Senior Leaders: Understanding the Board’s Demand for CRM


Understanding why a CRM system is needed makes it possible to meet your board’s demands for a high level of user adoption.  

Sales, Marketing and IT leaders all want to maximise CRM adoption. But do they share the same reasons? In brief, no. Each of the Big Six job titles has a different reason to drive CRM adoption.

And if you’re involved in the CRM space, it’s useful to define what those reasons are.

So think yourself into the boardroom, and let’s see what CRM adoption means to each C-leveller around the table.

The Chief Executive Officer: make my business a legend

In larger enterprises, CEOs aren’t involved in the minutiae of tech rollouts. That doesn’t mean they’re not interested in the outcomes. Results, results, results… across the whole business, not any one line P&L.

So to the CEO, the reason for CRM adoption is squeezing out inefficiencies along the whole value chain. How better communication shortens the sales cycle; how a single customer database cuts down busywork; how a £50k cost saves £75k a year in existing commitments.

So forget individual departmental worries: show the CEO how CRM brings it all together. He’s all about the bottom line.

The Chief Marketing Officer: let me talk to my customers

CRM adoption fulfills the Marketing Director’s dream: engaging customers in a single managed conversation, from cold suspect to repeat customer, on a one-to-one basis, across all channels, forever.

“70% of those interviewees working in Sales and Marketing said that engaging, qualifying and following up leads is their biggest challenge.”

So to a CMO, CRM’s benefit is in the way it enables institutional memory, continuing the conversation wherever that customer hangs out. Maximising Customer Lifetime Value, and making every customer feel like the only customer.

The Chief Sales Officer: let me prise open their wallets

The Head of Sales’ motivations are like the CMO’s, only more so. The right CRM system enables salespeople to target the most profitable customers, cross-sell and upsell to them to increase customer retention and advocacy across today’s increasingly wide range of customer channels – including online and social media.

“Research done by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company (the inventor of the net promoter score) shows that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%”, says Amy Gallo in her Harvard Business Review article ‘The Value of Keeping the Right Customers’ – published in October 2014.

That’s the Big Ask from the corner office of Sales: tell them how to make those numbers so they can recognise and reward who’s done it accordingly.

The Chief Operating Officer: tell me how it works

Connecting the parts. Improving the processes. Making things work. That’s the job of the COO. So for that individual, a CRM system’s ideal output is a means to connect and provide feedback about how it’s all functioning.

So show the COO how CRM adoption joins the dots. How a lead from the website becomes a contact for Sales, how that contact connects to order entry and pushes out an invoice later. When your CRM system maps your company processes, you’re in COO heaven.

The Chief Financial Officer: show me the money… and metrics

“I taught you so many things. The value of information. How to get it.”

The world’s come a long way since Gordon Gekko’s greed-is-good attitude. But reports, statistics, metrics and ratios still drive thinking in Finance.

So for the CFO, show off the dashboards and data to which CRM adoption is the key. Show how they connect to accounting systems and support better decision making. Control over costs – that’s how to win the CFO’s heart.

The Chief Technology Officer: save me from pulling all-nighters

The CTO’s last. For a reason. He understands best how much hassle any company-wide IT rollout involves. And while he’s as attuned to sales and profits as any other individual in the C-suite, his hot button is how easy will it be to roll out?

With the implementation of any new technology comes the risk of user resistance to change. Yet user adoption is essential if the firm is to reach its targets… and they’re not solely sales and profits. Without buy-in from end users, any investment in a CRM system will become more problematic and costly than the board expects.

Increasing user adoption

The right CRM system and a well-managed CRM adoption project will address each of these issues. Improving the ability of Sales and Marketing to target the most profitable customers, boosting operational performance and generating a return on investment.

There you have it: from the board’s perspective, CRM adoption is a real opportunity because it offers the potential to improve the business as a whole… as well as its parts. That can only be good news for them, their company and its board. In context, CRM makes complete business sense.


  • Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%.
  • The right CRM system will increase customer retention, reduce customer churn, improve sales performance and increase ROI.
  • By creating board advocacy and selecting adopting change agents, staff will more readily adopt the new CRM system.
  • Automating and centralising the CRM system will reduce the need for repetitive manual tasks, reduce costs, streamline process, create efficiencies, improve inter-departmental collaboration and staff performance.
  • Communicate the benefits of a new CRM system in context with the concerns of the board to demonstrate the contextual value of adoption.

