Gill Walker profile image

Gill Walker

Owner Director, Principal CRM Business Consultant at

Member Since January 2013

Sydney, NSW, 2001

SHARE

46 FOLLOWERS

From developing a basic system from scratch when running a Support Desk in the United States in 1991, I understood the importance of Customer Relationship Management, the benefits that it will bring to a business and using technology to support the CRM strategies..

I am a subject matter expert in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. I have worked with all versions of the product, and my skill set includes strategy, scoping, solution design, installation, implementation, support and user training.

Qualified skills

Business Consulting

Reputation

Gill Walker answered this question

Which business are you REALLY in?

As business owners, we are all in the Marketing Business. Without marketing there are no customers, and without customers there is no business.

Gill Walker answered this question

What exactly is a content management system?

Hi MikeA Content Management System or CMS is the database that holds the content for a website. Examples of CMS solutions are WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, SiteCore and many others. You can think of a website of having two parts, the content, which is the text, graphics, articles etc and the look and feel, which is the colours, fonts, etc. To a degree they operate independently, although both are required. This means that you can change the look and feel and it will usually apply to all existing content, and you can add new content and it picks up the existing look and feel.As to whether you "need to manage this yourself or delegate it", it depends on your skills and interests, together of course with budget. There are people who will do this for you at varying prices. Some also help with writing of content. As with any outsourcing arrangement, it is important to check exactly what you are getting. I now manage our website myself, although most businesses do outsource at least some of it.I hope that this helpsGill

Hardware and Software

Every cloud has a silver lining - what is cloud and how does it benefit my business?

  Cloud is everywhere today.  And some of you are probably wondering “What is Cloud?” – “Is Cloud for me?” “Should I be using Cloud?” Whether you are a small business or a larger business you are probably already using some Cloud, even if you do not realise it.  Almost every website is running in the Cloud – paradoxically this is done for security reasons – by keeping the us...

Gill Walker answered this question

Which is the best CRM software for a new company?

Hi Rachel

I would endorse what Bridget said.  Before you can ask which software, you need to work out your requirements.  Do you intend to do a lot of marketing?  Do you want to track your candidates, or just your clients?  What information about your clients is important to you?  Do you see the financial part of your client management as being something that your CRM should help you with?  If so, what are using to manage your accounting?  Do you need your CRM to manage your timesheets, both internally and for the people whom you place?  Do you want it to link to your web site?  These are just a few of the questions that you should be asking?

You are right when you comment on the 'bottomless pit of info' which is CRM.  It is a vast topic, and often misunderstood.  There are people, including here, who equate CRM with contact management which is equivalent to saying that an engine is the same as a car.  Contact Management is a key part of CRM, but it is not the whole story.  However, it may be all that you need.

True CRM comprises managing all the information about your clients and prospects in a structured and manageable way.  This will include marketing, sales and sales  / service delivery and problem resolution.  However, although 'true CRM' does comprise these elements, it does not mean that you need to implement all these elements.

Another key question is to understand your budget.  There are software products ranging from free to several tens of thousands of dollars per user within the CRM space.  Some of these are very specific and others are much more general.  And your budget needs to be considered as part of what the solution will deliver to your business.  Many businesses could find $10,000, or even $50,000 or more for a project if they could show that within a few months they will get several times this amount back in saved time - often difficult to estimate and other saved costs.  We recently showed one smaller business who was using very manual processes how they could save about 93 hours per month by moving to our solution.  But the initial cost of the product is only one component of the total cost.  See my article here on savvysme 'How to understand the real cost of a software project' for more information on this.

Another area is to think about cloud vs non-cloud.  As a small business I'm sure that you are being advised to put everything 'in the cloud' because then you access it from anywhere.  While I agree that easy access to your information is essential, and not only for small businesses, I would dispute that 'cloud' is the only or even the best way to achieve this.  Cloud undoubtedly has its advantages, but it also has its disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is that the timing of upgrades or introduction of new features is largely taken out of your hands and into the hands of the vendor.

