG?

 

broken.pngSide tracked

With a CRM deployment it is very easy to lose focus on the real objectives. The main question you should hone in on is: Why is the business investing in CRM?

  • Is the goal to increase revenue?    
  • Should the focus be cutting costs?
  • Is it possible to do both?

In the first flush of excitement, it is far too easy to forget that underpinning goal… and that could cost your project dearly.

 

broken.pngThe wrong partner

Initial attraction is no guarantee of relationship longevity and no relationship will succeed if there is a mismatch.

From a CRM perspective, there are many potential traps and pitfalls to avoid. The right partner can ensure the right approach to the project and reduce the impact of issues on the business. The wrong partner can tempt you down an expensive and unrewarding path. Many companies are keen to sell a CRM system bundled with apps and add-ons but will they:

  • Successfully implement the solution across the business?
  • Manage change across the organisation?
  • Guarantee successful user adoption?
  • Deliver a solution tailored to your specific business and strategic goals?

A good partner should always be transparent and tell you the truth. Like in any relationship, trust is pivotal.

 

broken.pngAvoid distractions

Don’t get led astray by seductive yet unnecessary new technologies or apps and keep focused on your core objectives. Only once these are achieved you can begin to expand CRM into more parts of your business with ease. Bells and whistles are great but make sure that they help you address your business goals and help you reach the outcomes you want.

 

WHAT MAKES IT GO RIGHT? 

heart.pngBe Specific

So how can you avoid expensive and potentially CRM derailing solutions? The only way to keep the relationship on track is to concentrate on the fundamentals – and that means setting very specific goals that will keep you on track to achieving your overall objectives. For example you can set cross- and up-selling targets or focus on using CRM to improve your understanding about existing customers to improve the relevance of cross and up-sell offers.

You need to continually monitor performance against these targets and honestly assess the success of your CRM strategy. Don’t take anything for granted and do not be disheartened – long term success requires continuous scrutiny and assessment and it is a journey. You have to keep working on it.

 

heart.pngTake Responsibility

Like any relationship, success depends on people taking responsibility. No one can take a part-time approach to a relationship and expect it to succeed. A CRM project is far more likely to be successful if it is the sole responsibility of an individual or a small group of people who make it a priority.

Done well, CRM can transform the way the business operates, from customer interactions to sales & marketing impact. Effective change management is essential, and a responsible approach makes a massive difference to project outcomes:

  • Dedicate an individual / or small group to overseeing change.
  • Ensure you have the right partner.
  • Reinforce the message regarding CRM outcomes.

     

heart.pngLearn from the Past

The perception is that CRM has been around for a while and is not that difficult to implement. The reality is that first time failure is both incredibly common and a huge learning opportunity. Take aways should include:

  • Understand the limitations of that first CRM system to identify what to look out for going forward.
  • Recognise the mistakes that were made: Was there poor communication with the CRM vendor? No change management? A loss of focus? What could we have done differently?
  • Highlight any areas of benefit: Did customer service improve? Was it easier for sales staff to share information and manage their engagement with customers and prospects? Was the marketing activity more targeted and could you effectively measure the ROI of your marketing investments?

Success the second time around is about taking the positive from that first experience and being objective about the negatives. It is also important to recognise the role the business played in the outcome first time around.

 

heart.pngFace the Truth

Not all relationships or CRM solutions can be saved! Whatever you do, don’t let the relationship drag on beyond its ‘sell by date’. The result is not only lost time and money, but gradual erosion in the overall perception of CRM and its value to the business. It may be hard to walk away from that first CRM solution, but the business has changed and grown and making the decision to let go may be what’s best for your business. 

  • Business goals have changed.
  • Technology has developed.
  • The relationship with the vendor no longer works.
  • The company has simply lost faith in the CRM solution.

All is not lost – there are plenty of other solutions to fall in love with. The right solution that will actually provide you with value is out there. You just need to start looking for it.  Just as a new relationship can introduce you to new interests and people, when CRM works well it can be transformative!

