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Episode 18: Why Every Business Needs a CRM

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In this episode of The SME Growth Podcast, Dave Parry and Richard Buckle discuss the benefits of a SME implementing a CRM. They discuss the importance of a business having a CRM, discuss Wellmeadow's choice of CRM of HubSpot and doing some myth-busting on the negatives of CRMs.

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REad the transcript

Please note: Whilst all transcripts are double checked for accuracy, they are transcribed via Otter.AI so may contain errors.

David Parry 01:18

Well, hello, this is The SME Growth Podcast from Wellmeadow Limited. I'm Dave Parry. And with me this afternoon is Richard Buckle, as ever

Richard Buckle 01:53

surprise, surprise

David Parry 01:54

One of these weeks he won't be there. It'll be very different. So what we're gonna talk about this week, this is another one of those subjects that we've been thinking really needs to come higher up running order, we need to get on to it. And it's the subject of CRM systems generally, I think most people sort of know what they are. But I think there's a lot of misconceptions about them. And certainly, as we go around different clients, either whether they have them or they don't they're thinking of putting them in or they don't, they don't want to touch one. You get quite a variety of opinions. 

Richard Buckle 02:27

And I think they've probably evolved a lot over the last ten years?

David Parry 02:32

Yeah, I mean, also, neither clearly are old enough, Richard to know what they would have been like, well, however long ago

Richard Buckle 02:38

No comment. But yeah, they have come on a long way. I mean, I can remember back in the day, almost making CRMs, well not quite CRMs. But you know, well, they served the function as a CRM in Excel and just doing a lot of the heavy lifting of quoting and all of that type of thing. 

David Parry 03:00

Some people may remember Sage ACT or Goldmine, you know, some of these ones, but all they really were was electronic Rolodex, yeah, some people may remember rolodexes. I think the interesting thing as well is What CRM stands for is almost a misnome enough. It shows where it came from. So for those that don't know, or have forgotten, customer relationship management, doesn't really seem to do it now. You wouldn't, I don't think you'd call it that. Now, would you? If you were to, they probably wouldn't actually, if you talk with a news acronym for what we now call CRMs. I don't know what it would be

Richard Buckle 03:38

I mean, I would say just looking at all the, we get to see quite a wide variety of CRMs. And actually, probably a good percentage, maybe somewhere between even 20% and 50%, maybe even a bit higher of the of the contacts within it aren't actually even customers.

David Parry 03:58

True. True. True. I would say that's definitely true. And I would also say that of the contacts that our customers, they're pretty dominant from the system point of view, I don't think then I don't think the owners of that CRM are necessarily using it to good effect. I suppose the problem is that in terms of that name anyway, the see the customer implies that you start to use a CRM when somebody buys something from you, or maybe at a stretch, you quote them, so you want them to buy something from you. And then they either do or they don't, but it's seen as something for the sales team to worry about. Yeah. And they just put their stuff in.

Richard Buckle 04:34

Maybe that's that's born out of some of the changes in the way that people buy over the last 10/15/20 years. So previously, you'd see an advert on the TV or newspaper, you know, back pre internet days, and the sales funnel was normally pretty sure it wasn't you saw the advert you responded to the advert the likelihood of you buying something probably a bit higher, just because fewer options, whereas now There's a much for a lot of products services is a longer buying cycle. 

David Parry 05:04

Mind, you've got access to more information, because we're buying more digitally researching online and all that sort of thing. You can follow somebody around what their behaviour has been on on other platforms, while you still got third party cookies, I suppose you can put more information into a CRM, you can segment somebody a bit more, a little bit more history to how they came to find you in the first place. I think another problem with the CRM way of calling it and certainly the reputation that I think its's got, which has not done it any good at all, as a as a new type of software, is that I think salespeople in particular, have grown by and large to hate them. Well, certainly the old school CRM systems and maybe the old school salespeople, where it's seen as this monster that you got to feed, you know, the system says, or even my boss says, I've got to write down every customer visit every call, every email, I've got to make notes, I just want to get on and call the next customer on maybe I don't want to be sitting here writing visit reports all day long. So I think CRM has got a bad name for being, you know, only only negative no benefit at all, just something to fill in.

