Sage Summit 2015: How CRM can overcome marketing hurdles

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An email pop-up notice and more mobile information access are two examples of how companies have added efficiency to the workplace — and overcome various challenges.

These, and other ideas, were put forth at the Sage Summit in New Orleans, that attracted 8,000 attendees for three days’ worth of sessions, discussions and keynote for small and medium businesses.

In one intriguing session, four panelists addressed the topic “How customer relations management overcame sales/marketing challenges”.

Panelists for this session included: Hugo Fueglein, director of strategy and business development, RM2 (New Jersey); Ruben Thanaruban, Assistant Director of Information Technology, Ontario Real Estate Association (Toronto); Karen Zfaty, Pubic Agency Retirement Services, Director, Marketing Info Systems (California); Andy Klinger, Communications director, Marceco (Michigan).

One challenge that Klinger addressed was the pace in which crucial paperwork signatures were not being implemented in a timely fashion. To solve the problem, his company integrated into the employees’ email software a pop-up reminder for that precise purpose.

He also noted how leadership may at times need to shift their management styles so as not to sound like they’re persuading employees; it is better to simply instruct them.

“Salespeople don’t like to be sold to, so they have to be told to,” added Klinger, of Marceco Ltd.

Zfaty explained that Pubic Agency Retirement Services is in the business of pension design, implementation, administration and compliance for public agencies – ie: cities, counties, school districts, community colleges and special districts. Zfaty designed, implemented, and administers Sage CRM for this pension administration firm.

“To any CEO, I would say that having a clean database that tracks who your clients and prospects are, what you have done in the past, what you are doing currently, and helps show what and where you should be doing business is critical,” said Zfaty.

“Keeping it current and clean is key – and requires considerable effort, time, resources.  But it’s made a great deal of difference for us in our ability to see and do those things profitably.”

Fueglein said that up until recently, every Friday department heads would spend two hours on the phone keeping each other up to speed on the week’s progress. Now, with staff’s mobile access of information across nine time zones, there’s less time spent on rehashing, less time on updates, and more time on strategy.

Key discussion now revolves around “milestones to be met in the sales stage.”

RM2 focuses solely in the B2B market, a solutions provider that, according to Fueglein, “helps businesses improve their supply chains in terms of sustainability, cost and cleanliness through the use of our composite pallet and tracking system.”

His advice for the B2B CEO?

“It is important to have universally adopted processes in your company so you can best serve your customers in an efficient and consistent manner. Through the adoption of processes and the systems that enforce them, you are able to measure your strengths and weaknesses and drive continuous improvement.”

Ruben Thanaruban, Assistant Director of Information Technology, Ontario Real Estate Association is responsible for the operation and support of IT services provided by OREA to its customers, partners and staff members.

OREA provides membership services to about 64,000 real estate agents who are either business owners or work for brokerages across Ontario.

Some of the core B2B services provided are: OREA Standard Forms – Agreements of Purchase andSale; the legal forum – providing expert answers on real estate issues and questions; and government relations initiatives – undertaken at provincial and federal level on issues impacting realtors and their clients.

They also provide real estate and leadership courses as well as publish Edge, the latest news and industry trends impacting Realtors.

Such an undertaking requires forethought and strategy. “Plan new initiatives thoroughly before you implement them,” he offers as advice to the B2B CEO.

But before any planning is launched, a good question to ask is: “is it going to be too complex or messy?”

Reportage and photo by Dave Gordon

See our recent coverage of Sage Summit via our recap of Chad Hurley’s keynote and an overview of the loyalty-program session

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