Can CRM benefit higher education and what are the parallels with business?

A new piece in the Financial Post has highlighted the potential that CRM could bring to the higher education sector.  Interestingly, research has already indicated that institutions could gain a 42% increase in revenue by making use of an effective customer relationship management process piece Four key requirements for a CRM system were explored: Complete tracking of students A successful CRM system in the higher education sector would need to build a detailed profile of each student's interests, including their preferences and their purchase intent, not to mention their academic financial and communication history.  Essentially, this has the same aim as a business profile which is to better understand the person in question. Seamless integration CRM software should be seamlessly integrated into the campus's computer networks.  A unified data set is believed to increase lead conversion by more than 12%, which is a useful statistic in any sector! Enabling effective segmentation of the population Essentially, the system should be able to identify which students fit into which demographics and to be able to send targeted e-mails as a result.  Again, this mirrors the ability of a SME CRM system by being able to identity different types of customer. Automated workflows Just as with a small company, a higher education CRM system should be able to notify the right people at the right time.  If, for instance, an institution is able to answer a student's enquiry first, they will increase their conversion rate by up to 238%. Source: Financial Post Using a solution like Microsoft Dynamics CRM can enhance education processes and working with as provider like MyCRM we can help define process and integrate data for external use with in parent portals. We also have a number of solutions that can be used for bulk marketing and productivity enhancement. MyCRM aim to help deliver effective CRM and you can see here what our current customers say 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 trail 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 business process can work in business and has therefore we have 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 you Microsoft CRM Solution:- You can get access to arrange of products for Microsoft Dynamics CRM from the MyCRM download centre here http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com after registering for an account.  

Customers want more personalisation from businesses

A new survey has shed light onto the attitude of modern consumers which highlights an interesting trend, revealing that despite concerns regarding the safety of their private information, many of them still want to receive more personalised data from businesses. This is usually found in the information that is sent to individual consumers. Organisations that used tailored marketing via email or web usually scored better with loyal customers. The SAS study showed that 71% of the 1,260 people surveyed did have some concerns regarding the recent revelations of data observation. 60% still expected businesses to be aware of their preferences and to understand their needs. 59% noted that they felt there had been an improvement in personalised communications by companies during the last five years. The results indicate that any firms involved in the customer relationship management (CRM) process should be focusing on meeting the individual needs of their customers where they can. Obviously CRM can be defined as so much more than just storing data about customers and prospects. Personalised communication can help target interest into services provided.  Extension tools like eCampaign from MyCRM (http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eCampaign.aspx) can help drive targeted emails with related personal data and enable organisations to use their Microsoft Dynamics CRM toolset to filter and hone datasets so that they are relevant. Respondents with incomes of over $100,000 (£65,000) were more likely to expect businesses to understand them and the same expectations were found with the under-30 demographic.  Personalisation was also expected by those with higher salaries.  Those who earned more seemed to indicate that they would be less understanding if they were to receive irrelevant messages from businesses. The survey also highlighted the fact that two particular industries were considered to be trailing behind the others in terms of customer understanding.  Airlines and hospitality were the two sectors that customers seemed to think were not pulling their weight in terms of customer relationship management.  This is interesting, as the amount of data that companies in this sector can obtain through loyalty cards, review sites and the like should enable them to out-perform those in other industries. For the full article see the link: Destination CRM   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. 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 you Microsoft CRM Solution. You can get access to arrange of products for Microsoft Dynamics CRM from the MyCRM download centre here http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com after registering for an account.

Report sheds positive light on CRM sector and growing need for Strong Customer Relationships