Richard Buckle 06:06

Well, that's that's where you've got to start with the end in mind with these things, haven't you? So like most things, just, and in fact, we were having this conversation this morning with a client, like, don't just do something because you can. And they're very insistent on knowing why you're doing it. And I think that is important when you're talking about a CRM, otherwise, it will become a self fulfilling prophecy that people will just either resent filling it in or sort of garbage in garbage out as American cousins would say

David Parry 06:33

And if we refer back to that conversation this morning with a client, I think he came up with quite a good test when he's challenged by his sales team. What do I need to put in? Not, I don't want to put it in. But given that, I've got to put it in where do I draw the line. And he applies the test of if you were suddenly given that contact, so that you are now the contact owner, you're working deal, prospect or whatever, you've got to have enough information in there that if you were receiving it, you'd be able to pick it up and run with it. And I thought at first I've heard it put that way. And I thought it was pretty good. Sort of, you know, it's like treat others like you'd like to be treated. Yeah, type of rules.

Richard Buckle 07:08

So I think that starting in and starting with the end in mind, what what is it that you want to achieve out of using CRM? I mean, we will often take it back to the vision and the strategy before we even start working on the CRM, which may seem a bit absurd, but it's important to know why you're doing these things. I'll touch on that a bit later on.

David Parry 07:32

Yeah, that's right about them flows all the way through to the benefits you get from it, which we'll come back to in a minute as well. So I think, probably before we leave that point that the key element, apart from the fact that CRM may be the wrong name from it is certainly not just for customers, it's the scope of who goes into it. You mentioned already that maybe up to half the people aren't even customers. In some cases, different types of industries vary, but it could be lots of introduces, and advocates of yours that have never bought the product. But I've seen it could be suppliers could be partners, it could be could be all sorts. So really the the scope of who which records you have in a CRM, it's your public, whoever your company's public is. And it could be loads of people that you you've never met, you didn't even really know them, you might just about have their email address, and maybe first name, last name, you know, because somehow you you've captured that information legitimately. That doesn't mean that you should be selling to them straightaway. They're not, they're not fodder for the sales people to go and browbeat you. It's just a place to say, right, we now know somebody, let's look after them. What do they want from us? Can we can we entertain them? And how can we add value to them? Yeah. So it's right from that end right through to the customers, and then customers who are advocates, and maybe even lapsed customers? If you look at it. Yeah, that ended up. So it's quite a broad spectrum.

Richard Buckle 08:47

Yeah, it's a very broad spectrum. So I mean, and you know, maybe it's worth saying there's lots of different types of CRMs. You can choose to use, we are HubSpot partners.

David Parry 08:59

We've now nailed our colours to the mast on that, but that's relatively recent ish things. Yeah, three, four years ago, whatever it was now. And before that, we were often helping companies implement CRM systems, and we were technology agnostic, and we've used Pipedrive and Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce, and you know, some harebrained ones before that, and there's lots of other especially lower budget ones out there or specialist ones, you know, different sectors. In fact, we've got a insurance company, haven't we at the moment, which uses one that's very specially defined designed for their industry. But you're right, we we chose after all that to 

Richard Buckle 09:32

and they have different they have slightly different functions than they I suppose historically, HubSpot came out of more of a marketing focus. Whereas they 

David Parry 09:41

I'd have to look this up, but I don't think HubSpot even had a CRM in it that long ago, maybe five years ago or something. It was pretty much marketing automation software, then added the CRM on the end, because before that, it needs to work hand in glove with Salesforce and Salesforce took on from CRM onwards and HubSpot were thought of as a marketing company and then they both moved into each other's territory? See, I'd have to check my facts on that. But I'm pretty sure that it hasn't always had a CRM system in it. And of course now HubSpot are famous for giving that away for free. Yeah. What a stroke of genius in a way. But what I do say though, to people looking for a CRM is there are plenty of cheapish ones out there. But the HubSpot strategy is to give theirs away for free hoping and probably realistically that you'll have to at least upgrade to a level of paying system as you want some more features. But if you just want what a lot of people think of as a CRM, just an online database to record prospects and customers, it does the job for nothing. 