 

heart.pngLong-term partnership for success 

No relationship is perfect. It takes work, commitment and dedication to get the best from both sides. This is no different in a business. It is imperative to:

  • Retain focus on the objectives.
  • Remember the reason for the CRM investment.
  • Gain advice as to how best to achieve that goal.
  • Don’t get side-tracked by the glittery attractions of new technologies, apps or features. Focus on what will impact your business now and for the foreseeable future.

 

There is no excuse for letting old CRM constrain the business or allowing the fear of trying again to hold you back. Just learn from your mistakes and go on a quest for the right solution! It will be better the second time around. 

The key is to identify, prioritise and address the most pressing issues. Failing to understand the outcomes you are looking for and not clearly defining your CRM requirements at the beginning of the project can have dramatic consequences and affect your ability to measure its impact on the business.

Download our Guide to Understanding your CRM requirements to learn how to avoid common pitfalls and ensure your CRM project is a success. 

 

Download the guide

CRM for Accountancy

Evolve or be left behind

evolve-or-be-left-behind.pngThe accountancy landscape is undergoing dramatic changes. Downwards price pressures and commoditisation of compliance services, digital transformation, increased competition and clients’ changing expectations are shaking up the profession.

Forward thinking accountancy practices have realised that they must evolve and innovate if they are to survive and flourish in this new commercial landscape. They must implement new business development models as traditional methods of network expansion are becoming harder to employ. They must efficiently attract new clients but also maximise the opportunities that exist within their client base. They must diversify their services and leverage technologies in order to achieve greater efficiency and drive a sustainable competitive advantage.

For many, CRM is the catalyst for change, underpinning the development and promotion of a sales culture across the firm and enabling best practices in generating new business and cross-sell revenue.

More new business

more-new-business.pngAttracting and developing new clients is today one of the key business drivers for accountancy firms.To be successful at developing your practice, you need easy access to information, deep customer insights and the tools to close and onboard a new client, quickly and efficiently. You also need real-time data to drive quick and effective decision-making throughout the entire sales process.

This is where CRM comes into the picture. It offers a single 360-degree view of your prospects (and all your clients too). You can track and analyse all the interactions and transactions from the second a prospect shows the smallest bit of interest (like registering for an event, or downloading something on your website, or signing up for emails) all the way through to the day they become a client and beyond. You can assign responsibility for activities to the most appropriate person and set notifications so that no task is overlooked. You can track Key Performance Indicators (KPI) across your team and across business units. You can analyse individual performance, from partners to associate managers’ level. At the click of a button, you can answer who is proactive in identifying new business opportunities (and who is introducing new services to existing customers).

That is not all. You can segment your market and focus your narrative. You can target effectively, execute your prospecting campaigns quickly, automate many processes, monitor prospect and client engagement.

New revenue growth opportunities through cross-selling

new-revenue-growth-opportunities-through-cross-selling.pngAccountancy firms are uniquely placed to leverage the wealth of financial and historical data they have for their clients in order to identify and drive cross-sell opportunities.

CRM gives you a cross-selling platform, providing great visibility of what services have been sold to existing clients and identify those service offerings that have not yet been taken up – enabling firms to identify segments where they can cross-sell new services.

Visibility and insights can help develop an accurate strategy for growing a practice. It can help you define how to best engage with your clients to build deeper relationships and trust; and with deeper engagement comes increased retention.

Save money by freeing billable time

save-money-by-freeing-billable-time.pngPartners and managers are typically losing a lot of time hunting for phone numbers, emails and clients or prospects details – which could be immediately available in CRM.

CRM can be a catalyst for addressing inherent data duplication and data management issues that many firms face and provide a focus for the cleansing, maintenance and syncing of contact data. It provides the hub for the syncing of contact details and calendars with devices so that everyone in the practice can access the data anywhere, anytime.

