What would be in your CRM Christmas stocking?

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Microsoft have been thinking sales, marketing and customer service with their new update to Microsoft Dynamics CRM this Christmas. There are some fantastic enhancements and new features that will push your productivity through the roof. Which ones would be in your CRM Christmas stocking?

New Interactive Dashboards

The new dashboards enable users to pull data from multiple entities, so that all relevant data is in one place, users are able to drill down to the data they require from within the dashboard. These dashboards are far more feature rich than their traditional counterparts, in terms of the data that is shown and the way that users interact it. They now have visual filters where data can be sliced and diced at a granular level. Actions can be performed from directly within the dashboard, as opposed to opening the case record, going to the form, and then performing the necessary actions. The overarching philosophy is about providing users with the relevant information, in one easy to navigate environment.

Multi Stream Dashboard

This dashboard is designed for Tier One agents. The user is now able to view their workload across multiple data streams i.e. views or queues and act accordingly. It is now possible to create interactive charts that provide insight in real-time of the key metrics, these charts also act as visual filters, which allow agents to manipulate the data. It is also possible to create global filters, which bring focus to the relevant items.

Single Stream Dashboard

Single stream dashboards are designed primarily for Tier Two Agents. A single data stream on the left shows an aggregate view of the workload. This dashboard shows data from queues or views. Much like the multi-screen dashboard, the screen can show data from views which is fully interactive, and data can be filtered using the same criteria as the multi-screen dashboard. The tiles on the right hand side gives users an insight into specific records by selecting the relevant tile.

Unified Service Desk

Microsoft recognised the need to modernise their current customer service infrastructure. Microsoft Dynamics CRM fall update, has introduced a consolidated solution which includes self-assisted and field service. The introduction of the Unified Service Desk which provides service organisations with the unique ability to deliver a single agent desktop with access to back end systems and third party applications. The install process has been greatly improved by enabling upgrades and patches to be delivered through windows update/system centre. Improved auditing and diagnostic settings dictate which events and actions are logged through the centralised auditing configuration. Third party systems, such as, Azure and HDInsights is now available out of the box. The spring update saw the integration of Parature knowledge management. This is being supplemented with a new role orientated agent experience, a centralised Knowledge Management solution and CRM surveys to capture customer opinion on case specific scenarios with Voice of the Customer. The acquisition of Field One has enhanced field service capabilities.

External Party Access

Another massive improvement brought about by the Fall Update is External Party Access which allows third parties to access CRM data with the right level of permissions. It allows integration, access and actions by partners, contacts or any other third parties that have been modelled in CRM. It is a role based permission model for external customers to access CRM data through any channel. Multiple roles can be modelled that a customer may have against an organisation.

What does Microsoft Dynamics CRM have in store for your Customer Service team this Christmas?

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Be nice to your customer service team this Christmas. Microsoft recognised the need to modernise their current customer service infrastructure. Microsoft Dynamics CRM fall update, has introduced a consolidated solution which includes self-assisted and field service. The introduction of the Unified Service Desk which provides service organisations with the unique ability to deliver a single agent desktop with access to back end systems and third party applications. The install process has been greatly improved by enabling upgrades and patches to be delivered through windows update/system centre. Improved auditing and diagnostic settings dictate which events and actions are logged through the centralised auditing configuration. Third party systems, such as, Azure and HDInsights is now available out of the box. The spring update saw the integration of Parature knowledge management. This is being supplemented with a new role orientated agent experience, a centralised Knowledge Management solution and CRM surveys to capture customer opinion on case specific scenarios with Voice of the Customer. The acquisition of Field One has enhanced field service capabilities.

One of the most exciting features introduced in the Fall Update provides an all new role based experience for CSAs. Agents can get a real-time view of their workload. Multi-Stream and Single-Stream views can cater for the information requirements of CSAs at all levels. It has been designed with modernism, simplicity and intuitiveness at the core, with the goal of increasing productivity.

Microsoft’s new release brings enhanced intelligence and insights to the next level in analytics-driven intelligence and a native knowledge management system for CRM. This means that organizations can capture — and access — information that helps them systematically resolve issues faster. Service intelligence is further enhanced through analytics enabling organizations to understand and improve the performance of their service operation. Machine learning capabilities in the new release represent a dramatic step forward in agent empowerment providing answers to questions and helping them better solve problems on the spot. With Azure Machine Learning, Microsoft are making customer engagement more intelligent, enabling organizations to learn over time from the issues they are facing so that patterns can be identified, speeding time to resolution and continuously improving performance.

