**This is an op-ed piece that expresses my personal opinion. Stop reading here if you are easily offended or if you doin’t want to hear me talka bout geeky stuff in wine. Cheers!**
If you know me, or you’ve been reading this blog for the last few months (hopefully years) you know that I am passionate about two things. OK fine, I’m passionate about a lot of things, but two particular areas are wine and CRM.
I spend my work weeks working for a technology company running their CRM programs, which in itself involves a complex understanding of all areas of the business, of the CRM platforms, and of any periphery systems that hook in to it. I also spend my week thinking, drinking, and writing about wine.
more often than not, they crash in to each other in unexpected ways. More and more, they crash in to each other in ways that I have been expecting, hoping, and dreaming about for the last 10 years. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a lifestyle, a thought process, a methodology. It is also the tool, or tools, you use to ensure that your methodology is implemented in the most efficient and intelligent way.
Recently, I’ve seen an increasing trend for wine businesses to adopt CRM programs (horray horray!) as a part of their overall strategy. I’m undeniably excited to see the increase in job opportunities that involve CRM implementations and program management, especially when they use the tools of my trade like Salesforce.com and Vin65. These powerhouses of industry really have the ability to turn the business on it’s side – in a much needed and good way – if they are given the opportunity to do so.
So, what’s with the unicorn? By definition, a unicorn is a legendary animal that doesn’t exist. Much like a person who possesses the power to build a CRM program with a single bound, leap social media management and tall buildings, and overcome Digital Marketing strategies with a single bound. All in one job description.
The reality is, it’s hard enough to get someone who is talented in any one of these areas. To blend all three is both a mistake, and a folly in to the unknown. While I realize that often, there is not enough for one person to be occupied with each of these three roles, it’s critical that the right blend of talent is sought.
I count myself as quite fortunate. Through years of hard work, and some pretty nasty falls and jobs that should never have been, I have built a career that I’m both talented at and that I love. I still hold out hope that my dream job will materialize – one that is the right blend of CRM, technology, and wine, but really, when will they wine industry step off the ledge and invest in talent that will excel, and grow with the needs of the organization?
Attracting the right talent is a challenge in any profession, but particularly difficult in the wine industry. Many people leave high powered careers with the dream of making it big in wine. Many are sadly disappointed. The reality is the wine industry, for whatever arcane reasons exist, operated with mostly outdated technology, and at a very different pay scale than most of us city folk are used to. Of course, sacrifices must be made to live in the fruit basket of California, particularly on income and lifestyle, but – as women have been struggling for 100 years, so such are winery employees.
So maybe, just maybe, there will be a happy medium sometime soon.
I hope so!