Well I have to admit I’m a little discouraged that we STILL have to delay the start of this more aggressive sales campaign. The reason? A possible re-configuration of the programming architecture for our CRM.
This is not a small thing. In fact, if we move ahead right away and start taking on 1 to 4 new Clients every day as I anticipate will happen in the near-term, we’d have a major disaster on our hands if we had to make a “architectural” change after having added only 10’s or 100 or so new Clients.
Today I finally had my first in-depth discussion with the new CRM expert we retained. He advised us to completely change the way we are serving up our CRM services. I don’t want to get into a technical discussion of what this means. But trust me when I say that even making this change right now will cause some major heart-burn for our 4 to 5 new Clients and ourselves. But if what we are told is correct, I don’t see how we can ignore his advice because a structural change when we have many clients (50 or more) would likely cause many of them to terminate their association with us because of the hassle and problems caused to the integrity of their data and having to relearn new methods of doing the same thing.
So I am trying to coordinate a meeting between myself, our new CRM expert (Sagar from New Delhi), our dialer programmer (Raj) and our CIO (Jeff Wilson). We’ll likely meet early tomorrow afternoon. After that session we’ll make a firm decision regarding whether or not we’re going to make the basic structural changes to our CRM database application. This is a very, very big deal. And very disappointing.
But it’s a lot better for us as a company to delay and ensure we don’t cause ourselves a serious problem with limitations on our system as we try to grow in the near future.
The Good News
There actually IS some good news here, though. It’s the fact that, as you can see from the years of development, the numerous delays, the difficulties in bringing this project to market . . .”IT AIN’T EASY!” Even a company with a huge budget would have to pass through the same developmental issues that we’re facing. This means anyone who tries to compete with us is going to have a VERY hard time figuring out how we accomplished what we did. There’s a REASON nobody else has such a robust, integrated system as ours. It’s hard to do! This will yield fruit for us as soon as I can give the green light to ramping up sales.
Changing Role For Philippines Agents
Tomorrow I’ll have a serious discussion with our one active Philippines agent. He has been asking me to give work to a number of new agents (friends & acquaintances of his). I have delayed doing this, pending a successful outcome in Randy’s case (Randy is our active Agent in Philippines). He continues to work daily, but I haven’t closed any sales from his efforts yet – ON PURPOSE. This is because if I take on new clients right now, we’re going to have real problems with transitioning them to the fully-functional do-it-yourself system that’s almost ready – ESPECIALLY with the anticipated modifications to the CRM during the next couple of weeks.
So I’ll discuss with our Philippines agent during the next few days the fact that I intend to change his primary role from that of “Agent” who merely sets appointments for me and others, to “Account Executive” who takes the prospect from initial inquiry, through the Sales Presentation and Close, and then follows up with after-the-sale attention. There are major benefits to recruiting an off-shore sales staff in Philippines. In fact, using Philippines Agents as our primary sales staff was very much on my mind when I traveled there, but I didn’t follow through with the concept because at that time, I had to maintain a system that would support domestic U.S.-based sales people. Since we aren’t doing that anymore the door is wide open for this improvement. In short, it means that we’ll save 50% to 70% of the commission & bonus cost of paying American-based Account Executives, and have the same outcome. Even better than that is the fact that it’s much easier for the Philippines Account Executives to make exceptional earnings than it is for their American counterparts.
So now, the door is wide open for a much more cost-efficient sales team! That’s a BIG “plus” for the company!