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How to Choose a CRM

Transcript 

Kathy (host):  

Well, hello there, and welcome back to Help! My Business is Growing, a podcast we explore how to grow and build a business that is healthy and sustainable. I'm your host, Kathy Svetina.  

 

Kathy (host):

Today, we are going to be talking about CRMs. CRMS or Customer Relationship Management Software are vital for any growing business. They're an extremely powerful tool that stores information about every interaction you have with your current and potential customers. They can help you organize your contacts, segment your customers based on their behavior and preferences, and they can automate tasks like reminding you to send email so that your business stays top of mind and also that nothing falls through the crack, which is an extremely valuable thing to have when you're starting to have customer service. And you're starting to go and hire more salespeople. 

 

Kathy (host):

They're also very valuable for financial purposes because they keep data about your pipeline. And as for myself, every single time I go into the business, I cannot tell you how ecstatic, absolutely ecstatic I am, when I see a CRM giving me information about the confidence level of the deals, the minimum, the maximum of the revenue because that gives me the information about the potential revenue and cash going into the business. 

 

Kathy (host):

Of course, this data needs to be updated on a very regular cadence so that it stays relevant. But once you have that data in, and if you update it or your salespeople update it on a regular basis, it is an absolute goldmine for your financial forecasting. 

 

Kathy (host):

Just a quick reminder, before we go any further, all of the episodes on this podcast, including this one come with timestamps for topics that we discussed, and each one comes with its own blog post as well. You can find all the links and the detailed topics in this episode's show notes. 

 

Kathy (host):

So today, my guest is Maryanne Renzetti. She is a CRM specialist and Certified Salesforce administrator with over 10 years of experience with systems and CRMs. She is known for her mad organizational skills and ninja-level problem-solving skills. She loves transforming small business operations to CRM implementation, configuration and optimization. Essentially, she enjoys taking this organized high-level information and breaking it down into manageable steps, making sure business systems work for business owners, not against them. Join us!

Kathy (host):  

Welcome to the show, Maryanne.

Maryanne (guest):  

Thank you so much for having me, Kathy. It's great to be here.

 

Kathy (host):  

Thanks for being here. We're going to be talking about CRMs, and CRMs are an important part of managing the business, not just operationally, but financially as well, because what a lot of CRMs do is give you that financial information about the deals in a pipeline, such as the minimum, the maximum and the confidence levels of those deals. And that is extremely valuable because you're now able to forecast the future revenue and cash, not on some imaginary number, but on actual real data that you have available. And you can make those decisions accordingly. So whether you want to hire people or whether you can afford to hire them. When I come into the business, and I see that they have this data available, that they have a CRM that supports that, I get super excited because we can do so much with it. But that's CRM usage from a financial perspective. I wanted to dive deeper into how does that look like from an operational perspective. I wonder if you could talk about a few of those, like, what are some of the benefits to the operations to have a CRM in place?

 

Maryanne (guest):  

Yeah. You've mentioned some great ones. Some other benefits to have a CRM is that a lot of them, especially for entrepreneurs or smaller businesses, a lot of them can access a one-stop shop. You can cut way down on the amount of operational programs that you're using. So if you have like one program for a scheduler, one for contracts, one for invoices, one for proposals. I've seen people with like six different operational programs that they use, and I can go to them and be like, "You know that you can get a CRM to do all of those things, which could save you money, if you're paying for them. Obviously saves you time from flipping around, and also it keeps all your data in one spot." You can see it's really valuable to see all the contracts and invoices that pertain to each client, right there as your snapshot of the client. It's all right there for you, and then everything else. You mentioned obviously getting an oversight into your business, and those valuable analytics, especially by keeping all that in one spot. Your analytics are going to be greater, you'll have more information in one spot. It's really valuable to have oversight into the health of your business and like what's working and what's not. 

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah. There's a lot of options out there. There's so many CRMs I think they just keep coming up with a bunch of them every single year that just seems to be replicating. There's CRMs are like very basic. There's the ones that are complex, obviously, Salesforce I would consider to be a pretty complex and robust CRM, how do you know what's appropriate for your business and the stage you're in? Because Salesforce might not be appropriate for someone who just starting out, but it could be a really good place to be when your business is like making millions and millions of dollars at this point, right?

 

Maryanne (guest):  

Yeah, for sure. Salesforce is a wonderful program. It's super robust. It does so much. It's very versatile. It's very flexible. But yeah, it's more suited, I think to bigger companies, medium companies. They don't have to be huge companies. I've had companies that I've worked with that are using Salesforce for 10 people or more, that's not a big company, but it's more than an entrepreneur. 

