Jerry Gitchel

Jerry Gitchel

Sunday, 10 November 2019 14:01

How to Choose Your Next CRM

All too often, Contact Relationship Management (CRM) platforms are chosen because someone said "It's the Best". What you really need is a platform that gives you the best fit. If the only thing you dread more than using your current CRM is evaluating a replacement, here are 5 simple steps to success.

1. Assess Your Needs

Every vendor believes their CRM is the best. It's your job to learn if it's the best fit. Make a list of your needs. Start by listing the functions you must-have to be successful, the "showstoppers". Expand your list to include good to have, including functions you can grow into. Finish with the nice to have items. Stop before you throw in the kitchen sink. Including features, you don't need and won't use increases both the cost and user confusion. Use this list to pick a likely CRM platform candidate(s). 

2. Plan Your Platform Evaluation

 All CRM Platforms offer a timed demo you can use to "try-before-you-buy". Typically 14-days in duration, it would seem to give you plenty of time. Unless you wait until day 13. Before you launch your trial account, create an evaluation plan of attack. Use the list of needs from step 1. Allow those who will use the platform to take it for a spin. Include those who will pay for it and those who will play with it. If the platform you're considering has a customer portal, include them on your eval team. If at any point the platform fails a show-stopper task. Stop the show!. Create a written record of all your results and impressions. 

3. Connect all the Dots

Modern CRM platforms connect with external platforms to extend their functionality. Evaluate their performance by connecting all the dots. The second element of connection is a confirmation of a platform's device independence. Which devices need to be supported? Most CRM platforms employ different desktop and mobile applications. Confirm the list of available features works in both versions. 

4.   Manage Your Data Migration

Users are justifiably terrified their valuable contact information will be lost. Accept proof, not just vendor assurances concerning data security and integrity by performing s scaled-down export/import test between the current and proposed systems. 

5. Train for Success

Getting your users trained and up to speed with the new system is called on-boarding. Pay close attention to the impressions and feedback from your users during your evaluation. Studies have shown that CRM onboarding fails 70% on the first try. It doesn't get much better on the 2nd or 3rd try. Modern CRM platforms are designed (the User Interface or UI) to be easy to use. Go beyond the sales literature to get a clear indication of how the User Experience (UE) differs from your current CRM. Expect productivity to suffer in the short term. Keep in mind that training doesn't stop at the end of onboarding. Budget for ongoing training as well as new hires. Evaluate the available resources from the vendor, including customer support, knowledgebase, and something we are just now learning about, called "training playlists", a collection of resources that connect the dots beyond simple 'How-Tos".  

The best fit CRM platform is one that fits your team and your clients.   

Use the link below to follow me as I evaluate Thryv, a robust CRM platform for service businesses. 

https://www.facebook.com/LeverageUnlimitedInc/ . or use the hashtag #Thryv14DayTrial

 

Tuesday, 22 October 2019 06:50

What's Next?

In a recent Facebook post,  Tracey Simmons Phillips of Promotional Presence shared 5 Important Steps to Ensure Revenue Growth This Fall. She starts with my favorite, a recommendation to invest in a CRM. "If you don't have one, the most valuable first step you can take right now is to set up a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system for your small business." It should be the very first item on your wish list this holiday season. After that, my favorites are #2 and #4. 

#2 Meet With Your Best Partners. Tracey suggests Fall is the perfect time to meet with business associates who can refer you to your "best fit" prospects. Scan your contacts to identify candidates for a chat, either in person or by phone. Share with them what's new with your business, or refresh their impression of what you do best. This is also an excellent opportunity to learn what they are up to and who you can send their way.

#4Develop a new offering. What I am most excited about is hearing about an associates latest innovation. Tracey recommends using the change in the weather to develop a new offering, "Especially with upcoming holiday promotions, look at how you can bundle them together to best fit your customer's needs."

I agree with Tracey, Fall is your best opportunity for creating a strong finish to 2019. I believe it's the perfect time to prepare your 2020 vision. Many business professionals take their foot off the gas at this time of year, choosing to wait until it's time to return Christmas gifts before thinking about a prosperous New Year. Now is the best time to plan for a successful new year. Tracey's #1 tip is a perfect way to start on "What's Next". 