Understanding the board’s demand for CRM is crucial for success, but even more important for specifying the right system. Find out more by watching this webinar: One Step Ahead: Getting your CRM Specification Right


The 10 Most Important Questions to Ask When Selecting the Right CRM Partner [SLIDESHARE]

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Discover the questions you should ask potential CRM partners to ensure that you select the right one for your business. Read more

Merry Christmas From Redspire



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.


Click on the tree to be taken to your presents.

Successful CRM in 3 Easy Steps


Customers, relationships and management are three core elements of a successful CRM.

Many businesses are reluctant to introduce CRM into their processes. This reluctance to change is understandable when 63% of CRM projects are known to fail. For businesses looking to move forward, CRM is essential, but achieving success with new systems and strategies is key to generating ROI. This slideshare highlights three easy steps that will help you to achieve success with CRM.

Remember that CRM is pretty self explanatory. You need to prioritise your customers, your relationships with them and manage the cycle from end to end. Your customer should always be at the heart of your CRM strategy and getting the most out of your systems, whether that’s through buying more or having stronger communications with you. Once you’ve established the three key steps outlined in this slideshare, you’ll be well on your way to successful CRM.

Discover further ways to get the most out of your CRM by downloading: The Ultimate Guide to: Using CRM for data driven marketing success


10 best practices for your CRM strategy

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CRM implementations often fail, but you can improve your chances of success by following 10 best practices outlined by Redspire’s Billy Lyle. Read more

Update 1: Seamless Marketing Functionality

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Marketing planning, execution and analysis is becoming more and more complex, due to the fact that there is an ever increasing number of variables to think about when considering how to effectively communicate with your target market. Marketers in 2015 have a record number of technologies, channels, and tactics to choose from. The first step toward a solid strategy is finding focus amid the noise. It is imperative that marketers to keep a close eye on the metrics that not only matter to their business, but also can truly be influenced. Update 1 has introduced and updated a number of new features that have provided many benefits across the spectrum of business functions. This article will outline the benefits related to the marketing functionality of Dynamics CRM.

Update 1 – Marketing

Behind the Scenes

There have been massive improvements behind the scenes, Dynamics CRM is now better equipped to store a higher volume of customers and deal with even bigger databases with even greater efficiency. This equates to;

  • Faster page loads
  • Improved application performance
  • Faster email delivery

Improved Lead Scoring

The Aberdeen Group Stated that 68% of best-in-class companies use lead scoring, in comparison with 28% of laggard firms. With Update 1 users now have the capacity to design a more detailed lead scoring model than ever before, leads can be scored based on;

  • Demographic variables
  • Contact interaction records
  • Custom data field values

For each lead, the system now provides detailed graphical and tabular views that show exactly which rules contributed to the total score over time and how much they affected it. In addition, users can choose to score leads either in real time or via batch processing.

Campaign Automation

The campaign automation canvas now displays the last and next run times for each tile and for the campaign itself. This allows the user to see how recently each tile was executed and the next time that it is due to run. On top of that, it provides statistics on emails that have been; Sent, opened, bounced and blocked. This information is key to adapting and incrementally improving any email campaign on an ongoing basis in order to improve on ROI. Forrester Research asserted that B2B marketers who implement marketing automation software increase their sales pipeline contribution by an average of 10%.

Seller Portal

The seller portal is an extremely useful too which helps bridge the gap between sales and marketing as it gives the sales people a high level overview of which marketing messages are reaching which contacts. This information is valuable as it ensures that sales people are well informed about which communications their customers have received before they meet with them. The sales portal provides the facility to have specific people removed from communications that will not interest them.

Folder level Tracking

Folder level tracking allows users to track emails on any device that supports Microsoft exchange folders. Users can create folders that automatically track emails so there is no need to do this manually for individual emails, simply drag and drop the email into the relevant folder. When the user creates a folder in CRM they associate against an account or opportunity. The use of inbox rules can automate the tracking of emails for specific addresses.

Behavioural Analysis

It is now possible to collect data about how contacts interact with your various marketing initiatives, including email interactions, landing page interactions and web visits. Behavioural-analysis script is generated for each website or sub-site that you wish to include in your analysis. Script must be add to each page that is to be monitored. This can be done by adding the script to the page templates in your CMS system.

Manage leads

The new update has introduced a comprehensive set of opportunity management, marketing database and lead management functions to break down the silos between sales and marketing and enable them to work together to nurture leads through their life cycle from capture to closure.

