Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce CRM Lunch & Learn

Educating CRM to the masses

Last week I had the opportunity to pop into the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce to talk with members about CRM technology.  We had a small and intimate group that I was able to share stories and ideas with.  I really do enjoy these types of groups as they are doing what everyone else is trying to do: make an efficient business operation.  It just so happens that I specialize in the software world where that is exactly what we do with CRM.

I had a few learnings from this event which included a few of the following:

Discussing “Big Brother”

One thing that made everybody’s eyes pop is when we talked a bit about marketing automation.  The thought that you are being “watched” crossed the minds of many in the room as I talked about concepts that established companies such as Google and Amazon deploy.  I even touched on some of the areas of how Eligeo CRM uses marketing automation to improve its business operations as well.  Although the concept of “big brother” might be scary, there is certainly a lot of opportunity for individuals to think about how they can improve a customers and a prospects user experience when visiting a website or checking out a newsletter.

Organizing Data

Everyone in the room had the same response when I asked them what they were hoping to get out of the event.  They wanted to know how they could better organize their information in their business and drive better management of their businesses.  In one case an individual wanted to know of a better way to track leads but his eyes lit up when I talked about combining a reservation system that they already had with their sales prospecting tools.

Seeing a CRM for themselves

When I pulled up a demo of TealCRM all of the guests in the room pulled up their chairs and started taking a few pictures of the presentation as I walked through the CRM.  This really told me that they are looking for somebody to walk them through the process of using a CRM.  They can hear us consultants talk them to death about what a CRM can do but it was quite a thing to see every one get to see me walk them through a very basic CRM solution.

Throughout the rest of 2016 I’ll be continuing to publish articles through this website but also continuing to work with different organizations to help educate every one about CRM solutions and how they can really drive a change in their business.

 

Vacation

Unlimited employee vacation

If you’re in Western Canada then you’ve probably recently heard about Vancouver’s BuildDirect making an announcement about unlimited vacation.  Netflix also not too long ago made the switch to unlimited vacation as well and many are probably asking: how?

About three years ago I decided to do the same thing for my company, Eligeo CRM.  We have a policy in place that our team can take as much vacation as they need even if it’s over the provincial “minimum” requirement.  If you need time off, take the time off.  The issue of controlling the person who decides to take a 6-month hiatus is quite understandable.  There are still rules no matter how you slice it.

In our company, do your work, keep the customers happy and keep your co-workers happy then we’re all going to be happy.  Do all of that then you can take time off.  When we made the switch for the unlimited vacation there was a lot more going on at the time than just unlimited vacation.  We had adopted the Results Oriented Workplace Environment methodology for operating our business.  This proved to have a lot of challenges in handling remote workers but it was a huge learning experience for me.

We adopted many of the core competencies of the program which included primarily generating results.  If you’re doing your job and doing it well, then what’s so bad if you took the afternoon off if all of your work is done?  If you’re not doing your job and not doing it well, guess what? No job.

I like the black and white of it to be honest but you have to be careful when implementing it.  In order for it to be clear cut you need to determine how you measure results.  I’ve always said sales people are easiest to tag metrics to.  How many phone calls?  How many appointments?  Total revenue?  Total gross profit?  All of that is to easy to account for.

What about the customer service representative or the receptionist?  There are ways to determine their actions too.  The CSR might be measured on number of call backs, time to completion of a customer inquiry.  There are lots of metrics to base things off of.

When I see articles like the one in the Vancouver Sun about unlimited vacation, it’s obviously designed to attract talent.  We don’t do it for that reason.  We do it because it’s part of our culture and it’s just been that way for several years now.

Canadian Dollar Falling

The impact of the falling dollar on Canadian businesses

If you haven’t checked the headlines or simply do not travel where the USD is the currency king then you’re probably going to be surprised to hear that it now costs over $1.42 to buy a single US dollar when buying with Canadian funds.  There was a time only 2 years ago that we were at par with the American currency but now it seems the tables have turned quite dramatically.  Not since the early 2000’s have we seen our dollar impacted so dramatically.

Here are a few articles making the rounds today:

In my business this has had a real impact on our bottom line as there has been a number of things that have cropped up that have either cost us in exchange rates or we were impacted by customers who simply decided not to renew their licenses with us.  That’s the key for us, licenses.  We resell US vendor products in US dollars as many of them do not convert to Canadian dollars.  That onus has put on the reseller (us) to deal with the currency fluctuations which had not been an issue up until these past couple of years.

 

What are the impacts?

A good friend of mine is a Director of IT for a telecommunications company in Canada.  He mentioned to me that their greatest concern is that as the dollar drops, the investments in US-based software such as Salesforce.com or other American products charged in USD continue to go up in price without the US vendor even increasing their USD price.  What used to be $1500 a year per user is now $2,130 or more depending on the day of the renewal for their company.

As the cost of these services and imported products/services continue to increase in costs that will ultimately lead to price increases across the board to consumers.  The margins are shrinking quickly which means that the every day consumer will also be impacted in due course.

The good news

I like to be the half glass full kind of guy and I do see this as an opportunity.  Traditionally I’ve focused our business on acquiring clients here in Canada.  We are continuing to do that but we’ve now shifted our sights a bit more into the American market.  We have a huge advantage when dealing with American companies now as we can walk in with the same rate as our competitor in the United States.  The only different between our rates is that ours is in CAD and theirs is in USD.  Effectively our prospect is deciding between two experienced vendors but they will get an immediate 30% discount just by dealing with our company in Canada.

Exporting services and products is where it’s at for us.  While we are still finding success with many of our customers we have seen some opt not to renew licenses or products with us simply because their businesses have been so impacted by oil and the falling dollar.

We’re definitely not out of the woods and as I was doing a bit of research for this post today there is lots of chatter on social media channels about this.  For Canadians, we need to adjust our ways in business as there are opportunities to pivot just as we’ve had to do at my company.

Welcome to DerekMajor.com

It’s been awhile since I have spent time writing out a blog.  In previous years I spent a considerable amount of time building out a blog to provide either thoughts or opinions on my business or my personal entrepreneurial adventures.  I felt that in 2016 it was time to take it serious and build something that I feel can be of value to people.

This blog will be focused on providing insight, commentary and opinions on a variety of topics that include entrepreneurship and an area of my specialty, customer relationship management software.

I started my career in the I.T. field in 1999 with a dot com called Global Media and started out as a technical support rep.  Since then I’ve held a number of roles for a number of organizations over the years up until I started my own business called Eligeo in 2008.  Since 2008, I’ve been the CEO of Eligeo CRM Inc. This is a first short post but stay tuned as I start to evolve my blog over the coming weeks and months.  Thanks for checking in.