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March 1, 2007
Jon Inaba, director of sales at DirectNet | as told to Colin Beasty
Secret of My Success: Peace, Love, and Unity
Tell us a little about your company. DirectNet is the nation's leading provider of server management solutions. We help companies manage their data centers, not necessarily on the hardware level (such as the servers themselves), but more with the appliances and software that integrate the data. This includes everything from contact and customer data to asset management.
What problems were you facing? Like many companies we had explored CRM previously, and this was our second pass at an implementation. What made our situation unique was, our company was divided into three independent sales units, two of which had strong e-commerce presence. They all had their own entrepreneurial spirit, so to speak, but as the company grew we began to realize that these units fit together and would have to be integrated. We also needed a solution that would integrate all three sales departments with our online customers, and tie that into marketing. It took us approximately three years to get our heads around the process of why and how to integrate them. While most companies come out of the planning stages with one set of problems, one set of [RFPs], we multiplied all of that by three.
How did you select Green Beacon? We found a consultant here that bought into our philosophy of doing plenty of background research about what CRM is and how best to go about implementing it. In other words, we're going to stop assuming we know what the hell we were doing. That's sometimes difficult to do. With our previous implementation, we made every single mistake possible with CRM, so this time, we wanted an expert to guide us. That consultant helped us look at the top 10 CRM solutions on the market, but at the end of the day we ended up choosing Onyx CRM and Cognos for BI, two companies that our then-consultant did not represent. We switched consultants, and selected Green Beacon.
How did the consultant assist you? Green Beacon was fantastic--great communicators. We had a challenging environment to work in, a sales-oriented environment where people and departments work independently of one another. It's also an environment where anybody can say anything, as long as it's done responsibly, so challenges are frequent and common. Somebody calling somebody else out happens on a daily basis around here. The bumps in the road that a CRM implementation creates only provide more chances for that. When you have a consistent team of consultants behind you that communicate well, that make sure things take place smoothly, it makes things much easier. As a result, nothing during the implementation took us by surprise, the type of surprises that make you want to start choking people.
How did you get end user buy-in? We did a wonderful job of training. We conducted four conference room training sessions so employees had an opportunity to see the software three and four times. They were then given 30 days to use it. It's not until the end users actually get their hands on the product that you flesh out those difficult-to-see issues, like we didn't realize this part didn't connect to that part because we didn't see the business logic behind it. By starting training early and often, you get a handle on those problems.
What have been the main rewards? We're currently six months into the implementation, and we've already rolled out automated lead routing, custom order tracking and management, and automated dashboard reporting on certain KPIs thanks to the tie-in with Cognos BI. Our sales force is fully integrated for the first time ever. By that I mean we took all three inside sales teams, turned them into one, then took our solutions team and did an overlay with them so our solution team is integrated with an inside salesperson supporting them. Our inside sales effectiveness has exploded.
What are your plans for the future? Moving forward, we're going to focus on marketing and sales tracking so we can stay in good contact with customers. Over 60 percent of our revenue is attributed to recurring sales, so that's a biggy. Being able to do things such as triggering flags on a specific product, warranty, or an upgrade will allow us to provide much better service for our customers.
5 Fast Facts
>> AGE OF THE INITIATIVE? It's 3 years old. >> WHO WAS INVOLVED? All of our sales department heads and team leaders, which includes our director of sales, our operations manager, the solution sales team leader, and our internal sales team leader. >> BEST IDEA? DirectNet used Onyx and the accurate, timely information it provides to wholly integrate our 3 business divisions into a single streamlined company. >> BIGGEST SURPRISE? The dramatic increase in collaboration between departments, because that was one of our business's struggles. >> BIGGEST CRM MISTAKE MADE? Don't bend business process to match the product.
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