TODAY'S VIEWPOINT: TIME TO DO SOME SPRING CLEANING

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For our businesses, spring usually marks a time to embark in earnest on executing a fresh strategic business plan and achieving goals that were most likely set to improve upon the prior year’s performance. But this spring is different. Chances are few, if any, 2020 business plans contemplated a pandemic, especially one that included unprecedented and widespread quarantine and stay-at-home orders. After all, none of us has experienced anything like this in our lifetimes. Thus, our previous reference that it is time to re-write what defines success for your firm in 2020 and revisit the longer-term strategic playbook later in the year.

Albeit necessary, drastic containment and mitigation measures have resulted in a significant slowdown of economic activity and created global uncertainty with respect to what the future holds. The economic (and societal) disruption caused by COVID-19 is widespread and, at this point, unmeasurable.

The macro uncertainty has led to micro confusions among some business leaders. Business owners and sales executives are wondering, how should we be reacting? What should we be focusing on? And how should we be spending our time? Undoubtedly, there are business owners and executives out there – perhaps your competitors – that have resigned themselves to simply hoping for the best while “riding out the storm.” In short, inertia has set in. Don’t be let this be you.

Embrace the disruption and, in the spring spirit, use it as an opportunity to focus on aspects of your business that have historically and routinely been overlooked or marginalized. One client recently described his team’s renewed focus on spending more time “on” their business as opposed to “in” it. Think of it in terms of doing some spring cleaning for your business.

One area within your organization that could likely use some attention is your customer relationship management (CRM) system. Notwithstanding the very best of intentions, not even the most diligent organizations are able to regularly update their CRM data to keep it current.

According to statistics published by the software company Informatica in 2017, between 30-70% of information contained in CRM systems is inaccurate. That’s because up to 20% of postal addresses, 18% of telephone numbers, and 21% of CEOs change every year. Beyond that, each year, over a quarter of email addresses become outdated and approximately 66% of people either change companies or change job functions within companies. Yes, that’s right, your CRM is full of inaccurate data.

Whether it is you, or perhaps more likely a team effort amongst your producers, we suggest reviewing your CRM data for every existing client. Ensure that you have accurate contact information (name, address, office telephone and cell phone numbers, names of executives, email address(es)), as well as business type (consider adding Standard Industrial Classifications (SIC) codes or North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes), company size (revenue and number of employees), and carrier(s). Once you get the hang of it and have existing clients under control, expand the scope to include prospects and build that prospecting pipeline we’ve been talking about. Undertaking this effort now should provide you with a head start on your competition as you reconnect with clients and prospects as the economy reopens.

Although this may seem like a significant undertaking, now is the time to do it. When the spring turns to summer and the stay-at-home orders (hopefully) are lifted, you’ll be ready to leap forward with better data, an active prospect pipeline and better information for any modifications you are applying to your short-term business strategy.

If you have questions about Today’s ViewPoint or would like to learn more about ways to work “on” your business as opposed to “in” it, please email or call Brian Ambrosia, Vice President at 440.220.5430.

Investment banking services offered through MarshBerry Capital, Inc., Member FINRA and SIPC, and an affiliate of Marsh, Berry & Co., Inc.