What is CRM and how can I use my CRM data?

If you have ever asked yourself “what is CRM all about, and why does my business even need one?” then take a read though and I’ll try to explain how you can use the data you accumulate in your CRM system. But firstly - and lots have people have asked me this one - “What is CRM?” In short it is a database you collect information about your customers in.  I’d be surprised if you don’t already have one, although it might not be super effective and it might not be Microsoft Dynamics CRM. You might even have several with different information - some on spreadsheets like Microsoft excel. In this latest article, I try to discuss how CRM data can be used effectively in your business and why your CRM system should not become just an electronic filing cabinet for storing contacts.  I recently read an article on Search CRM which outlines multi-channel data acquisition and goes on to explain how to capture data, these being some of the key points: 1.     Ensuring access for the right people 2.     Social media changing the landscape But there is more pieces to the CRM pie to look at, as CRM implementation can be straight forward or as complex as you need it to be. Let me explain: First let’s look at data acquisition and the ways this is done. Most common sources are: ·         Website leads ·         Incoming Email ·         Trade show / Business cards ·         Purchased data But with the explosion of what is described as “social media” with sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, there are other ways of capturing lead and customer data.  I recently wrote an article on socialising your business (http://blog.mycrmgroup.com/post/2013/10/21/Does-socializing-your-business-mean-good-CRM.aspx) which discusses getting social with your business, but here we look at the ways to use your captured data. Once you have your collection of data you’ll then need to work out if it is customer data or non-customer data (i.e. have you done business with this person or organisation?). You might also find you have supplier data and third-party data you need to reference. It is very worthwhile and highly recommended that you take the implementation of a new system as an opportunity to segment data into separate and correct sectors: being Customer, Supplier or Prospect. Then take a look at the data to see if it is current. Again it is recommended to take some time clearing old data and bad contact information like incorrect emails. Using a product like Microsoft Dynamics CRM with a provider like MyCRM can help you get to your end goals quicker. We have years of experience of sorting data and getting it into a system for review.  So what can your data do for you? It can help impact development One of the key ways to achieve success in any field is to give the customer what they want and CRM data can enable your organisation to do this.  If an organisation has information about the likes and dislikes of its general audience, it can better shape products that are developed in the future. It can focus on particular targets CRM data can enable your organisation to more accurately target who you sell your products to. To take a hypothetical example; if a music shop sells both keyboards and guitars, effective data will allow them to send out targeted e-mails to those who have bought each of the instruments.  This also avoids the wastefulness (and potential for annoyance) that can occur by repeatedly trying to sell a guitarist a keyboard!  Many other examples can be given to where the data can help organise and target activities for example; let’s say you’re running a training course in London and you want to find people to invite, you can filter the data in your CRM and maybe use a tool like eMap (http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eMap.aspx) to segment the data in order to invite people near the event which may produce a higher return. Prioritise Sales Activity Assuming your new CRM system is being used for marketing and email tracking with such tools as eCampaign (http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eCampaign.aspx), then the data created post-campaign can be used in sales activities. The sales team can then contact those that have interacted with an email sent, resulting in less cold-calling and more follow-up. Creating opportunities Finally, another key way that CRM data can aid a company is through social media data.  Social data is now becoming a firm part of most modern strategies (Microsoft has included social connections in their new Dynamics CRM 2013 software).  For instance, it might be that a company sales rep realises that his company has , in the past, built a successful relationship with a manager who has now moved on to work for another company that the sales rep wishes to pitch to.  This sort of data can be incredibly useful in terms of making connections that otherwise might have been missed.   These are just some examples of how organising your customer and prospect data can help create better business and better customer engagement, as there is nothing worse that having a customer call in and you having to ask what product they have bought! MyCRM aim to help deliver effective CRM. You can see what our current customers say here: http://www.mycrmgroup.com/customers.aspx, but more importantly we want your business to succeed with the use of a great software solution.   To get a trial of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you can register with MyCRM here: http://hosted.mycrmgroup.com/demorequest.aspx To gain access to product extensions from the MyCRM team please register here: http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/Account/Register.aspx About MyCRM MyCRM has over 20 years’ experience in understanding how CRM as a technology and CRM as a process can work in business and has therefore developed a number of off-the-shelf extensions to enhance CRM productivity. We offer from our own fully managed datacentre a licence per user Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform, you can see more about using MyCRM as a managed service here: http://hosted.mycrmgroup.com/ As an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) we offer a range of pre-built application extensions for your Microsoft CRM Solution. You can get access to a range of products for Microsoft Dynamics CRM from the MyCRM download centre here: http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com after registering for an account. Original Article for reference http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/feature/Why-multichannel-CRM-makes-customer-data-acquisition-less-painful

