Monday, February 4, 2008

4) P.A.C.T. - A New Way of Looking at CRM

If my research is to be accepted, it means that CRM users will strongly resist recording their "Low Card" activities into a centralized database. It means that users will work individually and as a unified group to defeat CRM. It means that, if forced to record activities into a centralized database, users may sanitize or falsify their entries so as to not "Carry the stick that they will be beaten with." Mutiny against CRM is the preferred method because it deflects blame whereas falsifying records can lead to additional problems for the user.

If my research is to be believed, it casts serious doubt on the ability of CRM to be an effective tool for companies to understand their customer relationships by having a record of activities with those customers. This detrimental view is not considered helpful to the notion that by following proper change management principles, users can be convinced to enter their activities into CRM.

Why Even Bother With CRM Then?

The simple fact is that companies must continue to strive to understand the needs of their customers. They must provide every available tool to their employees to help them sell more of their product to more customers. Employees must have a system to effectively communicate customer feedback and activities that must be dealt with by other employees, suppliers, or partners, in order to increase sales and customer satisfaction. Sales Reps need to be provided with key and timely information that will both help them sell to customers and make them look like heroes in the eyes of their customers.

Steps to A New Perception of CRM

Step 1: Completely remove CRM from our vernacular

  • To a Sales Rep, CRM stands for "Controlling Remote Management"
  • SFA stands for "System Forcing Accountability"

Step 2: Remove the Trust/Don't Trust Dilemma from the Equation by removing the recording of "Low Card" activities

  • If companies truly trust their employees, managers and executives do not need employees to record their "Low Card" activities, but rather they need employees to tell them what customers are saying and doing ("High Card Activities") so they can plan and adapt.
  • If companies do not trust their employees, managers and executives need employees to record their "Low Card"activities so they can direct employee activities. They also need to know what customers are saying and doing ("High Card Activities") so they can plan and adapt.
  • If employers trust and do not plan to direct employee activities, why do they need those "Low Card" activities recorded?
  • If employees truly trust their employers, they would accurately record their "Low Card"activities with no concern that managers and executives would try to direct their activities based on what they are recording. They will also record what customers are saying and doing ("High Card Activities") to the benefit of themselves and the company.
  • If employees do not trust their employers, they would fear their "Low Card" activies will be controlled and directed if they provide this information to managers and executives. Customer "High Card" activities would also be withheld because it would demonstrate the usefullness of the system and reduce excuses for not entering "Low Card" activities.
  • Even if employees trust their managers and executives, why would they record "Low Card" activites, if they did not perceive a personal benefit in doing so?

Step 3: Form a PACT between the company and users

P.A.C.T. - Planning and Communication Tool

  • Pact - No recording of "Low Card" activities will be required (Exception noted below for training or disciplinary action)
  • Pact - Users, managers, and executives will record all "High Card" customer activities and feedback in the system.
  • All "High Card" activities will be attached to the customer record, and will not result in quantitative "Low Card" reporting upon completion ("High Cards" often become "Low Cards" in the view of the user, once the sale or activity is complete)
  • Pact - The system will contain no "Tick Boxes" for the purpose of quantitative reporting of "Low Cards"
  • Pact - "High cards" will not be communicated via email or telephone, unless attached to, or recorded in, the customer record
  • Individuals may be required to record "Low Card" activities for a period of time, in a training or disciplinary capacity. Such recording will be in text form viewed by the manager working with the employee
  • Pact - Users agree to be open about, and accountable for, their "High Card" activity planning
  • Pact - Users, managers, and executives will be provided with useful, timely, and customer focused information that will help them plan their selling strategies and improve customer relationships

In my next entry, I will break down each component of the Planning and Communication Tool and how it can greatly enhance performance and user acceptance.

1 comment:

Centra said...

Congratulations! This is human nature and you have described it very well. And it's not just CRM. This goes for almost any software where some sort of collaboration and information sharing is required and where managers "can see" what and how their subordinates are doing.