Good day to all! This post was supposed to be done yesterday, however, I was a bit waterlogged! For those not located on the east coast of the US, Boston picked up between 5 and 7 inches of rain, and if that was not enough, I traveled to New Jersey to enjoy the rain….again. I did make it home, where it is nice and dry – Mitch
People. Process. Results.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Chip Meyers, Sales Operations Manager at Insource Performance Solutions. Insource, in addition to being both a SugarCRM customer and an InsideView customer, they have a really cool tag line! My own mantra has been “People, Process and Technology – In that order” for many years. But, looking at the Insource tag line, I had to take pause, and think – ‘hmm, that one is a bit more powerful’. Insource is about helping companies ‘get it done’; “refine, manage and execute labor-intensive processes within our customers’ manufacturing and distribution facilities.” But to take it even further; “Insource is accountable for increasing throughput, improving quality, and reducing cost.”
My conversation with Chip was not as much about what Insource does, but the early stages of customer engagement, the sales process. However, I became a little nervous when I began doing a little bit of research, as the bar seems quite high, based on what Insource itself, does for its clients. I am not sure I am ready to change my own personal tag line just yet, but if I do, I know where to look!
In speaking with Chip, I started off simple and light and asked; with respect to the implementation of the system (SugarCRM and SalesView), what are the expectations?:
Our corporate culture is all about performance; that is what we sell. So with anything we do; be it a new customer engagement or implementation of a new resource, there is an expectation of success.
That pretty much says it. In order to dig in a bit, I further asked how success should be (and is) measured throughout the organization. Chip’s answer here surprised me a little, but then discussing it further it was more clear. To save you the same confusion, I will give a little bit of background. Insource does not consider itself a “transactional sales company” rather, Insource is more focused on “long term engagements with customers, and to become part of their organizations”. So, back to the measurement of success:
Although we are a metrics driven company I’m going to focus on the subjective way we are judging CRM success. I am not that interested in activity metrics of a typical SFA (although Sugar can do that) I am interested in results.
During the course of the conversation, Chip relayed to me that the cycles are typically three to six months, sometimes longer. This falls squarely in the Business to Business realm. During the sales cycle, there is an accumulation of a tremendous of amount of customer information. This information needs to be captured, shared and the users need to adopt the application if they are going to find value. The sales cycle is not simply long without cause, the products and services provided need to match the needs of the clients. Customers will speak with many different parts of the Insource organization, including Sales, Engineering and Operations:
The data capture starts with Sales, and transfers through to Engineering and ultimately to the Operations team who manage the ongoing relationships. Sugar has enabled that flow of information to be much more efficient and that ultimately improves our ability to serve our customers. As everyone has seen this happening, adoption has improved. I call that success.
How smart are the customers – Very!
I wanted to bring my conversation back around a bit, to some topics we will be talking about with Chip at the event in Boston. This is also very high up when the topic of Social CRM or Inbound Marketing are discussed. I asked Chip his perspective on whether “prospects are more educated than they used to be, just a few years ago?” Chip has a great answer, worth reading in full. The interesting part is the transition over time:
Without a doubt! We are one of the original innovators in our field. So, years ago, our challenge was just explaining to people what the business model was and why it made sense. Now there are a number of companies trying to do what we do, and therefore more general awareness in the marketplace. We are now at point where we are seeking to cut through the clutter and get our message heard above the din. In our business, like many, it is all about serving the customer and making ourselves invaluable to them. An effective CRM strategy and aggregating market intelligence so our business development team can be better informed than our competition is critical.
I cannot add much to that, so I will leave well enough alone. I am quite impressed with how Insource is approaching the process. As Chip relayed to me a couple times, it is about culture. With a strong focus on customer success, any technology decisions simply need to fit in, enable and scale what people are already doing. I am hoping that you will join us at the event next week, where Chip will be demonstrating the applications in action!
This post was the 3rd in the series, the first an interview with Dharmesh Shah, Co-Author of Inbound Marketing and Founder of Hubspot, The second an interview with Umberto Milletti, CEO and co-founder of InsideView, (about Intelligent Aggregation) – all leading up to what is shaping up to be an awesome event in Boston on March 23: Bridging the gap between Social Media hype and business value, sponsored by BrainSell.