Forbes analyse CRM Implementations

As one of the most vital aspects for running any business, customer relationship management is something that should be taken very seriously.  However, a new feature in Forbes has argued that the implementation of many CRM systems suffer from an incomplete vision and do not live up to their potential.  The article looks at several ways in which the process can become more complete. Firstly, it notes that the amount of information that is collected from customers should increase substantially.  Rather than just looking at an order history, CRM should involve building up a more in-depth customer profile, of the sort that marketing would normally use. Secondly, it highlights the value of comparing an individual customer’s behaviour to the norm.  This will mean that it is easy to see what is unique about each one and can then lead to more personalised service. The reach of CRM should also be taken more seriously.  Currently, CRM is largely limited to sales, but the piece argues that almost everyone within a company – including customer service staff, repair technicians and even receptionists – should be able to access a view of the customer from CRM.  The expansion of the customer profile should be expanded using a combination of real-time data, big data and data from the internet.  Though not all of this information will be useful for a long-time, some of it may be able to become part of the permanent record. Finally, the article notes the importance of CRM apps being easily accessible on mobile devices.  According to the piece, “the ability to rapidly and affordably create custom mobile apps for each audience of the broader vision of CRM will become a differentiator”. What is not evident or highlighted as a major concern is the selection of the service partner, who can help enable the implementation of CRM for success.  It is key when addressing these type of issues to not lead the implementation of CRM as a technology project but as a process definition that leads to the adoption of a custom centric organisation. Most of the points highlighted in the full article are common and can occur in the implementation of a CRM systems or at later stages of acceptance, but the ability of the provider to help an organisation deliver a good CRM methodology and strategy and ongoing support for their business and for customer success is paramount. Working with a provider like MyCRM helps not only with the implementation of great technology using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, but the team can offer advice and knowhow to help with Sales, Marketing, Customer service and Support.  MyCRM has over 20 years’ experience in understanding how CRM as a technology and CRM as a business process can work in business and has therefore developed a number of off the shelf extensions like email marketing with eCampaign http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eCampaign.aspx and location awareness with Bing Maps http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eMap.aspx which can help reduce the cost of implementation greatly by using plug-in solutions. To find out more visit http://www.mycrmgroup.com To read more on the article at Forbes see here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/danwoods/2013/09/30/why-your-crm-implementation-is-quietly-failing/ To see why our customers like working with MyCRM http://www.mycrmgroup.com/customers.aspx  

