Apr 25,2013 by JohnCheney

Get the right people behind you in CRM assessment thumbnailBy getting the right people on board from the start, you can make sure your CRM implementation isn’t one of the 70% that fail.

The sad fact of CRM failure

Depending on the research you read, you’ll come up with different statistics as to how often CRM implementation failure happens. But all the studies show that an alarming number of CRM projects fail:

  • A Butler Group report found that 70% of CRM implementations fail.
  • A Gartner study found that approximately 55% of all CRM projects failed to meet software customers' expectations.
  • In a Bain & Company survey of 451 senior executives, CRM ranked in the bottom three categories of 25 popular tools evaluated for customer satisfaction.

While there are a multitude of reasons cited for failure of these projects, user acceptance is one of the most critical factors.



Why CRM projects don’t work

The reasons for project failure are often the same across different organisations:

  • Lack of training and support before and after implementation. Sometimes this is not because users don’t receive training, but because it is not given in a way that resonates with them.  
  • Incorrect, incomplete or bogus data. Marketing cannot run successful campaigns if customer and prospect information is inaccurate.
  • You chose the wrong system for your company, as you didn’t get the right people involved at the right stage of the assessment.

Making CRM a success, or not

Too often, CRM projects fail as the solution isn’t the right one for the people who use it most often. This article from CRM Magazine tells of two companies which got it right and got it wrong:

  • Got it right - had a CRM project manager in place from the start who created a team from the people who would benefit the most from the new solution.
  • Got it wrong - had the CIO solely in charge of assessment and purchase decision then rolled it out to the people who would use it.

Getting the right team in place

Who should be in your team? Typically, a CRM project team should include:

  • Project sponsor.
  • Senior stakeholders.
  • Supplier sponsor.
  • Project manager.
  • Business analyst.
  • Technical team leaders and members.
  • Communications manager.
  • Training manager.
  • User champions.

How often should they meet? Well, there’s no hard and fast rule, but the project manager should have a defined timetable with milestones and goals in place that will influence this decision. At a minimum, though, the team should probably meet a couple of times a month.

What should be on the agenda? Progress, timescales, goals, objectives, issues, resolutions and communications.

How should the team share this information with others in the business to increase adoption at launch? Your project plan should include a communications element that covers pre-, at- and post-launch communications to share information and get company-wide buy-in. These communications can include e-shots, posters, newsletters and information days. User champions are also key in evangelising the solution within their teams in the run-up to launch.

Ensuring ongoing CRM success

By ensuring you have an assessment team in place at the start, you maximise the chances of your CRM project’s success. Follow these 15 actions as well to achieve better CRM adoption and engagement, which include:

  • Building a case for change.
  • Communicating progress.
  • Supporting managers who are leading the change.
  • Providing educational resources.
  • Rewarding adopters.

For more tips on getting CRM projects right, read our free eGuide: IT Director’s guide: using technology to unite the business.


Apr 19,2013 by JohnCheney

Here are the top 5 ways to leverage your CRM system for business intelligence and service improvement.

When you manage your own business, it’s easy to feel you’ve lost control. Except that you don’t have to feel that way - because there are a host of reporting options your CRM system gives you which you may not be taking advantage of.

Discover the top 5 opportunities in our Interactive Infographic...


CRM intelligence do you know what’s going on in your business


1. Forecast sales

What is the potential income of your business at any given moment?

Which opportunities have your sales team recorded in your CRM system?

Where does your sales team need to focus most on closing sales?

Using this data, your business can accurately forecast potential income and stock requirements, dealing with supply chain issues in advance.

