As seen in Forbes.
Ever heard of Sage Software?
Big 800 pound gorilla; killing it in customer relationship management (CRM) and accounting software.
You’d think a huge company like this would have it together, right? A big guy us smaller guys can look up to? Read on my friend as there is something to learn here…
Crammed into my mailbox over a three week period I find three direct mail pieces from Sage. Pitching their hot new offering for small business; ACT CRM 2012. Well, they got me. Sounds like the solution to all my CRM needs. Jumped online to check out all the fancy bells and whistles.
Now mind you, we are current customers of Sage. Been buying their Peachtree Accounting software since 2005. Plus, got hooked on ACT in 2007 and been upgrading each year since.
Five user seats, 200 bucks a pop for each, times two. Don’t really know the math, and not sure I really care. But, we’ve spent thousands of dollars on software from them over the years.
Now I know it’s not the big bucks of a large company. But we aren’t buying enterprise software. We’re startup entrepreneurs, so we’re drooling over the stuff geared toward small business.
So — current customer; getting pitched in the mail; interested in upgrade to ACT 2012; online to find out more.
Drop into a web form asking for information. Name, biz name, phone number and email. Happily filling out the form, they give me access to the demo I want to use. Poking around for an hour or so, I learn what I need to and move on.
Now the real fun begins…
A few days later, phone’s ringing. Some gal from Sage Software. “Do you have a moment?” I think, “Um, not really. But hey, I asked for the info and so I’ll give her a couple of minutes.” First thing she asks; “How can I help in your evaluation of ACT as your choice of CRM software to use?”
What? Pardon me, but do you know we’ve been customers of ACT since 2007? And that I was responding to the “upgrade” offer you sent me in the mail?
Long pause and some stuttering…
Feeling sorry for her, I pick up the baton and run with it. Spend 10 minutes explaining who we are, what we are doing and why we are looking at the newest version of ACT.
Getting off the phone, I feel good. Helped a gal understand who we are.
In my imagination, she is sitting in front of command control from Star Trek. Punching away keystrokes on the latest CRM technology available, recording all the juicy nuggets I have just given her. Pure CRM utopia I can only dream of.
Only wait — dream turns into a nightmare…
Fast forward three weeks. Busy on a Friday morning trying to wrap it before the weekend. Ringggg. Dash across the warehouse to grab my phone on the bench. “Hello?”
“Hi, this is Natalie from Sage Software. Do you have a moment?” (Um, well, not really I think to myself, but hey, this could get interesting.)
“Sure, I have a minute. But let me tell you, I spoke with someone from your company three weeks ago…”
In pops Natalie, “Oh, well I just want to be sure you have all the information you need as you evaluate different CRM software companies to use.”
Huh? You’ve got to be kidding me? Please tell me you have all the valuable tidbits I gave you guys three weeks ago. Please tell me you are using some kind of CRM software to help our relationship blossom and grow. And for Pete’s sake, please tell me you know we are a current customer!
Poor Natalie. Definitely embarrassed. Turns out she was using a version of ACT, but had no idea we were current customers; nor were there any notes on the last conversation with the other sales rep.
Don’t Let This Be You.
Crazy as it sounds — how in the world can one of the world’s foremost creators of CRM software be so inept at using CRM software?
Does it make sense? These are the experts you and I depend on as small business owners to help manage our customers… using THEIR software!
The point of this story is not to beat up on Sage. It is to help you see this:
The best CRM technology in the world will not help you one little bit — unless you and your team know how to use it correctly and then actually use it!
This is a big bugaboo for me. You hear successful entrepreneurs say it time and time again; “Your relationship with your customer is everything. It is the number one thing you must focus on. Without your customer, you don’t have a business.” And on and on and on.
So why do so many companies keep messing this up? I have no idea.
But please don’t be one of them. It matters not whether you’re an entrepreneur on your way to big company stardom, or you’re still small potatoes with your startup. You’ve got to leverage the technology behind CRM and use it to help you. Period.
Oh, and don’t use a CRM solution? Ouch. Why on earth not? How do you keep track of your customers? Do you really even care about them?
Love to know how you manage without some kind of solution. (Seriously. Tell me below how you do it ’cause I really want to know… )
Please don’t be like this 800 pound gorilla named Sage who can’t even peel his own banana. Get a CRM solution and figure out how to peel it, will you? :-)