CRM is not rocket science

June 1st, 2018 • By: Patricia Egen ACT CRM, Business growth, Management, Sales management

While working with a client recently I described the basic underlying strategy for a CRM (customer relationship management) process.  He had chatted with several different companies and he remarked that he got paragraph after paragraph of descriptions. However, he said mine was the simplest and one that he felt he could repeat to his sales staff.

These were powerful words to me and reinforced what I have felt is a really simple message. Set up a process, implement it, do it every day, repeat. It’s the discipline that is needed and it doesn’t matter which CRM you use.  Without an established process that people will adopt and use, you are throwing away good money.

Basically what I told him is you need a process in place to manage all the interactions with your customers. The tools used do not have to be all in one. However, they should somehow talk to each other so you don’t have redundant data entry – something everyone hates.

I took him through my Who, what, why, where and when story describing what each of those meant. He then asked me if I could put it in a document, which I did, but then I took it one step further.  One of the things I love are infographics.  They are clean, neat, simple one page depictions of a variety of topics. No one wants to read a manual.  Today every one is all about one or two minute updates.  Whether it’s Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, people like brief reviews.  Infographics are perfect for that.

Here’s a link to the infographic I created (which the client loved, btw). CRM is not Rocket Science.

The key things about a CRM are as follows:

  1. Define and articulate a process that everyone follows
  2. Enter as much information about the client into the CRM
  3. Record your everyday interactions – the more the better
  4. Ask your client what their requirements are and record them
  5. Find out when they need your services or products
  6. Deliver the goods and then follow up 
  7. Repeat

It’s really that simple.  Put in place integrations with your accounting and ERP systems, your marketing and any other vertical systems you deploy and you have a perfect CRM implementation. And even if you are not able to link them all together, simply having a process in place is a major step in the right direction.

It’s really not rocket science.  It’s everything about the customer in one place when you need it, where you need it, how you need it.

Q2C – Quote to Cash – What it means for SMBs

May 23rd, 2018 • By: Patricia Egen ACT CRM, Business growth, Quotewerks, Sales, Sales Automation, Sales management

Recently I posted a Youtube video about the integration of Act! and Quotewerks. I’m including a link to it below.

After I sent out a Tweet about the video I got back quite a few interesting comments but one in particular inspired this blog post.

This follower liked the video and said that the Act! and Quotewerks integration was a perfect Q2C or Quote to Cash software application.

To be honest, I had never heard of that acronym so I went and, of course, Googled it. Don’t you think Google needs to become a verb? Me too.

What I discovered online was that quote-to-cash software is designed to make it easier for sales people to prepare quotes quickly, send to the customer and at the same time give the customer the ability to approve and pay for the quote immediately – ergo creating a Quote to cash experience.

Sales people are finding it harder and harder to close sales and the sales cycle is taking longer. Anything in a sales reps arsenal to shorten this cycle and create a faster turnaround is a boon.

An integrated system like Act! and Quotewerks puts in place a structured, repeatable sales process. Instead of trying to build quotes from scratch, templates can be readily available to quickly customize to the customer requirements. And its attached to the customer so all the details are in one place, yet another key reason for having customer relationship systems. keeping track of customer interactions.  Add in the ability to get paid quicker as well and you now have a winning combination for SMBs.

At a price point that fits SMB budgets, it just makes sense. We use it ourselves every single day. We do indeed eat our own dogfood and it is making a difference. My staff is able to spend more time doing what they do best and less time trying to track down sales opportunities. The system is doing that for us – and what’s not to like about that.

I’m suggesting a couple of links below in addition to the link to the Youtube video. Visit our page talking about Quotewerks. Visit our page talking about Act! and the new features. And if you’d like more information or want to see a demo of how it can help your business, click on the contact us link. We’d love to help.

Youtube video:
About Quotewerks:
About Act!
Contact us:

GDPR – Why you need to prepare now

You have probably been hearing quite a bit about GDPR – the European General Data Protection Regulation. What you may not realize is if you have European contacts that you interact with and store their data, you need to understand how that can potentially impact you via heavy fines. The biggest point of GDPR is protection of personal data – at a much deeper level than is practiced in the US. An individual is in control of their data – not the other way around, even to the point where they should be able to access and delete their data from a company’s system.

Several organizations are now in the business of “helping” companies get ready for GDPR which goes into effect May 2018. There are several very good articles on what your organization can do to at least prepare. We will list a few good ones below.

One of the biggest impacts will be to eMarketing. Now you must have consent from a customer BEFORE you can send out emarketing – like this newsletter we are sending today.

In the mean time, the first thing you can do is make sure you have identified any European customers in your CRM or address book. We often see the country field not filled in on customer databases – and that needs to change. You need to ensure you have identified these customers and can take immediate action if one of them asks you to remove their personal data – which includes things like addresses, emails, etc.

We use Act as our CRM, but the tips we are going to suggest below should work in most CRMs.

  • Create a group called European Customers and then define a query so that the customers show up in the group based on country.
  • Try to identify as many European customers as possible. Not every email has a country code but many do, so we used a trick inside Act – we did a Lookup – Email – “ends with” and then searched for “.xx” where XX was the country code. A link below points you to a list of country domains.
  • Be proactive and send out an email advising your customers you are aware of GDPR and are implementing procedures to be in compliance. Make that email your “bulk opt-in or out-out”email
  • Update your CRM with the results and ensure that any other email database (such as Outlook) “matches”
  • If people opt-out – remove their emails. Period. It can cost you a lot of money for a simple mistake.
  • Determine if you really need to keep a contact’s data in your CRM. If this is a “one off” purchase or you could recreate it again, delete the data.

May 25 is approaching soon. Do not delay in making your contact database GDPR compliant.

The attached links provide more information.

Country domains:

Microsoft Resource:

Getting email permission:

Addins for Outlook missing – Act v20.1

April 4th, 2018 • By: Patricia Egen ACT CRM, Outlook

Version 20.1 has resolved many of the Outlook and Act integration issues. Some residual side affects may still exist and after the update you may notice the Act addins do not show up in Outlook.

Here’s a fix for that:

Close both Act and Outlook. Open a secure Command Prompt (right click on the Command button and choose Run as Administrator – or in Windows 10 choose Start Command Prompt – Admin)

Change to the folder where Act is installed (cd “C:\Program Files (x86)\ACT\Act for Windows”)

Type “regasm actoutlookaddin.dll” and click enter.

Type “gacutil /i actoutlookaddin.dll” and click enter.

Type “exit” to leave the command prompt.

Reopen Outlook and the addins should be there.

Quotewerks Tip of the Week – Exporting Quotes to Excel

March 29th, 2018 • By: Patricia Egen Quotewerks, Sage ACT, Sales, Sales Automation, Sales management

Patricia Egen Consulting Fast TipsWe’re starting Quotewerks Tip of the Week blog posts and today’s is about a trick a lot of people may not realize exists. Quotewerks has so much power it’s easy to not know every single feature or nuance.

A client wanted to be able to export Quotes to Excel so they could import them into their Accounting system. No problem.

When in a quote, click on Tools – Export to Microsoft Excel. You can then pick which fields to pull into Excel. I chose them all just in case.

Here’s a couple of images of this neat trick.  Client was thrilled. It’s the little things in life. 

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