“The fact is that one of the earliest lessons I learned in business was that balance sheets and income statements are fiction, cash flow is reality.”
Chris Chocola, President of the Club for Growth

"If you have to forecast, forecast often.”
Edgar R. Fiedler, American economist

2. Find out who your worst-value customers are

Every business has customers who cost almost as much as they generate. CRM intelligence allows you to see which customers have the most issues, require the most hand-holding and generate the smallest returns. Armed with this information you can decide:

  • Which customers need account manager intervention to resolve issues
  • Which customers need to pay more for products and services
  • Which customers need to be encouraged to buy more
  • Which customers need to be offered services that are cheaper for you to supply

“You should focus on good customers and try to improve their quality and not just try to get rid of the bad ones. Firms should find cheaper ways to keep low-value customers because they are confusing your competition to your advantage and there's a chance someday that they will become good customers.”
Jagmohan Raju, Wharton marketing professor

3. Monitor sales staff performance

CRM intelligence analysis allows your business to see which sales staff are:

  • Generating the most quotes
  • Closing the most orders
  • Generating the highest value orders

Using this business intelligence, you can then:

  • Decide which staff need additional resources to become even more productive
  • Identify positive sales methods that can be shared with other team members
  • Decide which team members need additional support to improve
  • Automate common sales tasks to reduce the need for manual intervention

"On average, sales and marketing costs average from 15%-35% of total corporate costs. So the effort to automate for more sales efficiency is absolutely essential. In cases reviewed, sales increases due to advanced CRM technology have ranged from 10% to more than 30%."
Harvard Business Review

4. Cure recurrent operational issues

CRM intelligence also allows your business to analyse customer support calls. This data can then be used to:

  • Identify issues that are common to all your customers
  • Fix these issues
  • Train staff to resolve common issues more quickly

Equipped with this business intelligence, you can:

  • Cut support costs
  • Resolve issues more quickly
  • Raise customer satisfaction accordingly

"The impact on an organisation can at times be subtle and distributed throughout the enterprise... Cost savings and productivity enhancements can be seen in saving a sales person 20 minutes per week in writing activity reports, or answering four times the volume of web-based service requests in the same amount of time."
Mary Wardley, vice-president of IDC's CRM applications research

“Nearly 70% of consumers said they had ended a relationship due to poor customer service alone.”
The Cost of Poor Customer Service: The Economic Impact of the Customer Experience and Engagement in 16 Key Economies - Genesys

5. Segment your customers

With a broad base of information recorded in your CRM system, you can segment customers based on common preferences and purchasing history. These segments can then be used for:

  • Finely targeted marketing campaigns
  • Trend analysis to identify future markets and opportunities
  • Distribution of accounts and leads to suitably qualified account managers

When used carefully, segmentation should help increase turnover through the use of better targeted marketing efforts that are more appealing to your customers.

“As the blurring of distinctions among firms increases in electronic markets, survival requires identifying your unique role in the marketplace in terms of value to the customer.”
Ravi Kalakota and Andrew B. Whinston: Do or Die:  Market Segmentation and Product Positioning on the Internet

“Highly relevant email messages can generate nine times improvement in revenue and 32 times more improvement in net profit over non-segmented broadcast campaigns.”

Getting your CRM Intelligence plan underway

So with these potential benefits available to your business, how do you start your new CRM intelligence plan?

  1. Analyse the Opportunities which your sales team have open and score them in terms of likelihood of successful closure. You can then use these figures as the basis for sales forecasting.
  2. Analyse existing CRM and accounts data to identify your most and least valuable customers. If this data is not currently collected, start recording it from now on.
  3. Your sales manager undoubtedly knows who the best and worst performers are in their team. Work with them to create training paths for the sales team to improve overall performance.
  4. Speak to your employees and customers to identify recurrent issues and fix them. Create a culture of continual improvement using business intelligence mined from your CRM system.
  5. Spend the time required to glean new insights from your existing customer database to create segments for future marketing campaigns. The effort will pay off.

If your existing systems do not provide the information you need to complete these tasks, the very first step is to source a CRM platform to help provide the business intelligence insights you need.

For more ideas on improving the service you offer your customers, download our free eGuide Customer Experience Management: a business owner’s guide


Apr 10,2013 by JohnCheney

5 ways to identify Accounts Payable fraudUsually perpetrated by a business’ own staff, Accounts Payable fraud often remains undetected for a long time - find out how the right CRM system can help you take control.

