Genzyme Biosurgery’s Salesforce.com Secrets

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Plan, then play. Photograph by Werner Kunz.

How did Genzyme Biosurgery successfully roll out Salesforce.com, meet its business requirements, and foster high levels of user adoption? In a word, thanks to planning.

To learn more, I spoke with Innoveer customer Michael Aceti, senior director of BSS commercial development at Genzyme Biosurgery:

How important is planning? Because we get lots of calls saying, “We just got new CRM technology, now we need help with it.”

Aceti: Right, and you wouldn’t do that with ERP. You wouldn’t just buy a car to see what to do with it. You decide first whether to buy an SUV, minivan or sedan. Depends on what you need.

Planning is the whole game. It’s what I tell everyone who’s considering these kinds of projects, and as I get pulled in as a consultant on other projects, it’s a need that I see a lot.

When people hear “CRM planning,” do they fear it’s going to take 6 months?

The problem is, most people probably think of planning as not being part of the project. They just think planning means, “We’re ready to select our screens.”

It would be easy, too, for a customer to be cynical, to think you’re just burning time. But there are so many analogies — building a house, or sports teams saying that you win the game before you take the field — that show the importance of pre-work. Then when we get into implementation, you already know what you have to do.

Was it difficult to get sign-off at Genzyme Biosurgery for thinking about CRM, before jumping in?

No, because a few of us had gotten through a semi-painful exercise of thinking about very specific functionality and getting ahead of ourselves. We knew we needed some help. Also, Innoveer came in with a very bite-size project. Not a 6-month project, à la Accenture. It was à la carte.

We wanted that: Talk to us for a week, and give us your assessment. And then we added some more weeks, including demos from Oracle CRM On Demand and Salesforce.com, and my team all agreed that we liked Salesforce.com, though we probably could have been successful with either.

What can Salesforce.com do that your existing SalesLogix CRM system couldn’t?

First, Salesforce.com being a Web application, it provides Web-based functionality that client/server can’t offer. Also we’re a small business; we didn’t have the budget to do a new CRM implementation and then a portal. But the biggest benefit was that we didn’t need IT to update or maintain it. By its own acknowledgement, IT said that minor changes to a SalesLogix drop-down menu could take a couple of weeks, and anything bigger would take a month.

Also, we’re an operating-room-based sales force. Reps don’t bring their laptops with them on a regular basis; they need something that works on a Blackberry. And both Salesforce.com and Innoveer said that yes, it will definitely work. And it does.

How much of your CRM system serves sales reps, versus managers?

When we were getting ready to roll this out, I was trying to handle any objections in advance. So the first thing we said was, give us all of your contacts — send us Outlook files, business cards — and someone sent us a CD with 1,200 contacts on it. We got a card scanner and a temp in, and we added anyone associated with a hospital. So the first time anyone fired up Salesforce.com after training, there were like, “Whoa.” And that was a huge win.

We specifically also thought about efficiency tools. For example, we provided reps with an automated thank-you-letter — “thanks, doc, for meeting with me” — capability. That was a win. Also, they had a monthly events report to fill out, requiring 2-4 hours, offline, per month. So we said, you won’t have to do that anymore, instead you just log events in Salesforce.com. Of course, we also want that information, but we always joked that we’re not newly playing Big Brother; we’ve already embedded a chip in your BlackBerry for doing that.

How do you handle recalcitrant users?

Sometimes I’ll be a wise guy and push back. I’ll say, “Let’s pilot turning your Salesforce.com off for a month,” and they think about it and say, “Well, I really do use it.” And they do. Getting clinical information used to take 2-3 weeks — “we’ll get back to you.” Now, they’re talking to a doctor, they hit a button in Salesforce.com, and the information has already been sent. So while we’re still working with some first-line managers to demonstrate the value of CRM, in the last 6-12 months the business has really grown around it.

Also, we have some managers who are quick to adopt. We had a new one come in who’d used it outside, and he just jumped ahead. So I’ve really taken the strategy that I’ll work with anybody, but especially with people who want to work with me. We’re starting to do customizations, and the stars have lined up too for the moment, because those leading users — managers — are also ahead on the sales scoreboard.

Is it better to introduce changes gradually, or aim for a big bang?

We learned to not simultaneously implement a new process and put it on the CRM system. First, define the process, understand how it’s going to work, work out the kinks and then automate it. You’re paving over the cow path. Don’t cut a path through the woods.

When all was said and done, what did the IT group think about Salesforce.com?

They initially put up resistance, but they’re now attending seminars for Salesforce.com. We still have SalesLogix, too, but almost no one is really using it.

Learn More

Whether for sales, marketing or customer service, don’t forget to plan first, and implement CRM second.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Adam Honig
Adam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a recognized thought-leader in sales process and effectiveness, and has previously co-founded three successful technology companies: Innoveer Solutions, C-Bridge, and Open Environment. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the 'No Jerks' hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

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