 

Maryanne (guest):

Then for smaller businesses, you want to ask yourself, "What pain points do you have that you're hoping your CRM is going to solve? What's your budget for a CRM? What do you need it to integrate with? How many users do you have? And what are your deal breakers." If it doesn't connect with X, Y, or Zed, I can't use it. Figure those out, because it's really going to narrow it down. And there are a lot of CRMs out there. There's lots to choose from. It's important to figure out your must-haves and other points like that, like budget, beforehand, and what you needed to do, it's really going to narrow down the list.

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah, I like this list, and it makes it really clear what is appropriate. You will have to do, I would assume you'll have to do a lot of research for that. And also, the other piece of it is to how much data entry do you have to do because I know that there's other options out there, and I use that myself, and which was really annoying at the beginning, because when I was using the CRM, you have to do a lot of data entry, unfortunately. But I found one that actually uses AI, artificial intelligence, to actually populate that for me already. So that was a really good thing for me, because my major pain point was, I do not want to be doing all this data entry again. I can do some of it, but not all of it. So that's something that might be a good option to looking at if there's an AI component that you can use as well. But what are some of the main ones that you've seen businesses, like businesses between a million and ten and revenue use that really is beneficial for them that still give them the benefits, but they're not like really, really complex to use? What are some of those CRMs that you've seen them use?

 

Maryanne (guest):  

Well, Salesforce is good. I think it's very customizable. It's very robust. But I think a lot of people get wrapped up in that and they get overwhelmed by all the things it can do. But you don't have to do all those things. You just need to figure out what you need it to do. And figure those aspects out. And there's so much help information out there. There's a whole gamified learning platform that they have to figure it out. So you don't need to fiddle with everything. You just need to figure out the pieces that you need. And it could work really well I think. 

Maryanne (guest):

Then HubSpot is another one that that offers a lot of value. And I've seen a lot of companies of that size use. 

Maryanne (guest):

Another thing that people tend to do is integrate programs with other programs. So I've seen a lot of lately, Salesforce plus Salesloft, or Salesloft plus Hubspot, or HubSpot plus Salesforce. Those three have been knocking around with each other in many of my clients so far. And it just gives you more power, more ability to do things. SalesLoft and HubSpot have more email marketing capabilities and more automation in that in that realm of email marketing and cadences and things like that. So that's where that can come in and be valuable. But then all of the data could go seamlessly into your Salesforce where it can be reported on and housed.

 

Kathy (host):  

What would you say is the major difference between HubSpot and Salesforce? What's the major difference? Why would someone choose HubSpot over Salesforce or the other way around?

Maryanne (guest):  

I think the major difference is well, HubSpot does email marketing, and Salesforce isn't that's not one of its strengths unless you get marketing cloud which is an add-on. But you don't need the add-on for HubSpot. So you can use HubSpot for email marketing and newsletters and email blasts. And then when somebody responds to one of those things, your data moves into your Salesforce, and your salespeople can connect with them one-to-one in Salesforce. 

Maryanne (guest):

And I think Salesforce has a better grip as a better spot to do that one-to-one emailing capture the information on them. There's lots of places to keep so much information on that prospect and lots of plugins you know there's a LinkedIn there's a Sales Navigator plugin for Salesforce so you can see it right there on your screen, in time their LinkedIn information and you can do your back to back your emailing back to back in Salesforce. That's how I've seen those two be used typically in the past.

Kathy (host):  

And you know if you're integrating this into your systems right now this can be really, really daunting, especially if you're trying to do this on your own. If you have an operations manager in there, in your business currently, because they'll have to, not only do they have to integrate, but they also have to learn a completely new system. What are some of the common mistakes that you see businesses making when they trying to go and do this on their own essentially?

 

Maryanne (guest):  

Yeah, I think that some of the time, they don't really need it. Like sometimes they might put a program in that they don't necessarily need. Maybe they get caught up in the flashiness of it, or the marketing of it, and they think, "Oh, I want that. Everybody's got that." But do they need it? 

 

Kathy (host):

Yeah.

 

Maryanne (guest):

I think not conducting, like an audit of your own existing programs before you add one is the mistake some people do. Not understanding the depth and the complexity of what your existing programs can handle, before adding another one. You know, so get a grip on what you've got. I suggest doing a yearly audit of your systems, your operational systems and, and ask yourself, "Is it working for me? Do I need it? Is it doing what I need? How much is it costing me? Is there something better out there that I could be using, and then decide if you really want to add it."