Accounts Payable fraud remains one of the most common methods by which a company is robbed. Usually perpetrated by a business’ own staff, Accounts Payable fraud often remains undetected for a long time.

Here are five ways to identify potentially fraudulent accounts activity.








1. Cheque to invoice comparison

One of the simplest ways to defraud a company is to simply issue a cheque against an invoice for more than the billable amount. A casual glance at account balances shows that the invoice is paid and nothing is amiss. However, checking invoice values against the amounts issued on the cheques paying them will quickly highlight fraudulent activity.

2. Identify duplicate payments

Issuing duplicate payments for invoices is quite common. Most honest suppliers will simply return duplicated cheques for destruction. However, fraudsters may be issuing duplicate payments deliberately so that they can be cashed for profit.

3. Analyse threshold payments

Most businesses operate a payment threshold scheme where invoices below a certain value do not need authorisation. As a result, fraudsters will issue fake invoices just below this threshold to prevent suspicions being raised. Your AP team should routinely check invoices with values just below authorisation levels.

4. Benford’s Law

Also known as the “first-digit law”, this statistical observation relates to the frequency distribution of digitals in data. In virtually any data set, the first digit of any number will be 1 about 30% of the time. Each first digit of an invoice total has a similar statistical likelihood. If your invoices have a frequency which deviates from Benford’s law, it is highly likely that something is amiss and you need to do a deeper audit to identify where the problem lies.

5. Invoice volume activity

Regular customers will have received invoices of a fairly regular volume over a fairly regular frequency. If you notice that some clients have started receiving many more invoices than normal, it is possible that their account is being used to channel fraudulent transactions.

Any five of these indicators will show your business where to look should Accounts Payable fraud be suspected. For the best results, however, each of these techniques should be employed routinely to identify fraud or stop fraud even before it is suspected.

What does any of this have to do with CRM software systems?

By uniting CRM accounts and financial data, your business has an additional source of data which can help track anomalies that point to fraudulent activity. CRM software systems typically store information such as:

  • Full communications history
  • Values of sales opportunities
  • Values of quotes supplied

This CRM accounts data can then be compared to the Accounts Payable information to identify where invoice details do not correlate to those on customer quotes, for instance. Additionally, an audit of the communications stored in the CRM software systems can often catch emails traded between less careful conspirators.

Download our free eGuide Where is the value? a finance director’s guide to CRM now!


Apr 03,2013 by JohnCheney

By integrating sales and marketing data, both teams can benefit from deeper customer insights - helping everyone become more productive.

Using Marketing CRM techniques sounds as though it oversteps the traditional boundary between sales and marketing. However, sales and marketing alignment brings benefits to the business as a whole which cannot be ignored.

Here are just a few of those benefits...


Marketing and sales alignment   why does it matter


Improved data sharing

  • Two-way data flow thanks to sales and marketing alignment ensures everyone understands your customers, regardless of pipeline set-up
  • Shared data in an integrated sales and marketing CRM system prevents the creation of “silos” – data that is kept within business units, inaccessible, unshared and frequently inaccurate
  • Data sharing between sales and marketing business units paves the way for greater data access across the business

“It's the integration of marketing automation with CRM which creates a complete revenue picture and process.”
Debbie Qaqish, DestinationCRM.com

“Within Best-in-Class companies: 40% of the sales forecasted pipeline is generated by Marketing, compared with 22% among Industry Average companies and 13% for Laggards.”
Sales and Marketing Alignment: The New Power Couple, Aberdeen Group

Better understanding of customers

  • Integrated sales and marketing CRM systems provide lead return functionality, allowing the sales team to return a lead to the marketing department for further nurturing
  • Customer segmentation based on preferences and purchase history can create finely tuned marketing campaigns
  • Historical records of preferences, purchases and communications allow for personalised service offerings in future
  • Tailored services foster better relationships with customers, helping to create greater brand loyalty

“The primary reason driving our company to integrate sales and marketing efforts is to have marketing determine who our target customers should be so we can empower and direct our sales team to focus their attention on those opportunities.”
Curtis Fisher, CEO, ProContent