A full ‘prospect to client’ solution

a-full-prospect-to-client-solution.pngIn today’s landscape, accountancy practices have to evolve, diversify and provide additional value-added services to their clients. They need to implement new business development models in order to retain existing clients, cross-sell services and attain new business. Those new models require a CRM system that is embedded within the day to day activities, across the entire firm.

With better visibility of your target segments you can market to those more effectively. As a result, you see increased revenue, an improved client experience, best practice procedures and productivity gains. Adopting CRM helps increase practice efficiency and improve the client experience. 

The opportunity that is available to practices who choose to fully embrace CRM, is one where they can automate and streamline their practice, enabling them to improve their service offering and spend even more time with clients helping them to achieve their business goals.

Many accountancy practices are trusting Workbooks CRM to supercharge their practice and feed into their competitive edge. Don’t take our word for it. Find out what Colin Abercrombie, Partner at French Duncan has to say about using Workbooks. 

 

 

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The 3 pillars of CRM success

For a CRM initiative to be successful and deliver the desired business outcomes, there are three key elements that need to have equal attention paid to them:

  • Technology
  • Implementation
  • User adoption

 

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One of the biggest misconceptions around CRM technology is that it is just a tool for tracking customer interactions. Now while that may have been true in its early years, time and technology has moved on and today it does so much more. 

The right CRM solution should enable your organisation to better manage business processes across marketing, sales, finance and customer services while also:

  • Improving efficiency 
  • Automating day to day tasks
  • Reducing sales and marketing costs 
  • Enhancing sales forecasting
  • Increasing lead generation, order values and company revenue
  • Cutting the sales cycles and improving conversion rates
  • Providing deeper insights into customer relationships and the business as a whole

It is vital that the goals of your CRM project are aligned with your overall business strategy and objectives as without this tie-in from the start, it will be virtually impossible to then identify what functionality you need and whether the CRM solution can help you to achieve the desired outcomes. If you already have a CRM solution that you are thinking of replacing, it’s important to analyse what worked well for you and what didn’t and use the findings as the foundations for the functionality that the new CRM must deliver.

Once you know what you want and need from the technology, get a cross-functional team together to evaluate the options and decide which CRM solution will best suit your needs. The team should include members of the following departments:

  • Executive management
  • Sales 
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • IT 
  • Customer Service

These evaluators should be part of the project team that manages the implementation project. Choosing the CRM solution should be based on the strengths of the vendor as well as the technology itself. 

 

implementation-icon.png

Having a clearly defined implementation plan will ensure that your CRM project stays on track and is delivered on time. Once your technology solution partner has been chosen, the project team needs to devise a timetabled implementation plan that covers:

  • Business process mapping: a new CRM implementation project is an excellent opportunity to review the way you work and identify whether it is the best way. The questions you’ll need to ask yourself about your business processes at this stage will show you ways to improve the way you work for greater efficiencies and optimum performance.
  • Customisation: Most CRM solutions today can be used off-the-shelf with little or no customisation but most businesses will identify ways that they want to adapt it in order to align it with their business processes and strategies. These adaptations should be identified in advance so that you have defined and documented your requirements ready to start the customisation process.
  • Data Migration: Often data will be pulled in from legacy CRM systems, spreadsheets and other business applications so creating a standardised format and cleaning up data before the migration is essential for success. The right CRM solution will have data import tools that can manage the process and make it easier but the long-term success of your CRM project is dependent on the quality of the data that is added at this stage. For example duplicated contact names or different versions of company names should be merged and the hard bounce data that you have been meaning to update for a long time finally addressed.
  • Training & Support: Your CRM software will have a wide range of tools that users will have to learn and master. The right CRM solution partner will provide a combination of written training documents, videos, and other self-paced options, along with in-person group workshops and training courses, to suit your organisation’s needs.
  • Go live: By the time go-live day comes around you should have everything in place so that the system has the most-up-to-date data in it and is ready to start helping your business improve performance.

