So, with March and family comes the joys of March break, and if you’re lucky, a nice little vacation to ring in the new spring. My family was lucky enough to visit Myrtle Beach for two weeks. However, my vacation was much shorter – a long weekend to relax and have some fun. It was much needed.
While there, we did the usual…mini gofling, alligator adventure, food and of course, grazing at the beach. The weather has not been the nicest, and while there it was 11 to 15 degrees everyday. But, being a Canadian, it was plenty warm enough for me to break out the shorts and enjoy the sounds and smells of the breaking waves. This trip is turning into a family tradition, and memory was telling me the beach looked a little different from the previous year…
The condos we stay at are right by a swash – a small rivine which moves water from inland to the ocean. It snakes out in an S shape, before finally mouthing open to the Atlantic. It looked further away from the dunes than the previous year. In asking a local Tennant at the condo, I found that people were concerned that the ocean was “once again eating away at the Dunes, so we had to recreate the swash we want by dumping sand”. In furthering the converstion, I found the condo spent a massive amount of money every 2 years through dumping sand because they needed their swash to be what they wanted. “We should likely try something new, cause Lord knows – the ocean has it’s plan”.
This fascinated me, yet I couldn’t quite figure out why. On my last day, before flying back to the real world, I stood at the mouth of the swash, watching the tide rise. Lines of erosion were already being drawn along it’s lip, and I sat and watched small mounds of fresh sand dropping into the water, to be dragged away with the ebb and flow. And that’s when it hit me – I watch this action on a regular basis, with clients new and old.
A common theme I’ve heard from both prospects and clients is “our CRM doesn’t work for our business. We spent (enter dollar figure here) on this app, and it’s still isn’t doing what we do”. Another thing I hear quite a bit is “I thought having a CRM would give us a way to manage sales, but we don’t see how to get what we want out of it”. Sitting on the beach, wathing the water eat away at the new sand, I could see the parallels. Just replace CRM with sand and your business process with the ocean. And the condo was attempting what many companies try and fail at – placing a CRM into their organization without and understanding of their process, or worse – to be the process.
When starting a new project, the hardest aspect I have experienced with clients is sitting down and getting an understanding of their business before talking about the application. I believe this is caused for two reasons – one is that technology has advanced so much in the past years, and the urgency to “get it in” is so high that they just want to go forward now. The second I find it a byproduct of the first. With such amazing technology, and with such good information about how other companies succeed in weeks not months, we want to skip by the intoduction and get right into the end game. And, in all honesty, I have even found myself in that boat, especially with new features and functions with our own solution.
However, the surest way to success is a small step. We’ve heard it all beforw, but CRM is a strategy, not just an application. And it is a mixture of people, process and application, not just the application itself.
Step away from the beach, and look at what your ocean is. Know how you want the tide to flow, and plan accordingly. Having a firm, strong understanding of how you run your business, what your steps are in accomplishing your goals, and knowing how to measure the key metrics of success are absolutely needed before you implement any CRM. Without this knowledge, your simply dumping sand on the swash.