 

Maryanne (guest):

Another problem, I think, is just throwing a new system in your tech stack, and not ensuring that your SOPs and your like client journey is clear and set. You have all your assets that are clear and set, like what emails each person is getting sent, at which time? Do you have questionnaires that you send people? Are those setup? And do they look good? And is everything branded and ready? Before throwing in a system, and just expecting it to work? You need all the backup stuff ready? 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah, there's a lot of work there. And it's not just putting the tech in front of someone and having it magically do its thing. There's a lot of background stuff that has to happen in the past. Let's say that someone doesn't know yet, how does that look like? Are they trying to do the processes together for the branding and there are questionnaires that kind of have an idea, would it be more beneficial to actually put everything down on paper and figure it out how things flows before buying a CRM and then comparing that to what the benefited? And which one would be more appropriate? How would that look like?

 

Maryanne (guest):  

Yes, I would definitely suggest that. One of the things that we do with our clients that people can do on their own, is to map out your client's journey, map out what happens at which point what they're sent at each point, whether it's your client's journey, or your project journey, or whatever SOP your journey you have, map it out, and then look at it as it's written out and think like, "Okay, which of these pieces do I want automated which of these pieces? Oh, I wish it when I did this, that this would happen, and then this would happen, and then that would trigger." And then you kind of get an idea of like how complex you need your workflows and your automations to be, and what you need your CRM to be able to handle. If you've written it down, and you're like, "Oh, I send my clients a lot of forms." Well, then you better make sure you have a CRM that can handle a lot of forms, customize them and receive them, and all that. So not having done that before putting in a CRM and just picking one is a mistake that I've seen people make and then they have to switch to CRMs. And that's a big headache. So definitely write it out ahead of time.

Kathy (host):  

And I also see this beneficial too, because you could start auditing your own business processes, and even if you currently have a CRM, and something's not working, right, it might be that it's just a case of you have outgrown the thing that you're using now. And you need to go into the next step. Right?

 

Maryanne (guest):  

For sure. Yeah, scalability is a big thing. Yount to look at, when you're setting one up, you know, do I think my business is going to scale in the next year? Do I think I'm going to need more capabilities and more robustness? Then maybe just go right to the one that is going to scale with you rather than being limited by a smaller one.

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah, that's really good advice. It's not just looking at what's happening in your business right now. But how is it going to look like six months from now, a year from now, maybe a couple of years down the road so that you have something that's going to actually be going to be growing with you? And then like you said, if you don't need those types of functionalities on functions, you can just not use them. Simply just don't use them. Just ignore them, right?

 

Maryanne (guest):  

Yeah, they're there. Don't get bogged down by it. Don't worry about it. Use the ones you need.

Kathy (host):  

Yeah. Even if you do have like the best CRM, you've put everything together, you have everything mapped, right, and you've implemented it. Now you have to have your people use it, right? And anytime there's something new, that can be a bit of friction of how do you actually have your employees use that in a way that you intended to and get used to it. I think there's usually a period what I've seen businesses that start to implement this, that they have a little bit of friction for the beginning couple of months because people are trying to learn this new thing and incorporate it in their own work process, the workflow, there might be a little bit of pushback of they don't want to learn it. They're not really sure how to do that. How do you prepare your people for this change? Because sometimes it can be a big change, especially if you have not used a CRM before or maybe now you're using more data. And they have to put more data into the system like how do you manage that transition?

Maryanne (guest):  

That's a good question. Change management is definitely an aspect that you don't want to overlook, especially if you have a big team or a team that's been there for a while, and they're used to certain ways. Pre-planning this gives it lots of lead time before you make the switch. Plan out how you're going to change over. Plan out every aspect. Create a timeline ahead of time, a very clear and transparent timeline where everybody knows the go-live date, everybody knows the training period. Everybody knows the testing period, or what have you, and creates lots of user documentation for people. Be ready with resources that you can send to them. Or they can go and learn on their own if they want to have office hours, perhaps where people can come to you with problems and questions about their CRM and how they're doing and just be really open and ready for questions. Having like a central place where people can maybe not emails all the time but like a chat. If you have like a Slack channel for your work or WhatsApp channel, or other ways that people chat like that, where they can ask their questions, and everybody can see the question and benefit from each other. And then another one that I've heard is having an ambassador like within your company, that's not you, but it's kind of one of them that you think might be more adept at learning it. Have that person learn it first. And so people can go to them as well. And they can help train others. And in the process, they learn it more as well.

