I am a firm believer and a big advocate that you should have and maintain a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and cannot understand why any organization would run their business without one. You often hear the negatives about CRM, that the management or sales team doesn’t buy in and if they don’t drink the ‘cool aid’ then the system fails.

Yesterday was my “aha” moment when I realized that even the greatest advocate “me” can also have a CRM that is not working for them to the best effect!

It has bothered me for quite a while that internally we have not been tracking our sales funnel using our CRM. I won’t bore you with all the details of the manual process that we have been using, as business process automation specialists we should certainly know better, but as so often is the case, as the old “English” expression goes  “a Cobblers kids never have shoes!” My other excuse has always been that I am not technical so it isn’t my role to set this up.

One of our business partners had offered to go through and teach me how to create opportunities in our system, which I was frightened to tackle as I didn’t know where to start.

What was so great about this session from my perspective is that it wasn’t about the technology, sure there was a tool to use, but it was more about defining each step in the process and once defined putting the information into the tool.

The funny thing is that of course when we talk to partners about how to approach their clients about business process management solutions, we regularly tell them that the hardest part is defining the process – the tool that we have will just do the job. Yet I as an experienced vendor of such an application had not implemented the same methodology into my own internal system.

I also realized that as a non technical user that we are really the drivers for using systems we know in our heads what we are trying to achieve and it takes a great consultant to have a conversation with you to dig into your mind and to teach you how to best use your internal tools be they CRM, ERP or Business Process Management.

So I would like to thank Charlie Kemmerer of CRMPlus Consulting not just for his time and patience, but for his great insights. Not only did I learn how to use my CRM, I learned real time how to define my process and I gained some confidence in how to use my tools. Plus I learned what it is like to be a Customer who doesn’t know what they don’t know about their application, but does know in their mind all the answers to the process that they need, to make their solution work for them.

I now have a lot more work to do to finish the job I started but at least I have the insight on where to start.