A 25 YEAR JOURNEY TO NOW

On October 29th, 1997, I had hair. Or at least some of it, anyway. I operated off Windows 98, floppy discs, and dial-up modems. Broadband speeds were painfully slow and remote work was only a dream as I drove everywhere to client appointments and sales calls. Troubleshooting involved sleepless nights and deep dives into phonebook-sized user manuals for software and hardware. The World Wide Web had few websites on it and Google had not yet “organized the world’s information and made it universally accessible and usable.”

Act! for Mac

But I felt like we were part of a technology revolution. In fact, we were. We rode the wave, experimented, and learned a lot, sometimes fixing glitches by what seemed like scotch tape and trip wire. It would take 4 more years for the dot-com bubble to burst, but Moore’s law has proven valid repeatedly, what was once novel, “gee-whiz” technology became ubiquitous and much more than we could have ever imagined has become commonplace.

Retarget Audience

As sales funnels evolved into customer journey maps, retail establishments morphed into eCommerce juggernauts to accommodate the anywhere, anytime customer, delivering seamless experiences via the touchpoint of their choosing. Customer data became measurable currency, igniting consumer expectations and privacy concerns alike.

Artificial intelligence, social networks, cross-platform personalization, enterprise analytics, microtargeting, business process engineering are all branches from the same tree: CRM. The first mainstream CRM product was Act! software, and Mondo was one of the first Act! Certified Consultants. Since, we have acquired other CRM consultants’ practices when attractive opportunities were presented.

We have accomplished some good things over the years. MondoCRM is one of 90 Act! consulting firms remaining in the North America and one of 3 in Chicago. WiredContact was founded by former Act! engineers and Mondo is its #1 reseller in the United States. To deliver on the promise of customer-centricity and provide continuity across all business operations, we are also a Zoho-authorized Partner and Certified Consultant. Zoho? Imagine Salesforce, only less expensive and easier to customize across the enterprise.

But what we are most proud of are the relationships we’ve built over the years. MondoCRM has performed 400+ platform builds for over 600 clients spread among more than 80 industries. Our favorite statistic? Our average client relationship lasts more than 10 years.

Reviews
What have we learned from all this? Plenty.

 

  • We have learned the value of speaking human. Industry jargon doesn’t solve problems; empathy, acumen and collaboration do. We can’t grow our practice very well if we are not approachable.
  • Customer churn kills companies, so laser-focus on delivering great customer experiences is essential for sustainable growth. Keeping existing customers happy is always more profitable than earning new ones. To wit, it costs 7x more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one…the average customer lifetime value is 10x greater than their initial purchase.
  • Customized, highly calibrated CRM is essential for delivering memorable customer experiences. After all, how can we deliver great customer experiences if we don’t know much about them?
  • Measure what matters. Every decision is based on the best information we have at a given time. Therefore, success is directly informed by the quality, clarity, and timeliness of the information at hand.

We have been blessed by our client relationships over the years and have built an organization well beyond the one-horse shop MondoCRM once was. Abstaining from faceless tech support from platform providers, I have built a crack team of platform experts to support our clients on demand, including assigned reps and deep client history records for insight and to keep clients from having to repeat themselves.

Our customers frequently report highly personalized experiences every time because that’s the way we approach things from the jump. While CRM buyers often feel ghosted after their purchase, we are all about what happens next: calibrating the platform to meet each business’ unique strengths, objectives, challenges, and market positioning.

Our stellar crew also frees me up to focus on vision and strategy with our clients. All those projects over the years provided me the best MBA I could have ever dreamed of. Working mostly with small to medium-sized businesses, I am almost always collaborating with founders and C-suite people, often helping solve their most pressing, highest-level issues.  After all these years, I find this deeply trusted, sleeves rolled up, high-level strategy work the most rewarding. I especially enjoy aligning marketing, sales, and service, as well as refining business processes to meet enterprise objectives. For me, this is the fun stuff, and it never gets old.

At MondoCRM, everything begins and ends with our commitment to helping our clients grow their businesses for the long term, and it has been a privilege to help. Schedule a discovery call to explore ideas how we can impact your bottom-line performance.


Should I use Outlook as a CRM tool ?

Short answer: No.  It lacks too many essential features.

CRM Abstract Photo

Given that we use Outlook in house to manage e-mail, personal contacts and a personal calendar, our opinion isn’t out to snub Outlook just to pitch CRM.

In fact, you don’t need to abandon Outlook to get a CRM.  Most CRMs will integrate with Outlook to integrate e-mail, contacts or a calendar so critical information can be seen on the smartphone.  Furthermore, you can see the email correspondence on the contact record from the CRM.