Kathy (host):  

Yeah, these are really good tips. And would you think that it's probably beneficial to have them learn in a, like, let's say, in a classroom environment? And I'd say that in a classroom with quotes, right? Because you would be in a meeting room, and someone goes and models how this would look like and the workflow that they currently have? What are some of the things that they have to select? How does that look like and have that like a really intensive session, at first.  Start with that, and then you have that ongoing support. Because a lot of times, what would people I think it confuses that? They just don't know where to go, what to do, how does that look like and then to just stop using it. And the problem with this is now you have spent a lot of money for implementation, especially if you had outside help as well. And you obviously got a benefit from it, but only if you use it. But if you don't manage this well, this transition, it just becomes like a new shiny object in your tech stack, and you're just not going to use it. So how would you like to structure this learning so that it's the most beneficial for the people? What have you seen that works really well like step by step like say, first week, second week, third week? How does that look like?

 

Maryanne (guest):  

I would say before that, remember that everybody learns differently. So create a visual way that they could learn, create a tactical way that they could learn, you know, having different methods. Make videos of you demoing it, and write it out. There's documentation, have one-to-one meetings available, where they can meet with just you have meetings available, where they can meet with you and a group because everybody learns so differently. And so you want to make sure that you capture all the different ways that people learn. 

Maryanne (guest):  

And then in terms of the pattern, or how best to structure it, definitely like preparing them ahead of time with what's going to happen. Perhaps sending the documentation, you've written a step by step, this is how you enter a lead. This is how you nurture a lead, this is how you convert a lead. Think of all the things that they need to know how to do. And then make sure you've written that out in some documentation where everybody can have access to it, whether that's Google Drive, or OneDrive, or whatever. Write it out, and include videos in there. You can include links to videos of you doing the demo in the documentation itself. It's quite a robust documentation for them. 

 

Maryanne (guest):  

And then send that out ahead of time so that they all have it. They have access to it, they can go into it, if they want, if they're keen, and maybe figure out some questions that they already are going to have. And then have a group meeting where perhaps somebody goes over a demo and you have a screen share. 

 

Maryanne (guest):  

And then you have question time afterward and then go to the one to ones probably where they can ask you more in-depth questions like now they've tried it a bit. They've come up with questions and roadblocks. They can come to you and you could talk it out. All the while perhaps having this chat going, where people can help each other out. And then accountability is a part of it, too. So after you've done all that you've given them time for change management. How are you going to keep them accountable? How are you going to check that they are actually doing these things? And let them know you know what you're going to be checking and how you're going to be checking.

 

Kathy (host):  

I love the accountability part because it's really important to, now that you've produced all this documentation you've trained them well. What have you seen from the accountability perspective, what works really well from the businesses that you work with?

 

Maryanne (guest):  

It comes back to having a great CRM that can have great reports. Because you can easily pull a report and see, read it by the user and see who's been filling in the fields that you've set or unnecessary, who's been, taking the steps that you've identified as necessary, you can probably report on it and see who's been doing what. You might want to not want to call out that person in a group setting or anything, but, but you could pull them aside and say, "Hey, like I've noticed, we have these reports, like you can see them to let everybody know that your that's how you're seeing it." I would say, Yeah, I use the power of your reporting, and you built in analytics in your CRM, to help you get oversight there.

Kathy (host):  

With these type of topics, I'm always interested, like the real stories from the battlefield, right? Have you seen a CRM that the client was trying to implement on their own? And it just went like horribly wrong? And you went in and you fix it for them? How did that look like? And why was it so bad for them when they were trying to do it on their own?

 

Maryanne (guest):  

Okay, I'm not gonna names.

Kathy (host):

No, don't name names. 

 

Maryanne (guest):  

Definitely have an example. I had a client once. They had Salesforce for many years, like 14,15 years. And over the course of that time, they had not really had anybody in house, who was responsible for it and supposed to be on top of things. Or maybe they had, but it wasn't a qualified person or something. But they had too many cooks in the kitchen. And as I've said, Salesforce is very customizable. But if you take advantage of that, and you take it in this direction, and then that person leaves the company, and then somebody else comes in, and they take it in that direction. And then it repeats itself and repeats itself. All of a sudden, your Salesforce is like a mucky pool, and data is dirty and all over the place, and you can't trust it. You're telling your salespeople to do one thing, but your data is showing, like another thing. So they're like, "Well, why am I doing this, because nobody else is ever doing this." And it's messy. 

