There is an interesting discussion happening about blogging at the moment.
For those who don’t click through, the article is about how it’s an end of an era for blogging and that a new one is emerging.
Which is likely true (and not a bad thing), as we’re entering a new stage of the internet’s…
Sorry guys, its been a while since I have posted, has been a bit crazy of late, hope to keep updates at a faster rate :-)
Depending on your company’s size, you may have partners (resellers) that sell your product in various markets around the world. When talking about an enterprise CRM, you really want a tool that will allow your partners to be an extension of your direct sales teams internally. If taken care of the right way, your enterprise partners can help augment your company’s revenue streams in key markets and areas your company make not have normally served. Below are a few key area’s to ensure your partners are happy and set up for success in channel space, specifically related to a robust online presence.
A robust PRM (Partner Relationship Management) application which typically ties into your CRM can help your partners reach their full potential. One of the key applications within a great PRM tool is deal registration and having the ability for your partners to submit deals online. Having a good deal registration tool will be the first key to building trust with your partner community. A deal registration tool can allow partners to be protected from both other competitors and even your direct sales teams. The simple definition of a deal registration tool is an application online that allows your partners to submit deals (opportunities) in which a product(s) are selected and estimated deal size is submitted (among other deal details). The deal then gets routed internally to your channel operations teams for approval or rejection. Another advantage to have deal registration in place, your forecast models become a bit clearer and give your insight into what your pipeline will look like in the future. When you have clear line of site to your potential forecast pipeline for the next few quarters open, so many more efficiencies in supply planning can be had, if this applies to your space.
One of the other key elements I have seen in the market place for partners is having a concept called “Line of Business Protection”. This concept is pretty straightforward in theory, but implementing in your company or organization can be a challenge. Essentially, what you want to do to your premier (top partners) partners is offer them exclusive line of business protection in that they are the only partner that is allowed to sell a product, product line or even your entire business offering to a certain end user. This has multiple advantages, but has to be used sparingly and with clear contracts and definition around how it works. This is especially useful in markets where your business is immature or non-existent.
Some other tools to consider offer to your partners after a robust deal registration tool is in place is a tool that that allows your partners to take advantage of training and certification application that gives your partners access to product training and certification on these products. This will allow the dissemination of information on your product line to go beyond your direct sales teams. In addition, as your business matures, the ability to offer rebates and incentives can be a key tool in expanding the white space of certain market segments. The rebates and incentives tool, although a great mechanism to expand your business, should be approached with caution in that you are exposed more legally and financially that you may have been in the past.
There are several ways to ensure your partners are getting the most of what the need to be successful. As mentioned above, it’s critical your partners feel like they are an extension of your company’s sales and marketing teams. I would say with your premier level partners, they really are this extension. The above is not an all-inclusive list of tools and recommendation for a robust partner relationship management tool, but it’s certainly a place to start. There will be more to come on this subject later since I happen to have a lot of hands on experience in this space.
Today the SaaS-based company Backupify released a report examining 100 random data loss events that were posted on Google App Help forums. They categorized the events only dealing with enterprise customers into a strict data loss, meaning that the data doesn’t exist, and data unavailable at the moment it is needed. Their research showed that 89% of the issues refer to data loss, and the majority of these were wrong suspensions, when an account was suspected of sending spam or otherwise at odds with Google’s terms of service.
(Data from Star Trek: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Data_%28Star_Trek%29)
One of the key areas when one discusses “Enterprise CRM” is data and specifically account/customer data. This specific area of a CRM tool is often times ignored or an after-thought of an enterprise CRM tool. I have seen in the past where key customer data is duplicated, wrongly entered simply does not show up as expected in the chosen CRM toolset. This, as you would imagine, can affect how reporting looks, deals are displayed, partner access just to name a few of the various issues. In addition, there are times in fact when bad data can actually have a direct impact on revenue or customer service. If I had to break these down into two categories where major issues arise, they would typically (not always) fall in the following categories; lack of governance or little to no cleansing (de-duping).
When you have a large to medium sized enterprise business, you should consider a robust governance process to create and maintain your critical account/customer data. Not a process that paralyzes your ability to react quickly to market changes or a new acquisition, but a governance process that allows you to be clear with how customer data is managed, created and updated. Oftentimes, the governance process itself can become the barrier to a good CRM tool, but this can be managed. For the good data governance process, it’s critical to have your org understand; who your data stewards are, where your data inputs are generated (Dunn and Bradstreet, Hoovers, rep entry, etc.) and what you allow your stakeholders to edit. The role of a data steward is a key resource to secure to ensure you have consistent, clean and relevant data. While the data stewards manage and maintain a consistent set of data elements across your company, they can’t solve all the issues. It does help greatly to have a consistent mechanism for editing and managing the data such as approval process for data.