Difficulties of Using Outlook as a CRM:

Frustrated Computer User
Courtesy: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.com
  • Documenting conversations by date/time stamp and easily sharing them among your team.
  • Implementing contact security among your peers.
  • Creating a sales forecast.
  • Creating a mail-merge to a Word document.
  • Creating effective user fields to classify contacts by more than one field such as "category".
  • Re-Entering the same data among different applications like Word or Excel becomes a chore to create call reports or sales forecasts.
  • Using Outlook is ineffective as a help desk ticketing system.

Zoho Bigin allows an easy way to get into CRM.

And you can still use Outlook.

In a matter of minutes, you can have a starter CRM system that tracks contacts, companies and a pipeline along with a mobile app.

Integrations include:

  • E-Mail: Zoho Mail, Outlook, Office 365, IMAP
  • Zoho Apps: Zoho Flow, Books, Invoice, Campaigns, Analytics, Desk and Meeting.
  • Popular Apps: MailChimp & Zoom Meeting.
  • Advanced Tools: Zapier & API
Good on the budget:

  • Pricing starts at $9/user/month.
  • Annual discounts available.
  • Training videos included.  Chat support provided by Zoho at no additional charge.
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What if Bigin isn't enough?  Don't worry.  We offer plenty of options.

Question Marks
Courtesy: Olya Kobruseva from Pexels.com

What’s the best CRM platform for you?  It depends on what business processes you want to improve.  For instance, if you want one point to see all meeting notes, emails and ability to create a report based on those activity KPIs then WiredContact is a great solution.    If you want to have one platform to manage CRM, e-marketing, help desk, projects and accounting then Zoho One is a great candidate.

Conversely, if your focus is marketing automation on a tighter budget, Benchmark One has many capabilities similar to Hubspot at a lower price.

Once we know the features you need; then, we craft with a custom solution based on your budget.  If you aren’t sure how to approach this, feel free to contact us for a complimentary discovery call.


CRM 101: The CRM Application and How Does It Help My Business?

CRM Abstract

CRM or Customer Relationship Management is a technology used for better customer relationships and interactions. Before technology hits the masses, CRM is done with face-to-face interactions and sending out letters to clients. The modern world advanced everything and made it possible for us to connect with people through telephones, emails, live chat, and social media.

Having CRM software plays an integral role in business growth and sales. This software helps the business effectively and efficiently communicate with customers, partners, and potential prospects.

You must create lasting impressions on customers because of the tough competition and the fast-paced world that we live in. People’s attention is much shorter because of the many distractions and because these interactions– no matter how minimal it may seem– should be impactful in every way.

CRM helps with interacting with people outside the company or business. It also streamlines the transactions that are happening in different channels and platforms all at the same time.

CRM and Marketing

CRM software has an important role when it comes to marketing. It can directly affect the outbound sales of the company. A good CRM can supply the data of a customer’s purchasing journey. It can also provide every action of the interaction that you had with a potential prospect or partner. The provided data can help marketing teams to make guided decisions with the strategies that will be used for business growth.

Marketing teams should also be equipped with the latest technology because it will help them streamline their tasks and activities. They are also the people who are directly interacting with the customers and they should have all the necessary information to gauge the needs of the prospects that they have. CRM can help with the menial tasks of sending multiple emails, provide detailed reports, and give useful data to better understand the trend and needs of the people.

CRM 101 Mac

1. Focused Marketing
A company may be able to produce a lot of lead magnets and gather large amounts of data, however, not all of these can be checked individually. CRM software can help marketers in filtering through the contacts and leads that were produced and gathered. From this, potentially profitable customers or Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) can be selected and prioritized. The software can give various information on customer behavior and preferences. This information can be used to improve prospect awareness and customer retention.

Turbo-Charge E-Marketing Platforms

2. Segmentation
It’s important to know and understand the latest trends before offering anything to the customer. CRM can segment the lead not only by industry but also to more specific demographics. This account-based marketing approach is proven effective because since the behavior and demographics are already known it will be easier to identify the need of a specific segment or group of customers. More specific profiles can open up a lot of opportunities because the messages and approach can be tailored to fit the needs. This will also lead to a much better conversion rate.

Deliverability

3. Personalized content
As mentioned above, the segmented data can help with generating content that is fit for a specific group of people. You can even curate individualized marketing approaches because of the data provided by the CRM. Moreover, you should be careful to become too obvious when approaching customers because you may spook them with knowing too much about their needs and preferences. Use the data to suggest ideas to people, give information, and shape the whole communication process that suits them. The more personalized the content is, the more likely that you are going to get better results and responses from them.