With Dynamics CRM 2016 Microsoft are delivering a solution that not only captures the signals communicated in various channels in the market, but also empowers the agent to provide meaningful feedback. They will soon be adding capabilities that enable improved communications arising from listening to the voice of the customer by capturing and leveraging customer feedback through surveys to shape customer engagements with easy to use, mobile and touch-enabled tools. Feedback can be analysed as part of a single customer record — enabling a direct response to a specific customer concern. Or it can be analysed as a whole – so that organizations can better understand their market and programmatically respond to customer needs. The new release also leverages social channels with Azure Machine Learning to instantly track and analyse relevant sentiment via Microsoft Social Engagement, and engage directly with customers on social channels such as Twitter and Facebook, with the option of converting issues surfaced through social channels into cases.

Merry Christmas From Redspire

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We hope that you have a relaxing festive break and come back ready for what 2016 has in store!

 
 
 

As it is Christmas we have put together a festive treat for you. Under the Redspire Christmas tree you will find some fantastic gifts for your sales, marketing and customer service departments.

Santa has cottoned on to the fantastic benefits that the Fall Update to Microsoft Dynamics CRM has brought about and wants to sprinkle some Christmas cheer on your business in the form of increased productivity.

RedspireTree

Click on the tree to be taken to your presents.

What is on your Marketing Departments Christmas wish list?

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Don’t forget about your marketing department this Christmas

The recent CRM 2016 update to Microsoft Dynamics CRM has seen a number of improvements that would make the lives of those within your marketing department more productive and less stressful.

Overview of CRM 2016 – Marketing

With customers being constantly connected to their mobile devices and various other forms of digital technology to connect and engage with their peers and research and evaluate companies and their offerings. This poses a number of opportunities and threats for marketers. CRM 2016 has seen massive improvements to both email and SMS functionality. Marketers now have the capacity to go truly mobile by creating and pushing campaigns directly from their mobile devices in a few easy steps, to keep up with the technology habits of their customers, with multichannel campaigns.

SMS Marketing

There has been significant investment in a number of areas, the biggest investment has been in providing the ability to create and execute SMS marketing campaigns as part of the overarching campaign management. The main purpose of SMS marketing is to build a database of opted in customers by sending out an email blast to marketing list, recipients will respond by text to the short code with the key word. They will then receive an acknowledgement text and the SMS list can be updated. Once they have opted in they can then be nurtured. To nurture those that opted in, send out an SMS blast, and check delivery. Customers will start responding to the new short code with the new keyword, responses can then be tracked and routed and follow ups can be arranged accordingly.

Surveys

The Microsoft Dynamics 2016 fall update has introduced a new survey designer that enables users to create personalised surveys and send them out to specific groups of customers, to collect feedback about products and services. The surveys are mobile and tablet friendly. Users can set up rules so that when a survey is completed, Microsoft Dynamics CRM will trigger follow up actions that occur immediately. The responses are stored with the corresponding records in CRM, this enables the teams working with the record to see a history of customer feedback to enable them to nurture a sale or resolve an issue more effectively. Through connected workflows automated actions can be triggered when surveys are completed. This can include scheduling an activity or sending automated messages such as an auto-responders, or alerting an account manager. Each survey response is linked back to the individual contact record in CRM and these responses can be aggregated to analyse the survey results. The survey designer will include radio buttons, tick boxes, star ratings and smiley face satisfaction options to cater for virtually any survey type. Landing pages are responsive so CRM surveys can be completed on desktop, tablet and mobile.

Conclusion

Get your marketing department something that they really want this Christmas. Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables marketing users to accurately measure campaigns, perform accurate AB testing, and increase the bang for the buck the marketing department can provide.

Survey: ‘Measuring CRM Success’.

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Complete our survey about CRM systems to take part in and receive a copy of our Benchmark Report.

Welcome to our survey, during which we will ask you to reflect on your business objectives, your CRM system, its implementation and the results it has driven. By spending 5 minutes filling in this survey and helping us to understand how UK companies are using CRM, you will be rewarded with a B2B Benchmark Report: ‘Measuring CRM success’. On receiving this, you will be able to compare your CRM system, processes and results against other companies to find out how they are achieving success.

