CRM Trends and Predictions for 2015 – and What They Mean for You


2015 sees the continuation of many CRM trends, but now there’s the tools for you to capitalise on them

Roll up your sleeves for the new year! Why, we hear you ask? Well, there are some major CRM trends to look forward to in 2015. Microsoft recently announced their Dynamics CRM 2015 updates, and with these new features you’ll be able to lead your company to a CRM victory over your competitors.

2015 sees a year where your customer service teams will become ever more responsive and aware of customer issues. Your sales departments will be creating ever more pipeline revenue and your marketing departments will be creating campaigns that are more powerful and resonant than ever before.

Taking advantage of these CRM trends will help you help your company cut costs and increase revenue by being truly customer-centric.

The move towards Cloud CRM rather than on-premise

One of the interesting trends continuing into 2015 is the rise of CRM deployed in the cloud. Gartner predicts that the percentage of companies with cloud CRM deployments will rise above 50% in 2015.

Why is this?

As with all technology, the pace of change is quickening. Just 5 years ago, for instance, most companies wouldn’t have considered social media very important. But now social listening tools have become critical to any progressive company’s strategy.

(NB: Social tools have become so essential that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 now includes Social Listening for free, to companies who have more than 10 Professional-level users. See pricing here)

The thing with on-premise CRM is this: every new development needs a costly new upgrade. With the number of updates and upgrades increasing, many companies have found it cheaper to switch to the cloud. This means less IT staff on-premise, lower IT infrastructure costs and a more adaptable platform for the future.

What this means to you: if you’re still using an on-premise CRM system, consider switching to the cloud. In many cases it will help you slash costs and avoid being caught out for expensive new upgrades.

Mobile capabilities becoming more powerful

One of the great benefits of CRM is that it allows sales teams to organise themselves more effectively. That means more time selling.

However, as salespeople spend more time out of the office in sales meetings and travelling it’s a well-known secret that CRM records often get left behind when moving around.

In the past many CRM apps have had limited functionality. But as time moves on, CRM vendors are investing in their mobile platforms to make them more powerful.

Microsoft have added voice commands to their Dynamics CRM app for Windows phones now. With voice commands, salespeople can bring up CRM records, add notes and get facts that can help them close more deals. No more excuses. It’s easy.

What this means for you: picking a CRM vendor with powerful mobile and tablet apps can help your salespeople close more deals, be better prepared for meetings, and report more accurately. That means you’ll be more likely to get impressive results in the coming year.

More powerful social listening tools

Social media is becoming ever more essential to all areas of business. As such, CRM is adapting so that your people can always have their ears to the ground.

The Social Listening tool has been enhanced with the Dynamics 2015 update. Marketers can get social insights displayed about your company’s brands and campaigns on the platform. (And it’s now free if you have over 10 professional users)

Likewise, salespeople can now access Social Listening information within the Dynamics CRM platform. This’ll give them the upper hand. They’ll be able to spot customer problems, find opportunities to upsell and add more value than salespeople at competing firms.

What this means to you: by investing in Social Listening tools you can empower your marketing and sales teams to be relevant and customer-centric with every single touchpoint. Ultimately this will lead to more connection, more sales and improved customer satisfaction… and that’s not to be sniffed at.

Bringing together Marketing, Sales and Customer Service silos

For too long marketing, sales and customer service teams have worked in silos and are often stifled by barriers between departments. But the truth is if you can connect the dots and the data between those departments, you can get phenomenally better results.

CRM vendors have updated their platforms to encourage departments to collaborate and work together for the greater good.

One of the major areas for improvement in many companies is in aligning marketing and sales. Microsoft’s update to Dynamics CRM for 2015 includes a special Sales Collaboration Panel.

As salespeople chat to customers every day, they know the words customers use, the pain points and what customers really need. Now, this new tool lets salespeople give their input for marketing campaigns and targeting. The great thing about this is that it reduces wasted marketing spend, and helps messaging be more resonant with your customers.