Richard Buckle 10:51

And I think as well, it's maybe worth pointing out that even even within the HubSpot ecosystem, but across the spectrum of all the other different CRMs there's plenty of free options. So if you just want to organise stuff, there's a lot of free options. And you can get some very powerful functionality for 50 to 100 200 pound a month, right the way up to you know, 1000s a month at enterprise level. So there's a there's something for everybody.

David Parry 11:20

Yeah, and that's nice that they've organised it that way. Because not everybody's gonna want all the extra features. In fact, even reasonably sized midsize companies can get away with a, an okay, level of, of expenditure.

Richard Buckle 11:31

I suppose again, it's back to starting with the end in mind, because we've, we've come across a couple of companies recently that have probably had way more capacity than they needed within their CRM system. And so it's really about Yeah, just taking five minutes to think well, what is it that we're trying to achieve with this?

David Parry 11:50

And if we've got the tools, and we're not using them, should we be let's not just use them for the sake of it? Yeah, the whole you know, anyone, man with only a hammer, thinks all the world is a nail. But by the same token, we're all used to using Excel and all admit to only using 5% max of what it can do. If only we knew everything else it could do could be quite useful. Okay, so that's a little bit of an intro of what is a CRM? Who's it for? And what's the scope of it? Maybe we should move on and talk about what the benefits of having one, then why bother back to your start within the mind? What's the end? What can you do for you, 

Richard Buckle 12:23

I suppose at the very end a bit like back to the Rolodex example, it's a way of just organising a load of data at the base level, isn't it? You can organise all of your contacts, all the company's everything in one sort of, hopefully single source of the truth.

David Parry 12:41

An d that may sound really obvious and basic for lots of people. But there are still millions of companies out there that rely on the fact that most of their prospects, and possibly even their customers, the only place that contact data is really stored is in the salesman, phone, and maybe their email client. And they're not necessarily even joined together.

Richard Buckle 13:01

Or even, you know, we've just done a project where there were three or four different places where all the data was kept. Yeah, some of it was duplicated in 

David Parry 13:09

different spellings of names and companies and categorizations, and segmentation.

Richard Buckle 13:13

So I think CRM is about bringing it all under one ecosystem,

David Parry 13:20

a common structure to and like you say, a single source of the truth. And it's much more shareable than the old Rolodex was or indeed, someone's phone or email client that's not very shareable. And you can get into that, but it's still not great, then 

Richard Buckle 13:31

you start getting into kind of operational efficiencies, probably to Grand of a phrase for it, but it's starting down that path of, if somebody's off, you've got access to the contact information that you need, or the email thread or picking up other people's projects. But like we've talked before, about, if you've got a hand a deal over to somebody, it's all the information there that's needed. You can start to standardise, what information is captured?

David Parry 13:54

What and if you've got a journey mapped out like you would say in a deal pipeline, you can look at any, any company or deal in there and opportunity and find out well, how far are we out with this person and maybe even challenge? One of your colleagues, you know, are you spending more time on on this person that just doesn't want to buy? Or are you have you lost sight of the fact that they've not been qualified, they're not to the next stage, you shouldn't be there and you should be prioritising your time separately, all the way around, you know, you haven't been giving them enough attention because they've been giving all these buy signals and we can all see that.

Richard Buckle 14:23

So I think then as well that you've got probably the you know, starting to think about maybe expanding what a CRM or modern CRM looks like. You've got the whole process from kind of marketing where you've got someone as a prospect, maybe nurturing them through to lead the sales, converting into a customer and then the whole customer service after sale actually delivering the job and dealing with after sales. Yeah. And so you've got that entire lifecycle of a customer.

