Mobiles: a perfect addition to a Microsoft CRM strategy

A new piece in Business 2 Community has highlighted the importance of mobile devices in implementing an effective CRM strategy.  What details, though, should you include as part of the mobile application?  What makes an app valuable and useful? Complete insight into planning Whenever you're carrying out the work of actually implementing your customer relationship management strategy, one of the most important things to be able to access is the original planning documentation.  How many customers or leads are you planning to communicate with?  How are we going to engage with them?  What topics do we think should be discussed?  Having access to the original planning documents on your mobile device will mean that you can stick to the agenda wherever you are. Unique access to the system itself Ideally, anyone working with CRM software should look to be able to make decisions whilst out on the road.  Ideally, this means that the mobile device should be able to access almost all of the same features that the main software does.  The app should be able to access information on customer data, potential sales opportunities and any tenders that are still in play.  Any other relevant information should also be accessible. Individual profile access There are a variety of different roles involved in the CRM process, with everyone from project managers to IT technicians playing their part.  Ideally, then, you should be looking to have a different login 'area' for each user that contains all of the data relevant to their specific role.  This can be a real time and money saver. Source: Business 2 Community This is an interesting article and quite timely as the new release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 RTM has had definite consideration given to the new way or mobile way of working.  Since the release of the first smart phones and tablets new work patterns have emerged and consumption of data from business and social systems has emerged.  With its brand new fluid way of working Microsoft Dynamics is even easier to use on a range of devices, and Microsoft have gone a step further with apps for both the iPad and Windows 8 Tablets. MyCRM http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com is a managed service provider of Microsoft CRM and can help deliver key extended functionality through a range of applications from its download centre  About MyCRM 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 we have developed a number of off the shelf extensions to enhance CRM productivity http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eNumber.aspx Extend you Microsoft CRM system we automated numbering for individual entities and text updates.  http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/ePDF.aspx Our record to PDF solution enables increased productivity directly in CRM by allowing an end user to quickly send a Quote or Order or even an invoice by email to the end customer in just a few clicks. We also offer from our own datacentre a fully managed version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you can see more about using MyCRM as a managed service here: http://hosted.mycrmgroup.com/ To find out more visit http://www.mycrmgroup.com