A new report from the US has indicated that CRM is becoming more and more popular, with the industry expected to reach around $28.8bn by 2018, with more and more enterprise-level focus on customer-centric business operations. A variety of factors has been contributing to the ongoing growth of the industry.  Some of the main sources cited are the different social media platforms such as user forums, web communities and the various social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  Essentially, there is a whole new world to explore in terms of handling customer relationships.  As well as providing a medium for exchanging messages and files, social provides customers with an ideal medium on which to voice their opinion about a company.  Cloud based SaaS systems are another positive reason noted as being behind the growth.  On-demand cloud based software allows enterprises to increasingly opt for hybrid solutions, allowing them to combine the internet-based capabilities with their own in-house deployments.  Cloud based technology has led to a decrease in costs and a faster and easier implementation.  It also means a decrease in upfront capital expenditure. On-premise CRM systems currently represent the largest product segment in the market overall, according to the report, with SaaS software demonstrating the fastest growth.  Currently, the United States remains the largest regional market but that tends to be the case with a lot of technological advancement.  More industries have also been keen to adopt the technology with academia, healthcare, energy and utilities all beginning to increase their use of the software. Source: PR Web Globally the business need and acceptance of CRM solutions is growing and with Solutions like MyCRM hosted which is a month by month managed service with no long term contracts smaller and mid-sized firms are looking for an easy introduction in to managing at least part of their business process and customer support. There are many solutions available and MyCRM selected Microsoft Dynamics as its core platform because of its ability to be flexible stable and fit for all business needs from 1 employee to many thousands. To get a trail 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 business process can work in business and has therefore we have 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 you Microsoft CRM Solution:- You can get access to arrange of products for Microsoft Dynamics CRM from the MyCRM download centre here http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com after registering for an account.  

Tips on migrating to a new CRM system in 8 easy steps

A new piece in Business 2 Community has highlighted some of the key factors that should be considered when making a transition to a new CRM system.  If you are considering making such a migration, then they are well worth taking a further look at the full article which cover 8 steps on having the right key points in the project. Decide on (and stick to) your hard and fast date: It is important to ensure that as part of the migration, you set a concrete date from which the new system starts to be used and ensure that everyone working with the software in any way sticks to it.  If you do not keep to this, you run the risk of a problematic transition period where users are continually updating both databases sporadically.  Whilst there will inevitably be a little bit of this, it is sensible to minimise it. Which data are you bringing over? Over a period of time, any large database will inevitably begin containing less important data here and there.  That is why it is important to plan which information is going to make the transition.  Individual contacts and leads are obviously essential. But is it worth importing absolutely all referring sources or lists of activities?  A good way to handle this is to have an overlap for a few months, meaning that the old data can still be accessed.  This way, you will get an accurate indication as to how much of the excess you genuinely need.  Pick your tools  All CRM data migrations require some form of tool to aid the process, and it is important to pick correctly.  Fortunately, you can work alongside your CRM software consultant to help ensure that you choose the right one!  Sort your data for batch export.   You’ll need to pick which data to import first and which goes second, third and fourth. The article covers some of the aspects of this Tweak your .CSV before the import. This is a great opportunity to review your data and have a bit of a clean up as you transition to the new system Double-check the setup of your new CRM’s architecture. Compare the final .csv file with your new CRM. Make sure that the fields in the CRM match the ones in the spread sheet – down to their spelling and format. Also the new CRM System might be hosted so it’s important to get this step correct. Import! Bring the data from your .csv file into the new CRM. When moving to Microsoft dynamics CRM there are many tools available and here at MyCRM we can help you work through this process. Test, rinse and repeat. Test is first on a staging version of the new CRM this can then be used for acceptance testing any partner/ implementation team can help with this.  Read more at Business 2 Community   To get a trail 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 business process can work in business and has therefore we have 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 you Microsoft CRM Solution:- You can get access to arrange of products for Microsoft Dynamics CRM from the MyCRM download centre here http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com after registering for an account.  

More free apps as Microsoft roll out CRM smartphone apps

Microsoft has revealed that they will be rolling out the companion smart-phone apps to their Dynamics CRM system within the next 30 days.  The apps will be compatible with the iPhone, Android and Windows handsets. Earlier this month, the company released the companion apps for tablet devices to a reasonably good reception and many users are now keen to get their hands on the mobile versions as well. Like their bigger tablet brothers, the mobile Dynamic CRM apps will be completely free. Interestingly, the company also announced on October 21st that they would be partnering with InsideView Inc to integrate that company's Social Insights offering directly into the Microsoft CRM Online and on-premises releases.  The new social marketing integration will populate Microsoft's CRM system with genuine real-time information from around 30,000 sources, and will be available at no extra cost to the Dynamics CRM Online customers based in the US (if they possess professional licenses).  The global rollout for Social Insights Technology is expected to arrive later in 2014 according to executives at Microsoft. The Dynamics 2013 software, which was codenamed "Orion", was the first major update to Microsoft's CRM platform since their release in 2011.  It currently boasts integration with Yammer, Lync and Skype, and a touch-centric user interface with improved performance, in addition to several other updates.  The tablet and smart-phone addition Apps were promised at the time of the initial release date on October 8th. The new range of apps have been long awaited s this was one of the items required with CRM 2011 that never progressed well and was left to 3rd party suppliers. The great advantage of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that the solution is full extendable and there are number of well know platform extenders including MyCRM that have a ranges of current products available for Microsoft CRM 2011 and Microsoft CRM 2013. Source: ZDnet To get a trail 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 business process can work in business and has therefore we have 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 you Microsoft CRM Solution:- You can get access to arrange of products for Microsoft Dynamics CRM from the MyCRM download centre here http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com after registering for an account.