I would caution you against listening too closely to people who tell you 'choose CRM x - we use it and it is great' - unless the people in question have very similar requirements to you.  This is equivalent to you saying that I should employ Joe, as he was great when he worked at XYZ pty Ltd, without knowing what my recruitment needs are. As an expert consultant, who specialises in one of the myriad of CRM solutions, I would strongly advise you to list your requirements, look at your budget, and this should be your total initial budget, not just for software purchase, and then review a few products.  There are resources available which compare specific software solutions which will help with this.  There are probably some solutions which are specialised in recruitment, if not there are others that will readily meet your needs.  A few years ago, I scoped out how the solution that my company works with would support a small recruitment consultancy.  It did require some changes, but not many.

So in summary, list your requirements, understand that your business will change, so your selected solution needs to be able to change with you, and compare your total budget with the expected return on your investment (ROI) in both time and money.  Once you have done this you are in a much stronger position to talk to potential vendors and implementation consultants.

I hope that this helps, even though it is not the quick and simple answers that perhaps you were looking for.

Team Management

Avoiding being the meat in the sandwich between time-paid people and value paying clients

We live in interesting times.  Clients want to ensure that they are receiving value for their hard earned money.  People who deliver services usually in the form of time based expertise want to be paid for their time.  Both want to maximise their return - return on money invested for the client, and return on time invested for the service provider. I recently had an experience which dramatical...

Gill Walker answered this question

Nick Chernih
Nick Chernih, Founder at LinkBuildSEO

Virtual Assistance

How much does an australian virtual assistant (VA) cost?

Surprisingly, one point that seems to have been missed here, and is often missed when talking about outsourcing, is how much does the entire job cost, both in dollars and my time.

I personally would rather pay say $50 per hour and get a job done in say two hits, with let's say 2 hours of effort, allowing for some revisions etc from me in the middle (so total cost $100 and say 10 minutes of my time and job done within a day), and job done inside a day; than pay $5 per hour and have the same job take 5 hours with say 2 hours of my time and the entire job taking a week (so total cost is $25 and 2 hours of my time and job taking a week).

We all know that time is money and that we should outsource low value non core jobs where possible, but it seems that the value of our time in supervising is often missed when comparing outsourced resources to local resources.  And a related question is whether you are going to pay for additional supervision within the outsource company as well as the actual labour charged?

As always it is important to compare apples with apples.

IT Support

How to understand the real cost of a software project

Many people are disappointed, upset or downright distraught when a software project costs more than they had anticipated, or been led to believe.  Occasionally, rather than being the saviour of the business the project becomes the death knell.  However, many of these project do deliver huge benefits to the organisation.  So I thought that I would outline the components of any project like this...

Gill Walker answered this question

Do you know a good expert for CRM/Workflow/Practice Management?

Roland
I agree wholeheartedly with Mike Hall's comments about fine wine.
There are about 400 different CRM products on the market, which range from simple contact management products such as Act!!! to large enterprise solutions that are highly specialised for one or a few industries and cost several tens of thousands of dollars per person for the licence alone.  Just like with wine, all have their place and their advocates.  Many of them also have people who would not go near them again.
However, before asking about specific technologies, if a business wants their project to be successful, they need to invest time in understanding their requirements and being realistic about their budget.  When we look at those projects which fail it is rarely because the incorrect technology was selected, but for much more human reasons, often relating to the scoping of the project.
I am a Microsoft Dynamics CRM expert, and I would be happy to talk to any of your clients.  Microsoft is both cloud and on-premise, and is highly configurable.  There are also many overlays and add-ons which add specific functionality.  Given that it works from inside Outlook and leverages other areas of Microsoft Office, it is usually easier for the users to adopt. 
From a price perspective it is exceptionally good value for money, not cheap, but immensely good value for functionality delivered. 
However, also like wine it needs to be implemented (or served) correctly.  Imagine a cheap wine served in good glasses compared to a really good wine served in paper cups.  The implementation will make or break the project.

Hardware and Software

Every cloud has a silver lining - what is cloud and how does it benefit my business?

