CRM, Guitars And A Broken Lever

Archimedes of Syracuse, the noted Greek mathematician, philosopher, scientist and engineer is reported to have said, “Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the whole world.”

A lever is a tool, much like one’s CRM system and both require to be set up properly in order to gain maximum output. With a lever, it is much easier to move the fulcrum in order to quickly see an improvement in efficiency. With CRM, it is not quite so easy.

Too many times I have heard from companies saying that their CRM is just not working.

Once, I had a company tell me their CRM was useless which I was confident was untrue. This particular person was from Nashville, Music City, so I went out on a limb and asked if he played guitar. He replied he did indeed play. I asked him if he handed his favorite guitar to my then 10 year old daughter, asked her to play a song and if she couldn’t, would that mean the guitar was broken?

Fortunately, he chuckled and we set up a time to review their program.

To follow up on the guitar example, CRM requires on-going tuning and very often necessitates input from people other than the OFA (Overall Firm Administrator). A specific data need that seemed like a good idea at the time may, after six months of review, prove to be not so relevant.

Those vital reports that were part of the decision to invest in CRM may be delivering less than vital results due to missing data captures.

User participation may be an uphill battle because user benefits were not properly conveyed.

If your CRM is starting to resemble a guitar sitting on a stand in the corner, gathering dust…maybe it’s time to put on some fresh strings, take a lesson, move that fulcrum a bit and start playing in tune.


CRM – Eggs Are Good/Not Good For You

Eggs are good for you. Wait, no they aren’t.

The best way to lose weight is watch your fat intake. Actually, the best way is a diet high in fats and protein.

To reduce the national debt, we need to raise taxes. Well, in fact, lowering taxes will increase federal revenues.


What does any of the above have to do with CRM? Not much except when seeking wisdom on the best CRM for your business, generating corporate acceptance, data standards, dashboard formatting, etc. – you will likely get more than one answer.

Getting input on which CRM package to use, and how to use it, can be a lot like asking someone how they make gumbo…everyone has their favorite recipe.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from asking questions, but remember, what works for a logistics company may not be suitable for a commercial general contractor. What may be vital for an insurance company may not make the short list for an architectural firm.

I recently completed two projects untangling data from two separate CRMs. One client struggled with the temptation of features overkill, while the other was the exact opposite.

You will need to take time in fine-tuning your data input requirements, user-time investment, data-mining best practices and the other important functions of your CRM. However, don’t allow yourself to get bogged down in the details.

Your CRM system doesn’t have to be perfect before you begin implementation. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend prior to launch, until you start using your CRM, you won’t know exactly what works and what doesn’t for your company.

I encourage my CRM clients to remember; there is a reason very few successful software programs stop development at version 1.0. CRM was made to be tweaked and is, if you will, a living organism.

Once you have a good baseline for your CRM, be sure you have a process in place to propose, review, approve and make changes. Your business isn’t static, and your CRM shouldn’t be either.


Bobby Darnell is the founder and Principal of Construction Market Consultants, Inc. An Atlanta based management consulting group specializing in business development, CRM, sales, marketing and profitability as well as executive placement for the Architectural, Engineering and Construction industry.

Bobby can be reached at bobbydarnell [at] cmconl.com