6 Questions for CRM that can amplify your Brand and Customer satisfaction.

An interesting new piece in The Drum today (Simon Brace - The Real Adventure www.realadventure.co.uk) has highlighted some of the key questions that any company should ask before they engage in a customer relationship management strategy.   They are well worth exploring further and provide some real food for thought. From a CRM point of view in helping smaller businesses achieve success with CRM and social awareness I have added additional thoughts from my own experience.   Is there a high consumer need for information regarding the product? One key to increasing customer engagement (and therefore requiring a CRM system) is whether the brand or the sector you work in represents areas in which support and information is always needed.  To use an example, parenting represents the perfect area for CRM. There is a never-ending supply of first-time parents, eager to build relationships with brands that satisfy their need for both information and relevant products. But CRM is more that an organisation’s database or software component - it is a strategy that is developed over time to support your customers and their needs with the right information about your product. This can relate to many business sectors from energy to financial solutions - or as the article suggest, parents, as babies don’t come with instructions!   Are you in a position to provide answers to customers? Again, this point falls into the idea of genuinely helping your customers out.  It does not have to be based around problem-solving. However, one good example is food companies that build relationships with customers by providing great recipe ideas or by being open to accepting future product ideas.  Delia's online cookery school on Waitrose TV is a great example. To take another example Energy companies now actively use Facebook and Twitter to promote energy saving ideas so social interaction is now more important than ever.  Some organisations even go further - with product support and dedicated customer service channels being available through social media.   Do you provide a product that people can really feel passionately about? Another key to relationship building with customers is by creating a product that they will want to build relationships around.  For instance, if you are a music store, then CRM could represent a great investment. Musicians really care about their instruments and will likely welcome assistance in everything from tutorials to relevant promotions.  Again, a real sense of passion means that customers will want to engage with the brand.  Brand awareness and brand loyalty are gained by a number of key factors including “Great Quality of Product”, “Great Customer Care and Interaction” and “Great Customer / Product Awareness” and in a future post I’ll look at some of these areas that can easily help small to medium businesses embrace CRM strategy without breaking the bank.   Does your brand possess the ‘cool factor’? We are all looking for the next cool thing, but remember what is cool and funky to one is not always representable for all, so it is paramount that as a product provider your organization is in tune with what your customer wants and likes.  A good example of this would be when Apple released the iPhone and now at the iPhone 5 version customers still come back for more as it still has a cool factor.  This can be emulated across many different products and brands by many different manufacture and service providers.  See the top 100 brands here: http://www.interbrand.com/en/best-global-brands/2013/top-100-list-view.aspx. From this list I’ve personally interacted with 23 of the brands either through product purchase or support.   Do you support a cause? Many of the brands or organizations mentioned above have set causes to support and sponsorship deals in place that help with brand awareness. Organizations like SKY have several renewable projects in place like the “Rainforest Rescue” https://rainforestrescue.sky.com/. But does this work for small organizations that want to support a cause? All organizations and many businesses do support local or national charities and there are several ways of doing so (see http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/businesses/giving/sponsorship.htm), but aligning your business or brand to a cause or a sponsorship deal needs to be fully thought through - and this comes back to understanding you customer and what their expectations of your brand might be. Here at MyCRM we opt to support local causes https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151627582429690&set=pb.367480604689.-2207520000.1381487296.&type=3&theater like our sponsorship of a local under 15 football team. So does this help with a CRM strategy? Well if done correctly then this can help with awareness of your business supporting a good cause.   What’s your consumer worth? Is that Consumer or Customer? I’d personally like to say Customer but this is a very good question and brings the closing comments back to business. When I first ventured into a sales environment I very quickly worked out that existing and loyal customers had significant value to the business I was working for, and great product and customer service will help with customer loyalty. As mentioned in the article, organizations look to provide additional services to loyal customers and, for example, most of the phone networks are very good at this.    Source: The Drum   About MyCRM 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 we have developed a number of off the shelf extensions to enhance CRM productivity http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eSurvey.aspx Our Integrated Survey Solution can be used to get valid feedback from customers and prospects. http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eWorkflow.aspx  Our extended workflow solution set enables organisation to increase productivity through the use of custom workflows. We also offer through our own datacentre a fully managed version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you can see more about using MyCRM as a managed service here: http://hosted.mycrmgroup.com/ To find out more visit http://www.mycrmgroup.com    

Microsoft begins the roll out of CRM Online 2013

Tech giant Microsoft has begun the roll out of the much anticipated next release of Dynamics CRM to its own CRM Online platform, with trials now being available for partners and customers, and with upgrades happening over the next quarter. It is planning to deliver its Windows 8/iPad client compliments for the service during the next few weeks, along with on premise and partner hosted releases of the software. The staged rollout for Dynamics CRM Online 2013, which has been codenamed "Orion", and first went live last week in the datacentres in the Asia Pacific region.  On or after October 7, it is being put live in the UK.  Finally, it will go live in the Americas within the next week or so. The on premise compliment of the CRM 2013 software is not yet available as (GA) general release, with a blog post on the Microsoft site indicating that it will come later this month.  The full release is anticipate for the end of October and as a managed service provider MyCRM are working to not only deliver this new release but up lift and make fully compatible its full product extension range for CRM. The iPad and Windows 8 companion apps have not yet been released with information indicating that they will become available around the same time as the on premise version.  Microsoft recently released a substantial 19-page "Release Preview Guide" for the upcoming stream of releases based around customer relationship management which can be viewed here http://download.microsoft.com/download/7/F/1/7F10F758-0846-4210-B9F4-6AF79A96CA76/Release_Preview_Guide_September_2013.pdf Following on from this major release of the software, Microsoft's team are also planning to deliver a further two updates, named "Leo" and then "Vega", with the former expected to drop support for Classic Forms and then add support for both Android smartphones and iPhones.   Article Source: http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-begins-rolling-out-crm-online-2013-7000021628/ With the growing use of online services in business and the demand for Cost affective fully managed offering MyCRM will be releasing its role out strategy from December 2013 and will start to upgrade customers from February 2014. About MyCRM 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. We also offer from our own datacentre a fully managed version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. To find out more visit http://www.mycrmgroup.com

