We explored the vital importance of account management in our previous article on account management—the idea being that obtaining new accounts is far more costly than maintaining and expanding existing accounts.
How do companies hang onto accounts? In examining this, we find that the primary way is through innovation. You’ll be able to hang onto accounts only so long as you are innovating in a way that’s important for your customers. In fact, Austrian economist Peter Schumpeter put forth that innovation is a process of industrial mutation, and is right at the center of economic change. Schumpeter coined the term “creative destruction” to demonstrate that economic structures would be constantly undergoing destruction for the creation of new structures.
People often take too shallow a view of innovation, asserting that innovation merely consists of a basic idea. This isn’t true, however, because a basic idea has no power at all if it doesn’t get done. Schumpeter says, “The basic idea is not adequate by itself to lead to implementation. It must be taken up by a strong character—the entrepreneur—and implemented. It is not the power of ideas, but the power to get things done.”
At Pipeliner, we have certainly taken Shumpeter’s words to heart, and have always made accomplishment the primary goal of innovation. This accomplishment has always been applied to customer satisfaction and account management.
Comparison to a Familiar Product
There is a product called Nutella—the sweetened hazelnut cocoa spread—that has been with me my entire life. I turn 60 this year, and I’ve loved it since I was a boy. My son is now growing up with it, too. Through its entire existence—over 55 years—Nutella hasn’t changed at all.
This approach would never work in the software industry. If you’re not constantly innovating, you’re done. If we left Pipeliner alone and didn’t change it for 55 years, people would have long ago stopped using it. Innovation is the only way a software product will continue to have a positive impact on the customer, and therefore keep customers on board.
Within the SaaS business, the term “churn rate” has become all-too-familiar. It means the rate at which you are losing customers. When you are constantly losing clients, that means you constantly have to win more. Account management, expertly and efficiently done, keeps those customers from leaving, and in addition, keeps your customer base expanding.
Innovation at Pipeliner
Innovation has been a large part of our core philosophy from the beginning. We have certainly encountered some challenges along the way. Probably the primary challenge was that the core technology we began with, which was on-premise, had to be totally transformed to be based in the cloud. A few years back we had to smoothly transfer our existing customers from one core technology to the other. Very fortunately, the powerful features we had innovated into Pipeliner meant that our customers followed us to the cloud.
There are many examples of companies that weren’t able to hang onto their customer base, due to a lack of innovation. One standout example was BlackBerry, which in the first decade of the 21st century was the market leader worldwide, thanks to their innovation of bringing email to mobile devices. They didn’t continue to innovate, however, and were completely overtaken by Android and iOS devices. Today nobody is using BlackBerry.
The most stellar example is in the category of search engines. At the turn of the century, AltaVista was the far-and-away search-engine leader. AltaVista didn’t continue to innovate, though, and almost overnight Google overtook them and has been the search engine giant ever since.
In the practice of account management, innovation is certainly central to what we do—and as well, we’ll be introducing, in the next couple of months, some amazing and never-before-seen advances in account management for CRM.
The Views and Roles
First of all, our back-end Account Management capabilities have been greatly expanded with regard to roles and user rights. We’ve provided many different fields which allow companies to add or prohibit users in viewing and working with specific accounts or specific types of accounts.
We list out different roles in Pipeliner’s Administration section. But in addition, you can now provide full, read or no access to these roles over the API to other applications. This is often a complex issue for other software products, and many cannot offer this kind of flexibility.
You probably know that account information is viewed differently by different roles within a company. You’ll now be able to, in Pipeliner CRM, manage different views of data for different roles. For example, the Customer Success view sees data one way, while the Marketing view sees data a different way. This methodology is based on the fact that no one role needs to see all aspects of data—too many fields leads to distraction instead of production. These views allow the necessary focus for each role. No other CRM offers this kind of functionality today.
Expanded Card View
The Card View feature in Pipeliner allows you, within a pipeliner or list view, to mouse over an account, viewing vital account information. Previously, there were 6 fixed fields that would display in the Card View. Now, however, we’ve expanded that to 12, and provided you the option of customizing these fields as not every company—nor every role in every company—requires the same information. Therefore this mouse-over functionality can be customized based on the requirements of what needs to be seen.
The Account Matrix is yet another very exciting innovation we have made with Pipeliner’s Account Management features. The Account Matrix provides you with 2 axes—“X” and “Y” and you can customize both of these axes to provide a unique view of your accounts. For example, one axis could be the “won amount” and the other could be the date. Or, one axis could be customers, and another could be revenue.
If you wish to obtain any details of a particular account, you can drill down and obtain details as you now can with all of Pipeliner’s new visual features.
In our next article, we begin an exploration of account management’s deeper principles and theory. Stay tuned!