Is The ‘360-Degree View’ Holding You Back?


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Is The '360-Degree View' Holding You Back?

Think you want to build a 360-degree view of customers in your CRM system?

Think again. Building a 360-degree field of view is about as real as Amazon delivering parcels using drones or 3D printers baking you Chicago-style pizza. In fact, I’d say it’s more likely that you’ll have a package delivered by Amazon Prime Air than it is that you’ll ever build a 360-degree view of customers.

Despite what some vendors may promise, the key to CRM success isn’t just amassing data. Rather, you need to know what’s the right data, at the right time, to be delivering to your salespeople to enable them to take the crucial next step or action that will lead to a closed deal.

That’s why trying to build a 360-degree view into your SFA project is overkill. The answer isn’t to build a bigger picture, but rather to build a smaller, targeted and more precise one.

What’s High Resolution? The 6-Degree View

To draw an analogy from the physical realm, out of 360 potential degrees, what’s our actual field of vision? Approximately a 120-degree arc. But even most of that is peripheral. In fact, when it comes to seeing in high resolution — say for reading purposes — our actual field of view is only about 6 degrees.

What happens if something important happens in our peripheral vision? We move our eyes to look at it. In other words, we’re not primed to look at everything at once. Rather, we focus on the essentials and filter out the rest so we don’t experience information overload.

Don’t Be Lazy: Be Agile

From a system-design standpoint, trying to cram every last bit of data about your customers into your CRM implementation goes against everything we know about delivering successful projects. This includes starting small and getting bigger only as necessary. In other words, you need to stay agile.

As a further practical consideration, project resources aren’t infinite. For example, which offers you a better return on investment:

  • Cramming every last bit of data into your CRM system or

  • Investing in enhanced sales processes, such as the Challenger model — where you walk customers through each stage of the sales cycle, showing them where they are, preparing them for where they need to go and promoting greater transparency?

That demonstrates why trying to build a 360-degree view is a waste of time — and intellectually disingenuous. In fact, it should become code for your business not knowing its customers well enough to know exactly what you should be focused on.

Insurer Focuses On Accounts, Relationships

Focusing only on the data you require to get the job done can pay large dividends. For example, Cloud Sherpas worked with a large insurer that sells disability insurance to revamp its CRM program. The business decided to introduce its first-ever customer-focused system, because previously all data was organized by policy rather than by customer. To achieve greater revenue, sales efficiency and customer satisfaction, the business needed to switch its focus to customers.

For the first release of the CRM system, how many data elements did the insurer include? Out of thousands of potential fields, it chose just 200. How did it decide? Cloud Sherpas and the insurer’s CRM steering committee sat down with the company’s leaders to identify exactly what they were trying to achieve with CRM. Based on those business objectives, we knew that account planning and relationship management were the two most important elements for increasing sales. So we focused the project on that.

Salespeople have the patience of an ant — both at the insurer and any other business in the world. So, giving them a very small data set allows them to do better account planning, and that enables them to do better relationship management, which in turn generates better long-term revenue.

Energy Provider Targets Precise Customer Data

Similarly, at US energy supplier National Grid, did our prototype project focus on creating a 360-degree view? Definitely not. Rather, we sat down with National Grid’s leadership and determined that the number-one business goal the CRM system needed to support was the organization’s critical interactions with customers.

In particular, given rapid changes in the energy market, the core data on which the CRM system needed to focus involved energy efficiency, growth in gas consumption and similar information that would help customers plan what they need in the future and look to National Grid to help them keep doing so.

By starting the project small and carefully weighing each next step — really, going slow — National Grid rolled out a lean, mean and highly successful CRM machine, built to support the organization’s continuing growth.

By focusing the organization on what’s most important, the company’s leadership has primed the business for long-term success. Now do the same with your CRM system.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Tom Tolkien.

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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