David Parry 14:51

We've talked about in a previous podcast and within marketing is a process and we didn't stop at marketing, but if it begins with a stranger and ends down the road somewhere with an advocate type referring customer, there's an awful lot of stages in between. And if you've got the right type of system, it can handle that whole journey. It's those handoff points because you don't have one person in any reasonable size company dealing with all of that lifecycle of a person or contact or company. So you need to handover from marketing to sales, then from sales to service or operations or whatever it is to the next bit. So you need to think about what that has to be designed, like to cope with those handoffs, and even have definitions that the handover points a bit like the baton handover in a relay race, you know, before I now call this your contact rather than mine, what do you need from me? What do I have to have asked and written down? 

Richard Buckle 15:37

I think maybe we've talked about marketing, qualified leads, sales, qualified leads and other podcasts, that's some companies even go as far as to having sort of service level agreements between those different phases within the within the process. And the CRM can then help that. So one of the things that you can use within the CRM that we do is score different interactivities for people. So the CRM can be used to say, well, you know, we've got someone's downloaded an ebook for it. So we had just a couple of hours ago, someone downloaded an ebook, they score 20 points that triggered a certain things, they've done some other activities. So it starts to talk about and moves into areas like automation. 

David Parry 16:17

Well, I think that's one of the it's probably difficult to choose what is the main benefit of a CRM, because all those other things are really important, they're single sources of truth, the structure the longevity of it, the shareability the handoffs, but automation is so powerful. And because you want your your system to work as autonomously as it can, especially something like a website that you want to be your salesman 24/7, certain things have got to happen automatically, people expect now, if you do something on a website, when you're working at a time that suits you 11 o'clock at night, but if they've requested something, they they get the link back there, and then all they get access to the thing there and then not the thank you very much for your details, we will contact you in the morning, it's got to be automatic. But it's way beyond that, you know, the automation powers available now in all of these CRMs that we've seen, and everything from basic hygiene of the data, you know, who's got a company name missing, or first name, last name, they're missing or duplicate record, or, or they haven't been given an owner. So, you know, right to that level, right through to the automatically sending out information to people who need it and keeping them informed, or even sending out information to the owners to say, look, this is a lapsed customer, this person was buying regularly until x and then they've stopped or this person used to refer and they've stopped referring, you know, you can build all that sort of intermediate automation.

Richard Buckle 17:29

And I think I think yeah, like one of those points you made, just at the start of that we're about using automation to keep your data clean. may seem like, not trivial, but just that sort of housekeeping, a bit humdrum. But actually, the benefit of that is when you come to use it in your marketing, all of a sudden, you've got that capability to really personalise piece of content or, you know, address somebody in a way that they want to be, you know, the proper name rather than a Hi there.

David Parry 18:02

Last week, I think maybe the week before and I won't name the company that sent it to me, but I did reply to them with a sort of a smiley face, tongue in cheek sort of response. But I got one of these high open brackets, first name, close brackets, comma. Thanks a lot for giving me whatever it was, they wanted to tell me and I, and I knew they were looking into different CRM systems in the past when I last spoke to them, and I just got this thing come out of the blue. So I sent it back saying, you know, hi, first name back. Thanks for your personalised email. And they were very apologetic bit embarrassed and told me they were about to change their CRM system. But it's not the CRM system is it? That's just data hygiene? Yeah, which is the CRM system can help through automation to keep tidy, but it's, you see so much of that.

Richard Buckle 18:46

that's where I think if everyone understands, you know, if if I suppose maybe marketing a bit more aware mark to people that are more aware of this, because it's more their world sales busy on to the next deal, maybe not quite fitting in so much information, we're talking about this again this morning with me to say, you know, actually the benefits of sales, putting in more information into the CRM, the impact that can have for their deal conversion rates for their

David Parry 19:13

In that particular company is quite interesting, isn't it, because they're a very advanced level of understanding of qualification processes. And, and there's lots of those around there. But they're really going into quite a lot of depth as to not just paying lip service to them, but actually using them as a key gateway and having playbooks for salespeople to make sure that they've all gone through the right processes, that their mantra is building for scale. If they don't want it this just to work for now, while there's however many of them there are they want it to work when they're 10 times bigger, or 100 times bigger. So they've got to make sure they put those foundations. It's quite interesting to work with them, isn't it? It's quite an exciting project 

Richard Buckle 19:48

when that's where, you know, again, CRM just gives you that foundation, your foundation for scaling, that's

David Parry 19:53

when you can do that. Yeah, I think one of the last bit was loads of other benefits but another biggie which people often lose sight of, but business owners should be aware of is the impact on company valuation. And you think, well, how can that be linked? Just because I've got CRM, what's that all about? But we've seen this in due diligence processes time and again. Someone says, What's your sales? What's your forecast? The conversation doesn't stop there.