 

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Successful user adoption can prove the hardest part to get right in a CRM project and it is a critical factor.

Communication throughout the project lifetime is key and having the project team members act as system champions within their departments can help to generate a buzz around it before it goes live.

The right CRM solution will be available anytime, anywhere from any device, intuitive and easy-to-use with a simple interface that makes it easy for users to master. 

Embedding its use across the organisation and changing the way you work will require effort though, and regular ‘champion’ sessions to share the benefits it can deliver – for individuals in their working day as well as the organisation as a whole – can be a key way of influencing adoption positively.

Incentivising its use can also work wonders. Rewarding early adopters and making a competition about mastering it can help motivate everyone to get on board.

Whatever you decide, whatever the approach you take, just remember that a CRM project requires a focus on technology, people and processes and only when all three of them are in harmony will you truly maximise your ROI.

To find out more about how to guarantee a successful CRM implementation, download our whitepaper.

 

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Workbooks has once again hit the highest Net Promoter Score (NPS)

g2-crowd-pr.png5th September 2018, Reading, UK: We are excited to announce that Workbooks has been identified once again as having the highest Net Promoter Score (NPS) amongst the main CRM players by G2 Crowd, the trusted site for enterprise software reviews.

G2 Crowd leverages independent and authenticated user reviews to provide the insights business professionals need to gain confidence in their buying decisions. 

 

With so many CRM vendors to choose from, it is hard to find an independent and trustworthy comparison that businesses can rely on. The G2 Crowd report highlights the CRM solutions that offer features and scalability across marketing, sales and customer service. 

In the summer 2018 edition of the report, Workbooks comes out top in 8 out of 9 satisfaction ratings categories and second in the other category. Importantly, Workbooks has the top Net Promoter Score with most of the other major vendors trailing way behind.

When it comes to feature ratings, Workbooks is top in 23 out of 32 categories and second in all the others – a testimony to the value Workbooks brings to its customers. 

John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks says: “Our high customer satisfaction rating and Net Promoter Score, the number of businesses switching to Workbooks and the accolades we have received from the industry are all testament to our commitment to customer success.”

To review the G2 Crowd Summer 2018 report, click here.

 

About Workbooks

Workbooks provides an affordable, feature-rich and cloud-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution that enables small and mid-market organisations to efficiently acquire, convert and retain customers, at a cost significantly lower than the other major CRM vendors.

Workbooks helps marketing departments run campaigns and generate more quality leads; it enables sales team to work more effectively, better identify opportunities, close more deals and grow revenue; it empowers customer support teams to deliver exceptional service and drive customer satisfaction; and it extends beyond sales, marketing and customer support to include order management, fulfilment, invoicing, supplier management and integration with other business systems.

Workbooks joins up the entire organisation around data and processes, promoting teamwork and collaboration. It provides a single 360 view of customers and the information is accessible anytime, anywhere. Productivity is increased, operations are streamlined, insightful decisions are made and the business is better equipped to differentiate against the competition.

 

About G2 Crowd

G2 Crowd, the world’s leading business software review platform, leverages more than 170,000 user reviews to drive better purchasing decisions. Technology buyers, investors, and analysts use G2 Crowd to compare and select the best software based on peer reviews and synthesised social data.

Keeping their ratings unbiased is a top priority. They require the use of a LinkedIn account to validate a G2 Crowd user’s identity and employer as well as verify all reviews manually. Only the opinion of real users and data from public sources factor into their ratings.

 

 

 

10 tips to a successful CRM implementation

main-2.pngGreat customer relationships are the bedrock of a thriving business and the key to success. The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software market has reached maturity and most vendors offer a proven set of functionalities to serve the needs of organisations today.