eMap the next generation of CRM Mapping version 1.1.3 has been released

After many months of work and some great customer feedback from all of our customers using eMap for CRM 2011 we now have a new release with a range of new functionality which extends data visualisation and manipulation even further in the Microsoft CRM interface.  The new functionality includes 1.       Pivot Data through relationships 2.       View Selector at entity layer 3.       Default Pan and Zoom   Pivot Data and Pivot Rules though data relationships One of the great new features with eMap is the ability to pivot related data from a single pin, this means you can now select a single Account pin and show related data on the map for that account based on a configurable rule. Rules are created in the settings and can be used on different layers   You can create a rule that maps a relationship to the data that is requested for the relationship to display As an example you can see below the data for the Isle of Wight, this is where MyCRM is based and in the first screen shot you can see all related data    Now by switching the pivot view on you only see related data for the Account Record based on the rule    This is a very powerful option as it enable end users to identify single customers with related data and work directly with those records selected. View Selector at entity layer Another of the great new features for this release of eMap is the ability to switch on the view selector at the layer level, which gives end users the ability to quickly switch data views    By switching this setting on end users have access to system and personnel views that have been created on the CRM system for the data type.       This extend further the ability to visualize CRM data on a map interface and work directly with different view sets.  Default Pan and Zoom   The final new feature in this release of eMap is the ability to set the default pan and zoom when loading a Map in CRM   The map centre can be set to “All Pins” or “Form Entity”. “All Pins” is the current default behaviour and zooms and pans the map to fit all available pins.  New settings “Form Entity” only works on Form maps, and will set the centre of the map to be the location of the form entity. When this option is used, a default zoom level can also be set.    To get access to the latest version of eMap either view setting in the MyCRM licence manager where eMap is install or head to our application download centre to get a 14 day trial http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eMap.aspx   About MyCRM MyCRM Limited is a UK based global seller of ISV extensions for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.  We provide a number of extension products via our Application Download Centre and also offer a fully managed service for CRM to organisation across the UK and EMEA. Trading since 2009 MyCRM Limited has seen continued growth year and year with profits at an average of 28% of revenue. Please contact Alistair Dickinson for any clarification or further information Alistair@mycrmgroup.com  

eMap Release Candidate Now Ready for Beta Testing

LATEST UPDATE 6th December :- eMap is released via Download Centre http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eMap.aspx LATEST UPDATE :- The new demo video is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqLKpkrL3Ws&feature=plcp   It’s been a little while since I blogged about our forthcoming release of eMap which is a full integration with Bing Maps and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  There are a number of reasons for this and below we cover off some of the points on why we decided to delay the release to improve on what was the initial proto-type.Originally we had built a solution in Silverlight that delivered some Bing Map functionality, but after further development we quickly realised that the adoption of Silverlight was probably not the best option for end users.  At this point we decided to hit the brakes and go with JavaScript and below you can see some of the results of how this looks in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.       The one thing we really wanted to achieve was a slick look and feel that complemented the way CRM worked, but extend the functionality of MAPS so that end users could easily work with data as pins on a MAP.    You can easily see from the map pin pop-up on the above screen shot that not only is the data that is shown in the pop-up configurable but there are a number of functions that enable actionsThese include:- 1. Add the pin to the route you are planning2. Create any standard or custom activities in CRM3. Assign a record to another CRM user In nearly all circumstances we have followed the standard design and reuse of Microsoft CRM components so if you wanted to create an activity from the pop-up then you would see the standard screen in CRM      If you then go onto create an activity as you would expect all the data from the record will come across to the newly created entity.      You can see from the side navigation tool bar that there are a number of MAP functions available for working with the data on the different layers. You can also see that you have the option to select different MAPS as within the eMAP solution there is the ability to create more than one map with one or more layers.  This means you could have a Customer map, or a Sales Opportunity Map by territory or a Service case Map, so the whole business can actively see where current activity is.      Currently in the eMAP solution there are 6 main functions to work with CRM data these are:-1. Map Section:- As stated before you can create more than one MAP and this part of the tool allows you to select which map you want to work with.2. View Type:- The view type allows you to select how you see the map either Aerial, Road or the standard Automatic setting.3. Quick Filter:- As the name suggest this allows you to filter the CRM data on the MAP layers  by typing In a name of a company or a contact or related record that is displayed on the Map4. Entity Distance Filter:- This filter enables an end user to quickly find records that are within a distance of each other and in the above example you can see contacts that are within 5 miles of an account record.5. Route Planner:- The route planner is a great way of creating a drive route  or visit plan for a number of listed customers and there a number of way to do.6. List Creator:- The list creator is a great feature for creating bulk actions and from here a user can create a bulk workflow job, add record to a Marketing list, copy data to the clipboard and bulk assign records from the selected list. One of the great features of eMAP is the ability to create lists containing data so that different actions can be taken, the screen shot below shows a range of data that has been selected.     You can see that the data is then displayed in a table and from here bulk jobs can be performed. These tasks include1. Copy the data from the table to the local clipboard so that it can be used in Microsoft Word or Excel or other applications2. Run a workflow against selected records3. Add selected records to a marketing list4. Add the data selected to use a quick campaign 5. Bulk assigns records to a new user or different team or Queue.So far we have only been looking at the Map capability from the left navigation but MAPs can also be included in individual entities giving additional functions The screen shot below shows a typical account with a map  Note that related sub accounts and contacts can be shown at the individual layer and easy to get navigation and driving instructions to a contact can be obtained by using the router planner and adding the contact to the route. This covers off most of the features available in eMAP with the first release with additional features like location sorting and data filtering coming in future releases. eMAP is a practical and easy way to work with Data in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and provides a great visualisation tool for Sales, Marketing and Service.There are many features and ways to combine MAP and GIS features into your business. For more information please register with the MyCRM Download Centre http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/ or email sales@mycrmgroup.com    

