Choosing the right CRM system, software and provider.

As part of my quest to find relevant news articles and blog posts on CRM I found this new article in Business News Daily.  The article poses some interesting points for those looking to invest in a new CRM system, particularly those that are thinking about investing in new software.  The points below can be raised when considering many things for your business but consideration has to be given to cost, ROI (Return on Investment) and longevity of a solution. Also give thought to who is providing what, as although a hosting provider may offer software they might not offer consulting that is specific to your business sector or the manufacture of the software may provide it as a service but then there is no support of help with setup leaving in the hands of partner consulting organisation. So when considering the implementation of any software consider the whole picture not just the software element. Below are a couple of points that should be considered: Know your initial requirements It is important that any company looking to invest in a new CRM knows exactly what they are hoping to gain from it. After all, the point of the investment is to benefit in specific ways.  Rather than focusing on the cosmetics of a system, it is best to ask in what specific ways it will benefit the firm. Consider developing a scope document that key parties can refer to and work against so that all objectives are highlighted and achieved. Make sure all key parties from your organisation are involved in the review process as ending up in the position where a new system is forced upon people will probably not improve productivity and acceptance. Know where the data is being stored With the explosion of “Cloud Software” and “Software as a Service” it is very easy to get confused with the jargon so if your organisation is going to be subscribing to an internet based service for your CRM software then ask the provider “Where is my Data?” Any company that offers CRM software should be prepared to let their clients know where customer information is being stored.  As a general rule, software will store all relevant data on one server in a single none shared database but this might not be the case.  It is the client’s right to ask where that system is and what security processes are in place to keep it safe. Does the software suit your business size? As with nearly all services, CRM software will have an optimum business size with which it functions best.  It is therefore a good idea to check whether a particular software set will suit your own firm, as obtaining software built for a smaller firm will likely lead to another upgrade in a couple of years. Also give consideration to not only the now but can the software evolve with your business make sure the solution can be easily updated configured and changed without expensive consultancy or development being sort, when simple field or page changes are needed.  The secret of a great CRM deployment is internal adoption, ownership and usability. Check for integration It is important that the relevant CRM software is compatible with any enterprise resource planning software that the company already uses.  Whilst full integration is not always required immediately, it is still worth knowing that it is possible further down the line. Also if you don’t have an ERP system and some smaller business don’t look at how your finance system will reconcile if you’re billing directly from the CRM against your customer records. Not Just Software. CRM is more than just adopting some software it is a methodology of putting your customer at the centre of everything your organisation does so invest and spend time on the whole process to gain the best results. 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://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5425-how-to-choose-the-best-crm-software.html

Unique ways that CRM can aid a company

A new piece in the Box Free IT website has taken an in-depth look at the CRM industry. It has highlighted some of the key benefits that CRM can have with the emphasis firmly on providing genuine results. The first point that is highlighted in the piece is that CRM data and software can help to introduce a genuine system to smaller businesses.  SMEs often lack an in-place system designed to help record and follow up on potential prospects, which means that some genuine leads often fall through the cracks, leading to a revenue loss. Secondly, it highlights the value of putting into writing all of the steps of its sales process.  CRM software can enable a company to both initially define and then make changes to the system to see how results vary according to the process.  This solid definition can also increase the company's ability to train new staff and hold existing sales staff accountable. Another software benefit is that CRM as it is can also help generate sales from already existing customers.  There are two ways that this can occur: firstly, the software indicates which customers have purchased the most and when certain customers are due to buy again.  This can greatly increase a sales team's strike rate when used effectively. Finally, the piece cites the 'C' in ‘CRM’. That is, the fact that it can help any firm to provide a better service to already existing customers by building and tracking interactions between them and the firm. Also consideration has to be given as to the cost of CRM and a lot of small business owners may well not realise that they can have a complete CRM with marketing capability and tracking for as little as £150 per month and MyCRM is one of the only solution provides that can still offer a single user system based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and in the new year CRM 2013. Smaller organisations may not have the need to implement a full scale CRM but usually want to solve a very simple problem and that is generation of more business.  By using the features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM with eCampaign along with understanding a few setup skills for social media like Facebook and twitter you can very quickly drive new customers and prospects towards your offerings. If your organisation is looking to consolidate data and increase sales active then talk to us to see if our approach will help. 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://boxfreeit.com.au/2013/11/07/think-big-act-big-explore-the-future-of-work/    

