2 min read

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Launch

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The new Microsoft Dynamics was launched on October 31, but this new CRM platform (customer relationship management) shouldn’t be a Halloween horror story for the software giant, which is promising much better social CRM, a great experience on mobile and tablet devices and integration with a host of other company-owned apps.

Already there are apps that fine-tune this new CRM platform to tablet use with a dashboard and easy tap-entry for customer data. Versions for iPhone and Android are on their way.

 

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013: Highlights

Microsoft are committed to exploring ways to improve communication across teams and people. Analysts say that Microsoft has started well with its integration with the enterprise network it owns, Yammer, the widely-used internet call programme, Skype, and Lync, their own instant messaging system.

Users of the cloud version of Dynamics can use a powerful tool called Social Insights which harvests contact information from 30,000 sources. The app is the work of Dynamics partner InsideView and they say the link-up is the first time such comprehensive – contacts include number of employees, financial reports and products and so on – and constantly updated information has been available within a CRM platform. Both they and Microsoft are talking about a new era of CRM in the cloud. Customers based in the US who buy the premises version of Dynamics also have some access to Social Insights, those in the rest of the world will be able to access it in 2014.

 

The New Interface

Microsoft Dynamics 2013
The look is designed to reflect this, with an “immersive layout” that puts everything on a single screen. Microsoft says that this means their CRM platform will make the sales cycle shorter, close more deals and be easier to use for new employees – this is vital with so many CRM users reporting staff uptake as a key problem with their software.

They are certainly talking this one up. Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Dynamics CRM, said: “We will be exploring how the sales process has changed and why companies need a new type of solution in order to be successful in this new age.”

 

microsoft dynamics crm 2013 webinar

 

Would you like to watch Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 in action? Take your pick!

Cleaner, easier to navigate user interface
Intuitive business processes and workflows
Access CRM on the go
Enterprise wide collaboration
Dynamics CRM 2013 Platform Enhancements

 

3 min read

CRM Training: Do you Need it?

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So, you’ve forked out for a customer relationship management (CRM) system, the last thing you want to do now is hand over more cash for training. But, is this investment the only way to get the best out of your new CRM system, saving money in the long run?

There are certainly those (some of them in the business of selling the training) who would argue that it is absolutely essential. And they have the figures to back their thesis up – of the 77% of British businesses that use a CRM system around 40% weren’t getting the results that they wanted. Similar results have been found in other surveys and any reading on CRM will soon lead you to complaints about limited staff uptake of the system and over-complexity.

The people behind the research concluded that it wasn’t bad software to blame, it was human interaction with it.

The benefits of CRM training

CRM simply won’t work if your team don’t believe it will help them provide a better service and if they don’t buy in to what can initially be a potentially complex set of new processes. People are naturally resistant to change and anything that seems to make life harder is going to have your staff’s back up from the start. As CRM systems are typically designed to be organisation-wide and require different staff to chip in at different points to provide a complete picture you need to win a lot of people over. This lack of a defined beginning middle and end to what your staff have to do is just another barrier to successful CRM uptake.

If you’ve got your head screwed on, you’ll have researched your CRM decision in depth before you buy, possibly making use of trial periods before you committed. You may even want to bring in CRM consultants to guide the process and, if you do, they should give you the advice you need on training.

But be warned. This is an investment to save time and money in the long run, but it requires a fair amount of time and money in the short term, and that scares some companies off.

The process of CRM training

In an ideal world your trainers will take the time to learn about your business in order to deliver a programme that will really work for your staff and won’t waste time just sharing their comprehensive knowledge of a system parts of which your staff will never use. You should also look for a rigid focus on processes – what am I going to do? – rather than technical details. Training to the book on a system that will be heavily customised by the time your staff use it will also be a waste and this may be a particular problem if you engage the software company themselves to train your team, it may be better to go independent.

CRM training is a benefit, if you can afford it. Those users who report problems with their systems almost invariably point to human rather than technical failings. However, it’s a cost, possibly a large cost, and in the final analysis that will be the key decision, but you must remember to properly assess how much money you could waste if you fail to make a go of CRM.