Does socializing your business mean good CRM?

Good question really, and yes - there is a lot of hype about social CRM and Social Marketing. So with that I thought I’d add my views and thoughts.  There are a lot of questions to be answered and there is very little point trying to jump on a bandwagon if socialising your brand and business does not fit with your product or service, although there are very few products or services these days that are not available online.   So, what is CRM? Okay, let’s drop back to basics for a while and get a grasp on what CRM really means to your business and to your customers. So what is CRM? Well the one thing it is not is an expensive investment in software and computer equipment. CRM is the process methodology used in a business for Sales, Marketing and Support strategy to understand the approach you want to or will take when managing your customers.  CRM software like Microsoft Dynamics CRM supplied as a managed service by MyCRM (http://hosted.mycrmgroup.com/) should be seen as a software application that can help your organisation achieve good processes to handle and track customer activities. A common mistake that is made (and this is the key reason a number of CRM projects fail) is that the emphasis is placed on the technology and that the software application will somehow manage your customers for you. So where should you begin? There are many methodologies and guides on the subjects as you can probably imagine. So step back and think of it like this: what do you want to achieve in the key areas of your business? Key areas are likely to be Sales, Marketing, Service and Support but take each one as an individual process.   Let’s take Sales: We all want more sales but giving some thought on how you can capture these will pay dividends. Firstly: what type of sales does your business do, and what I mean by that is, is your organisation solution selling or product selling? Solution Selling can be defined as having arranged an appointment and probably demonstrated a solution in use, then a proposal is written and a level of negotiation will take place before a deal is closed. So first step is to define that process, and then using CRM software like Microsoft Dynamics you can map the process through the several stages.  I will be writing a separate post on defining the sales process in Microsoft CRM. Product Selling can be more easily defined as “I want one of those”. This is where a customer has a need for a product, but the strategy here needs to be given thought on why they should buy it from you (i.e. what is better about the way you can sell product X?). That simplifies the type of selling a little, and thought should also be given to who the intended target are.  If your business model is B2C then consider the best way to fit your product into the target sector. If your business model is B2B then examine and understand the target business sector. Socialising your business for the sake of it (i.e. “Oh, we have a Facebook page”) is not really a strategy and thought needs to be given on how you can attract potential prospects to your organisation via popular social media sites and blogs.   Let’s Consider Marketing:- There are many ways to attract a prospects attention and depending on size of the organisation some or all of the list below may be in reach and used in a campaign: Social Media Marketing Search engine Marketing Email Marketing SMS marketing Hard Copy Print Media Hard Copy Print Direct Online Network Advertising TV Advertising Radio Advertising Web Site For the purpose of this post I’m not going to review each, but take a look at the social aspect and how to drive interest using these channels. The first port of call has to be your businesses web site, things to consider: Is the site current? Does it work correctly in all browsers? Does it represent the business and target audience that you need to attract?  Does the presentation of information work well on tablet PCs and mobiles? Is the content updated regularly? Is the Meta data correct? Can it be integrated into your CRM System easily? With the launch of such devices as the Microsoft Surface and the Apple iPad there has been a huge increase in mobile computing and the way we all consume information and access data, so consideration has to be given on how your organisation presents itself.   As more and more people access information on the go with these types of devices more businesses will have to adapt or potentially lose out to competitors that can deliver a good customer journey and access to the right information at the right time. When I started in business one thing that people would always say to me was “Cash is King!” But for good presence, awareness and marketing then “Content is King”. Once consideration has been given to presence then the next step is to consider the best approach in how to contact your prospects and customers and keep them informed of latest service updates and product updates. Email Marketing:- The most popular approach to contacting customers and individuals is by the tried and tested method of tracked email. Tracked email solutions, or email marketing solutions, enable an organisation to track who reads an email and what level of interest was shown - usually through interactions and web tracking. Email marketing solutions like the MyCRM eCampaign solution (http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eCampaign.aspx) has 2 key stages - the first being design of template and sending, and the second being the tracking and rating of activity. The second stage enables an organisation to prioritise the activity of sales and customer services through to prospects and customers that interact more. This approach is usually called smart selling. SMS Marketing:- This approach has also seen some popularity and is excellent to gain a response from an individual if an activity is happening within a 3 hour time frame.  