A crowded marketplace
We happen to be a company that works within the world of CRM. The CRM marketplace like many other IT-based industry sectors is very dynamic and fast-moving. A company wanting to make an impact in this already very crowded sector has to work hard to get noticed. Every industry has star performers. A common characteristic of outstanding performers is the ability to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack and to be able to maintain that differentiation on a long term basis.
The key to standing out amongst your peers is to really define and understand your differentiation so that you can focus on leveraging and improving it to make you really shine. This knowledge and understanding will then enable you to have meaningful marketing discussions with potential customers about what distinguishes you from the rest of the pack. Your differentiation maybe based on any number of factors. Some examples are knowledge, pricing, expertise in a certain area or just being really good at communicating. Whatever it is, just make sure you know what it is!
In the past, companies may have been able to set themselves apart based on size, distribution and by having the best, most expensive back office systems in place but because of the rise of digital technology the playing field has levelled a lot. Within the past 10 years, there has been a growing focus on customer service and creating memorable customer experiences. This is where we see our direction as a Microsoft Dynamics Partner and where we think we can make the most difference.
How have we set about differentiating ourselves?
Although we have over 25 years of collective experience in the CRM industry, Rocket CRM are a relative newcomer as a company. When we were forming the company, we knew that we had to find a way to set ourselves apart from other Microsoft Dynamics partners. Our collective experiences showed us that there was not a shortage of technical know-how or product expertise in the CRM industry but there was a very serious lack of something very simple, yet something very powerful.
What we found was that there was a real lack of delivery on promises. In a lot of cases, these were promises made by enthusiastic sales teams. In our experience salespeople are very good at selling the Utopian vision and brushing more difficult conversations under the carpet. Over the years we have delivered a lot of, what we call, “rescue projects”. These are relaunch projects where the customer has been burnt by another partner and is left feeling that what they ended up with was a long way from what they thought they had agreed.
So, we decided to focus on exactly that problem to mark us out as different. We decided that above all Rocket CRM will focus on being professional and thorough. We and our small team are held accountable for everything that comes out of our mouths (and our Exchange mailboxes!) and we will do the best job we can do for our customers. If we say I’ll call you on Tuesday at 10:30 you’ll get a call on Tuesday at 10:30. If we promise something we will do everything in our power to deliver on that promise. As the company gradually increases in size that ethos will be instilled into every employee and team member of Rocket CRM.
Our aim is to nurture quality relationships with our customers that last a long time, through being consultative and by communicating effectively and in a timely manner. We also made the conscious decision to not employ salespeople and not to be a “sales driven” organization. Obviously, we need to be profitable, but we think we can do that without rinsing our customers. We send experienced consultants out to meet with clients and potential clients. Very often the same consultant will be working with the client throughput the project so it is in his/her best interests to ensure that there is a clarity of expectation right from the start.
We recognize that growth comes naturally from this kind of approach. This kind of growth is organic because it mostly comes from referrals but it also comes at a manageable pace, which has worked very well for us so far.
Don’t lose sight of what makes you different
One of the major problems with differentiation is that as companies grow they can start to lose focus on the key differentiators that they may have had as a smaller company. The larger an organisation grows; the more bureaucracy and complex processes begin to develop within it until the company forgets what it was good at in the first place. Often, we see companies going through a re-branding as a way to try to re-ignite some of that spark. This is also why the terms “disruption” and “transformation” are being used a lot recently as a way to disrupt the normal way of things and start to do things differently and thus the cycle continues.
This gradual erosion of differentiation set against a backdrop of “business as usual” doesn’t necessarily need to happen. When a company is very much aware of its strengths and makes a conscious effort to put their fundamental differentiation front and centre of everything they do then the differentiation becomes ingrained into the very fabric of the company and becomes part of the culture of the organisation. It then becomes second nature to everyone within the organisation to deliver the differentiation within its products, processes and services.
As a modern small business (or start-up) owner, the challenge is to set apart your company so that it really stands out from your competitors and then to build those differentiators into everything you do.
If you want to read more about differentiation, Harvard Business Review has some very good articles worth reading.
Rocket CRM is the UK based Microsoft Partner. We work with businesses to help roll out successful CRM projects using Microsoft Dynamics 365. If you would like to have a chat with a “not” salesperson please get in touch.