PADI Worldwide's CRM Plans Surface

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  • Why CRM?
    We needed to tie all our departments together. We have 4,000 dive centers and resorts, and then
    we have 120,000 professional members. Sales, accounting, membership, and training and education--they never knew what each other was saying to the customers. It was embarrassing to sit in a meeting and have managers say, "I talked to this dive store," and someone else would say, "You did? We talked to them, too." Instead of repeatedly talking to them as individual departments, we needed to talk to them as a company.

  • When did you first implement the technology?
    We've been using it for about a year and a half, with 160 users in Canada, the Americas, and Europe.

  • What were your key criteria for selecting a CRM vendor?
    We'd launched ACT! to the sales department, but the others weren't benefiting. When a business partner of mine found out we were very unhappy, he suggested that since we were already using Exact's Macola for internal controls we make a switch to their e-Synergy product. The fact that they're both from the same vendor makes a big difference. There's no one to point fingers at each other.

  • How did you gain executive and user buy-in?
    We have a budget cycle approved in fall for the next year, but it was summer when I first saw this opportunity. I had to push it through ahead of the budget cycle. So I invited top-level executives to come to a demo of the product. Luckily, our CEO is very tied into technology. He saw that it could do so much for us globally. He said we should buy 100 seats to see what it could do.

    I also made sure the [vice president] of sales was at that meeting--as well as the people that I knew to be the most influential to tell their reports. I also did networking with managers who weren't at the meeting.

  • What were the key challenges or obstacles, and how did you overcome them?
    You have to answer "What's in it for me?" If you can show [users] that putting in their notes lets the regional manager see [the customer information] before he walks into a store and there's a benefit in that, they get it.

    So from every department I had a person who jumped up and down immediately. With them, I created a "champions group." We'd meet once a month, talk about new ideas, and they'd go back and talk to their own department. That way, if someone has a question they can go to their department's champion first.

  • What were the main results and rewards of CRM?
    The first thing [the salespeople] do now is check e-Synergy; they can see all the information on contacting the customer. They're not calling blindly anymore. Now the calls are more informative.

    Our regional managers visit all our stores globally, filing Trip Reports that get tied into the customer file. Internal sales reps now have a quick link to see the most current reports. Knowing what other people in the company said to a customer, and what the regional managers did in the field, a [well-timed] follow up could initiate a sale.
    For processes and workflow this has really made a difference. We wanted to help our members redeem points, and...the very first thing that came up was, "Use e-Synergy." On their own, three different departments came up with how to use the tool.

  • What are your next steps?
    We're expanding the system out to England and Australia, with 360 users total by the end of the year. The next step is to allow our customers to come in and see their own information [by] creating a customer portal. That will make the members more self-sufficient and reduce customer service calls.

    Lessons Learned

  • Ask, and you shall receive. You have to solicit feedback--otherwise, you may miss the important questions.

  • Pay attention to personalities. Some people think of themselves as techies--let them. That excitement can be infectious.

  • Play both sides. Sometimes a manager has the influence; sometimes her secretary does. Convince the people who convince others.

  • Plan ahead. Before the rollout, soften the impact a bit by giving people a sense of what's to come.
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