“There’s an app for that.” So many great ideas have been turned into apps that we download to our smartphones and tablet devices. Maybe you have a great idea for an app but have never written any computer code. Or maybe you’d just like to learn a little more about how your computer works. Here is your chance to learn more about coding and what happens “under the hood”.
The week of December 7-13, 2015 is Computer Science Education Week. You can join in the fun by participating in Hour of Code. Hour of Code is a nationwide initiative organized by Code.org, a public 501c3 non-profit dedicated to introducing people to computer science and computer programming. We need a variety of ideas and perspectives to solve today’s problems. Everyone has ideas – maybe you have the next big idea and you just need to get started with technology to make it happen.
Give yourself an hour. Give it a try. Try it with a friend or your spouse or your kids – research shows that people learn best in pairs. You may find that it is not as complicated as you think. You may find that you like it and it could lead to you putting together the code for that next big idea! Give it a try - it is worth an hour of your time!
Whether you’re focusing on developing a broader CRM strategy or digging in to the Demand Generation aspect of that strategy, developing the process is key.
Jay Hidalgo recently spoke at the American Marketing Association of West Michigan, sharing fundamental considerations to walk through as you develop and refine your demand generation efforts:
©2015 The Barzel Group
In Jay’s words, “Developing the process is a process.” Standardize and define your processes, including the customer buying and lead nurturing processes. Building on that message, a best practice approach needs to include driving strategy first, then defining your processes, then applying the right technology to meet your needs.
(For a full event recap, please visit the American Marketing Association website)
Charity is one of the most important foundations of West Michigan. Intentionally giving back and working for the betterment of our community is something that the DPT team values (http://dptsolutions.com/about-dpt). We’re proud to support West Michigan through our involvement with local organizations and sponsorship of events.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the organizations and events that we’re supporting this fall:
Opening Doors Celebration
This year’s theme is “Walk In My Shoes.” It is inspired by the work we do each day; learning to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. When we walk in someone else’s shoes, we learn the art of listening, slowing down enough to understand the pace and places people have traveled. The St. Francis Award honorees at the event, Larry Gerbens and Laura Pritchard, have modeled a lifetime of walking alongside others and creating a dialogue for understanding the beauty of reconciliation.
PAWS to Celebrate
This year’s event honors long-time friends of PAWS, Rick Albin and Dee Morrison, with the 2015 Candye Sapp Tribute Award for their commitment to PAWS and Community Philanthropy.
Clays for Kids Annual Charity Shoot Benefiting Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan
The Clays for Kids Foundation annually looks forward to gathering sportsmen together to support a local organization that positively impacts the lives of children in our own community. The Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan (DSAWM) was formed in 1985 by six couple with children with Down Syndrome. Their original aim was to provide support and share knowledge with other families. Through the years, the goals of the Association have broadened to encompass advocacy, public awareness and the distribution of information relevant to Down Syndrome. The mission of the Association is to be a resource and advocacy organization promoting public awareness and supporting lifelong opportunities for individuals with Down Syndrome and their families.
National Philanthropy Day
A salute to giving, volunteering and charitable engagement that highlights the philanthropic process and the people who make a difference in our communities.
Have you heard of the CRM death spiral? If not, maybe you’ve experienced it. Getting started with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) can be a tricky endeavor. If you don’t start down the right path, you’re at risk of all of your hard work spiraling out of control and ending up with a CRM system that contains unreliable and unusable data. Headaches. Scattered data. Lost efforts. No one wins.
While the overarching idea for getting started the right way is usually around defining your vision and processes for your business, we gleaned some specific tips from DPT’s recent CRM event and compiled them into the simple checklist below. Download a printable version of the checklist.
Following a few simple guidelines will help you start off your CRM efforts in the right direction. Starting with a strategy first will ultimately help you understand your goals, and highlight both problems and opportunities for success.
Somehow this quote from Mary Shelley seems appropriate – for both the topic of this blog entry and for the time of year. I especially like this quote because it is just as true now in our age of technology as it was in 1818 when Shelley wrote her famous novel, Frankenstein. Whether the change is a positive change, such as an exciting new job or a negative change, such as losing a job, change is unsettling to us humans. This is human nature. In the field of technology, there has been a tremendous amount of human suffering inflicted as a result poorly managed change.