Discover how to drive growth throughout your business with CRM by downloading: The ultimate guide to: driving business growth using CRM

The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Driving-business-growth-using-CRM

All your Salespeople need this Christmas is Microsoft Dynamics CRM

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The recent update to Microsoft Dynamics CRM has introduced a number of useful sales related goodies that will put a smile on the face of any salesperson. One of the main updates is the new enhanced mobile offline capability. This will enable your sales team to nurture leads wherever they are, and as we all know, productive sales people are happy sales people.

Overview of Microsft Dynamics CRM 2016 – Mobile Offline experience

Empower salespeople to effectively manage their workload and get the necessary tasks done even when there is no internet access. Salespeople can create, amend or delete records while offline. Automatic playback of offline actions helps synchronize local changes with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. The mobile app provides a seamless user experience when switching between online (connected) and offline modes.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM has been adapted to fit how salespeople like to work as opposed to forcing people to adopt foreign ways of doing things that inhibit productivity. One way Microsoft is doing that is by delivering key sales capabilities within Outlook desktop and mobile browser. For Outlook on the desktop, Microsoft already delivers CRM for Outlook, which provides true offline and rich sales capabilities inside the productivity application that salespeople already use on a daily basis. In this release, Microsoft makes it even easier to stay productive by surfacing contextual information from Dynamics CRM right in your inbox. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 App for Outlook makes it easy to track emails, add contacts from within an email or even create new records to track emails against the browser on PC or Mac or mobile browser on phone. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 App for Outlook will expand support to include Firefox, Safari for Mac and Outlook for Mac in addition to the currently supported IE and Chrome.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile Offline Features

The navigation bar consists of four buttons, these are;

Menu – This is where users can access all the different entities and areas of the app

Search – The search facility provides users with an easy and intuitive way to access records.

Home – This will take users to their personal homepage.

Back – This will take users back to areas they were working on before.

The mobile app aims to allow sales people to do their job more effectively. For example, if a sales person is going into a client meeting, they would be able to review the account looking at opportunities and recent cases, so that they are prepared for the meeting.

Accessing the account is simple, it’s just a case of going menu > Accounts > Choose the desired account.

The mobile app makes reaching out to customers easier than ever before, simply touch any phone number or address and the app will do the rest, once the phone call is finished there will be a create form waiting to enable the user to enter the information while it is still in fresh in their mind.

Another great feature is the ability to get directions or maps simply by clicking on an address field, which enhances the intuitive feel of the mobile application.

You are able to customise the application in a couple of ways. If a user wants to customise their home screen, they can create a dashboard on the web client.

Menu > View Dashboard > Command Menu > Select Dashboard > Choose Desired Dashboard > Set as Home

Users can also pin their favourite records or views to the home page simply by navigating to the desired record or view and selecting “pin to home”

Conclusion

There would be no better gift for your sales team this Christmas than this extremely useful productivity enhancement Don’t forget about your sales team this Christmas, the recent update to Microsoft Dynamics CRM has introduced a number of useful sales related goodies that would put a smile on the face of any salesperson.

The Importance of Defining High Level Business Objectives Before Embarking on a CRM Initiative

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What are Objectives?

Objectives are statements describing what the project is to achieve in order to be considered a success, and they act as a guide in managerial decision making. One of the most important aspects of CRM implementation is the formulation of high level business objectives. Good objectives should follow the SMART methodology which dictates that they should be; Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and Time-bound. It is necessary to start off with high level objectives that the business wants to achieve, and then go through the process of drilling down and coming up with specific CRM objectives in order to accurately calculate ROI. CRM objectives will be quantifiable and can be used to create targets for users.

Objectives and ROI

The main purpose of defining objectives is to isolate the business processes or areas of business processes that need attention. A business may want to improve their sales process by providing their sales people with enhanced mobile offline capabilities, or save time through the automation of certain tasks. Once the area(s) that need attention have been identified, it will be possible to get a cost from your selected partner and calculate your ROI. For example, a call centre wants to automate the generation of quotes and invoices to increase the productivity of their customer service advisors through saving time.

100 users

CRM implementation saves each user 1 hour a day.

Assuming users are getting paid min wage, the company saves £670 a day

Which translates to £244, 550 a year.

Departmental Disparity

Organisations must take into account that each department has its own priorities. The customer service department may want to reduce the number of support calls through implementing a self-service Knowledge base for customers. Sales may want better pipeline and forecasting capabilities. When looking into all departments requirements it is sometimes quite easy to lose track of the overall business objectives if CRM objectives are not stipulated from the start. It is very easy to conflate the actual causes of the issues with the business processes with their symptoms. Once the causes have been isolated it is necessary to priorities the areas causing the most friction.

