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Connecting Business are proud sponsors of Dorking Rugby Club

The team of volunteers are doing fantastic work educating, training and developing over 800 juniors as well as having a successful 1st team squad.  A truly family-friendly club that we are excited to be associated with.

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What to consider when deciding on a CRM platform?

That’s a great question but one we don’t hear as much as we would like! All too often, we’ve seen companies jump in and find that the project fails.

Below are just a few of the fundamental reasons why:

  1. Technology is selected based on the hype or recommendation of others. Looking at someone else’s ‘all singing and dancing’ system is great to get a sense of what can be achieved but all too often, customers aren’t always made aware of just what it takes in terms of effort and cost to get there.  This leads to a ‘we don’t have budget to get it there’ after it has been purchased.  We call this the ‘Hype and Dive’…
  2. ‘Cheap’ or ‘Free for Life’ offerings seem attractive. This inevitably leads to either technical limitation (it just cannot do the more complex automation or business process flows), or hidden ‘paid for version upgrades’ where companies get stung with unforeseen upgrade costs just to add standard CRM features such as reporting and analytics.  We call this ‘Cheap Vs Value’…
  3. Consideration isn’t given to all business units within the company which leads to a disconnected and inefficient platform. We call this ‘Silos = Hi’s and Lo’s’…
  4. Hiring the right people. Often we hear of companies that do not engage with a CRM expert to assist with the project and opt to let an internal ‘they know a bit’ resource handle the project.  Does he/she/they have the necessary knowledge and experience to implement an end-to-end solution?  We call this ‘Hire or High Wire’…
  5. Integrations aren’t taken in to consideration. Ensuring your CRM can connect with other 3rdparty platforms such as Marketing Automation and Finance systems is essential in tracking the entire ‘Interest-to-Cash’ process.  ‘Integrate to Profit Take’…
  6. Data migration challenges. Can you export the data from your existing systems in a format that can be imported into the new platform?  Due diligence should be done on data quality and field mappings. ‘Left Hand meet Right Hand’…
  7. Do you need to interact with prospects, clients, partners and suppliers? If so, you may need to consider a platform that can support that with a ‘Partner Portal’ or ‘Community’ area.  Simply put ‘Collaborative Economy Support’…
  8. Automation of manual tasks can be critical when implementing a new platform. All too often, users are asked time and time again to ‘do more’, ‘enter more details’ into the system.  If you want to promote high user adoption, it is worth considering automating tasks where possible.  Most importantly, it is favourable to establish this before selecting a platform, as not all CRM’s offer this capability.
  9. The Marketing department own the CRM project. This does not work.  It doesn’t work if any one department works in isolation.  Marketing are great at generating interest and brand awareness, but aren’t always the best people to be dictating Sales Methodology, Finance processes, Support ticketing systems, etc. and how these functions work together. The project and decisions should be made by collaborating with every department centrally to achieve the greatest ROI and benefit.  ‘Let’s Get Together’…
  10. How will you know what success looks like? It is crucial to establish what the end goal is i.e. to support revenue growth, to improve productivity and then map out how you will analyse where you are against your objectives.  ‘Strategic Vision Vs Restricted Vision’…

So before committing both your time and budgets to a CRM project, we encourage you to put in the groundwork first!  It will definitely ensure a higher chance of success and will provide a Central Intelligence System connecting all areas of your business, helping you to generate more revenue!

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The Quickest Way to Lose Customers – Treat them as Customers!

One thing that is baffling me with business models today, particularly in the technology space is… why would you spend 5x to 10x more marketing budget, sales efforts and compensation pay-outs on acquiring new customers, only to treat them worse once they become customers?

The probability of a sale from a brand new customer is only 5-20% whereas the probability of a sale from an existing customer is between 60-70%. In fact, 80% of your future profits will most likely come from 20% of your existing customers.

I tell you why, greed! Executives, shareholders and the board, demand high growth through net new business to boost the share price and increase their own personal wealth.

What then happens is so common…

Customers then see their ‘introductory offer’ removed, with prices doubling, tripling or more when they come to renew. But, the customers tend to stay where they are because of the path of least disruption. They simply can’t be bothered to change again, don’t have time to sort it out, or get lost in automated phone systems trying to cancel or get told ‘Sorry you are locked into a contract’.

The providers prey on this knowing they are likely to keep some and lose some through this process and seem ‘OK’ with losing customers not due to the level or service or quality of their product, but because the customer felt like they were treated second rate compared to new customers.

A current customer view could be… “As a buyer of your product or service, I have made a conscious decision to place my business and thus hard earned money, with your company and expect to be treated in a way that see’s your company respecting that fact. It’s not too much to ask… is it?”

Essentially, the only way to ‘win’ as a consumer/purchaser of said products or services, is to keep switching providers to get their introductory offers. Which is a total pain and an unnecessary process.

Notwithstanding the fact that I understand companies want to grow their businesses, increase share prices and launch new products, etc. My humble opinion is that the stock market should reflect stability in a company, should reward continuous moderate growth coupled with high customer retention rates, rather than over inflated, fast growth, yo-yo balance sheet, here today gone tomorrow companies.

If providers changed attitudes and made customer loyalty the highest priority, they would not only see customer retention rates stabilise, most likely increase, but new business acquisition would start to happen organically through customer referrals with customers sharing their great experience with their personal and business network, and thus you wouldn’t need to spend so much on new customer acquisition

Subsequent marketing cost savings could be passed on to your existing customers by not increasing their prices quite so much and so frequently!

