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"A different approach to customer relationship"

Author: Steeve Seidel, Salesforce Consultant at Nexell GmbH

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Veni, Vidi, Vici

These wise words were said by an emperor (Caesar) to explain how he won/conquered.

What do they mean and why are they relevant? We do not want to conquer a project, but we do want to do our best on the project. We not only want a happy customer but we also want to win the project WITH the customer.

As a consultant, I will never be able to vici (win or bring a project to its best completion) without having been by a customer (veni) or having understood the customer (vidi).

"Veni" - part 1

First, to understand a person, you need to know him/her. How can you do this? Is a phone call enough? Honestly, I love working from home, but nothing - really nothing, including your beloved webcam - can replace a handshake and a coffee (or a glass of water for those who don't like coffee) in your customer’s cafeteria. Only then will you be out of “concept", out of the "meeting pressure" and "meeting best practice". You can solve many problems only by talking with a customer while drinking a cup of coffee.

And the best thing is, you will probably meet colleague X or Y who is also involved. We are humans and we are social, so no email or phone call can replace this.

"Veni" - part 2

I had some projects with an external project manager for which I could offer advice only for the last step of an action. But what about all the steps before?

The project manager defines all the user stories with the users. This is fine: As an XXX, I want to be able to do XXX. Do you think everything is defined in this sentence? Really? So, if I go to the person who wrote this user story and ask only one question, this sentence will change to: As an XXX, I want to be able to do XXX, except if I do this or if this happened before. So, are you still thinking that you will "vici" without “veni"?

To win or to do a great project, you need to understand the stories; you need to understand every xls-sheet that is in use by every user. You need to understand why the user is using this Excel and why this Excel is not in the user stories. Excel is the most beloved program (before Salesforce, of course). So, if you want a great project, you need to bring every Excel sheet inside Salesforce. And to do so, you need to understand why this Excel sheet is needed.

"Vidi"

When you have gotten every little secret out of everyone (some months later), you need to "vidi"... Vidi is nothing other than getting the best picture. The big one. The big picture with every system involved, the picture with every integration, every data transfer, every flow from Department A to Department B, every email from Person A to Person B. To "vidi" and later "vici", you need to understand everything. If you do not know why this email was sent or why this person is doing this, then you are probably missing one part of the puzzle. And to "vici", you will need to understand and put together every piece of the puzzle.

"Vici"

You cannot "vici" without a customer. We are no longer talking about Caesar, who conquered a country; we are talking about winning a project. First, nobody can win a project alone. You can win a project only with your customer! And trust me, if the customer does not have the feeling that he is winning and that the project is great, if the customer does not feel confident and happy, you didn't win the project - even if you made everything perfect.

And the worst thing is that you can do everything you want, make the best project ever, but if the customer does not have the feeling that the project was a win, then you lose. This is hard but it’s the reality. To win, to "vici", you need to involve your customer, not because you want to be able to point fingers later but because you want to share everything with him—the achievements but also the problems and misunderstandings. How can the customer trust you if you never tell him when something is going wrong? We all make mistakes and we need to admit them, to understand them, and to correct them. Honestly, do you know someone who never makes any errors? I made a lot of errors. But I try to accept them, to understand them, and to not repeat them.

If you can go this way, then you are good to "vici".

Think about it: No customer wants to see you fail. All the customer wants is a successful project! So, let's Veni, Vidi, and Vici!

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