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Concept #8: Becoming the User's "Trusted System"


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#1 matthandal

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Posted 22 February 2012 - 07:45 PM


Trusted System


The major problem with CRM systems is that they never become your trusted system (the central place where you gather and process information). Everybody wants and tries to tightly integrate MS Outlook. This is a fundamental mistake, as the Perfect CRM needs to become your new Outlook (your trusted system). I know I know, that’s crazy. But this means the system has to have the primary functionality of Outlook, a user-friendly email client (like gmail or yahoo mail). You may be reluctant to move to a new system, but you are just going to have to get over it. After-all, you are a big boy or girl.


The benefit of this approach is simple. Email has become our primary collection tool for information. Why have a CRM system that lives outside of that? Lets face it; nobody “forgets” to open their outlook (or other trusted system). To use the Perfect CRM, you have to abandon Outlook or whatever trusted system you currently use (good thing the Perfect CRM can import pst files)! If you don’t make this your trusted system, your CRM becomes the second place you look for information, which contributes to the failure of many CRM implementations.


This system will be aware of your activities. It will track whom you email and what you email about. Your firm already does this, so it’s not an invasion of privacy. It’s just that now we are putting this info to some real use. For example, yesterday I communicated through email with the Rhode Island Department of Transportation Chief of Standards & Inspection, a Regional Construction Engineer for Vermont Transportation Authority, the head of training at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and at least ten other industry clients and contacts. Shouldn’t that automatically be recorded somewhere?


This information works hand in hand with the contact database. If you are chasing a client in San Diego, you can see that someone in your firm has interacted with people in the client’s Chicago office. This type of information is typically lost in large organizations. Because the Perfect CRM tracks this information automatically, corporate intelligence will increase exponentially.


In the Perfect CRM, if you email someone the system doesn’t recognize, like Aunt Mary, the system will prompt you to add this person to the contact database. If you choose not to add this person, it will simply add Aunt Mary as one of your 20 non-business contacts (not viewable by your co-workers).


Your email client will also have a series of buttons to help you process your email by determining whether there is a action to take, a desired outcome to delegate, an action to be deferred to a specific date and time, information to file, and maybe a snooze button for emails you can’t process right now.


#2 Stafford

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 09:51 PM

Good thoughts, Matt. This idea of CRM being at the center of everything is what Ray calls "Center of Gravity" I believe. And yeah, its super important. Otherwise it is bound to fail.

I like this idea "In the Perfect CRM, if you email someone the system doesn’t recognize, like Aunt Mary, the system will prompt you to add this person to the contact database." Not that we even have an email engine yet, but we sure as heck will. And shouldn't be any reason why we couldn't eventually do it. Probably a bit early to put it in as a feature request :-). I love it though.

#3 Ross

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 04:33 PM

I agree with Matt, it needs to be the trusted "go to" system in the morning. There is no doubt that is what brings success to a crm, even a non-perfect one :) The challenge is a big one though, getting people to swap an Excel spreadsheet for a crm is a no brainer.

The hard part is moving from their email client...... not many systems have achieved this but one good exception is Facebook. I woudl not say that FB is a good mail client because its not but it does make messaging someone very quick and very easy... perhaps that is the key?
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#4 matthandal

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 08:02 PM

I will say this, I email in Linked in because it is sometimes easier than opening my email client and the conversations and info about the person are there.

I can imagine adding an email client is a huge undertaking. And I imagine importing PST files is a nightmare.

But I have some ideas on how you can make an email client that people will want to use. I think the key is to make it stupid easy to move from outlook and keep your emails.

#5 Sacha Telgenhof

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 08:30 PM

Absolutely! One of the key aspects of a good CRM is Salesforce Automation; the customer and the sales is the center. In my company it is key to see quickly what our sales have been, what is (definitely) coming up and what might come up.

Total visibility and transparency in the sales pipeline.

#6 pmaxx

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 06:55 AM

I agree with the Trusted System concept.

It's important to have the ability to record meaningful data about customers/vendors in one place. 2 data structures that I rarely see in OS CRM apps are
#1 Divisions and the ability to filter contacts in a company by division i.e., only show tech support staff at company xyz. This is very helpful when there are lots of contacts in a company.
#2 Multiple addresses. Another big one. Having a municipality as a client, there is City Hall, the Water Plant, the Dept. of Public Works, etc.