Implementing a CRM system can be a challenge, especially for small and mid-size companies that tend to have limited or no dedicated IT teams. With CRM comes also a review of the way the business operates, how departments get the job done and how they make decisions. A CRM project includes technology, people and business processes and all of those elements need to be considered in unison in order to drive success.

Here are our top tips to guarantee success:

 

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For any CRM project to be successful there must be support from the leadership team.  By support we don’t just mean a willingness to sign the cheque (although clearly that helps!) but a true buy-in from the top that affirms the commitment of the business to the CRM project. Business leaders must manage competing requirements and set business priorities. They must clearly define the management information requirements. If the CRM system is really going to improve the business, it will need to deliver good quality KPI’s, so the right people can make the right decisions. 

 

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We encourage you to really consider what you are trying to achieve by investing in CRM and how your business might be different in 6-12 months with a successfully deployed solution. What is the business case for implementing CRM? Without that, you’ll struggle to drive the project, get it adopted and you’ll be unable to demonstrate its impact.

It is also important to recognise that different teams inside your business will have different and often competing priorities. The sales team’s number one priority might be more leads, whilst the customer services team might feel that a new support system is more important. Prioritising and clearly defining your objectives will go a long way. And don’t forget to determine from the outset how you are going to measure results and performance against those objectives.

 

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Like many things in life, the difference between success and failure will be one person or a small group of people who realise the value of the project, understand the problems it’s going to solve, and dedicate time and energy to making it happen.

You may want to consider choosing a (or a few) champion(s) of change within your organisation.  When implementing CRM, you could consider starting with a single functional area and go with the domino effect.  Choose a department with a manager who’s behind the project, realises its benefits, and whose department will gain the most early on.  Nothing jump-starts a CRM implementation more than someone who always has that ‘can-do attitude’ and gets people around him/her motivated. Once others begin to see success, they are more likely to follow suit. 

 

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In the enthusiasm to get a system implemented, sometimes the people who actually use the system day-to-day don’t get properly consulted.  Put yourself in your users’ shoes, look at the WIFM (What’s in It For Me), understand their job and how the system will impact each of them.

You certainly do not want to reach a point where users resent the new system and don’t see the value. Keep in mind that the new CRM will undoubtedly challenge what they are used to; and if they don’t feel like stakeholders they can be resistant to change. The best way to avoid this it to get them involved, get their input early in the process so they feel they are part of the decision making process and contributor to future successes.

 

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Whether you use a spreadsheet, database, post-it notes, or a combination of all three, you are bound to have some data you want to move to your new CRM system. 

Now is a great time to go through and cleanse your data, remove duplicates, tidy up addresses/people that have left or just take stock of what you have.

 

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CRM projects are started because the existing systems and processes don’t deliver the desired results. Simply replacing technology and not reviewing processes is unlikely to improve performance and output. 

When implementing a new CRM solution, seize the opportunity to review and improve underlying business processes. Again user engagement here can be key. We often find that when asked, people running a particular process or function can identify ways to improve it, given the opportunity and the right support. It helps to identify which processes run within a department (such as sales forecasting) and which ones go across teams. When a process runs across a business, it makes sense to get the stakeholders together to discuss how the process can be improved.  Always ask questions and challenge the status quo. Why do we do it this way? Are the factors that defined a particular process in the first place still relevant? This ‘review and rethink approach’ doesn’t need to be complex and a good CRM vendor will guide you through it.

 

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Change is the constant!  As your business grows, so will your requirements and the intricacy of your processes. It is critical that you ensure that the system you are buying and implementing will support you through growth. If you don’t plan ahead, time and money can be wasted on additional add-ons / modules or point solutions. 

It is better to think ahead and factor this in from the beginning. Focus on what the business needs for the next 12 – 18 months, not for the next 5 to 10 years as your business will have changed before you get there!

 

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Schedule in time for training, and make sure people aren’t being disturbed. A few minutes interruption during training can cost you hours or even days later on if they don’t pick up some key ways of working with your new system.

