Meet Rob Perry, the Founder and Managing Director of Gathering Momentum, a Devon based CRM consultancy launched in 2018.
Find out about his life, business, and current plans to re-brand Gathering Momentum as ‘CRM Champion’, a new name and brand image designed to draw and focus attention on the company’s core service portfolio.
1. Why did you start Gathering Momentum?
I started Gathering Momentum as a project management business without really knowing exactly what kind of projects I wanted to be involved in. I did know that I wanted to help organisations to improve their business processes and customer management.
At the time I was a manager for a local manufacturing company, I enjoyed the role but wanted to return to the challenge of being my own boss.
I left the manufacturing role at the end of 2017 and incorporated ‘Gathering Momentum’. At the beginning of 2021, I came up with the concept of ‘CRM Champion’ and we moved solely into the field of providing CRM Consultancy services.
- How have the skills you picked up in other sectors helped to shape your output today?
I believe all businesses are essentially the same, the key is to deliver a highly valued service for as low a cost as possible. Digital automation and well managed business processes are, broadly speaking, the best way for any organisation to achieve this.
Staff are happier if they’re not managing mundane, repetitious day-to-day tasks which, with a little consideration and effort, could instead be automated.
Manufacturing is a great place to learn how continual optimisation can lead to ever greater profits without dropping service delivery standards.
- How did you come to choose the names Gathering Momentum and CRM Champion?
Gathering Momentum took me a while to think of. I considered many different names around the concepts of data collation, measured action and progression; “Step Towards Change”, “The Big Picture” and “Leaning Forwards” are a few examples of names that didn’t make the final cut.
I felt Gathering Momentum was more memorable and best encapsulated our focus at the time.
‘CRM Champion’ is the future for us. It’s more specific to CRM systems and has become a huge buzz phrase for anyone who’s role is to broadcast the benefits of CRM to their colleagues, customers, and corporate leadership.
- What are the market needs driving the development of CRM Champion?
The market changes brought about by the digital revolution are certainly a major factor. However, it’s not just marketing and financial transactions. The pandemic led to meetings, networking and many other types of human interaction increasingly taking place online. As a result, there are new and easier methods of collecting customer and prospect data. Smart businesses understand there is great value in that data if it can be organised and analysed.
CRM Champion seeks to attract the organisations which understand this principle and work with them to further their success.
- What interests you most about where CRM Champion is heading?
I’m excited by the opportunities a higher quality brand image could provide. One that’s both more professional and better positioned in the market for our services and goals.
We’re also looking to franchise the business by bringing on board the right people to deliver our front-end services. An army of consultants with the knowledge and tools to build strong businesses, supported by our automation and back-office services.
- Why should potential clients choose CRM Champion over alternative professional CRM consultancies?
Primarily, we maintain complete impartiality. We don’t just work with a limited number of CRM systems; we consider any option which may better serve our clients. There is the flip side that we don’t specialise in any given system, but we do work with specialist consultants and developers who provide the technical knowledge required when configuring a specific system.
As an organisation we also place a high degree of importance on understanding and mapping our clients’ business processes. The best CRM platform in the world cannot make up for inadequate, or poorly followed business processes. For me, the two things go hand in hand; development of business processes alongside CRM management and automation.
- Is your focus on understanding represented in your leadership style? How do you like to manage?
I hope so. We’re trying to inspire excellence and foster recognition in the benefits our processes have for our clients. This is underpinned by the training we give and the work we ask people to do on a daily basis.
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughters, going on walks and out to eat. My eldest daughter is 21 and the youngest 2½, so requirements can be extremely wide ranging. We also have a five-seater van, which is great for exploring the beautiful landscapes and seascapes we have locally.
When we get the chance, my wife and I like to watch crime dramas and sitcoms. Right now, a lot of our time is taken up with renovation works to our house which is a 1930’s terrace near central park in Plymouth.
- What’s at the top of your bucket list?
To be honest, I’ve never considered having a bucket list. I try to enjoy the things I do rather than worry about the things which I perhaps won’t get to do.
- What do you value in those who work alongside you?
Attitude is everything for me, I want the people I work with to enjoy the process of working, to show up, have a good time and get heavily involved in the work required. Concentration, discipline, creativity, personal development all come from starting with the right attitude.
Honesty and authenticity also play a big part. The desire to show up and be your true self is often underrated and everyone benefits when people admit what they do and don’t understand.
- What are some of the things you’ve learned about yourself whilst developing Gathering Momentum and CRM Champion?
Primarily that I’m adaptable and resilient, I’ve listened to the market and haven’t been afraid to change direction when necessary. I’ve also learned to reflect on my actions and understand my own strengths and weaknesses, including when to rely on others to deliver tasks outside my skillset or time allowance.
- What do you recognise about CRM that you feel is often overlooked?
I think it all boils down to business processes, no digital CRM platform is a substitute for a well-designed, well-documented and well-understood business process.
That’s the core of how you manage a business and customers. CRM simply helps you to make that process more efficient. The key is always the business process first and CRM replication and automation second.
- What benefits has your own CRM system brought to Gathering Momentum?
Our system keeps all our contacts in one place, along with their email and telephone interactions. Emails and telephone calls can be made directly from the CRM, this helps us to track all customer communication and keeps us all up to date with the customer journey.
One of my favourite customisations is our Meeting’s module. This provides us with a prescribed way of managing meetings attended by both internal (GM staff) and external stakeholders (client organisation personnel etc.). The process applies to in-person as well as web conferencing meetings and conforms with our information security management policy.
In my work-life, I don’t see many organisations with a definite policy when it comes to web meetings, but I don’t think we could do without it. It helps us to create and stick to agendas, notate key conversation points, and identify and follow up on actions, as well as provide a point of reference if a process becomes unclear at some point in the future.
- Which new CRM features interest you the most?
Social media integration and management is becoming a must. The ability to manage your social media posts across multiple platforms, from one location, saves a lot of time.
The power to analyse social media interaction data from prospects and clients and combine that with CRM data can help you build valuable individual and demographic customer profiles.
- What do you think will be the biggest change in the industry?
The wider application of machine learning will have a big effect. I believe organisations will increasingly gather web-based and in-house data and use machine learning algorithms to build a unique perspective on how best to achieve sales success.
In addition, being able to passively collect data in order to analyse staff behaviour will help organisations to identify and improve their most effective working practices.
In the ideal world, this will deliver an automated way of improving the lives of all people engaged with an organisation. The benefits would be universal!
Find out more about Gathering Momentum: https://www.gatheringmomentum.co.uk/