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

Microsoft releases industry templates for CRM 2013

Microsoft is making an attempt to differentiate its Dynamics CRM software from other competitors in the sector by including a new set of 18 specific industry templates as part of the software.  These templates are designed to be used by companies in those industries, and include sports management, healthcare and even more specialist areas such as prison inmate data. The customised templates were announced during Microsoft's Convergence 2013 EMEA event, held in Barcelona. As well as the templates, Microsoft also publicised a new pricing offer which will bundle the Dynamics software with Office 365.  The offer will be available up until March 2014 according to the company’s announcement. Microsoft also confirmed that Dynamics AX 2012 R3, the latest version of their ERP (enterprise resource planning) suite, would land in April, with customers also having the ability to run the software on Windows Azure.  It won't be until the next AX update that Microsoft begins to integrate features solely based around pure SaaS, ie those that save on system resources and allow for multiple customers to be patched and updated at the same time.  Early adopter programs for the latter feature will probably begin sometime next year, with AX remaining available in its on-premises form. Microsoft's Dynamics CRM 2013 has now more or less been completely rolled out, with the popular apps for both tablet and smartphone now freely available to customers.  The reception to the CRM software has so far been very positive amongst those that have already implemented it.  Source: TechWorld This is also great news for independent vendors like MyCRM who can offer the same CRM templates with additional configuration and support. Once readily available MyCRM will be hosting demo version of all the industry templates for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.   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.

Questions to ask before investing in your next CRM system

A CRM system can have a number of positive impacts on almost any company.  However, it is important that before a system is invested in, certain key questions are asked of it: Is it easy to use onboard? It is important to make sure that one, intuitive cross-referencing tool is used in order to allow that offline customer data is used in order to increase the online audience.  This should be do-able in an immediate, genuinely actionable way. How compatible is the system? It is important for a CRM system to be able to link up effectively with other data and tools.  Therefore, whatever particular apps a company considers essential, whether it is advertising click data or shopping cart information, it should be able to be linked in easily with the new software. Can the audience data be segmented? It is important to be able to edit the information gathered by the CRM software so that it can be broken down into a number of different attributes such as home values, product ownership, social profiles and overall consumer influence.  Customer Data is only valuable in the sense of its detail. How effective is the reporting? When sharing data with others in the company, it is important to be able to both analyse it and to be able to report it accurately. Effective CRM software should provide the ability to create customised reports on everything from the existing customer profiles to prospect lists. Is there a proven success rate? It is important that CRM software (and indeed any software) be able to demonstrate proven effectiveness in previous cases.  What verticals has the software been used in and what results did it achieve? Source: Adotas The answers from MyCRM would be Yes, Very, Yes, Very and Yes as Microsoft Dynamics CRM is one of the most versatile and flexible solutions for both online and on premise deployments. Here at MyCRM we aim to help organisations benefit from the role out of a CRM system and not just host it so if you are considering implementation even in a small way then just let us know. 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.  

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.  

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.  

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.

How can social technology and awareness benefit CRM?

Ensuring the implementation of an effective CRM system remains extremely important for any business looking to achieve increased sales and customer engagement.  An interesting new article from Destination CRM has also highlighted the value of exploring customer relationship management within social media and some of the benefits that this can have. Target prospects One of the key ways that CRM systems can benefit from effective social media use is that it offers an outstanding way in which to find potential new prospects.  A company can easily monitor discussions and analyse trends to find out which people are discussing areas relevant to their brand and can use this targeted data to reach out to these potential new customers. 'Surprise and delight' customers Another key benefit of effective social media is to use the networks to 'surprise and delight' customers.  A great example came when Morton's steakhouse received a tweet from a customer asking if he could be greeted at Newark airport with a porterhouse steak.  He was subsequently amazed when the company did exactly that, winning themselves a loyal customer for life, as well as some outstanding PR and word-of-mouth promotion. Rewarding loyal influentials Another key way to take advantage of social media CRM is that it offers a company the chance to reach out and talk to their most influential customers.  For instance, if a popular blogger felt moved to review and praise a product of the firm, the company could use social media to actually get in touch with the blogger and further build the relationship, providing a real opportunity for further promotion Later this week I will be posting more on Social CRM with the considerations that can be given and things to think about but this article gives a great starting point on how CRM and Social CRM are one in the same and the principal of extending your organisations reach to enable social interaction will lead to higher customer satisfaction and business qualification. By default Microsoft Dynamics CRM current has internal social ability with the integration of the Microsoft Owned Yammer but here at MyCRM we are working towards new integration of Social Media for day to day activity like sales, marketing and support. Source: Destination CRM 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:- 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.