 

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Try and plan the migration of data and transition to the system at a quiet period in your business. If this isn’t possible try and make sure that you have some people available to help answer questions from within your organisation, or roll out the new CRM solution in a number of smaller, more manageable chunks (phased launch).

 

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The CRM software market is mature, so whether you are considering using Workbooks or one of our competitors such as Salesforce.com or Microsoft Dynamics, you will find that most solutions provide a rich set of features. 

Review what you want to undertake yourselves (if anything) and where you need help.  Consider what resources and budget will be required to support the implementation and ensure it meets your needs.

Ask yourself which partner will best accompany you on your CRM journey and help you the most in transforming your business.  Make your selection based on technology, processes and people as all of these will impact your ROI.

“We were instantly attracted to Workbooks. Not only did it offer easy implementation without a large set-up fee, but the pricing was also very reasonable and the amount of support and training, both online and in person, was very appealing. Everything about workbooks felt right – it was a balance of everything over the competition.”

Marcelo Bustamante – Director at Amstore

Workbooks CRM is Certified for G-Cloud 10 Framework

crown-commercial-service-supplier-2.png31st July 2018, Reading, UK: Workbooks announces that its CRM platform has been certified for the latest iteration of the Government’s G-Cloud framework, G-Cloud 10, with effect from July 2018.

 

The G-Cloud Framework acts as a Digital Marketplace for cloud-based services, enabling Public Sector organisations to purchase services that have been certified by the Government. With the framework, Government departments, executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies have an innovative, cheaper and faster way to access and procure cloud-based software, including CRM and Business applications.

“Workbooks has a proven track record of providing cloud-based solutions to public sector organisations, and with our solution certified for G-Cloud 10 framework, customers can buy Workbooks’ CRM with the confidence of using an experienced and reliable supplier,” said John Cheney, Workbooks CEO. 

There are three service categories:

  • Cloud Hosting 
  • Cloud Software
  • Cloud Support

Workbooks CRM appears in the Cloud Software category as our service is accessed over the internet and hosted in the cloud. 

“We have been working with many organisations across the UK public sector including central and local government, health, education and not-for-profit organisations.” said Cheney. “Our experienced team is dedicated to helping customers leverage cloud-based CRM technology to reach their desired outcomes. Our unique approach to implementation, our high performing and cost effective CRM platform makes Workbooks a CRM provider of choice for the public sector.”

 

More Information about the G-Cloud framework is available here or you can read the G-Cloud buyers’ guide to learn how to buy cloud services in the Digital Marketplace here.

 

 

5 tips to encourage CRM adoption amongst your Sales team

big-pic.jpgSales people have long since come to see CRM as a necessary evil: a system that must be constantly updated, takes up precious selling time and provides little or no value in return. However, most businesses are highly dependent on their CRM to help them drive business success, grow revenue, drive operational efficiency, improve the customer experience and make better decisions.

How can you convince the Sales team that CRM can help them be more productive, effective and is a critical foundation for success? 

Here is our top 5 tips to encourage the adoption of CRM amongst Sales.

 

1_5.pngInvolve your Sales team early, nurture ‘Champions’ and get feedback

 

Ensure some of your sales reps are involved in the CRM project at the earliest stage possible. These employees will act as subject matter experts. By considering their ideas and opinions for the initial configuration of the CRM solution, they are more likely to embrace the tool and potential changes in working practice. 

Identifying and cultivating ‘champions’ will facilitate the adoption of CRM amongst your Sales team. It is often apparent who the more influential members of the Sales team are and by harnessing their influence, you help to ensure the adoption of CRM. Appointing them as part of the project team or even setting MBO objectives should ensure their buy-in. 

Take the time to seek feedback overtime. Invite your CRM vendor and/or implementation partner to one of your team meetings. Your Sales team will respect you for taking their opinions and ideas into consideration and will make 100% compliance much more likely. 