Some common causes of CRM Data Duplication

Anyone looking to improve the way in which they utilise their CRM systems will know the issues that can arise when data is duplicated as a result of poor system management or software error.  Usefully, though, a new piece on CIO.com has focused on the different ways in which this issue occurs and what to look out for: Often, humans inputting data will simply not double check the existing records before adding in new potential leads, accounts or contacts.  Whilst this is obviously something that should be discouraged at a basic level, (it is poor administration!), it remains a major reason for duplication. On some occasions, data import tools may not be successful in identifying duplication before they carry out their tasks. Although some of the software does use a "potential duplicate" flag. Often, integration with other outside sources such as website registration forms, partner portals and message brokers will mean that other applications could end up not querying the CRM data before it inserts additions to the existing records. The other main existing cause is again an administrative one, with errors and software bugs typically causing the existing software to lead to thousands of duplications being created. The article correctly highlights the fact that at around 2% duplication, there is very little to actually worry about, as long as you have effective tools in place that will seek out the duplication and correct it.  However, if the figure goes beyond 5% then users will begin to complain and you will run the risk of losing existing customers. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM you have the advantage of duplication rules and the ability to merge duplicated records if they exist, but the key factor is to make sure that end users are aware of search and find capability that is easy to use, products from MyCRM like eView http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eView.aspx can and will enhance customer search capability giving the end user a quick 360 degree view of a customer record and activity. Source: CIO.com To find out more about how MyCRM can help you manage your customer interaction then please visit our web site at www.mycrmgroup.com

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

Creating Images Galleries and Selected Images in Microsoft CRM2011

What we need is an Image Gallery!! Having had the opportunity to work on a number of projects and see a whole range of requirements and needs for CRM, I thought I would share this one as this forms part of our new solution ePicture.I was recently working with a customer, who had a catalogue of images for products that they sold, these happened to be images of Telephone handsets and switches.  There was a requirement and a need to include these images into CRM so they could be used with Quotes, Orders and web site integration.  It was also made quite clear that there was no apparent budget or desire to introduce a SharePoint instance or integration into the organisation. As an organisation they wanted to keep everything in one please, one system and one over all solution with one technology, usually a difficult ask, but this is what we delivered to meet the need ePicture (Images Galleries for CRM 2011) First we thought about having an area in settings, which can enable the creation of image galleries so that we could easily add images to any record type or entity with in CRM This way the ePicture solution can be used through simple configuration, any entity in CRM can have an associated picture gallery and the example I use is Contacts and Products.  Let me explain Why Online Selling and Online shops is growing at a pace and the old adage “A Picture Paints 1000 Words” rings true, as when you shop online or request a quote you are always more interested when you have a picture of the product your thinking of buying.  With ePicture you can enhance the product library in CRM2011 and send your customers compelling graphical quotes, which are generated through the standard reporting in CRM 2011.The other use for ePicture here is the use of a solution like this to capture pictures of contacts on your CRM system. Why you might ask Well this is great when your organisation is inviting people to an event and you want to issue an ID card you can simple take a web cam and record at registration point the person’s photo for the event purpose, this said you can also use the same feature for leisure or club membership where it is important to capture an image of the individual.  ePicture comes with an additional resource so that you can add a primary picture to the top level record while you may capture more than one picture for the individual in the image library. ePicture will be release toward the end of May 2012 via the MyCRM download Site, Register here http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/ Thanks Alistair