You Are Not Alone: CRM Insights From Your Peers


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Feeling like you’re the only one struggling to get CRM right? A recent gathering of Cloud Sherpas customers talked through the challenges.


A few nights ago in New York City, Cloud Sherpas and Informatica Cloud hosted a dinner for some of our favorite customers along with a handful of prospects. This wasn’t a sales pitch – what we hear over and over from our customers is that they are looking for opportunities to learn from their peers about the challenges and opportunities presented by CRM.

Two organizations graciously agreed to present where they were on their “CRM journey”: Christopher Wilkens, Managing Director & Chief Operating Officer US Corporate Banking Division of The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU) and Mayank Misra, Director of Global Data Management at Pfizer Inc.

Over cocktails before the dinner began, I gathered topics that the attendees were interested in hearing about. The most common of which were:

  • How to achieve end-user adoption

  • Executive buy-in – what techniques do you use for that?

  • How do you build “excitement” for CRM

  • International deployments vs domestic – what are the key differences?

  • What is the best way to select and justify new products and projects


Both the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Pfizer are utilizing for their CRM platforms, but the organizations are using them in different ways. BTMU’s team of bankers are working closely with their corporate clients, offering commercial banking products and using Salesforce to manage their book of business, pipeline and forecasting needs. Chris’ perspective on achieving success with Salesforce (echoed many times in this blog) was to deliver “small chunks” of functionality, focus on benefits for the sales teams and not management and to have strong business ownership of Salesforce.

I was pleased to learn that BTMU was able to get their compliance organization’s approval to use Chatter internally. This can be quite the challenge for our financial services customers.

Before Chris became the sponsor for Salesforce at BTMU, the IT organization owned Salesforce and was less successful due to a “mainframe development approach” to the cloud CRM application.

Chris reported that adoption was driven from a “bottom up” approach: the system allowed his sales teams to easily pull together their weekly forecasts and pipeline reports. And there was a “top down” motivator as well: senior most management would review these pipeline reports regularly and be sure to reach out into the organization if they thought something was missing or not quite right.

Pfizer’s sales team doesn’t sell most of its products directly to patients. Instead they spend their time working to ensure that doctors know the benefits of the Pfizer products versus the other pharma companies’ offerings.

Because Salesforce doesn’t contain patient information, Pfizer (and all of the pharmaceutical industry) buys 3rd party data about the sales of their products by region. This information is then stored in a proprietary on-premise data warehouse. Mayank’s team utilizes Informatica to combine this data together (including sales activity data from Salesforce) to product reports and analysis that help guide Pfizer’s sales strategy.

Mayank reported that his team selected and has benefited from Informatica because of the ease of use and speed at which they can build integrations and collect information for their required analysis.


After Chris and Mayank’s comments, the discussion at my dinner table turned to what they heard. The first reaction was “all of the challenges that these guys face, adoption, executive sponsorship are the same ones that we face. We’re not alone.”

It turns out there is no silver bullet to achieving increased user adoption or more robust executive sponsorship. Yet by taking small steps, choosing the right technology and partners, and being very focused on the business objectives of the organization you can achieve success.


To be included in upcoming Cloud Sherpas events in your neighborhood, please email Lauren Woodhall.

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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