I recently visited the president – a very worried president – of a company whose lead sales rep left and took along $2 million worth of business. That’s a pretty hefty chunk of change for any business and, for some companies, that might put them out of business.
The company in question had no CRM system in place. They had decided it was too expensive and allocated a great deal of their budget to purchasing new machinery. (I’m always amazed at companies that don’t consider their customers as important an asset as their equipment.)
Without an effective CRM system, each rep maintained their own individual account information and customer relationships. This was done through a combination of differing contact management systems or, in some cases, paper and pen. Needless to say, the customer information could not be shared or leveraged throughout the company. Scary, isn’t it?
I think that might be the conclusion the president came to, when he learned that his company had lost $2 million dollars worth of accounts that neither he nor anybody else in the company knew much about. For example, they didn’t know:
- Who the main contact had been, their title, or their email
- History of previous communications between the rep and customer
- What was pending, and the next step or follow-up needed
Basic, but very vital information…which left along with the sales rep.
If you’re allowing your customer relationships to be managed in this haphazard style, you might as well hand your employees shovels so they can begin digging the company grave.
Without investing in a solid CRM system and a process where all employees can immediately share and act upon the information needed to grow, maintain and keep your customer relationships, you could easily lose millions of dollars in business – maybe even your entire business. I believe companies should compare the cost of doing business with CRM to the risks of doing without it. What do you think?
Bob Sullivan is President of InfoGrow Corporation, a national sales and marketing consultancy and applications provider that enables clients to leverage both information and technology for making better sales and marketing decisions.“Money to Burn” image from Worth1000.com.