Communication is the key to success. Sounds simple, but it is not. We mostly communicate how we want to hear things, not necessarily how our customer wants/needs to hear things. That became obvious to us this week as we had pushback from three clients.
We pride ourselves in doing more than expected and our results have been outstanding. However, we have experienced struggles along the way. The struggles come from our lack of communicating what we are doing for our clients. We kept getting feedback that they didn’t know where we were on the project. Initially I took offense. I felt they were questioning our ability and our integrity. In reality they truly didn’t know where we had been, and where we were going. They didn’t know how it all fits together.
My business partner and I spoke about it on Friday afternoon, and we realized it was not them; it was us. We are not fans of Gantt charts. They set you up for missing dates because we know the least about the company and their needs when we start the project. However, they have a place in communication. My business partner couldn’t sleep without solving the issue. He built a project action chart with approximate dates for our clients. It was not only helpful for them, but it was helpful for me. We now have two sets of eyes on what we need to do to finish a project. It is also helpful for me to be able to show prospects what we do and how.
I’ll weigh in with this thought. The “what” and “how” are less important than the “why”. But they are still important. Without an understanding of why the client needs to find a solution, we would never get to the “what” and “how”.
Communication to a customer is a critical piece of the puzzle, and communication to our team is just as critical. My partner and I have the same values, but very different skills. It has taken us two years to get to this point in our business. And we are still learning how we work best as a team. We are both entrepreneurs and with that comes the challenges of independence. We are learning from each other and it's powerful. We have a focus on how to balance and blend “People, Technology, and Process” to help drive and measure leading indicators that lead to revenue and profit (lagging indicators).
The most challenging part of launching a CRM is adoption. Why do you think that is? Does the CRM add value for the sales team? Does it measure leading indicators or lagging indicators? How are you communicating the value so that the CRM is the carrot, and not the stick?
I’m excited about the future for our clients and for our business. We continue to learn, and we continue to communicate!