When people have to look somewhere else for information (what is the address or the phone # for the water plant?) it moves the CRM system away from the "Center of Gravity".

Addresses and Divisions should (IMHO) have their own separate tables. Each Company (Account) should have it's own set of Divisions and Addresses, and users should be able to associate each Company Contact with a Division and an Address.

#7 matthandal

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:42 PM

Pmaxx,

Help me understand why you would need multiple addresses for a corporation of agency. What action are you going to take with that address information?

The focus should be on people, not companies. And when you look at a large client, like Linkedin, you should first see

1. the people you know,
2. then see the people others in the system have in their hotlist,
3. then see the people others currently in your firm know,
4. then contacts of users who are no longer in the system knew,
5. and then random people just entered into the system that nobody knows.

Or you should be able to define who you are looking for and see people in that order. It goes back to the concept of reverse social network.

#8 pmaxx

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 11:05 PM

Thanks for asking;

I see the CRM as serving a larger function than Linkedin.

I definitely agree with the concept of being able to look out into the network of relationships of people. I also feel it is important to capture details of relationships in the company.

There has to be an app that is the "system of record" for client/vendor staff and addresses. If not the CRM, then what? The interface should be such that people are easy and intuitive find, from a variety of vantage points. But when the CRM data structure is restrictive to the point where postal addresses can't be recorded, and the structure of the company cannot be documented, that creates a need for another data source, which moves the CRM system away from the "center of gravity".

We have a client with at least 15 or 20 contacts. We interact with the Security Dept., the Facilities Dept., the IT Dept., and the Financial Dept. We need to know who is the VP, who is that VP's assistant, who is the Dept. manager, and who are the staff who report to those Managers. This is important information. Where does it go? How is it represented? As these relationships and structures that are present in the client company become apparent, there needs to be a way to document it in the CRM app. Reverse social networking does not negate the need to know who is who in our client/vendor companies.

I agree with the people centric approach, I just think that it's important to record the structure of the existing clients, and I don't know where that information would be recorded, if not in the CRM. Don't try to make it do everything, for instance Project Management or ERP are way off topic (and very common) for a CRM apps. But If I can't store the both the Indiana address, and the Arizona address of one of my vendors in the CRM app, then I have to look it up somewhere else when I correspond with them. It does happen. Should I look it up in my email?, the address info is there, in the signature of the emails. I would like to have ALL contact info available. Maybe a click or 2 away, but in the CRM app. Otherwise, it is NOT the center of gravity.

Do you propose that there should there be a different app to record this info? Is it important enough to record somewhere?

Regards.

#9 matthandal

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 04:05 PM

I'm just saying that an address is associated with a person. People have relationships with people, not companies.

Now, it may be an idea to let the user indicate the relationship between contacts. For example, you may be able to indicate that Joe works for Diane or that Diane is in the same division as Steve, but doesn't report to him.

That way when you look at the company, you could see something akin to an org chart.

Like you seem to be alluding, I haven't seen a document that identifies "who exactly is Zurmo for and what exactly does it intend to do."

When you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to nobody.

#10 Sacha Telgenhof

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 08:33 PM

I'm just saying that an address is associated with a person. People have relationships with people, not companies.

Now, it may be an idea to let the user indicate the relationship between contacts. For example, you may be able to indicate that Joe works for Diane or that Diane is in the same division as Steve, but doesn't report to him.

That way when you look at the company, you could see something akin to an org chart.

Like you seem to be alluding, I haven't seen a document that identifies "who exactly is Zurmo for and what exactly does it intend to do."

When you try to appeal to everyone, you appeal to nobody.


One example why (company) addresses would be needed is for campaign management. Our company relies on the address data in our CRM system to send out mass e-mails, paper mailings, etc.

#11 pmaxx

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 02:37 AM

Here is a real world address scenario: A client has around 15 contacts, at 3 or 4 different addresses. There are 4 or 5 important contacts at 1 address (City Hall). Do we enter the same address 4 or 5 times in the contact records? I would prefer to enter the City Hall address 1 time as a unique record in an "addresses" table, and be able to link it to the relevant contacts with a simple click. There are also 2 other addresses that we ship to. There are multiple contacts at those addresses, but only a single "ship to" contact. Multiple addresses keeps it simple, instead of trying to work around the "1 shipping address, 1 mailing address" restriction, enter the addresses where the people are, and link to them.

