Visit management: spoofing your location in CRM

Using location data in visit management for convenience and productivity

Visit management on our mobile app depends on the GPS coordinates reported by the phone hardware. The location is used to query Google maps and it makes your life simple. We wrote a fairly detailed post on the technology some time back.

Using location data in visit management in CRM

Let’s say, you are meeting a client for the first time- let’s say a retailer who you are visiting. Since he is not in your database, you would have to go through a lot of hassle to first add the retailer in the database, and then log the activity.

This wastes time.

So, on our Android app, we allow you to add an account (a customer/ dealer etc) from the mobile app – straight from logging a visit. If the account exists already, well and good- the app will simply log a visit. If the account does not exist, then Saleswah automatically fetches the street address (where you are standing) from Google and goes through with logging a visit.

In the process, it creates a new account record,complete with street address.

Saves time. And, that was all we wanted to do.

Control, convenience and spoofing

We recently got a call from a client and then we had to relook at the visit log method. Because, some folks, who did not want their whereabouts known, or worse, wanted to pretend to be on tour or in the field – had found a way to fool the app.

So, what we thought was for convenience, was being used by management for control. And the users were finding ways around it.

Apparently there are tens of such apps in the Playstore- all can spoof your location and help you pretend you are in Georgia where you might be in Georgetown.

We stopped it of course!

Many of our functionality depends on careful logging of GPS data and accurately querying Google maps. Finding distances, directions. We could not afford uncertainty over actual location data.

The CRM walled gardens in the enterprise space

The enterprise CRM and office software space just got exciting

Microsoft bought LinkedIn (old news!) . That was the first of the CRM walled gardens created in the office enterprise space. What is hot off the press, comparatively speaking, is the alliance announced between between Google and Salesforce. After months of rumor about SFDC joining the Microsoft camp, this announcement pretty much completes Google’s arsenal against Microsoft in the enterprise segment.

The key, as both Google and SFDC execs said separately- is that these companies are “cloud natives”. So, they see natural synergies. Some of it may well be spin, but a lot of it is true. I do find it interesting though the price points of the 2 offerings are far apart. An SFDC license could cost anything between 10 to 30 times more than a Google G-Suite license. So Google can run a scheme like take a G-Suite license free for every SFDC license, but it will be highly unlikely for SFDC to run a similar scheme (take a SFDC license for every G-Suite license you own!).

It leaves the rest of the CRM vendors a little left out to say the least.

The enterprise CRM walled gardens

There are now two CRM walled gardens- MS and LI are a camp and now SFDC and Google. It leaves SAP looking for a partner of similar heft in a parallel space to ensure the world of CRM is not bipolar.

What will Facebook do? It is moving to the enterprise space- there is the Facebook for business initiative- right now, little more than an ad and page manager. Whatsapp is beta testing its api or enterprise customers. Either it announces a CRM or partners with a CRM or buys one. Perhaps buys into one of the inbound marketing companies like Marketo or Eloqua or more likely, Hubspot.

Zoho and Sugar CRM will be rethinking their game as well. Zoho has built a office suite with the breadth of Google and will feel vindicated that their strategy to broadbase their offering seems to being followed.

What about us?

The SFDC Google alliance does not solve what we see as the problem with the way SFDC works. It is a software which managers love, but the users are less enamored of. Adoption is not easy, requires very strong consulting support and constant engagement with business IT.

We are in a quest to build a CRM software that SFDC perhaps set out to build when they started- something that requires very little training or customization and users liked using. And, then we have the benefit of wisdom acquired through the efforts of the current players and the changed technology landscape.

The changed technology landscape

Today it is all about connectivity and being present on multiple platforms and stores. Even SFDC hasn’t severed its links with Office 365 and it still calls AWS as a preferred partner.

It is also about mobility. As a customer told me the other day- they don’t even use our product on the web- they only use the Saleswah Android App. No reflection on our web app- it is just that his team is constantly on the road and it is not convenient (and it is expensive) to use laptops on the move.

So as we straddle both MS and Google and keep an eye out for Facebook and sharpen our play in mobile, we are aware that we simply have to continue doing the same thing- but do them a lot better than we have so far.


Guarding against exuberance: Deal scoring in CRM

The role of deal scoring in CRM

All salesmen are optimistic- it’s their nature; that is why they are in sales.

They honestly believe till the last hour that their deal will close. Even when the evidence piles up against them. This creates problems for the manager and of course the company.

Okay, so what deals are valuable?

Having talked with hundreds of customers across industries – my only answer is that it depends. It varies from industry to industry and even within the same industry, it varies from company to company. And, I am talking of companies who have actually invested the time to define the threshold of information and interest and how they measure both before passing it on to a sales guy.

All deals are not the same. All customers are not the same. Purchase procedures differ. Even different salesmen have different judgments about the same deal.

Deal scoring in CRM helps everyone evaluate deals using the same parameters.

How do you evaluate your win chances in a deal? How optimistic are you about your funnel?

How do you know the person committing to close a deal this month, is right about his optimism? Or the other salesperson, who equally vehemently argues against including his deal in the monthly forecast, is right?

Multiply the problem with 10- the number of your reportees. And another 10, for your reportees have reportees too. It’s a huge problem. Sales forecasting is a big problem.

Interest in the next step

Interest shown by the contact in being contacted it seems is a big factor behind the deal being taken seriosuly. Also, the nature of interest matters too. Some would simply want more information to be mailed, while the others might want a visit from a sales person. I know at least one company where professed interest in meeting a sales person is ruthlessly scrutinized because the sales people are so senior and their time, expensive.

Where telecallers inevitably falter

Almost all companies have a script for the their telecallers. But I have seen most falter in sifting through the tyre-kickers and the door-keepers. Sales does not like information gatherers- though in some B2B enterprise sales processes, information sharing is mandatory as part of a long sales process. Sales also wants to talk to decision makers- and most leads tend to be from folks who are merely gathering data for their bosses. You do not want to be at the mercy of people who are not able to represent your case in from of decision makers- though sometimes you may not have a choice.

Action, level and logical fit

Sales love leads where there is clear action plan and it is obviously set up at an appropriate decision making level at the customer place. If the lead is from a customer or industry segment which is a logical fit- that obviously helps. If it is not, the telecaller should try and establish the need or the pain-point of the lead.

To summarize, valuable sales leads are where meeting is set up at a decision making level where a logical product fit can be established. After this is done, the lead can transition to the sales person and who will have a lot more confidence in accepting it.

We can now legitinately call it a sales deal.

Qualifying a sales deal through the sales funnel

Sales deals have been subjected to “qualification” for a long time. The most popular and long tested method is BANT. 

B- Budget, A-Authority, N-Need, T-Timeframe: are key parameters that are used to quickly sum up the chances of the deal progressing in the right way.

Now, every organization probably looks at BANT a little differently and that is okay. With Deal scoring in CRM, what they get is a method for standardization of the parameters. So, all deals get a standard score. That makes forecasting easier because that takes individual subjectivity out of the equation.

This totally makes sense especially when the team size is large. And the experience levels are vastly different. And that brings us to the next point.

Focus on key opportunities

Another key area where deal scoring in CRM helps is helping the salesman focus.

When you are new to sales, it can be hard to know what to focus on. The bigger one or the one down the road or the customer who always picks your phone or agrees to a meeting?

A CRM deal score helps achieve the objective- your rookie team member has his priorities set for him.

What do you think?

Do you think it makes sense to demand that your CRM gives you some feedback on the funnel which you can look at objectively.