  Cloud is everywhere today.  And some of you are probably wondering “What is Cloud?” – “Is Cloud for me?” “Should I be using Cloud?” Whether you are a small business or a larger business you are probably already using some Cloud, even if you do not realise it.  Almost every website is running in the Cloud – paradoxically this is done for security reasons – by keeping the us...

Team Management

Avoiding being the meat in the sandwich between time-paid people and value paying clients

We live in interesting times.  Clients want to ensure that they are receiving value for their hard earned money.  People who deliver services usually in the form of time based expertise want to be paid for their time.  Both want to maximise their return - return on money invested for the client, and return on time invested for the service provider. I recently had an experience which dramatical...

IT Support

How to understand the real cost of a software project

Many people are disappointed, upset or downright distraught when a software project costs more than they had anticipated, or been led to believe.  Occasionally, rather than being the saviour of the business the project becomes the death knell.  However, many of these project do deliver huge benefits to the organisation.  So I thought that I would outline the components of any project like this...

Gill Walker answered this question

Which business are you REALLY in?

As business owners, we are all in the Marketing Business. Without marketing there are no customers, and without customers there is no business.

Gill Walker answered this question

What exactly is a content management system?

Hi MikeA Content Management System or CMS is the database that holds the content for a website. Examples of CMS solutions are WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, SiteCore and many others. You can think of a website of having two parts, the content, which is the text, graphics, articles etc and the look and feel, which is the colours, fonts, etc. To a degree they operate independently, although both are required. This means that you can change the look and feel and it will usually apply to all existing content, and you can add new content and it picks up the existing look and feel.As to whether you "need to manage this yourself or delegate it", it depends on your skills and interests, together of course with budget. There are people who will do this for you at varying prices. Some also help with writing of content. As with any outsourcing arrangement, it is important to check exactly what you are getting. I now manage our website myself, although most businesses do outsource at least some of it.I hope that this helpsGill

Gill Walker answered this question

Which is the best CRM software for a new company?

Hi Rachel

I would endorse what Bridget said.  Before you can ask which software, you need to work out your requirements.  Do you intend to do a lot of marketing?  Do you want to track your candidates, or just your clients?  What information about your clients is important to you?  Do you see the financial part of your client management as being something that your CRM should help you with?  If so, what are using to manage your accounting?  Do you need your CRM to manage your timesheets, both internally and for the people whom you place?  Do you want it to link to your web site?  These are just a few of the questions that you should be asking?

You are right when you comment on the 'bottomless pit of info' which is CRM.  It is a vast topic, and often misunderstood.  There are people, including here, who equate CRM with contact management which is equivalent to saying that an engine is the same as a car.  Contact Management is a key part of CRM, but it is not the whole story.  However, it may be all that you need.

True CRM comprises managing all the information about your clients and prospects in a structured and manageable way.  This will include marketing, sales and sales  / service delivery and problem resolution.  However, although 'true CRM' does comprise these elements, it does not mean that you need to implement all these elements.

Another key question is to understand your budget.  There are software products ranging from free to several tens of thousands of dollars per user within the CRM space.  Some of these are very specific and others are much more general.  And your budget needs to be considered as part of what the solution will deliver to your business.  Many businesses could find $10,000, or even $50,000 or more for a project if they could show that within a few months they will get several times this amount back in saved time - often difficult to estimate and other saved costs.  We recently showed one smaller business who was using very manual processes how they could save about 93 hours per month by moving to our solution.  But the initial cost of the product is only one component of the total cost.  See my article here on savvysme 'How to understand the real cost of a software project' for more information on this.

Another area is to think about cloud vs non-cloud.  As a small business I'm sure that you are being advised to put everything 'in the cloud' because then you access it from anywhere.  While I agree that easy access to your information is essential, and not only for small businesses, I would dispute that 'cloud' is the only or even the best way to achieve this.  Cloud undoubtedly has its advantages, but it also has its disadvantages. The biggest disadvantage is that the timing of upgrades or introduction of new features is largely taken out of your hands and into the hands of the vendor.