Enhanced automation capabilities

  • Knowing and understanding customers allows for the creation of automated pipeline triggers and moves prospects along the sales pipeline
  • Automating sales and marketing functions frees staff to focus on activities which require a human touch
  • Automating sales and marketing functions often prevents leads from going cold and potential sales being lost

“36% of Best-in-Class companies use sales automation technologies, but the industry average is just 27%.”
Sales and Marketing Alignment: The New Power Couple, Aberdeen Group

“81% of Best-In-Class companies say their number 1 reason for wanting automated sales platforms is to close sales faster.”
Focus Research

Takeaways: what do you get from closer integration?

Closer integration between departments allows your business to share knowledge and experience to provide a better service to customers, new or existing. Keeping customers happy is crucial if you are to generate repeat business from them and their contacts. Or to prevent a bad PR issue.

“90% or more who are dissatisfied with the service they receive will not buy again or come back. Worse still, each of those unhappy customers will tell his or her story to at least 9 other people, and 13% of those unhappy former customers will tell their stories to more than 20 people.”
R.L. Desatnick, “Managing to Keep the Customer”

Combining sales and marketing CRM also has a demonstrable positive effect on your company’s bottom line:

“Best-in-Class businesses that integrate sales and marketing functions noted a 20% average growth in annual company revenue. The industry average was just 7% average growth. The worst performing third of businesses recorded a 4% average decline in annual revenue.”
Sales and Marketing Alignment, Aberdeen Group

For more marketing tips, download our free eGuide 5 ways a marketing director should keep ahead in the ‘Big Data’ world now!


Mar 27,2013 by JohnCheney

Poll: Who Currently Maintains Your Business’ Social Media Channels?


Workbooks Poll

Just for fun, download our eGuide The 30 most ridiculous sales motivation tips ever now!


Mar 25,2013 by JohnCheney

Three easy social CRM tricks for sales teamsSocial media has huge potential for increasing your sales – here are three tips to get your team up and running with social media immediately

Need to make sales - now? If your sales team isn’t taking advantage of all the information social media sites have to offer, they’re missing a trick.

Here are three easy techniques you can try today...






1. Profiling

Knowing everything you can about potential customers helps provide the basis for creating more finely targeted sales pitches. Assuming your marketing department has already created social media accounts for your business, you should:

A. Create some saved searches based around keywords relevant to your business such as:

  • Your products

  • Your services

  • Your company name

  • Your industry sector

  • Basically, anything that reflects on your business and offers you the chance to engage with people who are showing an interest.

B. Listen! It’s tempting to jump right in and hijack conversations, particularly when people are complaining about your brand – but that’s a customer service issue. Instead, try to gauge what the public sentiment about your business is.

C. After identifying people of interest try assigning a ‘lead rating’ to categorise who needs to be contacted, and in which order.

D. Keep records of your findings particularly new sales leads, in your CRM system. If your platform already has Social CRM capabilities this will be a whole lot easier.

“Success with social in the sales process depends not just on using the tools effectively, but on capturing the results and relationships for long-term benefit to the organization.”

Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks

2. Engaging

Once you have identified and rated persons of interest, and gauged general attitudes towards your business:

  • Reach out and join existing conversations with people who have shown an interest in your business
  • Work the leads previously identified carefully to nurture new sales leads
  • Let the client drive the conversation and continue to listen more than you speak

“Rushing into social-computing initiatives without clearly defined benefits for both the company and the customer will be the biggest cause of failure.”


3. Socialising

As well as joining conversations, social media offers your company chances to start new conversations too. Social media is about building relationships and two-way conversation, so your sales team should use targeted messages to:

  • Invite comment on topics which can further interest potential customers
  • Share company news regularly
  • Project a more human face for your business
  • Show that your company maintains an active social media profile, helping to increase customer trust

Over 62% of people polled in the UK held a deep rooted cynicism towards companies and felt that companies are only interested in selling products and services but not necessarily the product or service that is right for the consumer.