What this means for you: if you use an advanced CRM platform that aligns all your customer-facing departments, 2015 will be a year to remember for you. And perhaps more importantly, this will help you get ahead of companies that are still constantly catfight between departments.

Make sure you’re getting the most out of your CRM in 2015. Sign up today and start your free 30-day Dynamics CRM 2015 trial immediately. It’s free and we’ll provide you with training too!

5 High-ROI Marketing Tools That Rescue the Customer Journey


Only 2% of customers buy on their first visit – these marketing tools will get them to complete the customer journey.

Let’s be honest. It’s very rare that you visit a website and want to buy something straight away. A customer journey just doesn’t happen that quickly.

Most of us simply want to browse. Only 2% of people who visit an online shop make a purchase on their first visit. That’s even lower for considered, high value purchases or B2B services.

The problem that we face as marketers is losing these visitors, and having dead customer journeys. Our challenge is to get details from our website visitors, so that we can retarget them, nurture them and make those sales. Thankfully there are a few tools that we can use to bridge that gap so we can reach our targets.

1. Email collection pop-up

Business and internet marketing blogger Matthew Woodward found that his conversion rate of collecting emails increased 44% with these types of pop-ups. Padiact is a particularly useful tool as it feeds into all the major ESPs. It means you can capture details to target potential customers with a nurture campaign and your newsletters, encouraging their customer journey to last longer.

2. Live chat (excellent in high value sales)

The thing with high-value, complex sales is that customers often have several pain-points and lots of questions. If you offer a chance for people to ask questions, and get them answered almost instantly, you can win their loyalty and details. Live chat is perfect for picking up customers directly from your site, who may have disappeared forever because that page didn’t answer their questions. Live chat solutions can help you to retain your customers and help them along their customer journey.

3. Cut downtime and slow-loading websites

Slow-loading websites cost online retailers £1.73 billion per year. 38% of UK shoppers said that they abandon websites or apps that take more than 10 seconds to load. That’s even higher on mobile devices where 74% of customers said they abandon sites that take more than five seconds to load.

To stop needlessly losing customers, it’s important to ensure your website is always spic, span and speedy! MonitorHub notifies admins if the site becomes slow. This means that your technicians can fix any slow-hosting problems and cut website abandonment. You can also change your website’s design to speed up loading.

4. Exit-intent offers

Many customers abandon purchases before leaving a site. If you can capture their details, and make them a special offer before they leave – then you have a better chance of them becoming a customer. That’s the aim of Picreel, a tool that monitors mouse movements to look for signs that a visitor is about to close a window. Then when a customer is about to leave, they suddenly have the option to leave their email address and get a discount. This is perfect for e-commerce sites.

5. Remarketing

Some find it creepy, some find it powerful, But there’s no denying that retargeted ads are effective. Retargeting boosts ad response rates by 400% and improved conversion rates for Kimberly-Clark by over 50%.

For e-commerce companies, Adroll is one of the leaders in the space. For B2B businesses, Resonance lets you retarget customers with a content funnel.
You’re always going to lose some website visitors along the way. But if you can use these tools to engage them and extend their customer journey, you can reap the rewards.

Now you’ve got customers, you need to  make the most of those relationships! Download your free eGuide: The ultimate guide to: upselling and cross selling to maximise your returns.


Easier than You Think: Bringing Predictive Analytics into Your CRM Programme


Predictive Analytics isn’t all maths; some of its basic concepts can deliver huge gains from any Customer Relationship Management programme.

Growth-focused SMEs, without enterprise-scale budgets, want one thing from their CRM: conversions. Performance metrics revolve around making the next call, setting the next appointment, closing that last-day-of-the-quarter sale.

And they’re suspicious of anything that gets in the way – including buzzwords like Predictive Analytics.

Should they be?

While it sounds complex, Predictive Analytics boils down to a single question:

What change in X leads to the greatest change in Y?

