In Pursuit of the 98% Rule in 21st Century CRMs

Jason StevensCRM, customer churn, Health Score, Scorecard

98 percent rule in CRMs
I need to spend my time running my business not figuring out technology Kelly Fallis, CEO, RemoteStylist

Kelly’s comments above reflect the key difference in “wants” and “needs” between a small business startup and an enterprise: Instant Gratification.

The revolution in cloud computing personified by Wix, Dropbox, WordPress, YouTube, Mail Chimp, Grasshopper and a number of other virtual platforms that allow one-click installation and use has made users spoilt in the Internet age. And, deservedly so after enduring decades of complexity in offline systems spearheaded by IBM, Microsoft, Seibel and a host of another big names that personify the style and temperament of the 20th Century.

At GetScorecard we generally find that users may transition through several CRM systems (after they initially form their small business) until they have the right mix of software and cost.   While bigger cloud platforms like Salesforce and Netsuite are examples of enterprise cloud software, they mimic many of the issues that users experienced in the late 1990s: complexity, cost and scale.

These evil triplets band together to impede sales managers efforts to pursue instant gratification inside a CRM.   This could include complex (or nil) web-to-lead form integration, confusing sales pipelines, minimal auto tasking or the failure to offer simple ways to automate customer churn out of existence through modern devices such as ‘triggers’.

Instant Gratification in the Internet Age can be interpreted in a number of different ways, particularly when discussing CRM functionality. But perhaps Marissa Mayer gets closest to the truth with her 98% rule laid out in her new book Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo.

She cites Xerox as an example: You can do several, complex tasks on a Xerox machine but 98% of the people simply wish to make a single photocopy, which is why the big GREEN button stands head and shoulders above the rest.

This visual functionality also finds its expression in the GetScorecard CRM that for instance utilizes a universal Health Score for individuals based on a company’s selling and marketing processes.   This is extrapolated in broader ways through a scorecard system, which allows sales leaders to benchmark sales rep performance against company averages.   In all instances, the system is engineered to increase customer retention and reduce customer churn by using automated triggers based on company business rules.

Mayer’s book cites other general examples that demonstrate this rule, including the redesigned Flickr social network that features a big, bold camera button right at the bottom of the screen. This is instantly recognizable and actionable to just about anyone using the cloud platform. This simplicity and elegance is generally lacking in bigger cloud CRM systems today and a contributing factor as to why many startups fail to reduce churn in the customer databases.

According to the Harvard Business Review, a comprehensive CRM system can (in theory) automate just about every aspect of a company’s relationship with its customers, from all the activities needed to target customers through those for product development, sales, service, and retention.

But, it cautions, smart companies focus their implementations carefully, choosing which segments of the cycle and which functions within that segment are likely to deliver the greatest ROI.

The problem is not all small businesses or startups have the time or energy to be smart.   In this regard, its falls upon the CRM vendor to produce a system that enables instant gratification and allows a sales manager to be up and running in minutes, in the same vein as Dropbox or Mail Chimp.

Based on CRM implementation failure rates, this is largely not the case but it is the primary motivation for the vision, development and implementation of Getscorecard and our ambition to satisfy Marissa Mayer’s 98% rule.