Advanced Personalization

4. Blueprint
Once you already have a working strategy from the derived data, you can use this blueprint or approach to other campaigns as well. It’s not a crime to use a strategy that’s proven effective and has been tested. The data provided by the CRM is there to help you make guided decisions when approaching customers and making strategies that work. Don’t forget to document the data and campaign that was most effective and successful because you will surely need them again in the future.

Process Automation

5. Lead form integration
CRM can also generate and integrate forms that can help with your funnels. Instead of manually adding all of the information into a system, the software should be able to sync all of them automatically.

Put It All in One Place

6. Email nurturing
A well-equipped CRM should be able to cut downtime by manually emailing all of the prospects. It should be able to send emails to the lists of prospects simultaneously. Also, it should be equipped with the capability to automatically send follow-up emails and proper communications based on the sales process.

Two Apps Function as One

7. Tracking and progress
Lastly, the CRM marketing software should be able to monitor the progress of the campaigns that were launched to see if it was effective. There should be integrated tracking capabilities that can produce weekly or monthly reports to see how the campaign is performing. This will help your marketing determine if you should change or maintain the approach that you are treading. It will also enable you to make wise decisions about the strategies that you are implementing for the demographics and segments that you have at your disposal.

Correlate Campaigns to Deals

Conclusion

CRM 101

CRM might be an overwhelming term for startups and growing businesses but this software is a good investment for your sales and marketing teams. When looking for a CRM provider you should carefully consider the services and capabilities that you are offering. Look into the service that they are providing and check how much are other providers charging for the same quality service. There are a lot of SMEs when it comes to quality CRM software and it will be best to consult seasoned experts. These people have years of experience and they will surely help you in making guided decisions when planning to cancel and change your CRM software.


Customer Experience in the B2B Space Matters

Customer Survey

Customer experience has become even more important in the 21st century as buyers gain power.

Customer churn kills growth. And because it’s ultimately unsustainable, it kills companies. Is there anything more important to the bottom-line health of your company than delivering great customer experiences consistently? We’d argue, nothing. So it begs the question, “How can you deliver great customer experiences if you don’t know much about your customers? That’s where we come in. (Do you think you’re already delivering great customer experiences? Think again. Blind surveys with actual customers say otherwise).

But what if you’re a B2B enterprise? It turns out your B2B customers expect experiences consistent with what they get in when they’re consumers in the B2C space. I happened upon this article recently that profiles 10 B2B companies who deliver great customer experiences.

It means having a good CRM matters, not only for your internal benefit but you can leverage the same data to create great experiences such as:

  • Automate sending birthday or anniversary cards.
  • Have all the customer's history on one screen, so no matter which sales rep picks up the phone, the rep knows what's happened. The customer doesn't have to repeat the same story multiple times to get something resolved.
  • Create self-service portals so customers can view their order history, retrieve serial numbers and place help desk requests anytime.

How do you plan on creating better customer experiences? Let’s take a look at your churn rates and lifetime customer value data. We can certainly help. Feel free to bounce some ideas off me. Discovery calls are always free.


Staying Organized Outside of CRM

EPI Productivity_median_average_compensation

Productivity has increased dramatically over the last 20 years, but at what cost?

We are overwhelmed.  All of us.

Source: Economic Policy Institute

During the 2008 recession, businesses learned they can get an employee to fill the jobs of two or three people for fear of losing their own. The impact on everyone’s quality of life has been devastating. How do you keep everything straight?

You may think of me as a CRM guy who designs databases for a living, that I am uber-organized. In some ways, I am. But I get overwhelmed, too. That’s just life in the 21st century. There are many items in my day that don’t fit neatly into a CRM construct. For instance, new product ideas, client solutions, articles of interest, meeting agendas, even my website color scheme.

A few years ago, a client gave me a book called Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen. The GTD method takes these items and places them where they can be acted on later.

Some people use post-it notes. Over the years, I’ve found that Evernote is a far more powerful tool. Others out there include Microsoft’s OneNote and Zoho’s Notebook as part of the Zoho One platform. I combine Evernote with CRM to keep everything on point, even the stuff I do that’s not associated with an individual contact in CRM. This works for me, especially when I have to reference a Power BI formula I wrote over a year ago, for example. Pairing the GTD methodology with great CRM keeps my desk clean, yet I have access to what I need at any time, wherever I go.

GTD Diagram
Workflow for the GTD Process.

I combine CRM & Evernote to keep things organized.

How do you manage to keep all your plates spinning? Everyone has a life hack.