Substitute “sales approach” for X and “conversions” for Y, and you’ve got something Sales Directors sit up for. Imagine finding out:

  • You could turn 1,000 of your coldest leads into hot prospects tomorrow.
  • Conversions increase 10% when you make one change in tickle date.
  • Changing one approach could leapfrog two funnel stages.
  • The biggest success factor turns out to be the prospect’s growth rate.

That’s what Predictive Analytics can do. And here’s the best part: you don’t need complex software to do it, because many CRM environments have all the tools already.

Here are some ideas for using them, swinging in the power of Predictive Analytics with CRM rather than a regression analysis or a correlation coefficient.

Some of the ideas sound deceptively simple, but few companies with turnover under £50m put any resources into asking them.

Idea #1: Look for the customer’s sweet spot.

Start with this simple task: look for what unites your customers today.

Let’s say most of your customers are in food retail. You might think your natural prospects are “other food retailers”. But what if you noticed all those customers started using you when staff costs became an issue?

One chart in your CRM application – set up once, used again and again – might show how your services tend to save them two FTEs per store. That business pain (controlling headcount) has nothing to do with sector.

So if you help solve it, you’ve opened up a new area of prospecting any company where headcount is expanding faster than turnover. That’s a lot of companies.

And the best part? The information leading to that insight may be in your CRM database already.

If your sales strategy is focused on certain sectors just because that’s where your existing customers are, try looking for other descriptors that unite your roster. Looking at data across multiple criteria is a key principle of Predictive Analytics.

Idea #2: List the outside influences on your prospects.

Ask any salesperson what they want the most, and they’ll cry, “More leads!”. What if you could pull those leads from an unlikely place, such as the murky depths of the cold list?

You’ve probably got a chart that shows your drop-off at each stage of your sales funnel. But that diagram is an average. Averages hide a lot of insights.

Start by segmenting your database. (A good CRM consultant can show you how.) It can start simple: perhaps look at only sub-50-employee companies who entered your sales funnel in the last three years. (Including existing customers.)

Then look at the sales funnel for each quarter of those three years.

What if you discovered those prospects typically go cold after third tickle, unless it was around the time of their biggest annual trade event?

That insight could redraw your entire sales plan. Concentrate SME sales around the main event on their calendar. Plan your calling around it; arrange to meet them at the show; turn up and buy them lunch!

And instantly, 500 cold SMEs are back in your leads list.

That’s another key Predictive Analytics principle: outside factors that influence a decision. Salespeople want to work smart and earn the highest commission per unit of effort. So why not give them the insights to do it?

Idea #3: See what happened before the close.

Salespeople make huge efforts to talk to prospective customers but few ask how the customer wants to be contacted. This is an area where sales and marketing can truly work together.

Look at your existing customer list. At what point did they first talk to someone in sales? How long had they been in the database? How many email campaigns had they been sent? How many clicked through to the web newsletter? Let’s say all your successful wins averaged six months on the suspect list and read three newsletters before your first phone conversation.

That means if you’re calling them after the first click, you’re losing them.

But it also opens up opportunities. How many names in your database have been there six months plus and have clicked in your emails over three times? This simple Predictive Analytics method suggests they’re finally ready to talk. So call them today.

Once again, the solution doesn’t need a professional analyst on-hand – the right applications, whether in the cloud or the server closet, can show up such patterns as easy-to-understand graphs.

Idea #4: Spread the stories far and wide.

Our last idea has nothing to do with Predictive Analytics, or even with CRM. It’s about getting your people onboard the ideas above.

Once they understand how effective these methods can be, they’ll start coming up with their own ideas for more.

Imagine a marketing guy asking if he can see conversion rates comparing companies in retail with companies in consulting. He’s got an idea for two segmented campaigns that’ll help name recall when your salespeople call.

Or maybe your top saleswoman wants to know whether property developers have a similar nurturing pathway to cleaning agencies. She’s wondering if your customers’ customers are a worthwhile approach.