Richard Buckle 20:16

Exactly. And I think, if one of the things we've always said is that actually, by systemising, your business, like, as a business owner, you want to be able to, you know, you want to work stuff out of a job really, that because that's where the value is in the company to someone else, if you've got to hang around, and you know, sit in the corner and be cantankerous, and nobody wants that. So it's, it's that case of working yourself out of a job putting the systems in place, which a CRM and a, you know, decent marketing sales process is really going to add value,

David Parry 20:48

I think it was Simon, wasn't it someone we know who built a part of his business around doing kind of a health check audit or due diligence on sales pipelines. So if a private equity I think he works mostly for but if they were looking at investing in a company who claimed they had a pipeline of X million, and you know, whatever other agencies, he would go in and check the veracity of that by how well they were keeping up to date the data. And that changed the valuation of the company. Yeah, if you can change the multiple of a company from the sort of typical four or five, six, by one notch, go from six to seven or five to six, and you're making, you know, million pounds a year EBITDA, then just by having a CRM well established, has just added a million quid to your your valuation.

Richard Buckle 21:28

Or listen to sidenote, listen to a very good Interesting YouTube clip of Warren Buffett talking about EBITDA, he's not a fan.

David Parry 21:40

He's not a fan of EBITDA? Does he have an alternate he's a fan of?

Richard Buckle 21:43

he's not keen on depreciation not being counted.

David Parry 21:46

I've often wondered about that. You know, I should have written to Warren and said Oi

Richard Buckle 21:52

Who's the chappy that works with him? Charlie Munger, I think it is

David Parry 21:57

Because it is a cost of doing business, isn't it?

Richard Buckle 21:58

Absolutely. So you're just paying it at the start?

David Parry 22:02

If you didn't have depreciation, you'd revenue expense everything when it came through, and you'd have lower profits then. So if you ignore that, maybe there's some accounting reason why it's treated separately.

Richard Buckle 22:12

is interesting, kind of, yeah, they're not a fan on it. fan of it at all as a way of in terms of

David Parry 22:17

valuations. Yeah. Okay. So they're all, they're not all they are several of the benefits. There's enough there, I think, to persuade anybody who's a bit sceptical to look a little bit closer into having a CRM, but there are other benefits as well. You talked earlier on, didn't we? And you said to come back to it about starting with the end in mind. And where does this all begin? And what's it for? And what are you trying to achieve with it? And you said back then that a good start point, which maybe surprises some people when you're talking about CRM? Is the vision and strategy and where we're trying to get you? Yeah,

Richard Buckle 22:49

I mean, they almost seem kind of like it's not an oxymoron, whatever, they seem quite, quite different. You're talking about CRM, filling in some data with some contact name and addresses? How did that link through to your vision and strategy? Well, I think really what, you've got to start with the end in mind with these things, because if you go, it's a bit like getting if you go one to one degree off course, and then you carry on for a couple of years, you really are then off course. So starting with the end in mind with division, just like where you want to get to how you're going to get there with strategy is really helpful framework for starting just to build out. Okay, well, what what kind of data do we need to think about what type of you know, how are we going to structure you know, what we're capturing? What kind of assets are we going to need, which is all now part of the modern kind of CRM is so integrated with marketing leads, or it should be? So having that understanding buyer personas, so you know, who is it that we're trying to fill this, you know, who are we trying to talk to here? Are we actually, you know, analysing our CRM data, to actually to make sure we've got the people in it that we actually want.

