Welcome to the Cisco Networking Professionals Ask the Expert conversation for small and medium business. For a one-week period, small and medium business and technology leaders and Cisco engineers are available to continue discussing issues and ideas from scheduled live web broadcasts.
This is an opportunity to learn with experts Barry Trailer and Jimmy Ray Purser how to maximize your prospecting efforts. Barry Trailer, a partner with CSO Insights, is an expert in sales processes and methodologies for the small to medium-sized business market. Jimmy Ray Purser is a hands-on engineer with over 16 years of field experience. He has planned and implemented WAN, LAN, WLAN solutions for organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, U.S. and NATO armed forces, organizations using Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, and Internet-based businesses. As a Cisco Techwise TV product expert, he specializes in foundational technologies such as wireless networking, routing, and switching. Jimmy holds two U.S. patents for Ethernet security algorithms and has two other patents pending.
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They might not be able to answer each question due to the volume expected during this event. Our moderators will post many of the unanswered questions in other discussion forums shortly after the event. This event lasts through September 27, 2006. Visit this forum often to view responses to your questions and the questions of other community members.
Re: ASK THE EXPERT - TAKE THE PAIN OUT OF PROSPECTING
From Mr. Barry Trailer:
The question of where to begin with CRM and how to avoid it becoming an expensive contact management solution is a good place to start. Too many companies have embarked on the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) journey only to find they've paid too much for basic contact management.
My answer will be necessarily general since you did not provide any specifics about your company/situation. First, however, in every case is identifying the specific CRM challenge you wish to address. Is it: lead generation/incubation, lead distribution, consistent communication with existing customers, greater visibility into the sales pipeline, a single repository of customer information (including service tickets) or something else?
Again, too many companies have simply launched initiatives generally hoping for things to be improved with enabling technology. The CRM home runs are from companies that zeroed in on specific business pains. These pains were not uncomfortable, not undesirable, they were absolutely UNACCEPTABLE.
Taking 9 days to turn out a proposal, having a 23% error rate in orders shipped are just two examples that companies focused on resolving with big time payoff.
Second, a lot depends on the make-up of your sales organization. Do you have ten people spread out across the US or 3 people working out of a single location? Regardless of the number of reps you have, in the SMB space it's probably reasonable to assume you have limited IT resources. If this is the case you may wish to look at the current crop of On-Demand providers.
The best known in this group is Salesforce.com. Less well known but also hosted are Sugar CRM, SalesNet and Net Suite. The last of these offers tie in to accounting and other back office systems which can be useful for a smaller business wanting to organize all operations within a single application.
Hope this helps. If you need more, please indicate what specifically you're wanting to address/improve with your CRM initiative.
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