Everyone wants a success story. Helping them write it may take no more than a good question and a graph. (If your CRM setup isn’t capable of it, you might want to look into one that does.)

Data = profits. Don’t believe us? Download your free eGuide The ultimate guide to: upselling and cross selling


Motivate Your Sales Team with CRM: Here’s How…


Motivate your team to get the most from your CRM and sales department by understanding that it’s about the process as much as the product.

It’s hard to recruit great salespeople. Harder still to keep them great.

It’s important that you get the most out of your CRM and sales team. While CRM can do it, the product is only half the story.

To get the most from Customer Relationship Management, you have to get your salespeople not just using it, but liking it.

Liking the way it delivers sales targets. Liking how it helps them succeed.

Here’s how.

Show them that not all old leads are cold leads when it comes to CRM and sales.

Cold doesn’t mean dead. It just means someone wasn’t ready to buy yet. What if:

  • You know which “cold leads” still click every newsletter?
  • You know it takes 21 calls to get an appointment – and 500 cold leads are on twenty?
  • You know cold leads warm up after their annual trade event?

Many CRM applications can provide such out-of-the-box insights. They’ll get your salespeople warmed up as fast as those unexpected prospects.

Remember KISS – Keep It Simple, Sales.

Complexity gets in the way. There’s no surer way to hamper adoption than to make users think the old way was easier. So double check:

  • Main charts and functions are reachable with a click.
  • Any journey through a task is easy to understand.
  • Everything integrates with the natural application for that task – such as Microsoft’s Outlook for email campaigning.

Today, some of the best lessons in ease-of-use within CRM and sales come from mobile app design.

Get that data to go with mobile access.

Salespeople are big mobile users. So a CRM application that plays well with their phones and tablets – especially those they own at home – will see greater use. It enables:

  • A sense of ownership. Mobile devices are all about the personal.
  • More work hours to be put in as staff can now log in from anywhere.
  • A sense of empowerment – you’re letting them do things their way.

And maybe, just maybe, all that leads to greater sales numbers. Make CRM mobile.

Find the boring bits and take them out of the loop.

A powerful application makes it easy to load up on menial tasks too. So actively look for things to automate. Here are some ideas:

  • Keep in touch. Set follow-up calls automatically.
  • Campaign chasers. Calling people who clicked the newsletter? Deliver lists to salespeople’s desktops.
  • Event dates. Find the big trade days in each sector and automatically schedule appointment-setting calls a few days before.

A great deal of sales can seem quite time consuming. The best CRM practices will save you a vast amount of time.

Show them opportunities in social media.

The formula for happy, successful salespeople is simple: keep them supplied with quality leads that you have found from various places. There are many opportunities for this, such as:

  • Getting your prospects’ social media handles.
  • Connecting not just to prospects, but prospects’ customers.
  • Looking for common denominators in what they click, post, share and follow.

The best CRM applications know social media backwards – but many companies underuse it.

Say it in pictures, charts and graphs.

A good chart or graph can foster understanding in CRM and sales that drives double-digit jumps in conversions.

  • Ask your people what information from the weekly report they use most and give it to them on-demand, in real time.
  • Choose graphics that can be used by easily by both Team Leaders and Sales Executives.
  • Don’t limit yourself to pie charts and bar charts – scatters and circumplexes have clinched many a consultant’s sale too.

When you need to present data, do as much as possible in graphics. A good CRM setup will give you the tools.

Demonstrate the power of all in CRM and sales.

Imagine you have ten salespeople:

  • If two are using CRM, those two will find it hard. Usage will drop to zero.
  • If five are using CRM, that five won’t get full value. They’ll use it under duress.
  • Once six are using CRM, it’ll persuade those who aren’t to get on board.

The outputs of a CRM system – ideas, insights, opportunities, conversions, closes – are only as good as the data you put into it. So take care to get every lead and every action where it belongs and make it easy to do so.

