Thursday, August 09, 2012
Learning Lessons from ThankQ in America
A little while ago, fundraising database supplier (and UK company), thankQ started a blog about a new implementation of their software at their first US customer, Scripps College in California. In it, they said they would be "keeping you up to date with everything that’s happening right now (the good and the not so good!) [and would] share the highs and lows." Nice idea but it needed to deliver what it said on the tin. And with their third blog post just written by their projects director, Kevin Weaver, I'm starting to now think it might be quite an interesting read.
I do like the idea: a supplier being open and publishing their experiences and lessons from a very new environment for them. I guess the question is, Will this prove to be a useful tool to assist their own customers and even other charities with their CRM implementations? And could it inspire other suppliers (or even charities?) to do the same?
Okay, so I realise that thankQ's blog could be considered to be almost as much a PR tool as it is a series of open blog posts, but I don't think that necessarily matters. If thankQ keep to their word (and they are a good company for doing that) and highlight the good, the bad and the ugly then that will show openness and honesty and will be good for helping all charities learn, and will by definition also be a good sales tool as well.
And okay, they will of course want to report on the implementation going well in order to make other charities want to consider buying thankQ, but that's understood. It's similar to asking for references when you buy a new database. Any supplier can of course provide a reference from a satisfied client. But when I was a salesman, one of the best questions I was asked by a prospect was for a reference from a client who used to be unhappy but which we had turned round so they were happy now. It's a powerful thing to show how, if something goes wrong, then what you did to correct it.
Of course there is the question as to whether thankQ might not write about every really bad thing that happens and one could hardly blame them for that. (Although I could well be proved wrong?!) That is, if something really had happens of course! I've no reason to believe it will but it's a rare CRM implementation where everything is just hunky dory...
And in this instance they do have the client to potentially keep them in check, as Scripps College can blog and tweet about the project too. Which is of course the beauty of social media - there's nowhere to hide!
So cudos to thankQ for this approach - I'm watching with interest. I hope that thankQ, and the rest of us as a community, really can get some interesting learnings from the blog and "thankQ's journey".
You can read the whole ThankQ blog at: www.thankq.co.uk/stories/stateside.
Any other suppliers up for a bit of similar blogging?