27 minutes | Jul 7th 2020

SANY America: Steve Smith – Why and How Manufacturers Should Build Out Their Sales CRM

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Steve Smith of SANY America joins us to discuss the ups and downs of building a CRM for your sales team. How do you make sure they actually use it?Danny:Okay, let’s jump into today’s episode. I have Steve Smith here, Director of Marketing from SANY America, Steve, thanks so much for joining us today.Steve:For sure, yeah, for sure.Danny:So for those who aren’t with the illustrious Steve Smith and SANY America tell us a little bit about who you are.Steve:Steve Smith, lifelong equipment junky, flunky, kind of got into marketing by default ’cause we didn’t have a marketing department.Danny:I’ve never heard that before.Steve:So, yeah, yeah, I know it’s standard in our industry, but we started from the ground up, I had to learn everything from the group up, but managed a couple hundred people and got into digital marketing back in the late ’90s which at the time was, we made a decision that relationships were going to be managed differently and so we just got full boat into the internet and the rest is history, as they say. But so now I work with heavy equipment manufacturers and dealers and help them improve their brand presence.Danny:That’s awesome. So what I want to talk about for today’s episode, and there’s a lot of things, obviously you’ve got a tremendous amount of experience, we were talking about off camera that, I mean you were into this back in the late ’90s, I mean who else was doing that at that time?Steve:Nobody that I know of.Danny:Yeah.Steve:Yeah, at the time, yeah. There was a precursor to, I would say I was doing Google before Google was Google. By that I mean there was a company called Overture and Overture had these analytics that they used, key word, bars and charts, and there were two and three, four-word phrases that if you match the content of that search term into the title tag and the body of your website you would own the internet. You could have four or five, you know, first-place positions and that’s not true today ’cause things have shifted–Danny:Sure.Steve:But it’s possible with good strategy to make a huge difference in digital so it’s doable it just takes a lot of work and strategy.Danny:Yeah, so I would ask, you know, back then and then to now, like how important is it to be able to have that digital strategy, that online strategy?Steve:Fundamentally the most important thing marketing wise.Danny:Why is that?Steve:I just think that people engage with brands differently. I think that they do a lot of research in the beginning, they’re kind of qualified before they buy, and we can’t control that buyer journey. And so if you’re creating a good first impression, and you’re doing this throughout the course of their interaction with your company I think by default they’re going to give you a chance.Danny:Yeah.Steve:Absolutely.Danny:Yeah, you know- you mentioned the whole buyer’s journey and how that’s all shifted and it’s dramatically shifted, you know, even before we were talking about the Amazon effect, I mean just as consumers you know it’s like we are all, I feel like we’re, we are conditioned to buy differently, and it’s like this speed and I want this information and I want it now.Steve:Yeah.Danny:And it’s no more of let me make a phone call to a rep and try to set up, to get some preliminary information I’m going to wait however long it takes them to get back we want that immediately, we want it right now.Steve:Yeah, yeah.Danny:So, you know one of the other things that I think was interesting that I really want to talk about on today’s episode a little bit more is really this whole thing around CRM, okay, so, you know–Steve:A lot of thoughts on CRM.Danny:Yeah, a little bit huh?Steve:A lot of thoughts, yeah.Danny:So, well let’s, you were telling me, you were telling me a story actually of GoldMine back in the day and I remember actually which GoldMine now, the new founder did a– there’s a new CRM called Nimble, Nimble CRM which is pretty cool, but how you were rolling out with that and I feel like most manufacturers, you know, we talked to a lot and they’re still using an Excel spreadsheet.Steve:Yeah, yeah.Danny:Right, so, why have you guys transitioned over to that and like what, you know, what does that look like?Steve:Well we– back in the late ’90s and early 2000, we had a sales staff of, say, 28 people, all doing 28 things differently. And so we started– I know that’s probably a common thing and so we had this a, this vision of, we had a very big territory selling into what was arguably at the time the sixth largest economy in the world selling a commodity-based industrial product, a forklift, and