It’s the process, not the product.

Above all, remember CRM isn’t a product.

For the people who use it – nurturing leads, chasing closes, maxing-out conversions – CRM is a process.

So when you choose your CRM partner, make sure they focus on how things are done within your organisation. Match product with process and your results from CRM will be sky-high. Ready to look up?

Once your team is motivated, you’ll need to make sure they have the knowledge to make the most of your CRM system. Discover how to increase your sales with your free eGuide The ultimate guide to: upselling and cross selling


3 Tenets That Make CRM Work

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There are three simple principles behind profitable CRM – customers, relationships and management.

CRM – it’s as easy as 123. The clue is in the name.

CRM – Customer Relationship Management – is built on three principles:

1. Customers.

2. Relationships.

3. Management.

CRM is not so much a tool, as it is an ethos that uses software to help fulfil its goals.

1. Customers

The lifeblood of your business is not just sales, but the customers themselves. All of your activities should be focused on delivering a better service to customers, new and old.

CRM provides a central repository for all customer data, becoming the one comprehensive view of all things customer related – it also helps you to retain the customers you already have.
Increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profits between 25% and 95%. – Bain & Company.

2. Relationships

People buy from people. That’s why it’s important that relationships form the core of all your interactions. Marketing establishes relationships and sales cultivate them. Your service team can then learn and grow new opportunities based on those relationships.

CRM gives you a tool to capture relationship data, analyse trends and identify new opportunities.

“CRM almost makes everyone in your organisation a sales person, since they are selling your business in one way or another. For instance, customers often say things to support staff which could be used as a sales opportunity. The support person might not know it but because the information is recorded, a salesperson can see it and use it to follow up. Just the recording of the information has many benefits for other departments.” – IDC.

3. Management

Establishing relationships with customers is one thing, but those interactions need to be managed if they are to be profitable. You also need tools to capture and analyse relationship data to help keep sales, marketing and services on track.

CRM can also be used to automate many of the common account management tasks to improve customer service, such as smoothing the transfer of leads between marketing and sales and giving your company a complete understanding of the customer’s needs and preferences.

“On average, sales and marketing costs average from 15%-35% of total corporate costs. So the effort to automate for more sales efficiency is absolutely essential. In cases reviewed, sales increases due to advanced CRM technology have ranged from 10% to more than 30%.” – Harvard Business Review.

“The average time a sales representative spends on sales: 47%; on administrative tasks; 39%.”– Selling Power Magazine.


1. Customers.

2. Relationships.

3. Management.

See obstacles to your CRM implementation? For more information, download your free eGuide The ultimate guide to: security in the cloud


Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Online pricing


We’re happy to see so many people eagerly expecting Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015.

As you already know, the main attraction of CRM 2015 is that it’s going to bridge the gap between Sales and Marketing. So what about CRM 2015 pricing?

In this blog, we talk about CRM 2015 Online licences (for on-premise licences, please refer to Microsoft’s website).

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Online Pricing

There are a few different types of licences you’ll be able to get for CRM 2015 Online: Enterprise, Professional, Basic and Essential.

What pricing and features can we expect from these licences? Here’s a summary:


Price: £9.40/user/month
Suitable for: Users who only need access to custom relationship management (xRM) capabilities created specifically for their use
Main features: custom entities, notes & activities, executing workflows


Price: £18.70/user/month
Suitable for: Employees who need CRM for areas other than marketing, sales and customer service. These users may need access to accounts, contacts, leads, cases, reporting, and custom relationship management (xRM) capabilities
Main features: Same as above plus basic marketing, sales and service features


Price: £40.50/user/month
Suitable for: Everyone who needs full access to sales, marketing and service features
Main features: Same as above plus bulk data import, workflow editing and unified service desk


Price: £124.60/user/month
Suitable for: All employees who need full marketing, sales and service features plus Microsoft Marketing and Parature (a help desk software for multi-channel service delivery)
Main features: Same as above plus Microsoft Marketing and Parature

The full Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Online licence pricing list including Microsoft Social Listening, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, additional storage, additional production instance, enhanced support and professional direct support can be found here.