David Parry 23:57

Yeah, and I think once again, the one of the reasons why people may not quite get this point is that still 99% in my experience of communications I get from other companies, either ones that I've asked for, or the spam that you don't, but may or may not be interesting. It's the same old, same old, I'm getting this I know, I'm getting the same output, same email, but everybody else on their mailing list has just got and yet the CRM has got the capability to segment me in so many different ways. You know, what's my buyer persona, what industry I'm in who am I? Who am I a decision maker, am I an influencer? Am I bothered? And where am I on my journey as well? Am I not even aware that this service offering exists or maybe I am but I'm thinking about it or I'm right down to the point of deciding which person and we talked about buyer journeys back in one of our earlier podcasts, you know, awareness consideration decision. So without having an understanding that by collecting the right information in the first place, you can then tailor the output you don't even realise that you should be tailoring the output you're just assume. Oh, it's okay. We send out a monthly newsletter. Oh, yeah. What's the open rate did you get oh, you're not by had a couple of percent click rate, oh, well, it's not about clicking. It's about.. they're making excuses. If you're not sending out useful and interesting stuff, then people won't open up luckily.

Richard Buckle 25:11

So I think building that into your CRM almost as philosophy almost, but also very practically, to say, Okay, well, how are we going to even have we got a field to put in where they are at the Buyer Journey? Are we really, you know, integrating buyer personas in so that we can segment so a lot of this is all about segmentation. So that you can, you can have those options to say, well, we've got five buyer personas, and we've got different

David Parry 25:40

That was classic. We talked about that meeting this morning, where they're on the website they've been, they haven't named it this way. But they've created four different areas for their four top buyer personas. Yeah, you know, are you an executive, or you're this or you're that or the other. And you're invited as a visitor to the website to click on one of the four areas where it takes you into more specific and detailed, tailored information for the area, which is perfect. That's where you want the website to do, great design. What they haven't got to yet, but we'll be helping them do is to make sure that when a user clicks on one of those four, that then immediately updates the CRM database to say, right, this person self identifies as this buyer persona of the four. And at the moment, and most companies that haven't thought that through would just wait for someone to explore the website, you know, random, walk wise, and then pop out, maybe give him a call or drop them an email or not. And yet, that's a classic point where you can capture a key piece of information, they clicked that button, rather than that button, it's not the click that mattered, it's which click. 

Richard Buckle 26:35

And it's just yeah, it's back to this, like data is king, isn't it or, you know, there's that that kind of once you've got that data, you can start to make decisions that are so much have a lot more power a lot more informed. And that's, that's what a CRM, a CRM can be used to harness and bring it all together in a structured, organised way 

David Parry 26:56

You don't do it for the sake of it, just because you can, but if you imagine the goal, in terms of the communications you have with your public, we talked about that term earlier on, then the ideal is that everything that everybody receives has been written solely for them. But you can't get to that goal by scaling. But the closest you can get to it, that's kind of a measure of how well are we doing this. However, we segmented our records and then tailored our output so that when somebody receives something, they don't think, Oh, my goodness, it's another one of those, they think, Oh, that's interesting. You know, I'm gonna read that, I mean, maybe going to share it. That's the point of it isn't if you've got that refinement, but you need to have designed your CRM properly,

Richard Buckle 26:56

like you say, we all get those emails from various industry sectors, which we'll leave anonymous, then that gives you the latest update on a particular topic. And you like that, you can just tell this is just like three or four bullet points, but a generic kind of information doesn't really add any value. Whereas we're moving into an era where we're seeing a lot more customization a lot more. You know, like even you know, even buying a burger or something. A well known hamburger outlook. You can you know, gherkins, no gherkins, and, you know, everything is becoming customised. We're becoming accustomed customization. Yeah, you can use that as a little sound bite. But like, it is, it is true. And as because you know, as consumers as business people that that is what we're getting used to now.

David Parry 28:25

Yeah, even my local Chinese takeaway, when as soon as they pick up the phone, they say, Hello, Mr. Parry.

Richard Buckle 28:30

That's cause you're a regular! 