 

Tuesday, 08 October 2019 07:55

Get On Board the CRM Train

 According to a study by C5 Insight over 30% of CRM onboarding projects fail. In their report, CPR for CRM: The Elusive Path to Profitable Customer Relationship Management, the researchers were surprised to learn that 2nd and 3rd-time implementations fail at nearly the same rate. What's most remarkable is that this statistic has not changed in the 5-years since this report was published. What I find astounding, is that organizations continue to pay subscription fees for software platforms that don't work and cripple their team's productivity. It is a real train wreck. If you are responsible for the sales performance of your organization, there is a solution, onboarding.

CRM Onboarding

Onboarding is nothing more than getting started on the right foot with your new Contact Relationship Management (CRM) platform. While the process works best when launching a new platform, here at Leverage Unlimited our experience indicates an onboarding project can be effective no matter how long your platform has been in operation. According to the C5 Insight report, "Many businesses fall into the trap of believing the marketing hype about CRM – that choosing the right technology alone will alleviate the risk of failure." If you are a business professional who wants a CRM platform that works, here are some ideas you can use to create immediate success.

Tools, Techniques, Talents

If Onboarding is the vehicle, then tools, techniques, and talents are the path to success. Organizations often get tired or run out of money once they have acquired a CRM platform (Tools). You have to keep going. Techniques are the written procedures and the path of engagement organizations use to move the sales process forward. Here are some ideas you can use to get on board the CRM success train.

Tool Configuration - Modern CRM platforms use the leverage of the cloud to connect the digital dots between systems. Start by completing your CRM platform configuration process. Focus on connecting your CRM with your existing calendar and communications accounts.

Sales Technique - Put down on paper the process your team uses to generate new sales. Use the list to identify which of the top features of your CRM are most critical to your immediate success. Prioritize and pursue a process to bring on board only the top three features you find most valuable. If you prospect by email, focus on connecting email accounts and creating email templates your team can put to use immediately. In most CRM Platforms "feature abundance" is the enemy. Avoid the temptation to put all the features of your platform into play at once.

Develop Talent -  Accept that during the onboarding process, productivity will suffer. Deal with it. Most importantly, help your team deal with it. Once you have the right tools in place and you have a process and an onboarding plan, use it to develop the skills of your team. Allow them to focus on learning how the functions that make them successful. They won't let you down, I promise.

Celebrate Success

Change requires sacrifice, sometimes even failure. Increasing the velocity of your onboarding effort starts with creating momentum. Celebrating success however small pulls your team forward. It eliminates the need to get out and push the train down the track.      

 

We do CRM

Here at Leverage Unlimited, we have the experience and expertise to make your CRM onboarding a success. Call Jerry at 904-566-8325 to tell us how we can be of service. 

 

Sunday, 29 September 2019 12:23

Do You Have a Clipboard Mindset?

In his article, 7 Traits of A Leader Worth Following, author Michael Thompson shares classic wisdom he learned from 50-years of leadership notes from his father. My favorite is #4, Ruthlessly seek out blindspots. The use of clipboards in an otherwise digital organization is for me, a clear indicator of a leadership blindspot. I redefined my clipboard metric this week as an organization that uses clipboards to hold spreadsheets. If you find the definition bothersome, or too close for comfort, here's are some reasons why it's time to replace your spreadsheets with better tools.

It the past week I've had conversations with successful business owners who still rely on spreadsheets to run their business. The reasons given include the comfort a familiar tool and the level of trust in seeing raw data. The challenges they represent outweigh their value to the organization. The problems start with the need for manual input. Once you've input all the data, you have to manually review and make sense of it all. Plenty of data, little if any insight. There is a better way and it leads to an increase in profits.

Change Your Mindset, Transform Your Business

 Better tools lead to better outcomes for your organization. Not just any tool, but the right tool. Start by defining the task. Investing time in defining what needs to be done pays dividends by eliminating the need to review the abundance of available digital tools. A refined list of requirements produces a shorter list of candidates. Here are some opportunities for spreadsheet replacement therapy.

Password Vault - A spreadsheet is better than post-it notes framing your screen, but they are not the best tool in your toolbox. Search for Password Vaults for articles and vendors. Their features and security will amaze you.

CRM - Even the simplest of Contact Relationship Management platforms combine the functions of contacts, calendars, and communications. The velocity of digital business places demands on your operation a spreadsheet can't possibly deliver.