Creating Surveys in Microsoft Dynamics CRM with the all New! eSurvey

Creating Surveys in Microsoft Dynamics CRM with the all New! eSurvey Soon to be released is the latest fully integrated solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM from MyCRM.  eSurvey is a full functional Survey, Poll and Data collection solution that can be used for Customer and Prospect Surveys, Competitions and even has the option to be used for running online Quizzes and Training, resulting in response scores and total scores. Data capture has never been so easy, as all questions can be created in CRM and all responses to the questions asked if stored against the contact.We have taken the opportunity although there are other no so functional options available to extend Microsoft CRM Marketing even further.With a drag and drop flexible user interface creating surveys has never been so easy the screen shot details the main survey screen in CRM.       With the rise in popularity of Social media and platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and blogs, you now have the ability to track in CRM where the responses came from. So if you were running a Poll or a Competition on Facebook and LinkedIn you could record the success and data from the individual responses, and trend the response rates. All the Survey responses are recorded directly in the CRM and this is a great way to also record prospect data that has contributed to an individual survey or entered a competition.     Each of the responses is stored within CRM can be used in workflow, so if certain questions are answered in a certain way then a work flow could trigger a call or an activity in CRM, increasing return on investment and coherence  between Marketing and Sales functions within the organisation. Each Survey, Poll or Competition will create a landing page for recipients outside of the organisation, this page can be branded to you company colours and you can add a default logo directly from CRM    After configuration the page might look like this, although this is just an example of colour change and adding logo’s     eSurvey will be accessible for demo via the MyCRM Download Centre detailing current on-premise price points for 2012.Please email Sales@mycrmgroup.com for further information        

Event Invitations for Microsoft Dynamics CRM2011

Here is our latest Demo solution for Event Invitation tracking within Microsoft CRM This solution is designed to work with eCampaign to enable organisations to track Events and Event responses directly in #CRM2011 after send the related Accept and Decline Links via an email marketing campaign.    For more information on eEvent and Invitation tracking please contact sales@mycrmgroup.com or register with http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/ Thanks Alisatir

Turning CRM into a Prospecting and Location tool with Bing Maps and Bing Search - SEE DEMO

As promised we have now created a full video demo which can be watched below of the new eMAP Bing Map and Bing Search integration with Microsoft CRM 2011. The video is about 16 minutes long but does cover all the integration points for data directly in CRM.       As this is pre-release and if you have any suggestions of what great additions could be added please let me know as a number of people from the dynamics community have already contributed with great affect. We are also working with a number of partner data providers to enhance the experience and deliver more data and prospect information directly into your CRM, from the mapping tool. You can email us on sales@mycrmgroup.com Quoting eMAP.