Wednesday, May 29, 2013

GoldMine : The Philosophers Stone and Real Life

Okay, so stick with me on this. Way back in human history, before the copper in a penny was worth more than the penny itself, the big idea was changing lead into gold. It seemed so easy, as these two elements were so alike; dense, heavy and soft. It seemed just a matter of time before we figured out how to transmute one into the other. Alchemists looking to do this were to be labeled in search of the "Philosophers Stone".

But this never happened. Even though it seemed maddeningly simple. What does this have to do with GoldMine? Because in my line of work, I see this daily; the search for the Philosophers Stone. Good folks with successful businesses seeing this bucket of Customers, Leads, Appointments, Sales, Forecasts, Reports, etc. Looking to transmute it into gold.

It seems so easy and within our reach, doesn't it? All we have to do is run these items through our Philosophers Stone and out the other side comes gold, right?

But there is no Philosophers Stone. There is no magic bullet.

The mistake I'm trying to draw your attention to is the mistake of seeing your CRM system as the highest level, being in and of itself your total business. I have been in hundreds upon hundreds of meetings in my career, and have seen the wild excited eyes of many a sales manager, feverish with the prospect of AUTOMATION and STEAMLINING.

The real mistake I see made is these fine folks will try to bend and shoehorn their current processes into whatever CRM tool they happen to be buying. Automating for the sake of automation. Streamlining a process that doesn't really exist, existing only for the sake of being streamlined.

Okay, hotshot, so tell us what's good. Tell us what works. How can all this be wrong?

When you think about your business process and pipelines, think about it as a "standalone" system, independent of any software or computers or staff.

For instance; before you force people to start storing values like "Suspect", "Prospect" and "Customer", make sure that everyone knows what those words mean in the context of your process and pipeline.

Or this classic pitfall; requiring all sales staff to track a Source for each Lead and then doing nothing with that data. Think on what Source means to your process and pipline, not what it means to GoldMine.

GoldMine is simply a tool, a companion and complement to a business process that should already be there. And if you're new to GoldMine/CRM and new to your own business, that's fine (and very exciting). Just be sure to take the time to really think about what it is you're doing; don't get caught up in the software for the software's own sake. There are easier ways to turn Lead into Gold.