Thursday, February 26, 2015

There's a fine line between success and failure in CRM. Here's how to stay on the right side.

Here's a throwback to a previous blog post from SkyPlanner, South Florida's Salesforce consulting company. In it we took a closer look at the line that separates success and failure when implementing a customer relationship management solution...and how to stay on the right side of that line. 

According to an article in CRM Magazine, 50 to 80 percent of CRM implementations in the late 90's and early into the 2000's resulted in failure. You might think that could be attributed to the novelty of the technology at the time but the reality is that that number hasn't really fallen, even as late as 2012. SkyPlanner decided to delve into the reasons for these failures. Here is what we learned.

Customer Relationship Management, CRM, CRM consulting, Miami Salesforce, Miami Salesforce consultant, Miami Salesforce consulting, South Florida Salesforce consulting, South Florida Salesforce consultants, The foremost reason for failures in CRM adoption is that all too often systems are convoluted and eventually become a burden for the people whose lives they are supposed to make easier. This is usually the result of poor planning and lack of input from the people who will actually be using the system. Choosing and implementing a CRM solution should be a company-wide process and not limited to just a couple of high-ranked decision makers.

SkyPlanner has compiled a checklist of steps an enterprise should take when first implementing a CRM solution:

  • Consult members of every department that will be affected by the implementation of a CRM solution. Ask them to list what features they believe would best help them perform their roles most effectively. 
  • Plan out the process of adoption. Keep the process as simple as possible with an emphasis on only the essential features. Also begin phasing out previous measures that are made obsolete with the introduction of new technologies. 
  • Keep the end goal of the solution in mind when planning the implementation. This helps you figure out exactly what you need from your chosen CRM solution.  
  • Set a budget. Setting a firm budget will keep the planning process on track and the imagination from running wild as you learn more about add-on features and capabilities of different CRM solutions. 
  • Research, research, research. Figure out which CRM solution will be easiest to use compared to its effectiveness, which solution best accomplishes what you want it to, and which can be customized to cover changes as your enterprise evolves. It is also very important to know which CRM company provides the best support once the solution is implemented.      
  • Set intracompany goals. These goals are essential for making employees feel comfortable with the change, and usually include timeframes from training and collection of data for migration (most importantly when moving from a paper filing system to the 1's and 0's). 
  • Make a final decision. Once you have all your information compiled, pull the trigger. When you decide to pursue a new solution don't second guess yourself. As time goes on you can always make necessary changes. 
  • Have patience. It is critical to understand that despite all the careful planning and research there will be unforeseen problems that arise when implementing a CRM solution. Be confident in your decision but never stop evaluating to make the necessary improvements and changes to the system. 
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The second reason for many failures is that the CRM system doesn't accomplish what it's supposed to do: help salespeople close deals. This is because the data that is compiled into a CRM is too myopic and company-centered. This results in salespeople having very limited knowledge of their potential clients, and the resulting sales process is very cold and less likely to end favorably. SkyPlanner has learned that businesses are most successful when using their CRM tools to gain a 360-view of their customers instead of just the bottom line. Collecting information on your existing or prospective clients' priorities helps salespeople form relationships that are much more likely to result in quick and profitable deals.  

Here are some insights a CRM solution should make readily accessible to salespeople: 
  • How a customer has reacted in previous interactions. This lets salespeople know how to approach them in the future. 
  • Customer goals and challenges, and company news. Sales relationships are much more intimate when there's a certain level of empathy from a salesperson towards a customer. 
  • An understanding of the decision-making hierarchy. Know the ultimate decision maker but also how his or her support staff influences the decisions. 
  • The culture of the company. Is it formal or laid back?   

SkyPlanner hopes we've helped make your CRM journey a little easier after reading our thoughts on the subject. And we want to remind you that once you decide to make the move, SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, is here to help you every step of the way. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

The SkyPlanner Parachute: All the Salesforce news that's fit to print (or display on your screen).

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It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Find out what we at SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, have been reading, watching, listening to, and learning from during the past week. 
At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment or email us with suggestions for future content.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

3 ways to increase your business's value to gain and retain more customers.

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1. Tailor your message to the dreams and aspirations of your customer base rather than around the product or service you provide. If your value proposition taps into customer emotions it becomes much more effective. For example, at SkyPlanner we have based our value proposition not on the fact that we analyze our customers' business processes and customize their Salesforce CRMs, but instead on the fact that a customized Salesforce CRM leads to a more successful business which, in turn, leads to a sense of accomplishment and pride for our clients. 

2. Take steps to add value to your business executions that extend beyond just your product or service. Provide ways for your customers to experience first-hand how trusting your company will improve their abilities to sell to their own customers. For example, supply your customers will free tools they can use to show their customers how their (your client's) products or services will help them achieve their goals. Goals are contagious. 

3. Continue to improve and increase your value. These days it's very easy for your competitors to figure out what you're doing to win and retain customers. And, since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they'll work to copy anything that works. The key is continue improving. Much like a good athlete will anticipate and proactively work through plateaus in his or her performance so as to not allow competitors to catch up, your company must work to continuously work to improve the value they provide to customers. 

Of course, few things provide value to your business like a customized CRM adapted to your business's specific needs. As South Florida's Salesforce consulting company, we'll analyze your business and make sure your Salesforce organization is optimized to your needs. Give us a call today!

Monday, February 16, 2015

If it's Monday it's time for another SkyPlanner Parachute! Curated content from around the web just for your screen!

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It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Find out what we at SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, have been reading, watching, listening to, and learning from during the past week. 




At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment or email us with suggestions for future content.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Client Might Always Right But Is The Client Always Right For You?