Microsoft now offers a great deal on their Sales Productivity Package. It’s a bundle of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 & Office 365 Business Intelligence bundle and includes:
• Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015
• Office 365
• Yammer enterprise social network
• Power BI (Graphic visualisation of data)
• Microsoft Social Listening

Find out more about the CRM and Power BI bundle in this Microsoft Dynamics video:

Companies that already subscribe to Office 365 will get the Sales Productivity Package for £28.09/user/month.

Good to know

Companies that wish to adopt CRM will have to purchase a minimum of 5 Professional CRM licences. After that, CRM 2015 is flexible on the rest of the licences. CRM 2015 users will even be able to choose dual use rights, a type of licence that lets the user access both the online and on-premise version – perfect for hybrid CRM solutions.

Current CRM 2013 users will be able to transfer/change their licences by contacting Microsoft or one of Microsoft’s CRM accredited partners: why not try us?

Warning: Why the CRM System You’ve Got Is Failing


Noticing that your business isn’t running as smoothly as it should could mean that you have a CRM failure.

Sometimes your sixth sense feels there’s something wrong, doesn’t it? You get the feeling that your business isn’t working quite as smoothly as it should. Your teams appear on to be on top of things, but then a string of problems arise and you don’t know where they’ve come from.

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar?

Your CRM might seem up to date. Then suddenly, some dead-cert sales seem to have gone cold. You ask your sales people about them, then they realise they lost track and didn’t put them in the CRM. This CRM failure means you’re no longer at the top of the game.

Maybe you start hearing complaints from customers with unresolved issues. After asking around, you realise emails got muddled and passed around between people. Nobody dealt with this CRM failure either.

According to the marketing team’s reports, there are lots of leads. So why is the sales pipeline slow? You ask around and there seems to be a blockage between sales and marketing. That spreadsheet wasn’t passed across because a member of staff was on holiday for three weeks.

Business growth leads to more problems and complexity.

Whether you have a CRM or not, as your company grows you’re likely to face these kinds of problems more and more. Things will run less and less smoothly, while scalability makes things even more complex. People from various departments face increasing frustrations because of existing CRM failures.

According to a study by the Merkle Group, 63% of CRM systems fail their organisation. That doesn’t include the countless unreported failures from businesses which still rely solely on emails and spreadsheets to keep things going.

So where do these problems come from and what can you do to solve them?

5 common reasons for CRM failure.

1. Lack of sufficient systems in place. Many businesses cope perfectly fine without a CRM for a while. But there comes a stage when problems arise, multiple people juggle difficult problems at once and it becomes more risky.

A good CRM system offers reminders and prompts for critical tasks. It keeps customer records in one place rather than in someone’s inbox. It means that everyone can keep on top of their workflows, while others can step in if there’s a problem, or if someone’s away.

2. Low and slow CRM adoption. According to a study by Gartner, 49% of respondents stated that slow user adoption of CRM systems had prevented their organisation from being more customer-centric.

With personal training that persuades end-users on the benefits, they’re more likely to use a CRM system.

3. Lack of buy-in from board. 38% of executives surveyed by the Merkle Group said that a lack of executive buy-in meant their CRM didn’t meet their business goals. By getting buy-in from the top down, everyone can be behind it. That means that C-level executives have a stake in the success of the CRM software.

4. Loss of sales time. 46% of Sales Initiative magazine’s readers stated that lost sales time is a major issue in choosing a CRM system. A customised sales CRM can minimise the data-collection, “time-wasting” elements of CRM and only ask for the most necessary elements.

