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A Slice of the Good Life: San Francisco--SymphonyRPM
Murphy's Law
For the rest of the June 2003 issue of CRM magazine please click here
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As vice president of sales Murphy oversees 13 account executives and spends much of his time policing the sales force automation system, gently reminding his sales reps to add any and all new information, files, email, and contact details that will add to the depth of a customer fact sheet. Today he starts his day by reviewing his schedule and looking in UpShot for information on customers he will be discussing with his sales team throughout the day. Despite his role as enforcer Murphy claims that the UpShot system is not only working, but is a success. That knowledge isn't based on complex ROI measurements or sophisticated analysis, it's based on the fact that each and every one of his account executives is using the system every day (albeit with a little prodding). And for Murphy, who's used other, more complicated CRM systems in the past, this is proof enough of success. "Salespeople are very busy people and the fact that they are using UpShot all the time is proof the system is working," he says, noting that while perusing the system this morning he saw that all the customer files had been updated from yesterday's meetings and phone briefings. Murphy, along with SymphonyRPM CEO Richard Bergmann, was responsible for selecting UpShot for the 60-person company, which currently has 25 users on the CRM system. He says it is important that the CRM solution is easy to use, intuitive, and has links to Outlook. Prior to using UpShot Murphy dealt with a cumbersome, complex spreadsheet with tabs representing each of his account executives so he could keep track of them and their accounts. "It was way too labor intensive and inefficient," he says. Symphony RPM, a subsidiary of Symphony Technology Group, develops real-time performance management software. Because the company is selling very expensive, sophisticated, customized applications to Fortune 500 companies, everyone needs to share information and be on top of all customer contact and progress. Murphy adds that because the company has a long sales cycle--anywhere from two to nine months--it is imperative that files for potential customers are updated with any new information.
A Harvard MBA, Murphy says he works long hours and likes having tools like UpShot that streamline processes, allowing him to spend more time with his wife and one-year-old daughter. His schedule is packed with meetings--usually five or six per day. Most of the meetings are at his company's headquarters in Palo Alto, CA, and are held to discuss strategy and the status of customers. Today he has five on-site meetings scheduled--most to discuss ongoing strategies for attempting to close potential deals with large customers. Before each meeting Murphy goes into UpShot, looks for the customer fact sheet, and prints it out. During the meetings he takes notes, jotting down thoughts and action items. Following the meeting he returns to his office to prepare for the next meeting. He doesn't enter any of his notes from the previous meeting into UpShot. That is something he expects--and reminds--the account executive in charge of that particular client to handle. Murphy will check back in the system later in the day to make sure the information from the day's meetings has been added. Today Murphy reminded his staff no less than a dozen times to enter new information. He says he spends so much time, today and every day, making sure the system is updated because three to four times a week he's out of the office on client calls, and seven or eight days out of every month he's traveling to visit with clients and potential customers, and needs to have the most updated information in the system. Since UpShot is a hosted CRM solution, he can check in from any device with a Web browser. "I wouldn't expect to miss a key point of information for any more than an hour," Murphy says. "If something happens with a customer I need to know right away." This applies to both when he's on the road and in the office. UpShot's notification feature lets Murphy be alerted in a variety of ways, including via his Blackberry handheld device while he's traveling. He also has the notification set to go off for major announcements, such as if a deal has been disqualified. Luckily, that hasn't happened today. Despite having all the customer information right on his computer screen in UpShot, the affable Murphy still likes to call each of his account executives by telephone every day. At the end of each call he again reminds them to put everything in UpShot. Today, when he wasn't in or preparing for meetings, he was on the phone, calling his sales reps. His final meeting regards a Fortune 100 company that SymphonyRPM is trying to land as a customer. The hour-long session brings together a variety of people from different departments to discuss an upcoming presentation to the potential customer. Again, Murphy takes lots of notes on his fact sheet, but this time things are little different--he is the account executive for this particular account. And when he returns to his office he reminds himself to spend the next 30 or so minutes entering all the new data into UpShot. Or else he might find himself breaking the other Murphy's Law. Why CRM Steve Murphy and his sales team at SymphonyRPM use CRM to:
  • manage accounts
  • track leads and opportunities create reports
  • integrate with Outlook for appointments, to-do lists, and email
  • gain access to customer information remotely from handheld devices
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