Keep track with calendars and activities

To increase communication and to ensure that everyone within an organisation is on the same page Dynamics CRM now has a fully customisable calendar that everyone with the necessary security roles can enter relevant information i.e. meetings, trade shows, conferences etc.

Event management

It is now possible to manage marketing events taking place at a specific location i.e. conferences, exhibits, trade shows, meetings and many more directly from CRM. Dynamics CRM keeps track of all event information in one central place and it is now possible to attach notes to each event if necessary to keep all relevant information together. It is also possible to track financial information and associate contacts with specific events so that all relevant information is at your fingertips. Other things that users are able to keep track of using event management include; Facilities, Staffing, Equipment/Materials, Jobs, tasks, Travel/Transportation, Media and Shipping.

Marketing performance measurement results

Marketing is becoming more of a science in terms of measurement and as a result there is more pressure to demonstrate its overall contribution to the organisation. A long standing issue in business is the fact that it is notoriously difficult to accurately measure and isolate marketing’s effect on sales. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows for the accurate measurement of and organisations marketing efforts.

Marketing plans

Dynamics CRM marketing marketing’s plans functions allows users to formulate marketing plans, deliver them and analyse their results. Users are able to set specific objectives, conduct SWOT analysis.

Social media

Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides tools Dynamics CRM can be used to manage social media marketing campaigns and look at how social media users are responding. This is a great way for companies to see what works, and what does not and adjust their campaigns accordingly.

Social engagement provides users with insight into the way social media users view their brand. It is now possible to connect directly from Dynamics Marketing to social engagement to manage search terms and view a wide variety of widgets.

Generate built-in reports and work with analytical views

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing provides both analytical views and pre-designed reports that make it easy for you to analyze and present your marketing results and other data. The analytical views are intended for viewing on-screen, though you can also export them to Excel, while the reports are optimized more for exporting and printing. Analytical views and pre-designed reports make it easier to analyse and present marketing data.

The meaning of ‘free’: justify spending money on CRM


Why Free CRM sounds great in theory but in the long run it could end up costing you.

The word ‘free’ has, perhaps, negative connotations, particularly connotations around quality. If you were getting married would you want to wear a ‘free’ suit or dress, or would you, correctly assume, that the quality of the product offered would be inferior to a product which you had invested in?  Could it in fact be a false economy? . In the world of technology even the open-source community of coders, who often give away excellent-quality software without charge, describe their philosophy as “free as in speech, not free as in beer.”

For similar reasons, “free” can be the most expensive word in business technology.

Why? Because the free part… isn’t the important part.

Whether wheelie bins, fighter jets, or an IT platform the real cost of a product isn’t in the hardware. Rather the cost, and therefore business value, stems from the services and support around the product. Without these helping hands, you could end up wasting time, and money, on a product that simply stands alone, in CRM terms on  a platform that’s one founder’s problem away from closedown.

So if you’re considering one of those free CRM systems, here are three questions to ask yourself before making a decision.

1. Does your choice of CRM have a pedigree?

What we mean when we label a CRM  “pedigree”, is does the free CRM have a known history in the market? Is it going to integrate  well with your other applications, is it free from show-stopping bugs, is there a large ecosystem of vendors and packages with a stake in its continued success?


2. Does it work as a business case?

A business case lives or dies on the invisible costs. Your people’s time is a cost. Your systems integration is a cost. To say nothing of the cost of the risks attached to the allure of that zero sticker price. (Software bugs, supplier failure, incompatibility with your other software.)


3. Can a costed CRM actually work out cheaper?

Forget those stories of £10,000-per-seat rollouts and lock-in contracts; some big-name CRM systems can be surprisingly flexible and low-cost. In addition many offer a range of payment options such as simple monthly subscriptions. Per person, even market-leading CRM systems can be extremely cost-effective.


Above all, of course, what your CRM system needs to sing is service: a reliable partner (or partners) to bed in your choice, make sure your KPIs are being met, and getting your people on board with the new way of doing things. An established partner can also supply the software itself as part of its agreement with you… sometimes for free! It’s the service you pay for, giving you the best of both worlds.