It should be more difficult to become ‘part of the club’ for new customers, seeing existing ‘members’ get the most benefit!

Here at Connecting Business, we prefer to value our present and new customers alike, and in doing so, regularly receive comments such as:

“Thank you again for assisting us in EVERYTHING. Great support. World class!”
(Great Place To Work Norway)

Stats sources:

Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrymyler/2016/06/08/acquiring-new-customers-is-important-but-retaining-them-accelerates-profitable-growth/#662a09d96671

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-cost-customer-acquisition-vs-retention-ian-kingwill

 

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Do you generate Revenue or Profit?

How do you know if you are profitable if you are not tracking and measuring your success accurately?

Heating, lighting, staffing, rent, supplier costs, transport, refunds, time spent on fulfilling orders, meetings, calls, emails, all play a part eroding your profit!

Starting off a business in the right way will enable you to make decisions based on facts and pivot your business to where it has the most chance of success. Operating blind on a day-to-day basis just leaves yourself open to the probability that you won’t make much or any money out of what it is you thought was a great idea. The chances are, that it still may well be a great idea, but you didn’t give yourself the best possible chance to succeed.

I’m not saying you must have a CRM, I’m saying you MUST. GDPR laws state that you must have a system in place to securely store customer data, track who has opted in to receiving communications from you and could ‘forget’ a customer by removing them from your database. So at the very least, you need to be able to comply with those requirements.

So why not put something in place to fulfil those obligations? Its highly likely that this same tool can also be used to manage your business, automate processes, provide vital analytics and ultimately, boost sales, now you will have a powerful system to get you business. And it really doesn’t need to be the biggest, best, most expensive system, just one that fits your business.

If you have intentions of growing your business to a point where you are looking for investment or indeed to sell the company, then anyone who is looking to invest / buy will, from the very outset, be asking you for essential metrics to get a feel for the business.

 

  • What is your customer retention rate?
  • What is your average order value?
    • By Industry
    • By company size
    • By Lead Source
  • What is your MRR / ARR (monthly recurring revenue / annual recurring revenue)?
  • What is your average sales cycle?
  • What is the size of your Pipeline?
  • What is the size of your Forecast for the next 1, 2, 3 years?
  • Who are your most successful sales people?
    • Why?
    • What is it they are doing different?
    • How many activities per week / month are they doing?
  • Who are your least successful sales people?
    • Why?
    • What are they not doing?
  • What are your conversion rates from Lead to Opportunity and from Opportunity to Sale?
  • What is your profitability?
    • By deal size
    • By company size
    • By Product
    • By Sales person
    • Who is discounting the most?
  • The list is almost endless.

 

Revenue: £100
– Cost of Goods Sold: £50
= Gross Profit: £50
– Operating Expenses: £30
= Operating Profit: £20
– Taxes: £5
Net Profit: $15

 

So, if I were to ask you all of the above questions, today, right now, how many of you would be able to answer even half of those questions? How long would it take to gather that data? Would you be frantically rushing around asking your team, pulling spreadsheets together, asking your accountant? Even if you aren’t looking for investment or a sale, it’s just good practice to keep your finger on the pulse.

Sound familiar?

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Let’s Get Together and Make CRM Work

Who should be involved in Customer Relationship Management “CRM“. Sales? Marketing? Finance? Delivery? Support? Research? The best answer we find is….. ALL OF THEM!

It’s a common misconception that CRM is a technology in isolation and only designed for Sales. We completely disagree with this notion, however, would agree that it is commonly configured to only support the Sales process. We believe CRM can not only support all business units, but can enhance them through the centralisation and sharing of data and it is best used to advantage all.

When considering your CRM strategy, encompassing people, process and technology, it is strongly advisable to bring all parties to the table and work collaboratively on the ‘now’ and the ‘future’. Typically, we find inefficiencies happening across the individual business units and a lack of holistic insight that results in either dissatisfied or lost clients.

Fundamentally, customers are becoming more demanding in the way they are interacted with. The expectation is that we must have all their information to hand, purchases, emails, support tickets, etc. How often have you called a provider and heard ‘I’m sorry, I don’t see that on my system’, or ‘I don’t have access to that data’. It’s very frustrating!

From an internal perspective, Business Analytics is always a challenge. It’s a challenge because data is usually stored in multiple places such as Outlook, Excel or non-integrated 3rd party platforms. Management struggle to get the holistic view across the business allowing them to make strategic decisions.

Usually, this involves a ‘down the line’ report request i.e. From the top down, each manager requests the data they need from their direct reports in order to collate the information at the top. This results in productivity loss while they are pulled away from their daily role. It is highly likely that these issues can be addressed by bringing all business units together in one platform, or at the very least, connecting your platforms.
At Connecting Business, this is what we do, it’s at our core, it’s what we are passionate about. Bringing your business together, improving productivity, supporting revenue growth and profitability, ultimately, maximising ROI and CRM success!

Connect your Business with ours:
Twitter @connectingbness
FaceBook @connectingbusinesslimited
Phone 0844 2720071

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Introducing ‘Connecting Business’.

Welcome to ‘Connecting Business’. We are excited to relaunch our company with a new name and branding (formerly Lee Nightingale Limited).

We provide businesses with Insight, Clarity and Knowledge to obtain Optimum Business Performance! Harness your data to not just sell, but more importantly, establish relationships and provide the best customer service possible.

Connecting Business helps it’s clients to achieve this through our extensive knowledge of best practices and industry experience, underpinned by the leading CRM platform… the Salesforce SalesCloud, MarketingCloud and ServiceCloud.