Whatever is driving your technology change – it may be anything from a strategic business need for new technological functionality to a long-overdue software upgrade – change is inevitable and managing the human side of change is of paramount importance to the success of your project and your organization. A great idea poorly executed from a human resource point-of-view is doomed for failure if your people don’t understand their role, don’t understand their processes or see it only as something to learn instead of a tool to help them. If you’ve read Shelley’s novel – or even if you’ve only seen Mel Brooks’ movie, Young Frankenstein – you see the emotional pain of the monster as he struggles to understand the world and how he fits in this world where there is nobody else like him. Dr. Frankenstein created him and reveled in his technical success (at least initially) but hadn’t considered his work from the monster’s point of view.
We often get wrapped up in planning for technological change. We get excited about the technical potential but often we lose sight of the people for whom this change is intended to help! We lose sight of their perspective. The technology is the easy part! Guiding and helping humans through change is key and is too often forgotten or not prioritized. And when project schedules slip and budgets get tight, this aspect is often dropped as a “nice to have”.
But think about it - your people are your greatest assets. You have invested in finding them, hiring them, developing them, training them in the intricacies of your business model. They are the face of your company, greeting your customers with a smile and good service. They make decisions that only humans can make. And when the frustration levels get high as a result of poorly managed change, they may make the decision to look elsewhere for a better work environment. If I step away from my human viewpoint and look at it from a pure cost perspective, employee turnover is costly in terms of the loss of an asset as well as the cost of others having to temporarily pick up extra work while also possibly grieving the loss of that day-to-day interaction with a co-worker who became a friend to them but left your company.
What can you do? As you prepare project plans, make sure they include plans to manage the human side of change. Key categories you should address:
Don’t turn your change into a nightmare for your employees. Don’t turn your tool into a monster. Manage the change and reduce the pain experienced by the people in your organization.
Recommended resources for learning more about managing the human side of change:
While hot Customer Relationship Management (CRM) trends such as mobile and social CRM get all the press, we recently hosted a local CRM executive breakfast event and it was clear from both the speakers and audience that a focus on improving your business processes before updating or implementing new technology leads to greater success.
What are the tangible results that will make the greatest impact in your business? When moving forward with your CRM projects, don’t forget about practical process improvements and their impact on streamlining your business – and ultimately, improving your bottom line.
Thank you to everyone who attended the event we hosted last week, The CRM "Feud"! We recieved great feedback on the new gameshow style of the event, and even had a few "special guests" from Paws With A Cause.
Thank you again for our speakers from National Heritage Academies, Midstate Security, Paws With A Cause, and Great Lakes Health Connect! In the coming months, we'll be sharing the content, stories, and tips from the speakers. Stay tuned!
This year our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) event topic, “The CRM Feud,” came from feedback at previous events, as well as DPT client observations. That feedback showcased the internal struggle between the bombardment of new CRM trends and functionality, versus the need to continue with more fundamental process and internal efficiencies. This struggle highlights the need to include both short term wins and long term plans and roadmaps for effective CRM strategy.
In a nutshell, while new trends and technology are often what initially attract people to CRM, the practical improvements are what sell it to the organization to move forward. Both are necessary, but each type of improvement caters to a different set of stakeholders.
A couple of examples are in order. One of the hottest current trends is implementing social CRM because prospects and customers are now interacting with companies in more channels than ever before through texting, blogs, and social media. The need to capture those conversations and proactively engage in them is within the realm of CRM functionality, however, the need to have a solid core CRM strategy and solution prior to attempting to manage all of the social CRM channels is critical. You need the car chassis and frame before adding on the slick paint job and wide tires. Additionally, the rate of growth of using the other social communication channels is tremendous and companies need to be able to handle those within the same CRM approach and solution.
On the flip side, the practical process and service improvements gained through CRM are key to getting user buy-in as well as time savings for team members to drive higher value add activities such as attracting and retaining new customers. For instance, reducing a sales person’s need to fill out reports and spreadsheets or attend weekly sales meetings can be huge in terms of time savings to focus more time on prospecting and selling. Eliminating “spreadsheet”-based information silos regarding key customer information reduces the time needed to search for and access the information, as well as improves the confidence that the information is correct by creating a single “source of truth.”
For clarity, we’re not advocating a choice for one (embrace trends) or the other (implement process improvements) – you need both. It’s more of an issue of timing, planning, company culture, work sequencing, and laying out a vision and roadmap to reach your goals.
Want to learn more about how other organizations deal with the struggle? Come to The CRM “Feud” on October 15. Learn from National Heritage Academies, Paws With A Cause, and Great Lakes Health Connect as they share their successes and struggles on their CRM journey.