Forming Objectives

CRM is based around the people that use it, when forming effective objectives organisations have to consider company structure, the roles within the company, are there many cultural differences? Are the workforce set in their ways and resistant to change? Understanding all of these factors will play a part in the formulations of ambitious yet achievable CRM objectives. Start in areas which will be easiest and will result in the highest reward for your business with the highest level of buy-in from your users.  Other factors to consider are; complexity of each area, and if the CRM system requires integration with other systems.

Constant Process Improvement

Don’t expect your CRM project to have an ‘end’ date either.  It will never be complete because as your business grows the CRM will adapt and grow with it, perpetuating the improvement cycle.  You will constantly think of new ideas to improve processes and the beauty of a CRM system is that your CRM Administrator can adapt the software to match your ideas.

For more information about the CRM specification process download: Step by Step Guide to getting CRM Right: Step 1

How to Ensure That You Select The Best CRM System and Partner

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There are many factors to take into account when considering implementing CRM, and these differ significantly from business to business, so unfortunately there is no set of instructions as all businesses have different requirements. For people who are not IT experts, well versed in CRM implementation/deployment, JavaScript, C# and a number of other ‘techy’ things, the number of factors that need to be considered can seem very daunting. However, help is at hand! This article does not claim to be a set of instructions, it is a template that if followed correctly will enable you to create your own set of instructions based on your own specific business requirements and objectives. This will ensure that you get the system you need to meet your requirements, that implementation is quick and pain free and that you can start making a rapid return on investment.

Choosing the right CRM System

Before deciding on the most suitable partner it is necessary to select the system that can meet your (yet to be established) business requirements most effectively, using the following steps.

Know your requirements – This is one of the most important parts of the whole process and should start with an internal reflection of why a solution is needed. Once this has been established it will be possible to isolate the areas that are causing the need for the solution.

Internal CRM Team – It is necessary to pull together a team that would usually consist of; a high level member of staff with the resources available to them to make things happen, an IT expert and a project manager. It will also be necessary to get input from the departments that the CRM initiative aims to improve, and a selection of end users to highlight specific pain points and areas for productivity enhancements.

Budget – Some organisations have to accept that they are constrained by the current level of resources available to them, others don’t. There will be a CRM system and partner for both ends of the financial spectrum.

Integration – Consider the level of integration required between the new CRM system and the existing systems that are currently being used by your organisation. Choose a system that will cause the least issues to the day to day running of your business.

Support Requirements – Most organisations will struggle to cope without some level of support. The level of support required will largely depend on the degree of internal expertise.

Vertical Requirements – Many industries require extremely specialised customer data or has a requirement that is extremely specific. This must also be taken into account when selecting a system.

Feature requirements – Once the organisation has gone through the following steps, they will collaborate with their chosen partner on the specific Feature requirements of their system and how they will help them achieve their objectives

Choosing the right Partner

Partner selection can make or break a CRM project. You have gone through the painstaking process of choosing the right system and defining your requirements, however this is only half the battle. Partner selection requires the same diligence in selection. The following steps detail the process a company should go through before selecting a partner.

Partner Competency – There are different levels of partner competency, which illustrates expertise in specific areas of CRM. Ensure that the competencies of the partner you select align with your specific business requirements.

Processes – it is imperative that the partner has a tried and tested process for implementation and deployment. If this is not in place, there will be issues with requirements gathering, communication and overall ambiguity with regard to what CRM can actually do for the business

Industry Experience – Requirements vary depending on industry, so it is always a good idea to choose a partner with a good cross section of industry specific experience, in order to facilitate rapid implementation.

Service Offering – CRM partners usually have a number of optional services. It is important to make sure that their service offering fits in with your requirements.

Client Focused – In this day and age, it is imperative to be as consumer centric as possible and this is no different for partners. You must select a partner that has the capacity to drill down to get an intimate knowledge of how your business works before they will be effectively be able to meet your requirements.

Involvement and Participation – A good partner should always be willing to actively suggest ways that they can improve their offering, by suggesting ways to increase workforce productivity, user adoption and enhance the overall user experience.

Communication – It is extremely important to ensure that the foundations are there for constant and effective communication, as this is the only way to fuse the company requirements with the expertise of the partner.

