“Life is like a box of chocolates”…

stated Forrest Gump, in the 1994 Hollywood blockbuster of the same name, going on to add, “you never know what you’re going to get next”.

But is that really true? Of course life itself is an unknown, that goes without saying. None of us has a crystal ball telling us what to expect next, when to move our head to the left to avoid that golf ball that some careless swing has sent flying our way out of our field of view. But to compare it to a box of chocolates? Is that really the case?

If you are not paying attention to the box of chocolates and idly dip your hand in, picking one at random and placing it in your mouth without looking at it, then yes, you never know what you are going to get next. However, how many of us actually do that? Shouldn’t the quote actually be modified to state that “life’s like a box of chocolates… everyone else takes what they want first and leave you with the Orange Cream?” (obviously replace Orange Cream with your least favourite filling or it loses its impetus).

But therein lies my point. As a general rule we don’t randomly pick a chocolate and eat it without looking at it or making a cognitive selection. There is no element of surprise. Not least because there is either a card in the box which tells us which chocolate contains what filling or, if we are that much of a connoisseur, because we recognise the shape or pattern as being a Caramel Barrel, or Hazelnut Surprise. The more you eat chocolates, the more familiar those shapes and textures become, until eventually you can reach into the box without looking and, purely by touch alone, locate your favourite, pluck it from its plastic bed and pop it into your already salivating mouth without any element of clairvoyancy being required.

While life is not necessarily able to follow these rules of familiarity and predictability, your CRM solution certainly should be. Your whole business relies on the fact that you are able find that contact quickly, be ready to create an opportunity or quote in a couple of clicks without the need to go referring back to the card in the box to find what shape and texture that particular item looks like allowing you to narrow down your search within the box. You should not be spending time trying to find out where you go to either create, review or amend any record or piece of information in your CRM system and if you are, then either your CRM needs to be given a reality check to ensure it is really up to the job, or the person who configured your system needs to be given a swift kick for making such a convoluted solution that is not intuitive enough for you to fly around.

Within no more than 5 clicks of your mouse you should be able to get to ANY piece of information you are looking for (I am specifically not including the creation of reports, which can be a lot more complicated to configure to result in the single click that displays that whole chart at a single view) within your CRM system and that’s something I challenge you to do with your current CRM.

Remember that call you made to that potential customer last week? What happened in it? How many clicks does it take you to find out?

Challenge your CRM and see if it succeeds or fails.

2 thoughts on ““Life is like a box of chocolates”…

  1. Nice post. Of course there are all sorts of people. I kind of like the surprise of sticking my hand in and getting what I get… with chocolates, that is. CRM can be so confusing, so what I want is to stick my hand in and be happily surprised. OR to be able to configure my box of chocolates – say all hazelnut, (def not orange cream, right!?). With Sugar I get both! Yes, if I study, look at the directions, etc.. it works WAY better. (What doesn’t) But I find it is pretty easy to just go in and start DOING too. And since it is configurable and Open Source- I (well, my team) can make it all hazelnut, with a few coconut fillings… as we like. :)

  2. Beth, as you have pointed out so beautifully – tailoring your chocolate box to be all hazelnut is yet another advantange of SugarCRM over the majority of other CRM offerings on the market today. Whilst they may “tell” you that you can make them all hazelnut, more often than not what actually happens is that you spend forever trying to replace each chocolate one by one, and end up with a mixture of hazelnut, peanut, brazil, cashew and then get told that “well, they’re all nuts, it’s near enough!”.

    A fully customisable CRM solution should allow you to specify and configure (as well as extend) the functionality provided in it’s vanilla form, as well as being able to be fully customised to work the way YOU work in the easiest way. Your business processes have been set up the way they are for a reason, right? Why then should you have to change them purely because your CRM system can’t adapt?

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