Next, cleansing your data and keeping it clean & relevant is important and can negatively impact your bottom line. This subject differs from governance in that this is more of technology play vs. governance which can be managed through a business lead process. There are alot of “off the shelf” applications an enterprise company can use that keeps address data up to date, new postal codes relevant that can make a big difference in your company. I would suggest if you do not have this in place yet, perform a vendor evaluation to see what works for your company. At a minimum, you want the tool to cleanse (filter our junk data and bad words), rationalize (de-dupe) and rationalize (tie to other systems such as opportunities, order data ect).
In the end, you do not need to complicate this area of an enterprise CRM, but a set of standards that govern how your data is created, edited and retired is critical to having clean info presented to your sales and marketing reps within the CRM tool in your org. How you manage your critical customer data is ultimately up to the given enterprise company, but if these two areas are addressed, then it goes a long way to setting up a solid foundation for your company’s core customer data.
Hector Perez Jr
“Let me talk to my friends the way I want. Focus on making my stuff more secure because that’s what everybody really cares about.” - a non-industry Facebook user on a call today, on why she’s dropped off in using the site
“Would you pay to use something like Facebook?” - Me
“It would depend…
I have wanted to create this blog for some time now. I realized of late, a lot of my experience in CRM *(Customer Relationship Management) software may be of use to a larger general audience. I do not pretend to be an expert in every area of this subject, but certainly there are areas in which I do have experience and knowledge in this area. It is here in which I wish to share this knowledge and continue to have an open dialog with a larger audience such as the interweb :-) . The goal of this blog is simply to share information as I see it, from lessons learned to best practices based on experience in the ever changing technology and business world.
What exactly qualifies me for this blog? Well, my experience in over 13 years of pure CRM and technology ranging from mid market companies to large global enterprise deployments probably helps a bit. In addition, I can approach this topic from several different points of view. From IT developer (coder), business analysis (requirements gather and scribe), project manager (global and country based) to my current role as a IT senior manager at a Fortune 50 company, these all contribute to my take on this subject. Currently, I (along with my great team) are responsible for my employer’s large scale cloud based CRM platform. Lastly, I have an MBA and BBA both with specialties in information systems.
A bit about myself and background first; I was born and raised in San Antonio Texas & eventually joined the US Air Force for four years as an EMT and nurse. In that time I learned a lot about responsibility and honor, among other qualities that have stayed with me for my entire career. Service to my country certainly taught me a lot in life and way even more than I realized at the time I was discharged. After my service in the military, I was accepted and attended the University of Texas at Austin. This was quite an experience for me and quite frankly still resides as some of the best times in my life. There is nothing like a 25 year old joining a frat and seeing Ricky Williams break the record for most rushing yards (American football) over UT’s arch rival Texas A&M.
Shortly after college graduation, I entered the professional job market right in Boston Massachusetts. At the time the “dot.com” bubble hit and this was fantastic. The amount of money firms were throwing at tech companies was in retrospect, ridiculous. My first role was at a company (that no longer exists) that had me performing IT consulting work. I worked primarily on the Onyx CRM, which was SQL based CRM run by a lot of ex-Microsoft guys. Here I learned the value of customer engagements and how to work with many “hats” on. From GTE (remember them?) to mid-level companies, I was able to help manage and deploy many short term projects in the greater northeast of the United States. Next, I moved back to Austin and for the next four years worked at another IT consulting company that did not require as much traveling. At this stage of my CRM career one can say I was a system administrator, Oracle DBA and even trained on some telephony products. Overall however my main tool of trade for this role was Clarify (Amdocs) CRM. Within the four years here I had better appreciation for the CRM toolset, but was limited in its use overall to small and mid-level companies. I lacked global and enterprise experience at this time.
During the 2004 time frame, I also earned my MBA and then left this consulting firm in Austin for my current employer. I have been at my current employer close to 7 years now and in that time I have had the opportunity really expand my CRM skills set to includes as Salesforce.com (SFDC) and add on tools that plug in as part of the SFDC app exchange packages. In addition, my global experience grew exponentially. I have traveled to over 30 countries in the last 7 years and have extensive knowledge in global implementation and execution of large scale IT projects. I also had the opportunity to live in London for a while and help manage and deploy account data management tool-sets and worked with CRM deployments in 17 European countries. Currently, I still manage the SFDC platform along with some amazing team members and staff that reside in several countries. The big area in the space seems to be mobility and social media. How can these two area’s exist within CRM, allow for cross functional collaboration and how will it look tomorrow are just some of the questions we face in today’s world.
In summary, my experience and knowledge of this area has taught me one undeniable fact: Most of what I have learned is probably something another company or person is going through right now or will go through. And with that, I hope to impart some useful knowledge.
Hector Perez Jr