Checkin Sheets - Especially if they are printed and clipped to a clipboard. Switching to a CRM displayed on a tablet eliminates retyping, improves accuracy and makes the information available immediately.

Dashboards - Spreadsheets taped to a whiteboard look impressive. They are simply not effective. Consider replacing this obsolete system with a digital dashboard.  

Your Bottom Line

When I work with clients, we start by printing all of their spreadsheets. We work together to find opportunities to eliminate manual effort, data paralysis, and provide business intelligence to increase the velocity of business operations, revenue, and profits.  What effect would it have on your business if you used better tools? 

If you have questions and are open to a conversation about better tools, call Jerry at 904-566-8325. 

Tuesday, 24 September 2019 06:54

Nimble 5.0 Special Training

Are you ready for Nimble 5.0? The migration to the redesigned contact record is complete. There will be no going back. Sadly, each time there is a change or upgrade to our digital tools, the first casualty is always productivity. 

My loyal Nimble users have requested this special training to get back to work as quickly as possible.  I am hosting a live video training session to get you up and running with the new layout. It is a great opportunity to learn all the new features which make this release Nimble's best ever.

Session Agenda

What you will learn:

  • What's changed and how to adapt your current work process to leverage Nimble's new layout. We will start with how to find the new location of all your favorite functions.
  • What's new and improved. We will explore call scheduling and the fastest way to schedule and track activities. We will create custom event types, and work with the new floating windows.

This training will be presented as a "Day in the life of a sales professional." We will explore the quickest way to add new contacts and schedule multiple activities to engage with them. We will conduct online research and capture valuable information we can use to build rapport and trust. In addition, you will learn advanced prospecting techniques to connect with those you serve best and reconnect with your former happy clients.  

Meet Your Instructor

For more than 3 decades Jerry Gitchel has worked with individuals and large sales teams on all the major CRM platforms including ACT, GoldMine, Salesforce, SugarCRM and Nimble (6-years). He has worked with Nimble's support staff during the development of version 5.0. 

"I've read the manual so you don't have to!"
 - Jerry Gitchel 

Nimble 5.0 Onboarding

Monday, October 7, 2019
6:00 pm Eastern

1-hour Live Video Course

Registered attendees will receive a link to the on-demand recording.

Use the Pay Now button to register securely via PayPal.  

 ps Your time is valuable. You deserve to invest in yourself!

 

Monday, 23 September 2019 16:34

The Curse of Tool Abundance

You probably don't need a research report from a world-leading user experience group like Nielsen Norman Group to know you have too many digital tools in your life. What I found most valuable about their report, Tool Abundance in the Digital Workplace: Trendy or Troublesome? was their list of the top 10 resolutions to the challenge of too many digital tools.  

The Challenge of Digital Tool Abundance

They discovered the number one challenge was the time it took to find the right tool, "A surplus of tools placed a cognitive burden on employees, as it takes time for people to stop and think about where to find each tool." The loss of productivity continued even after they found the right tool as they struggled to locate the correct login, then the need to navigate to the function needed.

The second item on their list was apps that don't play well with others. Most modern software lives in the cloud. Known as "Software as a Service" or SaaS. Their greatest asset is the ability to talk with and share data between different platforms in the cloud. The challenge with older, standalone software is the need to reformat or even retype content to move it across the organization and make it available to those who need access. 

Rounding out the top three was the challenge of users becoming so overwhelmed by new tools that it "drives users back to less efficient, analog methods of managing their work", leaving organizations with the burden of paying for tools no one uses. In my experience with clients, the lack of a formal onboarding process when new tools are introduced kills innovation and modernization before it can gain traction.  

Resolving the Tool Abundance Dilemma

The solutions contained in the Nielsen Norman Group report focus on making better decisions prior to purchasing digital tools. When I work with clients, we start by defining tasks over tools. The more complex the task, the greater the need for acquiring tools with the best mix of features that help users accomplish the greatest number of tasks. 

Best practices from the report include conducting vendor-independent research with your team. Management should define and agree on Key Performance Indicators, (KPIs) for prospective digital tools. My experience with clients who embark on a digital transformation project indicates success comes from budgeting and investing in training users to leverage the organization's software investment. 

Finally, eliminating redundant tools has an immediate, positive impact on the bottom line. 

