By Bob Walsh
Yesterday I warned Chris Thompson of goCRM that while in my opinion his under-development site had gotten the three most important things right, I’d be putting on my Not Nice Hat tomorrow and ripping into his site.
First and foremost Chris, you need to put your screen-devouring logo to sleep. Now I know it’s hard to let go of a graphic you may have spent hours on, but it’s got to go for three fairly important reasons:
– It’s vastly too large.
– It’s means absolutely nothing.
– Your site’s navigation suffers by association with it.
It’s kind of like walking into a store where you really want to buy something neat, like say Harrods. You walk up to the elevator, and there’s a 20 foot tall post-modernistic thing in your face, with a handwritten note attached saying you’ll find Modules on 2 and Downloads on 4. Not good.
Solution: find yourself a graphic artist to do your goCRM logo, in the same way, and to the same good effect, that Ian Landsman found Mike Rohde to do the HelpSpot Logo. (By the way, Mike has a guest post here tomorrow on why bother with Web Standards – set some time aside to read it twice – it’s that good.)
Next on the Don’t Do this parade are your screen shots. While they look reasonable, provide a professional image, I practically broke my mouse clicking and clicking, trying to go to page where I get to see the full size screen, with the nifty six callouts that show me how to do everyday business tasks pleasureably. click, click, click: Nothing.
Solution: If someone is interested enough in a screen shot to click on it, you need to whisk them right over to where they can get more detailed info, not leaving them confused and frustrated. Put another way, when you do screenshots – and you really should do screenshots – these are gateways to answer the prospective customer’s questions about your software or service. They are not dropchutes into technical babbling, or bubbling pots of Marketing Hype (“Revolutionary!”, “Best!”, “Brighter and Whiter!”), and they should not be stopsigns telling the prospective customer to stop being interested in your product.
Third, we need to talk about your language.
There’s nothing wrong with it if you were a clerk at Harrods, I were a Gentleman, Queen Victoria ruled the waves and all was right with the world. Say in 1890. For example,
It is possible to use goCRM without ever using the Products Module and still, by estimating in the fashion which has served your business historically and entering into goCRM through the “Add Item” option, create a system which is extremely flexible, valuable and labour-saving. Many users begin their use of goCRM in such a manner.
However, once you are confident and comfortable with the goCRM interface generally, you will inevitably want to begin to leverage the extremely powerful functionality of the Products module.
The Products module underpins the estimating function. The module is not merely a simple list of products and prices of items you sell, but can contain the prices for everything you buy, and record which of these are incorporated into any goods you manufacture.
The Products module can account for quantity or volume discounts achieved and given. It can proportion by size, volume and weight, where this is appropriate. It can also take account of the difference between fixed and variable costs.
Huh? Your verbage is very polite, very nice and very long winded. It practically has muttonchops or a tightly furled umbrella that never, ever, is used. A little of this lingo adds flavor, but on the Billion Person Internet when there are a few thousand CRM services to pick from, it will not do. It needs to be 1/5 as long and 5 times more to the point:
The Products Module is optional, but useful. With it, you can define volume and price discounts, define product materials and track fixed and variable costs.
Solution: Sit down with a tape recorder and a colleague willing to pretend to be a prospective customer. Role play. Have your friend ask you questions like, “so what is goCRM?”, “Who do you see using it?”, “What does it do for me?”. Answer those questions, and get passionate about it. Wave your hands around. Get to the good stuff. Then, go back and mine your tape for ways to explain your product that get the job done.
To recap, goCRM.com’s job is to answer your prospective customers’ questions. About your product. About what it will take to run your product. And about you. You’re off to a good start with your USP, price statement and professional looking screen shots, but a mutant logo, lack of clickable screenshots on the home page and obtuse text will cost you sales.