I would caution you against listening too closely to people who tell you 'choose CRM x - we use it and it is great' - unless the people in question have very similar requirements to you.  This is equivalent to you saying that I should employ Joe, as he was great when he worked at XYZ pty Ltd, without knowing what my recruitment needs are. As an expert consultant, who specialises in one of the myriad of CRM solutions, I would strongly advise you to list your requirements, look at your budget, and this should be your total initial budget, not just for software purchase, and then review a few products.  There are resources available which compare specific software solutions which will help with this.  There are probably some solutions which are specialised in recruitment, if not there are others that will readily meet your needs.  A few years ago, I scoped out how the solution that my company works with would support a small recruitment consultancy.  It did require some changes, but not many.

So in summary, list your requirements, understand that your business will change, so your selected solution needs to be able to change with you, and compare your total budget with the expected return on your investment (ROI) in both time and money.  Once you have done this you are in a much stronger position to talk to potential vendors and implementation consultants.

I hope that this helps, even though it is not the quick and simple answers that perhaps you were looking for.

Gill Walker answered this question

Nick Chernih
Nick Chernih, Founder at LinkBuildSEO

Virtual Assistance

How much does an australian virtual assistant (VA) cost?

Surprisingly, one point that seems to have been missed here, and is often missed when talking about outsourcing, is how much does the entire job cost, both in dollars and my time.

I personally would rather pay say $50 per hour and get a job done in say two hits, with let's say 2 hours of effort, allowing for some revisions etc from me in the middle (so total cost $100 and say 10 minutes of my time and job done within a day), and job done inside a day; than pay $5 per hour and have the same job take 5 hours with say 2 hours of my time and the entire job taking a week (so total cost is $25 and 2 hours of my time and job taking a week).

We all know that time is money and that we should outsource low value non core jobs where possible, but it seems that the value of our time in supervising is often missed when comparing outsourced resources to local resources.  And a related question is whether you are going to pay for additional supervision within the outsource company as well as the actual labour charged?

As always it is important to compare apples with apples.

Gill Walker answered this question

Do you know a good expert for CRM/Workflow/Practice Management?

Roland
I agree wholeheartedly with Mike Hall's comments about fine wine.
There are about 400 different CRM products on the market, which range from simple contact management products such as Act!!! to large enterprise solutions that are highly specialised for one or a few industries and cost several tens of thousands of dollars per person for the licence alone.  Just like with wine, all have their place and their advocates.  Many of them also have people who would not go near them again.
However, before asking about specific technologies, if a business wants their project to be successful, they need to invest time in understanding their requirements and being realistic about their budget.  When we look at those projects which fail it is rarely because the incorrect technology was selected, but for much more human reasons, often relating to the scoping of the project.
I am a Microsoft Dynamics CRM expert, and I would be happy to talk to any of your clients.  Microsoft is both cloud and on-premise, and is highly configurable.  There are also many overlays and add-ons which add specific functionality.  Given that it works from inside Outlook and leverages other areas of Microsoft Office, it is usually easier for the users to adopt. 
From a price perspective it is exceptionally good value for money, not cheap, but immensely good value for functionality delivered. 
However, also like wine it needs to be implemented (or served) correctly.  Imagine a cheap wine served in good glasses compared to a really good wine served in paper cups.  The implementation will make or break the project.

TOPICS FOLLOWED

Online Business

Online Business 9334 FOLLOWERS

Sales and Marketing

Sales and Marketing 8727 FOLLOWERS

Selling Online

Selling Online 7606 FOLLOWERS

Customer Acquisition

Customer Acquisition 6942 FOLLOWERS

Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing 7065 FOLLOWERS

View more

people with similar expertise

Apurv Bhalla CPA 26 FOLLOWERS

Brad Lyons 194 FOLLOWERS

Jef Lippiatt 4.88K FOLLOWERS

Steve Osborne 4.91K FOLLOWERS

Kirsty Fox 29 FOLLOWERS