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Your CRM -- A Little Fatherly Advice

In his recent white paper, ESA Chief of Staff Ryan Manley' draws parallels between parenting and running a business -- both are, ideally, labors of love. 

As Ryan points out, three simple guidelines apply to both:

  • Stay aware of the relationship between observable behavior, development and growth.
  • Consider the impact of present actions on future outcomes.
  • To whatever extent possible, create a safe environment.

While parenting a child requires an intimate, one-on-one relationship, parenting a company is more of a one-to-many kind of proposition.  That's where your CRM can make all the difference.

Stay aware of the relationship between observable behavior, development and growth.

Watching our children grow builds relationships, and also allows us to know what to expect -- responsibilities for an eighteen-year-old may not fit a fifteen-year-old, and certainly won't fit a three-year-old.  Perhaps even more importantly, the responsibilities that challenge one child might overwhelm another, even at the same age. We know what to expect of our children by observing their current behavior closely, keeping in mind that growth and development are both individual -- there's no one-size-fits-all -- and dynamic.  

Your business and its environment can also change, sometimes dramatically, with even more complex dynamics at play, simply because it involves multiple entities, rather than an individual child.

Further complicating matters, foodservice pipelines contain 10X+ the number of individual opportunities compared to retail. That means great processes and tools are paramount to consistently managing the sales process, ensuring your team is speaking the same language and giving you the ability to pull accurate numbers at will. You can’t make sense of all of this in a spreadsheet or poorly configured tool. 

A well-configured CRM allows the executive team to see the company's current status, assess its wellness, and form realistic expectations for its future.  That information equips the team to make on-the-ground, in-the-moment decisions that fit the company, its circumstances, and its market.

Consider the impact of present actions on future outcomes.

Our childhood experiences lay the foundation for our adult behaviors.  Good grades in high school and college come more easily to a child who's built good study habits in elementary and middle school.  Involved parents watch their children's academic performance throughout the school years, guiding their children with an eye toward the future.

C-suite members growing a company watch the performance information a well-designed CRM provides and make decisions and adjust course with the same forward-thinking perspective.  A properly designed CRM allows you to look at past business progress and future business potential all under one roof. CRMs can help you effectively and efficiently manage toward goals, and can act as your single source of truth for both customer and prospect information.

To whatever extent possible, create a safe environment.

Parents strive to build a sense of stability and safety for their children not only to ensure pleasant holiday conversations in the future, but because we understand, intuitively, that happy childhoods play a part in our children's successful futures.   

For a company, transparency and information build a sense of stability, even in fluid, dynamic circumstances or situations.  When you build a CRM that gives the sales team transparency to how they’re being measured and the ability to focus on the most critical deals, the tool becomes an efficiency-building advantage for achieving individual goals.

Team members feel safe entering the best quality information because the benefits are clear. In turn, other functions from marketing to product to finance get valuable information that ultimately drives sales velocity and profitability.  Rather than feeling disorienting, change and transition -- because of explosive growth in the company, macroeconomic changes, or other pivots -- feel manageable, with the right information-gathering and reporting tools in place.

When in doubt, call a mom.

Everyone feels overwhelmed or encounters the unexpected at some point, whether raising a child or building a business.  That's why we have websites, books, friends and family, and professionals to consult when we're picking a pre-school, or the cat and the four-year-old are both puking, or a key ingredient suddenly disappears from supply chain availability. 

At ESA, we can't help you with sibling rivalry, but we can help you design a CRM solution that provides valuable business intelligence on everything from your sales pipeline progress, to product performance, to lead generation, to goal and KPI attainment.  We can help you take those inputs and develop strategies, S&OP processes, product roadmaps, marketing propositions, and revenue forecasting. 

Like a mom who's already dealt with whatever parenting crisis you can imagine, our foodservice experts have been there, whatever the life of your business has thrown your way.

Download more details in Ryan's full whitepaper, and then schedule a quick introductory call with Stephanie to find out more.

Ryan Manley

Chief of Staff

An accomplished business development leader with an 18+ year track record of unlocking explosive growth, Ryan built Ghirardelli’s first-ever direct export framework and led the Sales Systems team at Impossible Foods.