My Gift For You

Eliminating redundant tools can save your organization thousands of dollars. I use our proprietary Digital Tools Inventory tool

Special Invitation 

On Wednesday, September 25, 2019, I will share additional tips and strategies to build the perfect sales toolbox. If you are interested in the event listed below, contact me by calling 904-566-8325 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  

The Art of Digital Leverage

September 25, 2019
Athens Cafe 
6271 St. Augustine RD, #7
Jacksonville, FLorida 32217



Subscribe now

 

 

Monday, 23 September 2019 08:02

What I am Most Grateful for Today

Readers like you.

I am grateful for loyal readers like you who have been reading my posts for a number of years. Some for more than 10 years. Through the magic of web analytics, I get to see, learn from, and act upon how you interact with the Art of Digital Leverage. I can tell you which posts are popular, which resource gifts you consider most valuable, and which posts have become classics. Even with all of the data, the best I can do is tell you where we have been. It's a map of the past, not a compass pointing us toward the future.

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me. My hope is we will continue the journey. Can you help me with that? Is your technology working? Does it serve you, or the other way around? My technology coaching is based on your needs, (not the other way around).

Please tell me, which topics should I write about this Fall? I'm grateful to all my new subscribers. Thanks for checking out this blog. I hope you will find value here, enough to keep your attention for another 10-years. 

May your day be,
Just Another Day In Paradise | JADIP

Jerry  

 

Monday, 16 September 2019 23:08

The Need, the Need for Productivity

What effect would it have on our company if you could double your productivity? Not just today, but every day? Would you be able to reach more prospects, close more deals, take a vacation? It is easier than you think. Doubling productivity doesn’t require doubling your effort. All that is needed is to increase the value of the digital tools you already have. Most software platforms return about 10% efficiency. All that is required is to get an additional 10% to double productivity. Here are 3 tactics you can put to use today to boost productivity. 

Learn Something New

Invest 20-minutes in learning a new skill using a specific digital tool. Choose a skill that will give you a high rate of return on your investment. Watch a tutorial, read the step-by-step instructions, perform the process in a real-world setting. With practice, you will have increased your productivity as well as your value as a team member.    

Connect the Dots

Retyping information or performing a copy/paste operation is labor-intensive. Why is it that there is never enough time to do something right, but there always seems to be time to do it twice? Whenever you find yourself copying or retyping information between apps or platforms, research alternatives that automate the process of sharing information (often called integrations).

 I use Calendly, a client appointment scheduling platform. I also use Google Calendar. Calendly has a built-in feature to automatically sync meeting requests to my Google calendar. I only need to check one calendar,

20-Minute Monotasking

According to the New York Times business productivity guide, multitasking is “A Biological Impossibility”. You will see an immediate boost in productivity the moment you move tasks off your to-do list and schedule them on your calendar. Break tasks into 20-minute chunks to create focus.

Get Write to the Point

Many business professionals spend a major portion of their day typing text. We compose emails, write blog posts, and draft social media updates. What effect would it have on your productivity if you could cut that time and effort in half? Here are three ways to make it happen.

  • Auto-correct - word-processors and most mobile apps have predictive typing or auto-correct. Enter all the complicated or frequently misspelled words or phrases.
  • Email Templates - if eliminating the need to type a word increases productivity, imagine if you could eliminate the need to type an entire document? Templates solve two problems at once. They use regular text to create consistency, and they include field variables ( first-name) to create maximum flexibility. 
  • Voice Transcription - It is the perfect productivity hack for mobile business professionals. The most valuable key on your mobile devices keyboard is not a letter of the alphabet, it is the microphone key. Transcriptions reduce the need for spell check.  The text it produces improves communication and quadruples your productivity.

My Gift For You

Writers use a thesaurus to find the best words. My clients use their Personal Thesaurus to write with their best words. 

Personal Thesaurus
https://leverageunlimited.net/images/PersonalThesaurus.pdf

 

Tuesday, 10 September 2019 16:24

What's Your 2020 Vision?

What I am most excited about today.

Your vision.

Specifically, your 2020 vision. Not your eyesight, I'm talking about your vision for the coming year. Summer is over with many fond memories, but only in your rearview mirror. It's time to turn your gaze to the road ahead, and where you want to be as we ring in the new year. In the last 30 days, a number of my clients have shared new ideas for products and services they intend to roll out before we say goodbye to 2019. The ideas are all new. However, the audience is not. They intend to reconnect with their former clients.