 

Maryanne (guest):  

We'll come into one of those situations, and it's a lot of cleanups. It's a lot of money that they have to spend to get it cleaned up a lot of time, and a lot of confusion. Yeah, avoiding that is having few people as possible be in charge of your Salesforce. And to hope that that person is long in jeopardy and after consistent enough to stay on top of it. 

 

Maryanne (guest):  

But even if they're not having it written out, like write out what your Salesforce programs are supposed to be doing for your company, or your CRM program is supposed to be doing for your company. Have it in a separate SOP. So if that person leaves, it's all written out. Like we don't need to rewrite the bug here. Because it's right here. 

 

Maryanne (guest): 

And if you change something, make sure you clean it up, clean up the old process before you move into the new one. Don't just leave it sitting there. And people are like, what's this from? Yes, those are some things to keep in mind for sure. It comes down to like backing it up and like writing it out, leaving it in like one single source of truth somewhere for people to have access to.

Kathy (host):  

Thank you for that. And I really liked that idea of actually writing it out. Because I think the problem with that is you get into the weeds of doing the how and the what versus what is that program really there to serve you, right? What are these high-level things that you're supposed to get out of it? 

 

Kathy (host):

Like originally, like when we started this conversation, one of the things that I look for when I go into the business with the finances is making sure that we have the pipeline very clearly laid out the minimum, the maximum of the deals the confidence levels because that is very important when you're doing the financial projections. 

 

Kathy (host):

The other piece is to maybe it's important to you if you're like a one-on-one person that gets very personalized service that you want to keep track of like customers preferences. I mean, all of these things are, are really important to keep track of. Have to take a step back and say, What am I really trying to get with this program? How does it really fit into my business? And I really love that like looking at it from a high-level view versus going into the weeds and the details when you know, people are moving the forms and the fields around, which is I mean, it's a part of it. But it all comes from top level going down to how now we're going to track this right. 

 

Kathy (host):

Maryanne, this has absolutely been delightful. I love all the stuff that you share with us, especially the tales from the battlefield, which is really important for people to learn what can go wrong. And how do you actually avoid that because you don't want to repeat that in your business? If something like that happens in your business, make sure that you find someone that can really help you because once you have the model data, it's really hard to get out of it. Maryanne, if someone is trying to not just implement a CRM in their business because they have a CRM right now. If they are figuring out I have outgrown it, I really need something better. What is the next step that they can do in the next week to figure out like, what should I really do here? Like what is the one actionable thing that I can take into the business and work on it this week?

Maryanne (guest):  

If you have a CRM already and you think you might have, there might be something out there that might be better for you really getting specific about what you think could be better about the CRM that you have. Make it pros and cons list of it. Perhaps that's an easy, actionable thing. What do you love about it? How is it serving you? And then how can it be serving you better? What would work better and laying those out in front of you? And you can see then, "Okay, so these are the pieces that I might want to change or improve upon with my next system?" And then that gives you the basics of what I talked about earlier of what do you need it to do? What pain points? Do you need it to solve for you? You've already got a list. 

 

Kathy (host):  

Awesome. Where can people find you, Maryanne?

Maryanne (guest):  

Yeah, they can find me on Facebook and Instagram. On Instagram, I'm @maryannerenzetti. And Facebook, I am the same.

 

Kathy (host):  

All right, Maryanne. Thank you so much for coming. And I'm absolutely excited that you were able to share all this CRM knowledge with us. Thank you so much. 

 

Maryanne (guest):

Thank you.

 

Kathy (host):  

Thanks so much for joining us. And I hope that today's episode will help you find the right CRM solution, the one that fits best for your business needs. And as I've said in the introduction, it is so, so, so important that you have that in place in your business, and then you find something that really really works for you. 

 

Kathy (host):

So next week, our guest is going to be Tomika Snodgrass, she gave us a very timely reminder that we need to nurture our relationship with ourselves. When we grow in the business. It's going to be fun, and it's going to be an uplifting episode. I do hope that you tune in. 

Kathy (host):

Also, if you love this episode, you can find all the timestamps show notes, blog posts, and links on my website, newcastlefinance.us/podcast. And before I go, I do have a favor to ask. If you're listening to this on Apple podcasts, can you please go to the show and tap the number of stars that you think the show deserves? Because it helps it all the rhythm and helps other people find it as well and meaning when they find it, they can actually benefit from it too. Thanks so much. Until next time!