Gold-Vision’s General Manager, Mark Vernon, recently took some time out to answer a few questions for CanadianSME magazine’s June issue. From discussing the challenges of developing software that helps businesses to sharing insights into how Gold-Vision is approaching business during a world pandemic, it’s a truly interesting read.

Q. As General Manager at Gold-Vision CRM, can you tell us a little bit about your role and responsibilities to give our readers a better idea of what it is that you do?

I’ve held a position at Gold-Vision for a little over 16 years and have worked across many business functions. My primary responsibility for much of my career has been for the development of our flagship CRM product – focusing on delivering a solution that is powerful and scalable but can also be made simple and easy to use.

My responsibilities have also included delivering and supporting customer CRM projects. As a business, we boast a proven track record of successful implementation projects internationally, backed up by customer-focused teams.

More recently I have taken on the responsibility of developing our Northern American market. I’m working in a hands-on role in a small and growing team, managing business development and implementation of our products whilst focusing on the specific needs and challenges presented by a global market. Given the current pandemic, we’re focusing on delivering successful best practice remote implementations.

Q. You have 20 years of expertise in developing and implementing software. What would you say is the most challenging part of developing software that can help business owners?

The most challenging aspect of developing any software product is creating something that’s powerful enough to fulfill the user’s needs whilst remaining simple enough for them to learn and use easily. There are many offerings in the CRM market space at both ends of the spectrum. Some are very simple and quick to pick up but have growth-limiting features and others boast many features but may require months to implement. The challenge we face is developing the ‘goldilocks’ solution that sits perfectly in between.

When it comes to implementing software, the challenge is more focused on people. For a project to succeed it requires buy-in from the people who will be using it. It might sound simple but it’s easy to overlook. It’s important to identify individuals with enough authority to make decisions who also understand how their business operates.

The advice I can give to business owners when implementing CRM is to set clear goals, assign a project sponsor to bring together a team of key individuals, have a clear understanding of how your business operates, and consider what data is important to you. Most importantly, find a product and supplier that is right for you.

Q. As General Manager, you’re focussed on global business development. Why is this important to you and how do you believe this will impact the success of the business?

Global business development is important to us and also something we’ve recognized as more common in our market sweet-spot. Technology growth and improvement have given rise to more mid-market businesses expanding internationally.

In order to best support our customers and marketplace, we too are focusing on international development. We offer a product and service that add value to businesses with global teams across different time-zones.

Of course, international objectives have presented interesting challenges to us. Our core goal is to have a global reach across multiple languages and time-zones, whilst maintaining the personal relationship and service with our customers.

We’ve opened an office in downtown Toronto to support our growing interest in North America. Having offices across multiple time-zones allows us to better support our customer needs and tap into local experience.

Q. Many entrepreneurs are currently suffering due to the impact that COVID-19 has had on their business. What approach is Gold-Vision CRM taking in regard to this? What initiatives are they taking to help small businesses during these challenging times?

As you can imagine, our business marketing, sales, project delivery, and customer support processes are fully embedded in our Gold-Vision cloud, integrated with our Quickbooks Online finance system. So with the addition of Microsoft Teams, our colleagues have been able to continue efficiently from any location. We have ensured that all members of the business have strong and regular contact with each other and that they have quick and easy access to the information they need to be effective.

Our approach to helping small, and larger, businesses at this time is to offer our many years of expertise through a series of blogs, webinars, and videos. For anyone reading this who is struggling during these times we have a dedicated program of webinars on remote working, managing teams remotely, and avoiding isolation. See our LinkedIn page or search for us on YouTube for these.

For our customers, we’re reaching out in an increased customer experience effort to ensure we understand the challenges they’re facing and how we can assist them during this time. Additionally, we have continued to offer a fully operational support desk.

To support the people we work with, we’re continuing to foster a culture of trust and strong communication.

Q. On a final note, what advice can you give to entrepreneurs that can help them during these unprecedented times?

The advice we would give to any business, small or large, is the same. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity – the successful entrepreneurs during this time with being those who can make the most of their opportunities. Now is exactly the right time to fine-tune and invest in your CRM system and business processes.

Originally published in the June Issue of CanadianSME Business Magazine.

CanadianSME Business Magazine works in partnership with established Government and Private Organisations to bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and their goal to become successful. They aim to provide small and medium-sized companies with a practical guide and expert advice to build strong enterprises in Canada. CanadianSME magazine is available every month, both digitally and as a printed version. You can find out more about them here.

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