What I find most interesting is these new offerings are not going to their entire roster, but only to those clients they serve best. As a group, they are larger, more successful, and most importantly, loyal. So my question for you this week is this. What effect would it have on your business if you had not one, but a handful of the very best clients you have ever worked with? What if you could share what is new, with only those clients who are tried and true?

The Art of The Reconnect

Have you ever thought about the one that got away? The client you worked with so well that you almost knew what they were thinking before they asked for your help? What effect would it have on your business, your revenue, and your bottom line if you worked with them again? And not just one, what if you had a half dozen of them? If you long to return to a time when your business was thriving, everything was working, everyone was smiling, here's how to execute the Art of the Reconnect.

Start with a blank sheet of copy paper. Write today's date in the top corner. Across the top, centered and in big bold lettering write, The Client I Serve Best. Write their name below the title and add all the reasons they were the best. Financial, relationship, collaboration, innovation, everything about them that made them your perfect client. Congratulations, you now have a template of your very best client. It's time to go and find some more.

Using your best client template as a checklist, search online for those who fit your profile. Depending on your industry and business model, you may find a handful or an entire community. Add the top candidates to your CRM (Contact Relationship Management) platform. Start by gathering who they are, and most importantly, what they need. All you need are three things. Who to contact, their contact information, a few questions to ask. 

The questions come from your research. In my experience, my clients already know the biggest challenges facing their clients. It's simply a question as to which challenge keeps your prospect awake at night. Gather your research, formulate your questions, and consider how you would go about solving their challenge. 

Make the Call

Don't even think of sending an email. And don't expect to connect live with your prospect. Compose three, thirty-second messages you can leave as voicemails. There are plenty of sales prospecting guides that outline the perfect message. For my clients, it was as simple as sharing those new ideas, insights and inspirations I told you about at the beginning. They started with a list of former clients, then connected with them to share what was new. All you need is three calls a day, everyday, for 30 days. Ninety contacts in one month. How hard can it be? 

"Inch by Inch, Life is a Cinch" - Jerry Gitchel

Tracking Prospects - Creating Your 2020 Vision

I use a CRM that allows me to identify the right prospects so I can send the right message at the right time. On Wednesday, September 25th, I'm conducting a Lunch-n-Learn called, The Art of Digital Leverage. Use the link below to learn more about how you can sharpen your 2020 vision. It's free, seating is limited. Reserve your seat now.

The Art of Digital Leverage
Wed. September 25th
11:30-1:30 pm

Athens Cafe
6271 St Augustine Rd #7
Jacksonville, Florida 32217

 

 

 

  

 

 

Tuesday, 03 September 2019 08:27

The Summer of CRM

Welcome back! I can't wait to hear about what you did on your Summer vacation. Mine will forever be known as the Summer of CRM (Contact Relationship Management).

Each summer I conduct research on how to use business technology to leverage your revenue and profits. I chose to focus on CRMs because of the success we are having with a professional speaker client, Richard Hadden. It seemed that every business professional I spoke with this summer had the same question on their mind, "How do I tap into the group of former clients without my message sounding like a pitch?" Everyone agreed they had buried treasure in their CRM, but they weren't sure how to find it or what to do with it when they did.

There is a classic strategy that resolves this dilemma, it's called the Art of the Reconnect. All you need is an email containing three pieces of information,

  1. Who you are.
  2. How you met.
  3. What you want your former client to do.

These are the answers to the questions your former client will ask when they open your email. Who is this person? How do I know them? What do they want? If you can jog their memory, and your "ask" is small, your chance of success is high. The ask is essential. It gives them an opportunity to take action.

If you are rested and ready to get back to work, here are simple steps to mine gold from your CRM.

  1. Create a segment within your CRM. My friend, Executive Coach Doug Wilder calls his, "FHC (Former Happy Clients).
  2. Scan your contacts and add each of your FHCs to the segment (your platform may use "tags").
  3. Create an email template containing the basics of your message.
  4. Use the template to craft a custom message for each contact.
  5. Send and repeat.

Be prepared for the responses. Some will be joyful, some will contain requests you can respond to immediately. Some contacts will not respond. Accept them all.

I hope your Summer was grand. What I am most excited about is the rest of the year ahead. 

 

A Gift for You

I've created a cheat sheet for the Art of the Reconnect. I hope you like it. If you do, I'd love to hear what you liked best. 

  

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