Socializing CRM eGuide

Next steps

These three tips can be implemented without any additional software or delay, allowing your sales team to get started with social media immediately. However to streamline the process and make sure that nothing falls through the gaps, a Social CRM system can keep track of interactions and lead ratings to streamline social sales efforts.

Just for fun, download our eGuide The 30 most ridiculous sales motivation tips ever now!


Mar 13,2013 by JohnCheney

What does the Workbooks CRM system offer YOU that GoldMine doesn't?

Since the digital revolution, CRM software has evolved drastically, and Workbooks is leading the way in Cloud-based, user-friendly, reliable software. Discover why Workbooks has been a finalist in two recent CRM awards, and why its sales forecasting processing software has usurped older technology - such as Goldmine, which is lingering in a network-based, Windows-only past.

Read on to find out how the Workbooks and Goldmine CRM systems compare in a range of categories...


Click on the infographic below to view a larger version!


goldmine v workbooks the crm showdowngoldmine v workbooks the crm showdown


Upgrade to the Workbooks CRM System and guarantee success NOW! Try Workbooks.com FREE for 30 days!


Mar 06,2013 by JohnCheney

The Workbooks.com Cloud-based CRM solution extends beyond CRM to support the aims and activities of NFPs and Charities like Coeliac UK and the CABA. 

Workbooks.com, a UK provider of cloud-based CRM and business applications, has announced the launch of its next-generation CRM and membership management solution; Workbooks Not-for-profit, as a result of the success of the Workbooks solution in the NFP and Charity sector.


Workbooks.com has launched a new Cloud CRM solution for NFPs and Charities


Workbooks Not-for-profit - what is it?

Workbooks Not-for-profit, which has been adopted by a number of NFPs and Charities such as Coeliac UK and the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association (CABA), is specifically designed to extend beyond CRM to support the membership management and commercial activities of not-for-profit organisations.

John Cheney, CEO of Workbooks said, “We are pleased to announce the launch of a new edition of Workbooks based on significant experience and growing demand in the NFP sector. We feel that we can offer NFPs a comprehensive solution that will enable them to work more efficiently and effectively, and will give them the technology to support business development and income generation activities.”

It’s ‘more than just a membership database’.

Brendan Harris, IT Director at Coeliac UK, a Workbooks customer who moved to Workbooks having previously used Integra from Iris Software, commented “We wanted more than just a membership database, but a platform that would be integrated with our website and support the income raising aspects of our work. It was also important that the new solution could provide the right management KPIs enabling us to make the right decisions for the Charity.”

Cheney continued, “As a cloud-based solution, delivered via software-as-a-service, Workbooks allows for remote access, giving organisations more flexibility and supporting improvement to current practices. There are many benefits of taking a leading flexible cloud based CRM product into membership organisations rather than trying to re-work old membership databases to meet their needs as they continue to grow and move online.”

About Workbooks

Workbooks.com is one of the fastest growing providers of web based CRM and business applications designed specifically for small and mid-size organisations.

Headquartered in the UK, our suite of products enables our customers to accelerate sales growth, improve marketing execution, streamline business processes and improve the quality of customer support they deliver. The Workbooks CRM Edition delivers easy to use sales force automation, marketing management and customer support tools.

The Workbooks Business Edition extends CRM to include the generation of transaction documents, such as customer orders, supplier purchase orders and customer invoices.

Learn more about Workbooks’ next generation Not-for-profit CRM solution and read the SMTA Case Study here!


Feb 27,2013 by JohnCheney

How to use CRM to work as one...

Imagine all the departments in your business, working together as one. It isn’t hard to do. At Workbooks we believe in CRM. We really do. We created The Automated Company to show how a well-integrated company could run. It’s stacked with free resources and concrete tips to help you realise the elusive dream.


The Automated Company is complete


Let’s have a look from the point of view of each business function. Working together is all very well, but each role needs to be catered for and looked after. A good CRM-integrated company brings all the employees together. Here’s how the Automated Company’s resources are tailored to each role:

Business owners will get on board with it...