5. Managers not leading from the front to get CRM adoption. CRM expert Paul Pitman at Collier Pickard tried all the tricks to get CRM user adoption. Making it look like Facebook, setting up mobile and tablet platforms and making commissions dependant on data entry were among many of his attempts

But then a free tactic did the trick. He used the system himself and his teams followed. Teams see their boss as an example, so if managers lead from the front, they are much more likely to use the CRM and improve the ROI of the system.

It’s important to act now.

You can palm these issues off. But what happens if a strategic client drops out because your team faced a busy time of year and couldn’t handle their support issues, due to a CRM failure? What happens if your CRM isn’t prioritising sales leads – and you lose the hottest ones?

It’s important to get the right CRM system in place before problems escalate and leave your business behind.

Learn more about getting everyone on your side by downloading your free eGuide: The ultimate guide to: winning board support


Top 10 Benefits of CRM to Your Organisation

The benefits of CRM can be far-reaching, with the huge amount of information that is available on the internet today, it is often hard to select what applies to your business or even what expectations from a CRM you should have. So, what can CRM do for you?


CRM saves you time – and money

First of all, it is a good idea to have all customer interaction data centralised in one database, because it saves you expensive data management time. It also means all your teams can see all data in relation to an individual or a group of your customers. This speeds up the decision-making process and your employees can organise themselves better according to the hard data: knowing which leads are hot or cold allows them to take appropriate action, focusing their energy in the right direction.

CRM saves you effort

By offering you analytics and automatically assigning tasks to individual employees, CRM makes it easier and far more straightforward to do your project management. The effort you save on routine tasks now can be dedicated to tasks that actually make you money!

Boost your customer interaction

With the database full of useful data, the insight into every customer account is much greater. So when your Sales or Service & Support team get in touch, they can use all this data to your advantage. This makes your team look really professional and worth doing business with. Moreover, CRM makes it possible to automatically assign prospects to individual representatives, which helps create a tighter relationship between your company and the client.

Increases revenue and slashes costs

So you save time on mundane administrative work and money by focusing your effort where it should be. But it gets even better. By knowing your customers more intimately, you can now predict how much they are likely to spend with you and even who your competition is in each particular case – so you can actually calculate what margin you are safe to charge. Forecasting doesn’t end here, however – there is much more that CRM analytics have on offer.

Forecasting & reporting

From your current service demand, the system can calculate probable future demand trends, as well as guide your strategic adaptation to these. Forecasting lets you see how much money you’ll make this month – so you can plan your expenditures more comfortably.

Operational efficiency

To make sure you work efficiently, Microsoft Dynamics CRM now presents industry best practices, which means you can follow pre-tested ways of closing deals faster and making your customers happy on the way. You can improve your business processes and save money while being more efficient and moving faster.

Better relationships in the workplace

Since everybody has access to the same data, it is easier to agree on criteria that need to be met by Marketing before a lead can be called ‘qualified’ and passed onto Sales. And even when they Sales call a lead that needs a bit more nurturing before closing – no problem – it can be recycled back to Marketing.

Coordination & customisation

When you pick a CRM system, make sure it aligns with all the software you’re currently using. For example, Microsoft Dynamics CRM aligns seamlessly with your Microsoft Office package, making it simple to extract whatever data you need. This CRM system is also very flexible so you can adjust it to your own business processes.


Depending on the size of your business, you can decide which features you want to implement first and as these bring results, you can add on more so you gradually increase your turnover. As you grow, you can eventually implement other CRM-compatible solutions such as Marketing Automation, Sales Force Automation and Service & Support Automation, which will leverage your CRM efforts even further.

Advanced security

Finally, you can control which fields are accessible to whom, to ensure your data are viewed and modified only by those who you want to – so you have all the security you need.

Keep reading!

For whatever reason, you’ve read this article – whatever can be improved in your company – just remember CRM is not a one-trick pony.

Download this white paper now to learn more about the 10 benefits you’ve just read – we explain how CRM can help your organisation become more efficient in more detail.

CRM and your core competence: From Generic to Unique


If you asked a management guru for a random valuable advice, he’d certainly say: Businesses which strictly focus on developing their core competence are the ones who take it far.