As for the UI, There would be an "Add New Address" button in the Account screen, so the new address is associated with the company. When adding contacts to an account, there is a list of addresses to link to. This is not to focus on the account, it just makes it easier to deal with addresses.

Even if there is only 1 address, it makes sense from an ergonomic standpoint (as well as database design, but I digress) to require the user to enter it once, and then link to it for however many contacts there are at the company. I'm proposing that the address data be in it's own table so there can be as many or as few addresses as necessary. A small company would have 1 address for both billing and shipping (as well as correspondence for all of it's contacts), and a larger or more spread out organization could have many addresses.

This is flexibility to capture real data. I deal with both clients and vendors that have more than 2 postal addresses.

So the use cases are:
- To simplify data entry when there are multiple addresses, and multiple contacts are at the same address
- To enable Zurmo to record additional (relevant) company data

Regards

#12 Jason

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 04:16 PM

This is all great feedback. What I propose is that once the new user interface is ready, should be a few more weeks, we can get on a goto meeting and map out some of these use cases. Then we can see what is missing from Zurmo and start making additions to the roadmap.

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#13 raysto

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 07:43 PM

This is all great feedback. What I propose is that once the new user interface is ready, should be a few more weeks, we can get on a goto meeting and map out some of these use cases. Then we can see what is missing from Zurmo and start making additions to the roadmap.

Excellent suggestion. The conversations we are having are real-world CRM use cases. If Zurmo is to even have a shot at being the "Perfect CRM", it needs to cover the requirements that you are discussing. Now, I can tell you that there are a number of ways to execute the items you have all brought up and we can't code ourselves into a mess, so that means we will need to come to an agreement on the high level approach. When we have our GoTo Meeting session, perhaps we can brainstorm amongst ourselves and come up with the best scenario.

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#14 matthandal

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:00 PM

Pmaxx,

It would be nice to not have to enter data multiple times (although people might be in different suites and departments, which could be an extra field you have to fill out each time). Maybe that complicates things on the database side, I don't know.

A feature like that is something that I imagine needs to be decided and thought through very early on in the process.

Sacha,

If you do mass emails to general email boxes or do print pieces to companies with no indication of who it is for, it goes to the receptionist and they throw it in the trash.

The system really needs to essentially force people to make good decisions. One good decision is to stop sending stuff out to addresses with no name attached.

#15 Sacha Telgenhof

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:05 PM

Pmaxx,

It would be nice to not have to enter data multiple times (although people might be in different suites and departments, which could be an extra field you have to fill out each time). Maybe that complicates things on the database side, I don't know.

A feature like that is something that I imagine needs to be decided and thought through very early on in the process.

Sacha,

If you do mass emails to general email boxes or do print pieces to companies with no indication of who it is for, it goes to the receptionist and they throw it in the trash.

The system really needs to essentially force people to make good decisions. One good decision is to stop sending stuff out to addresses with no name attached.


Hi matthandal,

Yes you're right on that it will end up in the trash if not addressed properly. That is definitely not the case in my company; we only store real persons details, but these contacts could be part of the same company. My point was perhaps more in line of pmaxx's: a way to store general company address details for multiple contacts to avoid having to type an address twice (or more). More along the lines of a one->many relationship :)

Another approach could be (feature of Salesforce): when adding a contact or it's address, that the system checks if it is already there (like an autocomplete) and can make a proposal to chose an existing address (or alternatively repopulate the form with the same details).

Sacha

#16 Jason

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 04:29 AM


Hi matthandal,

Yes you're right on that it will end up in the trash if not addressed properly. That is definitely not the case in my company; we only store real persons details, but these contacts could be part of the same company. My point was perhaps more in line of pmaxx's: a way to store general company address details for multiple contacts to avoid having to type an address twice (or more). More along the lines of a one->many relationship :)

Another approach could be (feature of Salesforce): when adding a contact or it's address, that the system checks if it is already there (like an autocomplete) and can make a proposal to chose an existing address (or alternatively repopulate the form with the same details).

Sacha

Good idea.

Jason Green
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