CRM by the Numbers

Note collection

Welcome back to my blog series, The Cost of Doing Nothing where I share my experience working in a bookstore and my 20-20 hindsight analysis of how much better that time could have been had the store invested in a CRM solution, like Salesforce. In Part 1, I talked about how a CRM tool would have made achieving that all-important 360-degree-view of the customer doable. Here, I shift away from the customer and focus on how much time a CRM solution would have saved me and the other booksellers.

When I worked as the CRM Manager for the bookstore (yes, bookstores have CRM Managers), I had a bulletin board, a legal pad I’d found at the customer service desk, and a plucky attitude. Leads, contacts, events, opportunities, reporting on progress against goals, and inter-departmental communication all occurred via these tools.

And we did alright. We hosted field trips, partnered with local schools to hold book fairs, organized midnight release parties, holiday charity drives, and art shows. Then, I changed jobs, began working with Salesforce, and thought, “The last three years of my life could have been so much easier.”

That belief doesn’t just come from the knowledge that Salesforce is built to handle CRM and would have gone a long way toward streamlining and organizing my day-to-day activities, but from the realization that access to a dedicated CRM solution would have made me better at my job.

True, every few weeks, we managed to turn a bookstore into a hoppin’ place to be on a Friday night, but the resources, man hours, work and re-work it took to get even one of those events off the ground ensured we were always walking a knife edge of “something we’re doing because it’s fun,” and “something we’re doing because it’s a fun way to drive traffic.”

Hubspot’s “Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics” says that 73% of B2B leads that are sent to sales are useless. That ties out with my personal experience. In fact, that figure is probably generous. I used to spend a lot of time in an 8’x8’ office behind the cash registers calling my way through a stack of business cards that previous CRM managers and other booksellers had been haphazardly collecting for me. Intellectually, intuitively, experientially, I knew what I was looking for in a partnership and what sort of lead was more likely to be worth the time, but without a way of tracking or quantifying that information, it didn’t really matter.

That’s what a CRM solution provides. You enter a set of qualifying criteria, upload your leads, and your pool of potentials narrows meaningfully. Ballpark math says that I spent a third of my time making calls; that’s over 53 hours a month on lead cultivation. We hosted maybe two events per month. Each event meant roughly a 33% increase in daily sales (or a little over a 2% increase per month). I won’t say how much that was or how much I was making; but even at retail prices, that’s a lot of effort for not a huge ROI. If I’d been able to eliminate 73% of my calling time so that I was only spending 14 hours a month on cultivation, that would have been significantly less investment to earn back. It would have freed me up to lavish attention on those leads that were more inclined to ante up. And last, but not least, it would have drastically decreased my coffee consumption.

Check back later for the third and final part of this series where I talk about arguably the most important benefit of having a dedicated CRM solution, improving the customer experience.

Interested in learning more? Join our mailing list!

AndyWhitehouseAuthor: Andy Whitehouse