Sounds good, let’s do it!

However, as you probably know, it’s too easy to get caught up in improving your business processes and ‘hijack’ time from building the heart of your business. Many businesses have failed because they took their eyes off their core competency and spent too many resources on improving their operations.

So how do you make sure you’re efficient AND milking your core advantage at the same time?

Beating the odds

Let’s look at the example of Servcorp, a business that decided not to lose their focus. Servcorp is the world’s leading provider of Serviced and Virtual offices. They offer offices all over the globe at affordable prices – so their clients don’t have to worry about managing their external offices. Instead, they fill in an online form and are set up with an office, a local phone number and a receptionist within 5 minutes.


One of the reasons behind Servcorp’s success are their efficient business processes and information systems. In the past, they relied on their in-house IT team to build a CRM system from ground up. This system was perfectly optimised for their operations which gave them a great competitive advantage.

However, as the business grew, there came a point in time when they realised that this system had its limits – and it would be impractical to keep investing in its growth & maintenance.

As Matthew Baumgartner, CIO of Servcorp explained in their press release, Servcorp decided to look for a cloud CRM solution that would be scalable enough to tailor to their specific needs. They considered a few other vendors from the Gartner Magic Quadrant and decided that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online would be the best solution for them, the main reason being its high adaptability and familiar interface.

Matthew Baumgartner

Matthew Baumgartner, CIO of Servcorp

The results

As a result of the implementation, Servcorp benefited from positive results:

  • They saved money and man hours on maintaining the system, which they could relocate back to creating value for customers.
  • They were able to serve their customers faster and better than ever before.
  • They strengthened their competitive advantage by improving their network and connecting all their locations together. With the help of other Microsoft Dynamics applications, they were able to get ahead of their competition who are still operating in silos.

Here is a video of Matthew Baumgartner summarising their impression of Microsoft Dynamics CRM:

The company rolled out the CRM application to 600 employees worldwide. The management made sure the system met the employees requirements by paying close attention to user training and the user’s feedback. Mr Baumgartner said “As a result, the CRM system has become a single point of entry for all sales and customer related data”.

How can you be as successful as Servcorp?

What’s your core competence? Speed of delivery? Passion for chemistry? Whatever it may be, your CRM should reflect this unique ability that has made your business successful so far – and has the potential to make it even more successful in the future. Give us a shout today and we can figure out how to help you achieve your goals.

Charities urged to analyse and use data


Charities have been encouraged to make sure they are using their various data sets effectively.

According to Peter Watson, information and systems manager at youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, good data management is “essential”, as it enables third sector bodies to understand their users’ needs and the impact of their work.

He acknowledged that getting to grips with large quantities of information can be “daunting and overwhelming”. However, he told the Guardian there are a number of ways in which they can make sense of it and use it in a constructive way.

For instance, Mr Watson said that once organisations have built up a significant body of data, they can analyse it and use it to group data into categories.

This, he stated, would enable them to find out relevant trends and patterns that could prove invaluable when it comes to improving services and determining future policy and research activities.

Identifying recurring themes could also help charities manage their relationships with supporters, clients, partners and stakeholders more effectively, with each group receiving targeted and relevant communications.

Mr Watson went on to insist that if a charity puts a data management system in place, it must make sure every member of staff knows how to use it properly.

“Systems are only as good as the people who use them, so charities need to support staff in recording data and running reports,” he commented.

“Support can happen at staff induction, in training, through telephone support and clear written guidance.”

Mr Watson added that any data management system must be reviewed on a regular basis, so charities can work out how useful it is and if improvements could be made.

He stated that getting feedback from stakeholders and system users would be one good way to see if the system is delivering results, as the findings could prompt an organisation to “improve existing fields and add new fields if necessary”.

If you’re planning to invest in CRM, the conditions need to be right for it to succeed. Download our free white paper to learn how to optimise your system.

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