David Parry 28:33

Before I've said anything, they've got a caller ID on the line and a database on the back of it. That's not rocket science, right? That's been around for decades. But I'm waiting now for them to say the usual order, then. They don't do that. But they still give me room to choose, even though I ordered the same. You normally choose the beef black bean with green peppers, Have you tried? Have you thought about trying that with them? The chicken or the vegetarian? We're moving into that era, really where we've got that that's going to be expected by consumers and in business to business is still people buying it, we still have the same experiences and expectations. Again, 

Richard Buckle 29:15

Do you want to talk about some of the challenges that we've seen or? 

David Parry 29:19

Yeah, go on, then we'll say briefly, it's just briefly run that with that, because I know that that's important. 

Richard Buckle 29:25

Yeah. So I think some of the challenges that we've seen largely around probably data cleansing, let's say so

David Parry 29:32

I know which data example that keeps you awake at night

Richard Buckle 29:37

Yeah, so I mean, it depends on how your data is stored from where you started from. But if you've got data in multiple locations that maybe a duplicate for different spellings different, you know, yeah, we had Wellmeadow Limited, Wellmeadow Ltd 

David Parry 29:54

All of those sorts of silly little things that people don't realise that computers are quite pernickety. If it's not exactly the same, it's not the same.

Richard Buckle 30:02

and then too many free text, you know, free text fields are great for certain things. Not great for other things. You know, you don't have an industry sector, that's a free text field, because you'll get all sorts in it. So it's those sorts of again, and again, I think it all stems from not starting with the end in mind, you can't really stress that enough when something like this because it is like you're building a house, and you don't just start throwing bricks around.

David Parry 30:26

I think it's the problem, when you build it as you go along, you think I'll come back to that later, it's a lot easier to create a field, which is free text and having to think about all the options you can have and cover every option. So it's just to get something up and running, you leave it as free text. And then a year later, you realise

Richard Buckle 30:39

I think another challenge is, is just creating that CRM culture. And I think really, then people need to be taken on the journey to see why is it valuable? Why, and oftentimes, it's not valuable for me, it's valuable for someone else in a different department. And I think that's where, you know, you've got to try and let people see the big picture of why are we doing this? Why is it important that you feel this piece of information and so that this person's job downstream from you, is made easier, or they can even do it?

David Parry 31:09

but that's true of business systems. Generally, you know, the person in sales who takes the order needs to get the right otherwise, the person in manufacturing will make the wrong thing, or they will be invoiced incorrectly or sent to the wrong address, you know, so we're all a bit used to that. But I think there's still enough benefit locally, if you use the system, while you get benefit to be more organised, be more automated, make it easier, fewer mistakes. But you're right the culture, I would almost say the culture and the data integrity vie for first place in terms of the big challenges, and especially because I'd say the reputation that CRM systems have got by those who historically have been most forced to use them against their will the sales community that has been borne by a badly imprinted system, where you're expected to but loads of information on it just in case basis, we might want to look at it one day. Well, if you ain't actually going to use it, then why will I collect it.

Richard Buckle 31:58

And maybe another just to round it off is another challenge. Or maybe it's not so much a challenge, but just trying to open people's eyes to what you can actually do with the data. So without wanting to do a shameless HubSpot plug that we have our website sitting on top of our CRM, because HubSpot allows you to do that, other software out there that will do it. But it's very joined up very straightforward, very simple, which allows you to personalise web content, it allows you to use Smart Content to show certain people in certain lists maybe certain content in it, there's so much more now that you can do and I think part of the challenge is to open up people's minds to the possibility that a well structured CRM can can give you

David Parry 32:45

That's true. Okay, well, there's a good good few pointers there, which I'm sure people will be familiar with as well. So hopefully, that's been a useful summary of CRMs or, or maybe we should come up with another name for just one of those things, once it's been named, has been named. Hoover is a Hoover even if that's the Dyson. So it's a CRM forevermore, even if it's not just for customers. It's not just about relationships, and it's not just about management. But it's exactly something good. Okay. Thanks very much for that you've been listening again to The SME Growth Podcast from Wellmeadow limited. Thank you very much for listening. Please like and share our podcast wherever you get your podcasts from. And more importantly, tell your business colleagues and friends that were worth a listen and send them a link. And until next time, good luck with your businesses.

Further resources

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