we were told that we needed 40 some odd people to cover our territory but we decided that we, that was too many people, there’s overhead, there’s more management there’s more–Danny:Right.Steve:Cost burden to do that and so we said, you know what if we own the internet, we focus on our target market, ’cause not all the market that we were told to cover was targetable, it wasn’t an addressable market which I think is a big distinction. We needed an automated system that’s predictable and visible but we didn’t want to overbuild it ’cause salesmen sometimes, or salesmen or woman, they want to, they don’t always do the right thing, their hearts are always in the right place I think–Danny:Sure, yeah.Steve:And so we developed the CRM system back in 2001, 2002, at the time was GoldMine an Enterprise Level 6.7 Edition, I remember it like it was yesterday, time goes by fast, and we hooked that system up to our website and, our fully optimized website, and got leads and pushed leads out to flip phones so that we’re getting leads on our phone and that was a revelation. And just by automating those processes and defining the amount of fields that we wanted the sales staff to put into the field, ’cause I’m a big believer in CRM at its core it’s to help you manage customer relationships but it’s not designed to help management manage salesmen, and so the distinction is different because we just don’t like to pull out of, as a former equipment guy, we don’t like to put any more than is necessary in the system.Danny:Right, yeah.Steve:So we designed a system, my quarterly speech was, “Garbage In and Garbage Out,” where I would say, “If you put in this kind of information here’s what we’re going to do on your behalf.” At the time, this dates me a little bit too, we were starting to do emails with the information, this is in the early ’90s so we had a good email system that was already going out and we had, or a, recommendation engines so we’re already promoting our other products and services that people have and we’re able to track all these analytics through our CRM system, but it was garbage in garbage out.Danny:Yeah.Steve:As long as they gave us good information we would help the salesmen penetrate new accounts in their territory and once they saw that we were actually not acting as a Big Brother for them, then they’re like, okay, now I’m all in and the whole thing sort of just took off. And at the end of our, we had sort of a five-year lead study that we did we went from 430 qualified leads to 4,800 plus qualified leads and the salesmen bought into it, and management bought into it, but the key at the end of the day was we didn’t overbuild the system and we didn’t over complicate it because I think that’s… in my experience, people overbuild CRM systems, they have the best of intentions, but very seldom are they actually installed and done correctly,Danny:Yeah, I think that’s a huge thing. We hear a lot of times, you know I’m not trying to knock a big-name CRM, I’m not, I won’t mention, but we all know who we’re talking about.Steve:I will.Danny:Yeah.Steve:No.Danny:Yeah, I mean, look it’s, we’re talking about Salesforce in case you didn’t, you didn’t pick up on that, for our audience there, but… Salesforce is a great product, it really is, but it’s like the Ferrari.Steve:Yeah.Danny:And if you don’t know how to drive per se, or you know, it’s like: don’t get the Ferrari. And then we see that a lot where it’s like “We have to have a CRM! We go from Excel spreadsheet, Where are our leads from this trade show?” “Well, it’s in Susie’s drawer.” “Well, let’s dig,” you know.Steve:Stack of business cards.Danny:Yeah exactly.Steve:Yeah, like that.Danny:And then we, you know, you get into this thing it’s like, “Hey well, and it just falls apart,” and I think a key thing you mentioned was buy-in. Particularly on the, you know, I think management, upper management typically is like, “Yes, this is great because we’ve got all these metrics and we have all these great things we can look at.” But where the wheels fall off a lot is that actual, that behavioral change. That buy-in. So how, talk to us, talk to me a little bit on how you, some of the tactics and strategies you’ve used to be able to kind of, you mentioned that a little bit like taking the data and reducing that, but how long did that take and what does that look like?Steve:You know, because I had people come out and visit our dealership at the time and they would say, “Hey this is great.” Our dealership was studied as a best-practice digital dealership back in the early 2000s. And they would say, “How long does it take for you to get all this stuff in place and working in buy-in?” I said, “A couple years,” at th
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