Be the Squeaky Ball, Danny
I’ve never been accused of being a wallflower. I’m not a “whatever happens, happens” kind of guy. I’m really not at all “mellow”, I’m definitely a Type A, and in fact many friends have “affectionately” referred to me as volatile. I am, however (and I’ll be the first to admit it), a pain in the rear – er, I mean persistent.
If it’s one thing I have learned over the course of my life, either through cliches or from watching inspirational films such as “Caddyshack”, is that the “squeaky wheel gets the grease”, and that I need to “Be the ball, Danny.”
Recently I wrote about a new feature in our Zoho CRM system that I actually discovered by accident. And by accident I mean that as I was trying to discover why one of our most-used fields had mysteriously disappeared from our leads detail view I stumbled upon some improvements to functionality within the system. While I was kind of proud of myself for this discovery, (it did touch on my inner Indiana Jones, and I did not in fact shave that day…) it did also highlight the problem that some critical functionality was either broken, missing, or deliberately changed as part of a larger initiative. Well it kind of turns out that it was a combination of all three.
We have a fairly long relationship with Zoho, dating back almost 4 years now. In that time we have rolled out the system, adopted the workflow, worked with their product teams on feature requests, and for the most part have been happy with the overall performance of the system. Our CEO, Adam Stone has been rather outspoken about the good, bad, and the ugly of not only Zoho, but other systems as well and in fact, our own internal processes. I have also mentioned before that in addition to myself, there are a number of Type A personalities on our team. This always seems to bring an interesting dynamic to our meetings and discussions around business, and it really leaves no room to hide when the spotlight is turned in your direction.
So back to Zoho. So as I uncovered this awesome new functionality related to Campaigns, (see my previous post here) I stumbled upon a couple of things that made the new features not-quite-ready for prime time. Actually, not ready for late night either. In fact, I found that unless these two issues were addressed we could not actually utilize the Campaign functionality.
So I wrote to Zoho support and described in detail the outstanding issues. As it happens, Adam was also working on implementing a new feature in Zoho and ran into some technical issues, so they were getting bombarded with emails from both of us. Well one happy result of these emails was a meeting with one of the Zoho CRM product managers where we were able to share our experience and show them the actual workflow and how we expected it to work, and where the feature is falling short. The Zoho team has been very responsive to our requests over the years – and I believe that one of the reasons for this is because we have actually taken the time to learn about the system, document our personal workflow and desired outcome, and be persistent in our communications – in other words – being the squeaky ball.
It has been my experience when dealing with almost every problem or challenge in business or in my personal life – nothing goes away if you ignore it, and in fact the problem really becomes much worse and you often either miss an opportunity or run out of time to solve the problem.
I am confident that the Zoho team now understands the issues with the new Campaign functionality and I have been assured that they will be addressing them. I look forward to writing my next post that will hopefully outline how to really utilize the new Campaign features to start getting better metrics from our marketing activities. You can be sure that I will be checking in with our friends at Zoho to ensure this happens sooner rather than later.