Understanding your business from the inside out is vital to be as productive as possible, but have you thought about how to implement better processes through improved data collection? Josh was joined by Sean Kelly to discuss some ways to get more out of your business.
What Is a CRM?
Customer relationship management (CRM) means so many different things to different people. Sean says, “For some people, it’s a spreadsheet. For other people, it’s something that they might build themselves. But for others, it could be ‘How do I manage my pipeline?'”
CRM for Big and Small Businesses
Sean looked at the myriad of systems out there and decided that they wanted to use one themselves. He shares, “We’re software engineers, let’s build this. We found that for us, we wanted to manage the process from quote through to cash. So, when we first had an inquiry, right through to managing a client, what are all the steps and who are all the stakeholders we need to deal with? Internal employees, external contractors, our clients. What’s that single source of truth rather than having these siloes of information?”
“I’ve been running services companies for coming up to 27 years. I’ve had that feeling where you lay awake at night, thinking ‘where’s the cash coming from?’ I’ve got too few employees, too many clients. Typically, services companies, are either too busy or not busy enough. How do you manage that? I just wanted to find a way that saw the whole process through, depending on what your lens was.”
If you’re a project manager, how’s a specific project or portfolio project running? It’s all very repetitive. What we did was we built 90 % of the common functionality that our services companies need. Typically, what I found over those 27 years is most services companies are mostly the same. It’s just the nuance is different.
So, we all need to do quotations, manage projects, manage our team. We might have some inventory, we want a dashboard over the top, we need to invoice. How does this all pull together in a cohesive way? But if you’re doing website building, how is that little process different from if you’re providing legal services? You don’t add too much rigidity, because the requirements we have is slightly different to the requirements someone else has.
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Making a Product for Australia
With CRM tools developed offshore, there’s the obvious ones around taxation and any awards that you might need to have in your particular application. But the main difference is not just the ongoing cost, but the upfront cost of removing elements or trying to simplify programs quite astounding. Sean says, “A large Australian company looked at our product and said, it’s more flexible. It’s being built cloud native, so it looks very slick. It’s fast, responsive, and doesn’t look clunky.”
What Is the Difference Between a CRM and an ERP?
CRM is one component of your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Think of your ERP as being all of the subsystems or all of the features needed to run your business. They could include what you need to manage a team, to manage what their staff reviews are, what salary are they on, what skill sets do they have, etc.
When looking at resourcing for projects going forward, do you have enough of that particular skill set? Are we overloaded in particular areas? How are we looking at cash flow wise into the future? Can we create invoices? Are we getting payments back from our invoicing system to tell us we should be talking to this customer and they’re not paying their bills? That is what an ERP does.
CRM tools are more about providing the information about the clients. What are we talking to them about? What proposals do we have out there? But it may not be intimately focused on the team or the projects. That’s where there’s a bit of a disconnect. “A lot of companies we see have a minimum of four different systems to run their business, of which one will be a CRM. It comes down to using the right tools for the job,” Sean explains.
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Spreadsheets vs CRMs
Spreadsheets are great at doing formulas and calculations, but they might not necessarily be the best tool for any of your reporting dashboards and keeping people accountable.
When you put a solution into play, you’ve got to embrace the technology in place, you’ve got the ability to project manage, see where anyone is, who’s lagging, who’s leading the teams, and pull this data out and make better business decisions. It’s not just about marketing, it’s not just about the micro decisions. It’s about the macro and micro decisions.
How to Use CRMs Effectively
Whether you have a big or small business, using a CRM is about following your line of inquiry. It depends upon what you’re looking for at that time or who is looking at this information.
So if you’re looking at a client, you can see the billing date, project’s coming up, what tasks have overrun them most on that particular project? Then you might click on that task and say, How many projects do we do this work for? For example, every single one of them has run 150 % over the last 12 months. And then you can make a decision. Is that a training issue? Is that a quotation issue? But you’re following that line of inquiry. All the data is there. It’s always been difficult to find, based on the context I’m looking at now, what should be surfaced to and then start drilling down.
If you’ve got three different people doing the same task, someone is always over, it could be an education or a skill base, and you can then choose to bring them all up.
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Transferring Data Between CRMs: Is it possible?
In most cases, yes, but it depends on what that CRM system is. So if you’re using something like Devo, it could be difficult to get it out. But there are templates we have where we get the data into the right format. Sean explains, “Master data we get in, transactional data you don’t want to get in normally. So it can get very ugly when people are thinking, ‘Oh, yeah, all the data is the latest and pure, but it’s never that way.'”
80% Is Good Enough When Transferring CRMs
Sean says, “80% is a good term. And we say to people, the last 20% of this project that you’re wanting to do could cost half the budget. Do you really want to do that now, or should we just leave it? We can get the data and format. If you really need to look back and see what ‘Jones & Co’ spent with you 17 years ago, you’ve got a way to do that.”
“Two books that have inspired me are more around core sorts and processes. One is Principles by Ray Dalio, which is a great book on both personal principles and business principles. The other is Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferris, which is a series of questions that he asked a lot of world leaders.”
Business Built Freedom
“I’ve got to a point where I’ve been able to empower my team to take a lot of away from me. So, I get to lift above and see them contributing and enjoying that process. And to the family point of view, I have children who are both in IT, and they’ve both contributed to the Embrace code base as well. I love that they’ve bought into it and they’re really enjoying the mission and power my team to take a lot of the light from me. I get to lift above and just see them contributing and enjoying that process. And to the family point of view, I have a lot of children who are both in IT. They’ve both contributed to the embrace code base as well. I love that they’re bought into it and they’re really enjoying the mission.”
– Sean Kelly, Founder of Moreton Blue Software
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