A good example of this was when working with a Rugby club: The marketing team would send SMS messages to fans 3 hours before a game with special offers that were on in the bar or the restaurant. By doing this the revenue for the club pre-game increased by 40%. But sending an SMS about a special offer that is online is not likely to have the same impact, or the same call to action. Social Media Marketing:- In only a few years we have also seen the increase in the use of social networks, and although Microsoft CRM does not connect up to Facebook or Twitter natively there are options available.   That said, creating activity on a company page on Facebook or Twitter can amplify and drive traffic to a company website - and MyCRM as an organisation use this approach quite actively. See our Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-CRM-Limited/367480604689. More is discussed in the section below about building the social network and presence. Search Engine Marketing:- There are two main popular types of search engine marketing and these are “adwords” and banner marketing. Both Google and Bing have their own services and you can read more here: Bing https://secure.bingads.microsoft.com/ Google https://adwords.google.com Making use of adwords can be an expensive process depending on which keywords are required, and some specialist help may be required to help set up the adverts and keywords used to get the best effect if working on a smaller budget. Overall, marketing is key for driving repeat and new business and sales teams will always want more qualified opportunity coming into the business.   Support and getting it right:- A number of larger organisations are already using social media for support and I recently discovered this by making a complaint about a product I had bought from Argos on their Facebook page, only to get a very quick response and great customer service.  There are a number of ways to go about this: you can give a customer support representative access to your support page on Facebook, or have integration into another software product like Microsoft CRM.  At the end of the day the process is the same and enables a new interface to be used for your business so customers can interact with you. What is very important to understand though is that using social media for support should be considered as just a single tool and a single channel, and should not be left as the only way a customer can interact with support.   Getting Social:- Building a social media presence is an ongoing process. Some organisations do it well, and some as an afterthought. You can see the MyCRM Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-CRM-Limited/367480604689) that we actively post news and information that links to products and support updates.  We also run sponsored links and advertising campaigns two or three times per year on Facebook. Facebook is a great brand builder for your product - regardless of size of organisation – content can be easily placed in newsfeeds or on advertising feeds. By doing this awareness will grow, and if you have interesting things to say about product or problems that your organisation can help with then more interest will build around your social presence and brand. There are now dedicated agency businesses that will help build your social presence from as little as £1000 ($1500) per month, but you’re not going to get a great deal of content. If you’re working on a low budget then you might want to look at alternatives like Pure Content (http://www.purecontent.com/) that can help build specific content around your business by providing new stories on a daily or weekly basis. Twitter is another great tool for driving people to your web site and raising awareness about products and services that you may sell or offer.  Just like Facebook, you need people and organisations to follow what you are saying. If you don’t have an audience of volume then you’re not going to get a great return, and this is why I said that social awareness and social brand recognition is built over time. Marketing services and ads from Facebook can help but also organisations like Twitter Counter http://twittercounter.com/ can help build followers. Keep in mind that you do need to have the right message and keep tweets relevant to the service you offer. Using Twitter for competitions and special offers is also great - I have seen many competitions and promotions where an organisation will offer a free iPad or the latest smartphone if you complete your details online for a new product or event.  These competitions or promotions then draw the lucky winner from all those that entered.  This said, you do need a page and a way to record this information, so thought needs to be given on how you are going to run an online promotion with Twitter. Twitter is also great for including #HashTags. By using #HashTags you can generate interest outside of your direct followers, for instance we use #CRM and #MSDYNCRM regularly in our posts for #MyCRM (https://twitter.com/MyCRMGroup). In conclusion; does socialising your business mean good CRM? Well, like all technology enhancements if it is done correctly and the correct message is used, or you have the requirement of instant answers then yes, at MyCRM we believe that social integration will help you drive your business forward.   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 business process can work in business and has therefore we have 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:- http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eNumber.aspx Extend your Microsoft CRM system with automated numbering for individual entities and text updates. http://downloads.mycrmgroup.com/eSurvey.aspx  The all-new eSurvey solution for Microsoft Dynamics CRM extends the marketing capability of Microsoft CRM even further, by delivering a fully integrated customer survey tool.