Posts tagged with: CRM

Four Ways To Protect Your Turf

Warren Buffett famously invests in businesses that have what he calls a protective “moat” around them – one that inoculates them from competition and allows them to control their pricing.

Big companies lock out their competitors by out-slugging them in capital infrastructure investments, but smaller businesses have to be smarter about how they defend their turf. Here are four ways to deepen and widen the protective moat around your business:

 Get Certified

Is there a certification program that you could take to differentiate your business? A Canadian company that disposes of radioactive waste decided to get licensed by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.  It was a lot of paperwork and training, but the certification process acts as a barrier against other people jumping into the market and competing.

Is there a certification you could get that would make it more difficult for others to compete with you?

Create an Army of Defenders

Ecstatic customers act as defenders against other competitors entering your market, a factor that has enabled companies like Trader Joe’s to defend their market share in the bourgeois bohemian (bobo) market, despite a crowded market of stores hawking groceries

Get Your Customers to Integrate

Is there a way you can get your customers to integrate your product or service into their operations?

The basic switching costs of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software are virtually nil.  Everyone from 37signals to Salesforce.com will give you a free trial to test their wares.

The real expenses associated with changing CRM software only come when a business starts to customize the software and integrate it into the way they work. Once a sales manager has trained his salespeople in creating a weekly sales funnel in a CRM platform, try to convince him to switch software.

Can you offer your customers training in how to use what you sell to make your company stickier?

Become a Verb

Think back to the last time you looked for a recipe. You probably “googled” it.  Part of Google’s competitive shield is that the company name has become a verb. Now every time someone refers to searching for something online, it reinforces the competitive position of a single company.

Is there a way you could control the vocabulary people use to refer to your category or specialty?

Widening your protective moat triggers a virtuous cycle: differentiation leads to having control over your pricing, which allows for healthier margins, which in turn lead to greater profitability and the cash to further differentiate your offering.

If you’re wondering how differentiated your businesses is, take the 13-minute Sellability Score questionnaire and find out….

Value of Your CRM in Exit Planning

What is CRM?

Your CRM system is about how you/your company do business with someone else/some other company. It’s about nurturing the relationship between you and the customer/prospect. It gives you a 360 view to better retain every customer. CRM is a tool to cultivate relationships between people.

Effective use of your CRM system as well as the data reports you can generate from it – both add value to your business that a buyer will pay for. Keeping your CRM system up to date and using it for all sales, marketing and support communications provides substantive, client-specific data to back up the forecasts you use in negotiating a price for your business.

  1. Choose the CRM tool that is right for your business – customize it so that it fits your company’s needs/objectives. There are many tools out there like ACT!, SageCRM, Saleslogix, MS CRM
  2. You have to use it to get the ROI from this tool like any other.
  3. Make sure that the data in the CRM software is as up to date as possible – garbage in is garbage out
  4. The relationships are key!  -Really get to know your customer so that you have a 360 degree view of their needs, likes and dislikes

Why use a CRM system and why study the tracking and measuring reports a CRM system can generate for you?

It helps automate and streamline:

  • Building your list
  • Building relationships with prospects
  • Keeping relationships with clients
  • Integrating marketing strategies, such as
    • Email campaigns
    • A-B testing
    • Newsletters/offers/incentives
    • Telephone outreach

Tracking and measuring data can be exported from a CRM system and be used in many systems to build a strong foundation for massive growth.

You Need:

  • Systems
  • Strategy
  • Processes
  • Structure

Do you want to stay a little business, Without a strong, deep foundation?

Do you want to grow a much larger, robust business, With a strong, deep foundation.

Your Business Foundation MUST Have all four:

  • Systems
  • Strategies
  • Structure
  • Processes

in order to grow into. You want to buy, train, install, and apply systems and tools that your company will not outgrow in the next 5 years.

 

Automate, Outsource & Delegate The Tracking And Measuring

5.      Look For Ways To Automate, Outsource & Delegate The Tracking And Measuring You Need

The objective of tracking and measuring is not to create work for you or your team. In fact, your KPI reports should give you better and more timely data to improve decision making. My mantra is:

Delegate, Automate, Outsource

  • Delegate anything that does not have to done by you
  • Outsource everything possible
  • Automate: reports, banking, email open/clickthrough, web analytics, etc.

This one discipline can transform you from a hands-on operational manager to a strategic CEO with plenty of time to work on planning and executing your exit strategy.

For example:

  1. If you are paid on commission, you need to track not just the % commission, but how that translates to dollars depending on the deal. If you are closing lots of small deals on fixed price- like some list brokers – you’re putting in the same hours/deal and not seeing a high return.
  2. If you know 1/3 of the attendees at your events buy your services, then the numbers you need to track are more likely how many prospects can you reach with your invitation and how many times do you need to reach out to them for them to attend.
  3. If you don’t know your costs, how can you set prices. With a client, once we tracked her true costs, not only did she radically increase prices to a fair market value, but it was easy to ask for the new prices and clients did not quibble.
  4. Use Client Relationship Management (CRM)
    Excel and Outlook are not CRM tools – they are good for recording data, but very limited in helping you generate the KPI for your dashboard.
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