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  1. The client values no other opinion but their own and/or micromanages everything you do. This is a sign the client doesn’t trust you despite coming to YOU for help. Despite your expertise they only see you as paid validation of their own ideas. This ultimately leads you down a path you didn’t want to go follow, to results beneath what your company is capable of. And the blame for those lesser results will inevitably be place on your shoulders.
  2. Like their opinion, the only time they value is their own. If a client starts stringing you along when it comes to meetings and deadlines then it’s a sign they don’t respect you or your business. Now, this shouldn’t be confused with a client that is also swamped with work, but that could also lead to problems and shouldn’t be allowed. You need open communication to get the best results regardless of the client’s situation.  
  3. The client tries to renegotiate or haggle at every turn. Unless you’re some kind of glutton for drama the odds are you negotiated a rate with the client prior to beginning your work, with the rate being based on both your previous experience and expectations for the project. A client who suddenly decides they’re not seeing the value of what you’re producing is not going to be satisfied. Trying to satisfy a client by doing more work within the same cost constraints will only lead to overworking and stressing your own resources.
  4. Dealing with the client makes you want to quit your own job. Whether you own your own business or are a decision maker in a larger firm, you’ve probably worked hard to make your own life easier. If a client makes you not want to get up in the morning that’s never a good sign, and no client is worth your health and sanity. Likewise, a client that has become toxic due to its own bad internal management, such as an Enron, is something you and your business should separate from immediately.
At the end of the day you have to ask if having a certain client on your roster worth the headaches and/or are the billings worth the tangible and intangible resources? Could other, maybe smaller clients be more valuable in the long run? Could your resources be better spent elsewhere? Basically, is the “juice is worth the squeeze.”

Monday, February 9, 2015

It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! A double dose of Marc Benioff plus other great tips and tidbits!

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It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Find out what we at SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, have been reading, watching, listening to, and learning from during the past week. 

  • Salesforce received another accolade this past week when company CEO Marc Benioff was named Tech CEO of the YearTechCrunch.com's annual Crunchies awards show. Watch the announcement here! [via Tech Crunch]
  • Speaking of the salesforce.com founder and CEO, here's a cool video where Benioff speaks about his early love for coding and how he feels about coding's role in the future of our children. 
  • When it comes to starting and/or building a business there's a certain level of comfort that comes from following conventional wisdom. But just because the beaten path leads some to success doesn't mean it will lead you there, too. Sometimes it's best to follow counter intuitive strategies like these. [via Inc magazine]
  • Time is money. That's not a new concenpt. But are you spending that money wisely? [via Salesforce Blogs]
  • A few weeks ago SkyPlanner posted an exhaustive look at the Salesforce Spring '15 Release. Last week we got a little more specific and covered the Salesforce Marketing Cloud Spring '15 Release, which included a huge amount of updates to salesforce.com's marketing platform. [via the SkyPlanner Blog]

At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment or email us with suggestions for future content.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Salesforce Marketing Cloud '15 Release: Making The Ultimate Marketing Tool Box Even Better

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A few weeks back on our blog we at SkyPlanner, South Florida's Salesforce consulting company, covered the main points of the new Spring '15 Release from Salesforce (you can check out our post about it here). Now we're bringing you more specific information regarding the Spring '15 Release of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Aside from dropping ExactTarget from the official title and other branding changes, these are some of the great new features Marketing Cloud users can look forward to, as explained on the Salesforce Blog: 

  • Dynamic Content in Content Builder Our new cross-channel editor allows you to easily use drag and drop content for a simpler experience for creating emails. Many of our customers have already adopted these new tools.
  • Journey Builder Date-Based Triggers This feature simplifies the process of setting up a trigger down to one step. 
  • Email Conversion Tracking 2.0 Leveraging our Web Analytics, you can now tag your website to track conversions such as cart abandons or whitepaper downloads. 
  • Journey Maps Navigation and Live Beta New navigation allows you to more easily navigate to and from an interaction from a Journey Map. Customers can also now sign up to gain access to Journey Maps.
  • New Microsite Functionality in CloudPages This new functionality allows you to create and map multiple microsite pages. 
  • Contact Builder for MobileConnect and MobilePush is Live With this release, you can opt into new segmentation and contact management functionality for our mobile products. 
  • Predictive Email Display Templates These templates allow you to select the look and feel of an email, save, and reuse it. 
  • Journey-Maps-UpdatedJourney Builder Testing This feature allows you to test interactions without going live. 
  • Email Triggers for Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers can now send one to one communications to contacts or leads using triggered sends. 
You can read much an indepth on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud site here. The new marketing cloud gives customers a slew of new tools that few, if any, other companies can offer. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

The SkyPlanner Parachute: 2015 SkyPlanner Kickoff Event Edition!

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It's SkyPlanner Parachute Monday! Find out what we at SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, have been reading, watching, listening to, and learning from during the past week. 

SkyPlanner got the 2015 business year off to a great start with our annual Kickoff event, held this past Friday at the SkyPlanner offices in Doral, Fl! After a morning reception the entire SkyPlanner team, including our Colombia branch via Google Hangouts, listened intently as the executive board announced some exciting new changes that will take SkyPlanner to new heights in the year 2015. Afterwards the team headed to  Brazilian steakhouse Texas de Brazil for all the meat we could eat (oh man, that sirloin was to die for!) and then Strike Miami for some competitive, yet friendly, bowling. 

We're excited to say that if 2015 is even half as successful as the SkyPlanner Kickoff event, it's going to be a good year for the company, and even better for all our valued customers as a result!

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SkyPlanner's Rodney Farach looks up proudly at his score. No one had the heart to tell him that golf is the only sport where the lowest score wins.  
At SkyPlanner, South Florida's premier Salesforce consulting company, we love to hear from ours clients and supporters so please feel free to comment or email us with suggestions for future content.