Super Five Cross-Over – Beware of the Sharks!
By Dean R. DeLisle
When we evaluate the companies that have the most successful marketing response, it boils down to two types: lucky and intentional. While we admire the lucky, they seem to have one or two good runs then typically have flat spots. For a while they are in the run of luck and very rarely capture the moment to bottle what they have or leverage it long enough to repeat for profitable growth. In contrast, the intentional have many traits or patterns of success that seem to shine through and we are lucky enough to observe this in our working environment.
“Thanks Harvey Mackay!”
One of those traits is what we call the Super Five Cross-Over. It boils down to a simple principle we found a necessity in the early days of CRM and it turned out to be a total pattern of genius. It all started in the early eighties when computers started to make the shift to storing data for the sales force, or at that time, electronic “Rolodex”. IBM then cut loose with the first few generations of PC’s, people found filing programs and ways to organize those contacts they collected outside the accounting systems, which at that time harbored all the data. Then, our good friend Harvey Mackay published, “Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive”. This was revolutionary at the time, for he spoke of the Mackay 66. This was a system for collecting 66 pieces of information on your customer or prospect to make sure you could in fact gather and know as much as possible to close the deal and continue to get business for life. Great concept! The gunslingers were already doing this, but unfortunately not capturing it anywhere (other than their heads) to be used for marketing or retention.
This would be critical to the IT departments, they would have a greater demand and pressure by companies to find ways to store this valuable profile data and put into the areas of programs soon to be known as Sales Force Automation and then CRM. Another great concept, however, there was a problem. We started walking into companies that spent more time creating screens, fields and policies, leaving nobody focused on forming strategic business ways of making use of this data to truly accelerate prospects and retain customers. It became an IT project and not a business solution. We had such an increased demand through those years that I even think we forgot why we were modifying all the accounting and database systems. However, the fields and screens were all created nonetheless.
“accounting controlled most of the data”
Then it happened! The first traces that data quality would soon become its own industry. Prior to this, accounting controlled most of the data. It was those stickler accounting folks that made us let them create the customer, vendor records and order records. We could only maintain certain areas of those records so as not to mess them up! All for good reason, for once the fields and screens started getting added, data lost its value. For one,
there was too much. Then the questions arose. Which fields should we really use? What’s it going to be used for beyond me? Why is it important to anyone else? Not to mention the mind -set of, “I’ll just do it the way it was”, “I’ll enter it later”, or “I’ll do it when they say something”. Consistency was non-existent!
We would walk into companies, go through their customer and prospect profile screens and ask one by one, “what’s this field used for, what’s that field used for?” and so on. 90% of the time nobody in the meeting would tell you the same answer. Fortunately, they created easier ways to evaluate the data and it’s usage, allowing us to help companies determine what was useful and what was not. The purpose of our story here is to illustrate what successful companies do and when they “Cross Over”?
“Just Pick Five”
Our discovery was to start by having them “Just Pick Five”. Five what? Five pieces of data that would be valuable demographic or psychographic information like: who they were to us, what are they interested in, how did they find us, to whom were they connected, and what industry were they in? This is just an example and could vary by company. Most important is to just pick five pieces of important data (besides the normal contact info) and commit as an organization, that it’s not only critical information, but we will all fight to maintain it! Yes, I mean FIGHT to maintain it. Because if we pay to collect it, pay people good money to maintain it and our marketing people pay good money to use it, then we must all fight to maintain it. It cannot be just one sales person, manager or owner, but it must be the entire organization.
Once you get the first five on a pattern of success, you and your organization have truly crossed over and I guarantee you will see the fruits of your labor through the success of converting leads and retaining customers. By the way, when you get the first five in that pattern of success, you can then begin to add more. Just take it in realistic chunks and do it right!
Best Wishes Swimming with the Sharks!