Concise and clever docs explain how using a cloud-based CRM system fundamentally works to streamline business activity, and what revenue performance management (RPM) can do to grow and accelerate an organisation. It also shares the story of a large online retailer that used CRM to achieve alignment between departments and a better customer experience.

Marketing professionals will be persuaded by it...

Some great advice about how to get the Sales team onside, as well as solving the perennial problem of dodgy data stores, which get in the way of effective email and database marketing. Not only that, but how to unite CRM and marketing automation software.

Sales professionals will buy into it...

Use lead rating to really pin down how good some leads are compared to others, helping sales representatives to save time and prioritise, focusing their efforts where they are most likely to be effective. There’s even a touch of (very) mild nudity - naughty!

Finance professionals will put their money on it...

Does CRM really save money? Really? We’ve assembled a set of information to show how you could cut costs using CRM. Might even leave you with some spare time to dance the tango. (Inside joke — you’ll understand when you visit The Automated Company!)

Customer services professionals will smile at it...

There’s a touch of comic relief with the infographic showing some of the most bizarre and ridiculous customer service requests. On a more serious note, there’s some great info on how to be a top customer service professional, how to empower the call centre staff, and how to deal with a CRM system that just isn’t cutting it.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t hang around waiting for world peace — the more elusive dream of company unity is here already! Enter the utopian paradise of The Automated Company


Feb 20,2013 by JohnCheney

Tomorrow People has selected British Cloud CRM provider Workbooks.com to replace its Salesforce.com CRM system after two years of using the Salesforce Professional Edition.

Tomorrow People will use Workbooks to manage its customer details and interactions. The agency will also be using the Workbooks integration with Hubspot, a cloud based inbound marketing tool, thus enabling them to take advantage of all the marketing analytical tools within Hubspot in conjunction with the CRM functionality and automation provided within Workbooks.

Alistair Norman, Marketing Director at Tomorrow People commented, “Workbooks is not only far more cost-effective than Salesforce.com, it is also more intuitive for our users and much easier for us to customise. We also like the fact that Workbooks keeps our customer details in the UK compared to Salesforce, who kept all our data in the USA.”


Tomorrow People leaves Salesforce.com in favour of Workbooks CRM


Tomorrow People’s choice to move to Workbooks from Salesforce follows a number of other customers who have made the same move. Workbooks makes it easy to migrate Salesforce data across to Workbooks and the Workbooks team has extensive experience in this area, having employed 2 senior consultants who previously worked in the Salesforce Services and Implementations team.

Workbooks Sales Director Ian Moyse said, “Having used Salesforce myself in the past I recognise it has a lot of functionality, but it also carries a lot of cost not only in the license, but in the 3rd party implementation and ongoing maintenance required. We offer customers a system that is easier for users to adopt and that is often a 1/3rd to a ¼ of the licensing cost without compromising on functionality and features.”

Alistair Norman continued “We were impressed by the breadth of functionality in Workbooks, the fact that we are dealing directly with the vendor, and how easy they have made it to migrate from Salesforce. Like many, we initially opted for a big brand name and quickly realised that it comes with cost and complexity.”

About Tomorrow People

Tomorrow People is the UK's pioneering inbound and content marketing agency, providing online marketing services to a growing number of B2B companies in the IT, marketing and financial services sectors. Integrated services include web design and development, branding, online content strategy, content creation, social media strategy, online PR and digital training.

For more information, please visit www.tomorrow-people.com

About Workbooks

Workbooks.com is one of the fastest growing providers of web based CRM and business applications designed specifically for small and mid-size organisations.

Headquartered in the UK, our suite of products enables our customers to accelerate sales growth, improve marketing execution, streamline business processes and improve the quality of customer support they deliver. The Workbooks CRM Edition delivers easy to use sales force automation, marketing management and customer support tools.

The Workbooks Business Edition extends CRM to include the generation of transaction documents, such as customer orders, supplier purchase orders and customer invoices.

Download our eGuide 'Shared Success – Guaranteed Results' now to find out how we can guarantee a successful CRM implementation in your business.



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