 

2.pngMake it fun but don’t be afraid to use a little coercion if needs be

 

Sales people are by nature competitive, so why not put in place an incentive to reinforce adoption? A CRM solution makes it easy to measure the completeness of data on key accounts, or the cleanliness of orders submitted. Rewarding your ‘CRM Heroes’ with cases of wine or bonuses, can go a long way. 

Once properly implemented, the on-going success (and return on investment) for any business application is determined by the quality of data entered into it. Nothing focuses the attention of your Sales team like the threat of sanctions for non-compliance. Paying reduced commission where the appropriate order information is not provided, or on deals that are not properly forecasted – this may seem heavy handed, but having invested in a CRM solution, doing this might just help to ensure you reap the business benefits you seek. 

 

3.pngKeep it simple 

 

Keep the data entry portion of your CRM to a minimum. Get your Sales team to enter just enough data to satisfy your business needs and management reporting. The more confusing & timely the process, the less likely your sales team will want to play ball. Configure your CRM in a way to ensure minimum effort is required and room for errors are limited. Remember, you want your sales reps selling!

Define clear and simple processes that support your sales operations. Identify early how leads are to be entered, assigned and followed up, and ensure everyone is on the same wave length. Clearly define every stages of the sales cycle and automate some of the tasks that do not require human intervention. Simplicity and ease are key.

 

4.pngInvest in training 

 

It should go without saying that if the sales team are not taught how to and the benefits of using CRM they are unlikely to use it, hence it is worth investing in training. Teach your Sales team how the CRM solution works, share best practices and most importantly give them ‘hints and tips’ to get the most out of the solution. Work closely with your CRM provider to ensure the training is optimal. Do regular refresher training to ensure that old habits don’t creep up again and monitor sales usage on an ongoing basis. Address any issues promptly and ensure knowledge is kept up-to-date, particularly if you are evolving the system overtime.

 

5.pngAnd finally… lead by example 

 

Implementing a CRM solution is a top down initiative. Many sales and business leaders pay lip service to the importance of CRM but continue to request spreadsheets from their colleagues and may never log into the solution themselves. 

Senior managers should be seen using and benefiting from the CRM solution. Everything should be driven from CRM, so get into the habit of running your meetings and reviews from CRM. Walk the talk and adoption within the team will follow.

How easy is it to switch CRM software?

main-big.jpgGoogle the term ‘CRM failure’ and a stack of articles appear… Has your CRM implementation failed to deliver on the outcomes you wanted?  Are you considering a move but you’re just too scared to start all over again? 

The majority of companies are put-off from moving because they perceive that it will be too hard, too painful and too expensive. But not doing anything may be the wrong answer and sticking with what you have is, in reality, a step backwards. Think about why your organisation invested in CRM in the first place – there was a belief at the outset that it would benefit the business and make a difference; driving more sales, increased productivity, increased customer loyalty and many other benefits. So, the fact that the current CRM isn’t delivering doesn’t mean that these needs have disappeared, so why live with a solution that isn’t bringing these benefits to your business? 

icon-1_0.pngLonger term cost savings

Modifying and tweaking the existing system is one way to try and improve the situation. However, if this is going to be complicated and expensive, and require on-going changes and modifications, then this may not be the most cost-effective remedy. 

Whilst a complete change of CRM will involve a higher initial up-front cost, making the switch will over time be financially beneficial. Having a CRM solution that works properly and effectively will lower the overall costs and increase profits and revenue. 

icon-2_0.pngImproved user adoption

User-adoption is another key consideration when thinking about sticking with your current CRM. Whilst the business may be spending money and effort trying to fix the problematic areas, if your users have written the system off as no-good, or don’t like the way it performs and operates then they are unlikely to engage with it once the modifications have been made. User attitude is a difficult one to fix and often a clean break can be the best route, with the benefits outweighing the cost and challenges of moving. 

