Succeeding with simplicity, short+sharp+succinct=successful

Image Credit, Mr Ho, UEA, Norwich
At a recent dinner, where the marketing director for a major IT corporation was the speaker, many diners were heard to say “I didn’t understand what she was going on about but it certainly sounded very impressive”.

How many of us have had to endure someone enthusiastically explaining complex products and services in ways that appear complex, remain a mystery and seem of little interest; although we do have a niggling suspicion that there’s something of real value buried in there?

How often do sales people have to use an overly complicated “tool” that’s there “to help them” but in reality is of little benefit and takes them away from doing the real stuff of selling, and winning deals.

It doesn’t have to be this way, people do succeed in summarising complexities,. In the film Crazy People, remember Dudley Moore’s fictional campaign for Volvo, “they’re boxy but they’re safe”. Simple is powerful and often refreshing.

When PDA’s for police were made topical by Gordon Brown many years ago most suppliers chose to explain the connectivity, the technology, the flexibility to do all sorts of tasks in thousands of words. Anite took a different line, they hit the nail on the head with “It saves an hour of admin for every officer on every shift” which certainly got the attention of the Assistant Chief Constables, the ones with the budget.

It can be the same with process, it’s not often that 18 separate steps really need to be mapped out with “gates” at every stage. We’ve found that in selling  the simple…

  • Be interesting
  • Be curious
  • Be persuasive
  • Be sure to agree an action.

… approach works remarkably well much of the time.

So why is it that so many companies make heavy weather of what could be much simpler? In many cases I’m sure there’s an element of ‘job creation’ or justification but in fairness there is no denying that making complex stuff stunningly simple takes time, and skills, that may not be available.

We’d like to challenge the complexity status quo, the ‘handle turning’ prioritising that rules simplification out of play.  The benefits of good clear communication between sellers and buyers in a busy, noisy world should be obvious and a priority but it’s often tough to say to your bosses and colleagues, “I don’t get it”.

Simple, pragmatic tools and processes that sales people will use have real value.

Simple is more likely to be successful than complex.

Make simple, make time, if you can, do it;

but, if you can’t, get help!

“I’m sorry this is a long letter, I didn’t have time to write a short one.”
Blaise Pascal


What’s in a name

Names are special, our ancestors were very careful who they shared their names with, possession of someone’s name carried power. Names, thanks to history, culture and the way we are wired conjure up all manner of associations and meanings; they are a fundamental part of our identity.

In business it’s the same, a name may represent all the hard work that’s been put in to build a presence, a brand, a reputation, and as anyone who tries to start a business called Mcdonalds will tell you, it’s often jealously guarded.  But now we live in an online world we have to make our business visible, identifiable and accessible, in practise that’s through a search engine, which adds a new dimension.

We chose the company name years ago, “Adara Associates”,it meant nothing to anyone other than a crusty old sea dog who could remember celestial navigation; it gave us the freedom to do what we like. Over the years we’ve linked it with our tagline ‘the sales pipeline engineers” which succinctly and clearly describes to our target market what we do; there may have been the odd confused oilman but in general it’s worked remarkably well.

So when we first developed an alternative to the CRM’s that our clients disliked so much we thought carefully and in a moment of inspiration called it ‘The Adara Pipeliner’. “That’s great” we thought ”we’re cleverly communicating the manifestation of what we do, all packaged up in a hosted system.”

It turned out that although existing clients related to the name it didn’t work for people that didn’t know us,   nobody Googles “Pipeliner” if they need a better CRM, they type in “CRM”.

Obvious in hindsight!

We’d been reluctant to take on the CRM companies head to head as the whole sector is so (deservedly) unpopular but after a massive wave of development over the past year so many people told us that we had a real alternative, we realised we had to become more proactive and the name “Pipeliner” just wasn’t going to hack it.

We did some research on competitor positioning as well as use of search terms and were quite amazed by what we found, or rather the lack of it. Frequently the basics of SEO had been ignored and positioning was a variation of  “just another crm”

So, another round of drinks and deep thought and in a moment of inspiration came up with the name “AdaraCRM”. People who work with us say good things about Adara and we believe in our CRM, so it made sense to reflect that ownership and pride. Once bitten, twice shy, this time we did some market testing, Uh oh, folk liked the CRM tag and it made sense from an SEO perspective but it didn’t differentiate our offering clearly.

So, another round of drinks, and a serious discussion around the fundamentals. We’d developed a clean, coherent and powerful CRM that supported sales conversations. It worked the way that good sales people do. It supported a dialogue, pulled together the key content in the myriad of different ways of communicating that are available, and increasingly relevant, in today’s socially networked world.

What should we call a CRM that works conversationally?

Time for the “exactly what it says on the tin” moment.

Welcome to ConversationalCRM. We’ve built a new web site, tried to get a balance between being search-engine friendly and delivering a positive experience to visitors. If you look at  you can be the judge of whether we’ve succeeded or not (either way we’d genuinely love to hear what you think!)

So what’s the moral of this rambling confession? Well, we think that in an online world it’s not what you’d like prospects to search for that’s important; it’s what they actually do that matters.

What they actually do can be readily understood using the plethora of tools out there; and you don’t have to be an SEO expert to use them.

Names and their associations matter and they have to relate to the terms people actually use, this is one instance (maybe the only one) where the customer really is always right.

Why do we put up with CRM’s that don’t deliver what we need?

dv495045What do you hear whenever you speak with, well to be honest, pretty much everyone in sales or marketing, about their CRM systems?

Typically we hear of out-of-date information and the best sales folk proving to be the very worst at keeping records, (they just don’t get enough value from it to put in the effort).

We hear of marketing departments investing loads of effort, time and money in keeping databases maintained, polishing masses of data, which never gets used.

We hear of weak opportunity management.

We hear story after story of shelf-ware, well-intentioned businesses investing in software or services, which worship the data (and the poorly automated process) at the expense of the people.

We’re pushed to find companies that are really happy with their systems and getting value, but if you’re the exception we’d be keen to hear from you. If you’re still looking for an answer and think you should be able to get enterprise quality CRM at an SME-friendly price maybe we can help. Take a couple of minutes and have a look at this … A quick, but informative, video!

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”     Charlie Mingus