We attended several events this summer and spoke to a lot of people about their businesses, their work and the industry in general. There were several surprises and “wow” moments that we experienced, but there’s probably one that struck me most.
The value of information
Businesses of different sizes and in different stages of their development transition a lot of roles within their organization. As this happens, clients are also passed on… sometimes to a different person, sometimes to the same person with a new title. A downside of this is that information tends to get lost in the process. When you think of it, information is the second most valuable asset any company has (right after its relationships).
Information is the second
most valuable asset any company has.
There are different forms and types of information, but ideally, you want to store it all somewhere, right? At XTRF, our default understanding of this challenge has always been this: The client has a set process, a team of dedicated resources (both external and internal) and a set of language assets. All of these need to be saved and reused in the form of a workflow. That’s where XTRF comes in and does the job.
More recently, however, these discussions have taken on a different angle. As companies look more at the front end of the process, they tend to pay attention to what happens at the beginning of a buyer’s journey. This brings us to one key observation.
Do we need a CRM yet?
The typical perception has always been this. A TMS is a Project Managers’ sole playground and a CRM is a Sales tool. The problem with that approach becomes obvious when you look at what information and to what level of detail you store in each of these systems. Sales reps are always hungry for information and (in coordinating different sales threads on different stages) they outsource the ‘remembering bit’ to a CRM system. Project Managers (in coordinating different projects on different stages) focus on getting the job done. This often times means that a piece of information that’s not relevant to a current project is not ‘worth remembering’.
The problem that results from this dual perception is this: while a client is in touch with Sales, you know everything about them. What their dog’s name is, how their son broke his arm, what part their daughter played in the school play. When the client is passed on to the Project Manager, the cord is cut. All of the above information becomes irrelevant and effectively inaccessible.
This is when the power of built-in comes in
I get asked this question a lot. Even more so by our existing clients! During implementation, they focus on what are perceived as key-value features and only then start noticing that a built-in CRM exists in XTRF. Luckily for them, it works in the background without them noticing…
There are four key components to what we consider CRM functionality.
You can report sales Opportunities and measure your pipeline looking at what’s yet to become a quote that a client asks for. This helps shape the sales process, as you will want to come up with a likelihood of closing each opportunity depending on the consecutive steps in your sales process.
Any Messages that are exchanged between the XTRF user and a client contact are reflected in this Contacts card. The best thing about it – it is done automatically, without the user even having to press a button. When a colleague is on holiday or sick-leave, you can quickly access just the emails that are relevant for that one client that you’re taking care of in their absence.
The usual CRM Activities, tasks and phone calls, that you plan for yourself or a colleague and later on summarize for your colleagues to see.
Finally the best feature in my opinion. A subscription to a CRM Activity report for all my Sales Reps. Each morning at 8:45 AM my mailbox welcomes a summary of all the activities from the previous day that my team has done. They track their work in the CRM as they would normally do and XTRF does the rest to keep me informed about what I can help them with.
What’s in it for me?
Back to the initial question. Who is it actually for? Having spoken to current users and new ones, the answer is this – everybody.
The sales people get a fully functional CRM system that helps them plan work, track their activities and allows them to retrace their steps. It also lets you plan your pipeline, so you know each month if you will hit your quota.
The project managers can jump in to help in case of a colleague’s absence without having to access their inbox. They can also access all the past communication with their client to help understand a situation or a decision that may seem strange at first.
The managers have a full overview of the numbers and any exchange of emails or meeting summaries. All of that without even having to log in to the system. They see the continuity in the relationship with a client, as all of the above is stored and made available in the system. From the initial contact to the present day.