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So Thankful For CRM

This is the week of Thanksgiving – a short week in business and, hopefully, a week where we all take time to count our blessings.

As we wind down another year, I am reminded of a few occasions where I went to our CRM for answers and am thankful the information was easily available.

As in most businesses, our contracts are sometimes signed by someone who eventually leaves the company and their replacement may not have a full understanding of our services. This happened two days ago when a new contact needed to update our agreement.

In retrieving a copy of the current agreement, at a glance I was able to tell the following:

— How we discovered this company
— How many approaches it took to secure the company as a client
— Details of our interactions
— Their payment terms
— Specific warranty information
— Fee schedule
— Our win/loss percentage
— Length of each sales cycle
— Names and sources of key contacts (LinkedIn, trade show, networking, etc.)
— Industry classifications: (1) AEC (2) Specialty Contractor (3) Building Envelope
— All files related to this particular client
— Locations and key contacts for all active opportunities

I could keep going but I believe you get the idea.

Yes, one could argue I could do all that with a spreadsheet and files on a hard drive which is true. I could also spin the thread to weave my own cloth to sew my own clothes but who has time for that?

It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving week for me to be thankful for my trusty CRM, which allows me to focus on what is important for my company; whether it is building new business or effectively providing services to our clients.

Obviously, I have much more to be thankful for other than CRM but I have yet found a way to get paid for my love of family, guitars, raw oysters, good health, my home, coffee, etc., etc.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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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

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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.