I’ve had a couple more validations of this theory in the last few weeks, so thought i’d best write it up. My hope is that we can use the upcoming VRM Workshop to get the VRM story refined and presented so that we can reduce the number of meetings required to get to the detail of why an organisation should consider ‘VRM enabling’ itself.
So, here’s my theory:
It takes three, fairly in-depth meetings before a smart, typically senior CRM/ Customer Management/ Customer Experience executive in a large customer-facing organisation to genuinely ‘get’ VRM and where we are coming from with the project and mind-set – and thus what’s in it for them.
Here’s how it usually pans out in my experience:
Meeting One: This usually happens on the back of an existing contact who has heard/ read some snippet about ‘VRM’, or can also be in one of the more in-depth, small-group presentations that I and others have run in the last 12 months or so (mainly UK).
The outcome of this meeting, from the perspective of the CRM/ CM Exec is usually along the lines of ‘These people are well meaning, are obviously committed to their ‘hobby’, but a bit mad and naive as to what us big organisations have to deal with; but at least i’ve done my bit for keeping an eye on innovation in my space’. Alternately, the shorter meetings can be driven by ‘don’t these people realise that we’ve just spent a zillion pounds on our CRM application and need to get that to work because we’ve told everyone it will’.
Most CRM….meet VRM discussions finish at this stage….for now anyway.
Meeting Two: Let’s say that at best one in twenty of the above meetings end up with a follow up meeting, and that many of these are through personal ongoing contacts (where CRM/ CM work is going on in parallel); or that sufficient time has passed since meeting one for an update to be of possible value.
This is the meeting during which ‘the penny drops’….but typically only in connection with a very small nugget of opportunity, often one which is front of mind for the exec at that point in time. Examples would include:
– yes, I know our data quality is shockingly bad….., you mean we could work with our customers to fix that…..? Or
– so you mean we could accept these highly qualified leads into our existing CRM system with hardly any tweaks….? Or
– so our customers can help us refine/ define our new products if we engage in the right way?
The outcome of this second meeting is usually….’let me think about that’; and ‘is there anything up and running as a genuine VRM application that I can have a look at?’
Meeting Three: So now we’re down to a very small number of ‘almost converts’. These third meetings are typically much more ‘CRM/ CM/ CE Exec driven’ and are about:
– where do I see this stuff? (i.e. we are usually showing some of the behind the scenes development projects at this stage)
– how can I access it to play around with it, prototype it and build proofs of concept in my domain?
– can you meet up with our innovation folks to talk about a possible pilot?
Underpinning these third meetings is usually the realisation that what we VRM folks are talking about actually has a very sound economic argument, and also that we are about ‘win win’ rather than consumer activism for the sake of it.
What happens after meeting three? I don’t know to be honest, we’ve not had any yet that i’d count as such – although there are a couple lined up for June and July. I think for those meetings the challenge falls back onto the VRM community, or those of us building VRM type solutions – we need to be able to answer the ‘meeting three challenges’ loud and clear.
What does that mean for Project VRM and our workshop this week? I think we need to get better at telling our big and complex story, probably in bit sized chunks and in accessible ways – a good web site for example. I think we also need to focus on getting some real, live pilots and proofs of concept out there to be engaged with. Let’s pick up on that on Friday.
Lastly, i’d have to add that the record for ‘getting it’ is actually nothing like my three meeting theory – it was about twenty minutes and the only question at the end of that was ‘where do we sign up’?
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