icon-3_0.pngChoosing the right vendor/implementation partner

When looking at alternative vendors, be sure to find out if they have moved at least one organisation from your current platform before. How did they do it? How easy was it and what proof points do they have to back-up their promises? What references can be provided? Moving CRM is far easier when the new vendor has previous experience and expertise in moving organisations from your current platform onto theirs. 

icon-4.pngData Migration

One of the most common concern is about data migration, extracting all of the data out of the current system.  Our advice is simple: Don’t boil the ocean. You don’t necessarily have to move all your data and you may want to consider using the move as a data cleansing exercise. The likelihood of prospect data from ten years ago being relevant and useful today is often low. And that is without even talking about GDPR! How much of your existing information is real, live data as opposed to just noise and dirt? Consider storing some of the old data elsewhere and only bringing across the information you think is useful and needed into the new CRM. If, once the new CRM is operating, you find that you did need that particular year’s data, you can still import it – but don’t try and do everything at once if it is not required. 

icon-5.pngBe realistic 

Do you really need to have a full whiz, bang, flashing CRM solution that works with every social media network, integrates with three other business systems and has amazing mobile app capabilities all at once? No. Get the basics right first. Refocus on what is critical to your business success. Ensure that the new CRM is delivering the business outcomes and benefits you want most at the start and that there is strong user adoption within the business. The flashy parts can come further down the line. First, make sure that the new solution is working effectively, that it is being used properly and that your staff like it; then you can build in the ‘nice to haves’. 

 

Moving to a new CRM need not be as difficult as first perceived. Selecting a new, more effective solution will take time and requires diligent research and detailed, technical discussions with a number of vendors. But the right solution will bring the benefits that were originally envisaged for the business, along with stronger finances, happier staff and loyal, cared for customers. Too many are living with poor or sub optimal benefits from CRM and the step up really isn’t that hard. 

Taking back control of B2B CX

taking-back-control-of-b2b-cx.jpgThe ‘B2B Customer Experience 2017’ study from business advisory firm Accenture delivered some striking findings for B2B marketers. The 1,350 sales and customer service executives from B2B organisations around the world who responded painted a clear picture of a sector that has lost control of the customer experience.

Where once B2B firms could control who became their customers – they contacted the firms they wanted to work with – now most customers are over 60% of the way through the buying process before they first engage with a company representative.

 

icon-1.pngWhen those firms do try to reach customers through the old channels they receive no response: 90% of customers never respond to cold outreach. Customers now want to be in control of when and where they interact with vendors with 61% of all B2B transactions now starting online.

What is more, those customers have increasingly high expectations of those interactions. 71% of B2B executives say customers increasingly want B2C-like experiences compared to a few years ago – fast response times, consistent experiences across multiple channels, and availability 24/7.

 

icon-2.pngThe simple fact is that most B2B firms just aren’t set up to deliver that. Many are still living in the past when they had complete control over when, where, and how their customers engaged with them. Many admit they are failing to deliver the experiences their customers want and now expect. 

Some see this as a problem; for others it represents an opportunity. The smartest B2B SME businesses are investing now in technology and particularly CRM (and Marketing Automation) to change all this. CRM helps firms deliver revenue growth, enhanced customer experience leading to improved customer retention, streamlined business processes delivering lower costs or greater efficiencies, and improved management information allowing for better decision-making. 

 

icon-3.pngBut more than anything else it puts the B2B marketers back in control. It gives them a clear view of their customer base, who they are, where and when they are interacting, and what they want to discuss. This allows them to plan resource, devise and deliver products their customers want. Essentially it allows them to deliver a customer experience to delight their customers.

There will be B2B marketers who read the Accenture report and despaired. That is a mistake. There are significant challenges here, but find the right CRM partner, and implement it well and you will soon be delivering an outstanding and controlled customer experience, and seeing your customer satisfaction scores and revenues tick upwards.