Conclusion

The key to a smooth CRM implementation and productive and profitable CRM journey, is to accurately define your business requirements through internally searching and isolating the specific issues that a responsible for your current business pains. This enables you to see your specific business requirements and come up with a set of realistic and achievable objectives. At this stage the CRM system that most readily meets those requirements should be selected, once a decision has been made on the system, the partner that offers the right balance of processes, industry experience, service, involvement and communication should be selected ensuring that their competencies align with your requirements. If these steps are followed, CRM implementation will be a pain free experience, and you may learn a thing or two about your business along the way.

For more information about the CRM specification process download: Step by Step Guide to getting CRM Right: Step 1

7 Steps to Ensure that you Select a CRM Partner that can Meet Your Business Requirements

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The CRM market is currently sitting at £23.3 Billion and is growing at an impressive rate, with an expected compound annual growth rate of 14.7%. Partner selection is an extremely important part of CRM implementation, in fact, it is essentially the difference between success and failure. Given that different industries require different areas of CRM expertise, there is a number of questions that you must ask yourself and your shortlist of partners before making a decision.  The partner you select represents the last mile of implementation, specialization and support when it comes to your solution. After gathering requirements and selecting the system that can meet them the most effectively the following points need to be considered to ensure that the right partner is selected.

Partner Competency

Partners have different competencies and levels of competencies, make sure that you choose a partner with competencies that align themselves with your business needs and CRM requirements. You must be confident that your goals are their number one priority.

Processes

The logistics of CRM implementation are not straight forward, obviously the complexity varies depending on the requirements of the client. However, regardless of the complexity or size of the project it is imperative that the partner has a tried and tested process for implementation and deployment. If this is not in place, there will be issues with requirements gathering, communication and overall ambiguity with regard to what CRM can actually do for the business. Do not be a Guinea Pig, you must ensure that the processes being used to implement your CRM are totally watertight.   The fact that the majority of CRM initiatives fail is largely to with a lack of structure when it comes to scoping, implementation, deployment and support.

Industry Experience

Different industries have unique requirements, so it can be beneficial to select a partner that has had some experience in yours in order to facilitate rapid implementation. The partner will be in a better position to suggest tried and tested solutions and processes.

Service Offering

CRM partners usually have a number of optional services. It is important to make sure that their service offering fits in with your requirements.

Client-Focused

You must ensure that the partner that you select is client focused enough to truly understand how your business works. This is probably the most important considerations when selecting a partner, as if they do not have the required level of client focus, it will be impossible for them to translate your business processes into effective workflows as this requires a detailed understanding of the inner workings of your business.

Involvement and Participation

Be sure to select a partner that will actively suggest ways to further enhance user adoption, increase productivity and enhance the overall implementation experience through client training.

Communication

It is extremely important to ensure that the foundations are there for constant and effective communication, as this is the only way to fuse the company requirements with the expertise of the partner. It is extremely important that the partner is completely transparent and responsive, as trust is what these relationships are built upon.

Redspire

Redspire are at the cutting edge of CRM in the UK, everyone within the organisation is a Microsoft Certified professional. We have experience in helping organisations from a very broad cross section of industries. Our unique and innovative process to Implementation and deployment ensures that we are able to maintain the same high standards for every client regardless of their requirements, our process is as follows.

Step 1 – Agree on Business Objectives

At this stage we put together an experienced project team that will guide you through the process. We strive to create lasting relationships with our clients as we feel that this approach is the most effective way to establish the true CRM needs of our clients.

Step 2 – Understand What CRM does

We articulate what it can do out of the box, with no customisations. This enables us to work together to visualise how the requirements of each department will work within the system

Step 3 – Produce a Strategic and Tactical Plan

From this we can now define and agree on a strategic plan for CRM that will deliver your total business objectives and prioritise the first tactical step

Step 4 – Get you up and Running

We will get you up and running quickly so we’ll roll out a section of the system to single business unit who can start using it on a day-to-day basis. Together we can deploy, train and fine tune. We won’t move on until everyone is happy. Working with you, our dedicated consultant will identify the next business unit, ensuring that each project takes us toward the overall business objectives. As the smaller projects keep rolling out, you start to realise business benefits more quickly and you and your users end up with the CRM you need – not the one you think you wanted.

Conclusion

The CRM market is exploding and there is a huge choice when it comes to selecting the right system coupled with the right partner. This article aims to illustrate the criteria a company should ensure a partner meets before they entrust them with the important task of implementing and deploying their chosen system. Click here to read the article on selecting the best system.

For more information about the CRM specification process download: Step by Step Guide to getting CRM Right: Step 1