  • Free can be the priciest word in business
  • Free CRM might also be free of support, free of case studies and free of customer success stories
  • Paying for CRM service, support and training from a reputable partner can often reduce the price of the actual software close to free anyway


Now we’ve dealt with the cost side, take a look at boosting revenue – download our eGuide:The ultimate guide to: increasing sales performance


5 Hidden gold mines in your CRM to improve sales performance


5 tips and tricks to improve sales performance with CRM

CRM can be complex software, but the things it enables – if implemented well – are simple. Basic business drivers like increasing turnover, driving profit, and improving sales performance.

Here’s the thing: there are probably some quick wins hidden in your data RIGHT NOW. Check out these five and see if you agree.

See where your old leads went

Let’s say your 7,500 name CRM database has 3,750 names you haven’t mailed in three years. Perhaps the email is missing or you had a bounceback. They’re still worth chasing.

A short project – perhaps well suited to new member of the Sales team – would be to see where those 3,750 people are now. It’s likely some smart searching of LinkedIn can reveal where 90% of them went. What are their new companies? Have they taken a new senior role? How are you connected to them? All these are reasons to contact them anew… and sales opportunities in the making.

Look to social media for relevant reasons to contact

Is there a trade show coming up, or your customers’ main sectors are experiencing turbulence? Pin down those stories as they pop up across social media – then contact your customers to talk them over.

They’ll be pleasantly surprised at how switched-on you are to their sector. Especially if you’re in a position to offer sales support at their busiest time of the year…

Do a whip-round for new Connections…

If you haven’t cleaned your database for a while (slapped wrist!) there’s another reason to do so: your own new starters will have networks and connections across the social sphere who may provide a useful “in”.

Does James from Accounts have an old boss he still meets for drinks… in your biggest sales vertical? How about Laura from Finance, whose friend works for the bank you’re mining for leads? A basic part of Sales is networking; use your CRM network to improve sales performance.

…then make use of your customers’ networks

Take this a step further by digging into your customers’ address books. The people they follow on Twitter, the pages they ‘Like’, their blogrolls,  alerts and connections – in many cases this information is open, and the right CRM setup can trawl social media to collect them.

What’s the value of a Case Study written about someone your prospect knows? A retweet about YOU from someone they already follow? Small, smart actions like these build the biggest sales equity anyone can have these days: reputational trust. All of which can markedly improve sales performance.

If in doubt, phone a friend!

Asking for help – a referral to a new prospect, or a written recommendation – is far more likely to deliver if you do your homework first.

Your CRM system is a mine of data on who’s done what. Who clicked on which newsletters; who went to an event; what they did after your phone call. Use it. If you know Mr Schmidt switched from Salesforce to Microsoft Dynamics CRM after visiting three events where you spoke, call him to ask about his experiences. Then ask if he knows anyone in the same position! You’ll be going in with the right introduction.

Let’s sum up:

Takeaways :

  • Look at your “lost contacts” as “moved-on” contacts.. and track them down
  • Use both internal and external networks to build reputation and trust
  • Always, always have a REASON to call a contact beyond the next sales push


Consumers ‘want personalised content online’


As the the web continues to evolve, marketers are forever looking for the latest way of capturing the attention of their audiences in a way that truly connects – and has an impact on their buying habits.

Personalised content has become the latest of these developments, with new research showing that it is becoming increasingly popular and desired by consumers.

A study by Yahoo of 6,000 consumers aged between 13 and 64 has shown that personalisation is something they generally know about, with 60 per cent aware that it applies to online written material and two-thirds noting this also applies to the things they watch and listen to, Marketing Week reports.

Moreover, the public mainly approves of this: 78 per cent said they would like to see some sort of personalisation applied to them. That figure may be music to the ears of those using CRM technology to fine-tune the message to consumers, not just by breaking them down into groups with common interests, but tailoring content and messages to individuals.

However, all this comes with a caveat. The Yahoo research also found that two-thirds want to have some sort of privacy control over the use of data held on them in creating personalised content. 58 per cent would want to see it based only on the information they actively volunteer. This includes expressed likes and dislikes, basic demographic data and personal interests.

Vice-president of global research and insight at Yahoo Lauren Weinberg observed: “It is all about striking the right balance in consumer control and personalised experiences. Consumers really understand that when they put in those preferences and share with publishers or brands, it makes their experience much better.”     

What also matters is that a personalised approach comes with good service. A recent study by IntelliResponse revealed consumers are very keen to engage with firms through both traditional and social media channels. It found 24 per cent of them regarded personalisation as important, but 59 per cent emphasised the need for efficient service.  

That may act as a reminder that however personal the service gets, the standard must remain high. 

Customer engagement white paper