Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Pt 2: Questions to Ask When Looking for a Good CRM

I was introduced to the online system, Pareto Platform (www.paretoplatform.com) by an advisor in Stockton, California. Having had a chance to actually try this system, I can honestly say I liked it and the premise behind it. Pareto's founders had in mind the goal of "restoring liberation and order" to their clients' personal lives. Ideal for the small practice, Pareto is fairly intuitive, easy to explain to others, and offers many extras, including training and motivational essays and videos. Below are two articles from Pareto discussing their unique approach to client relationship management. -I think these articles have a lot of useful information. Also, if anyone else has used or tried Pareto- please email me with your comments (advisorresource@aggies.com)- TD

Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Buying a CRM

1. Will I have 24/7 access 365 days a year?

We are in an on-demand world, and ready access is essential. Furthermore, small enterprise business owners should not need to be present at their places of business in order for the company to be productive. Software that is parked on your computer requires constant updates, needs to be synchronized with wireless devices and enterprise servers, and, even more worrisome, a software-based CRM is susceptible to crashing and corruption.

A web-based online solution, on the other hand, is fast, secure and can be used anywhere that you can access the internet. Whether you are on vacation, at home, traveling to conferences or at a client’s office, with an internet connection you can quickly and easily tap into a real-time web-based solution. Contrary to the old cliché, time is not money! Your time is more valuable. You can earn back money you spend, but you cannot get back your time. With an on-demand CRM, you don’t need to work harder to be more productive.

2. Will I achieve Rapid Deployment?

Whenever you launch a new business solution, you want to see results quickly. Complex tools that require sophisticated customizations delay gratification and reduce the likelihood that you will make full use of them. Furthermore, you will probably get frustrated if the solution is not intuitive and sequential.

In selecting a CRM, your goal is to choose a system that makes it easy for you and your team to create and follow a professional code-of-conduct based on habitual activities.

A solution that is trying to be all things to all people is not a good fit for an entrepreneur. A solution that is designed to meet the needs of an entrepreneur and his or her team without extensive customization, on the other hand, will put you on the fast-track to measurable results.

3. Do I need to be tech expert?

Many CRMs today assume that users are tech savvy, or that they will hire a consultant to configure the solution in a way that is functional to the user.

Being distracted from your core competencies or being at the mercy of external consultants is not the best use of your time. You want to choose a CRM that is intuitive and easy to use from the start.

4. Will I be able to oversee my team’s activities?

Many entrepreneurs mistake movement for achievement, and they often tend to be reactionary; they react to problems instead of planning for eventualities.

And too many entrepreneurs leave their team members to their own devices to put out fires. To build consistency and accountability into your business, you must be able to see the scheduled and completed actions of all your team members at any time, from any location.

5. Will I be able to quantifiably drive revenue with this tool?

A CRM tool must have functionality that goes beyond contact management so that you can see quantifiable results. A CRM must help you deliver a degree of service that builds trust in your relationships.

This will allow you to drive revenue by steadily converting customers into clients, and clients into advocates. A customer occasionally buys something from you, a client buys into a long-term relationship with you and an advocate introduces a high quality and quantity of referrals to you. Clients and advocates bring in predictable revenue.... (for the other five go to:


1 comment:

I'm Not Larry said...


I couldn't agree more that in order to stay on top in financial services, you need to use some sort of technology so that you have access to meaningful data from which you can do analysis and, hopefully, improve your business...

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, used data and data analysis (aka, Six Sigma) so that he could push his employees to continuously improve and that improvement made GE one of the most successful companies in America.

However, my experience with most people in financial services is that they lack the desire to use technology to the fullest... Sad, but true...

As the folks at ParetoSystems say, "80% of an entrepreneur’s revenues are generated by about 20% of their clients", but if you don't have the data to figure out where you are achieving success (and, more importantly, where you are not), you will never be able to continuously improve...

I wonder if there are any statistics on how many independent reps use technology, to what extent, and to what outcome...

As for my office, I'm almost 100% paperless... I have a central database that stores everything about my clients (including all of my client interaction) so that I can use other technology to make client service/new business a snap...

I can't remember the last time I filled out a new business app by hand (typing or writing)... I simply select the thing I want to do, press a button, and the technology takes over... Once docs are signed, they are scanned into the database so that I can access everything about my client from anywhere in the world (that has internet access)...

One last comment... Anyone that is 100% reliant on a web based application for their CRM is just asking for trouble... You need to have a way to continue to be highly productive even if you don't have access to the Internet... Using me as an example... I use daily data backups to a variety of sources (including backing up to a laptop that I take home with me) to make sure that I still have access to client info even if the Internet is down... Food for thought...