3 min read

Switch on Dynamics 365 V10 in 7 easy steps!

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For Microsoft Dynamics Partners and clients who are keen to access the newest Dynamics V10 upgrade features but are unable to find out how to “switch it on,” help is at hand with our 7-step guide.

Below, Redspire’s Technical Director Rick Lyle will demonstrate how to find the switch and apply it to one of your sandboxes. Always test out your upgrades in a sandbox and not your production instance!

Step 1

First of all, go to the new Power Platform Admin Centre. This area is still in preview but that’s where the switch is.

To get there you can either:

  • Navigate to the Dynamics 365 Admin Centre (https://port.crm11.dynamics.com/G/Instances/InstancePicker.aspx, the “11” part is our instances in the UK, if your instance isn’t housed in the UK substitute, using your corresponding country code) and from there click on the banner that says: “There’s a better way to manage your instances. Try the new Admin center” and it’ll take you to the new centre

OR

Either way will take you to the interface below:

Step 2

Once you’ve navigated your way to the Power Platform Admin Centre, click on Environments (this is the new label for what we in the Dynamics world usually call Instances however this doesn’t become clear until you get to the relevant screen. Once you do that you’ll see the list of your Dynamics Instances as below:

Step 3

It’s easy to get a little bit lost at this stage, as it’s not the most intuitive journey.

DO NOT go to…>settings! IF you do, you’ll find lots of options that feel like they could be the right thing but end up taking you down the wrong route. Instead, click on the name of the instance that you want to upgrade to V10. It’ll take you to the screen below:

Step 4

In the Updates section, click on Manage and you’ll get the screen below:

Step 5

Make REALLY, REALLY sure you’ve selected the right instances. Be especially sure that it’s definitely not your production instance because as the warning states, this is a one-way process. Then hold your breath and click Activate Now.

Step 6

If you accidentally selected your production instance, because you didn’t heed my warning above or Microsoft’s warning next to the activate button, then there’s one last chance to save yourself!

When trying to upgrade a production instance to V10, you’ll get the popup below where you have to type in the instance name to switch. Hats off to Microsoft, they are going above and beyond to make sure no one does this accidentally and causes themselves issues.

Step 7

Still holding your breath? Don’t worry, this only takes a few seconds. As we’re now in the land of continual deployment for Dynamics, this isn’t so much an install process as a switch on process. Microsoft have already installed more or less everything in the background.

After a few seconds that’s you switched on and ready for all the great Dynamics 365 V10 goodies!

As you might have guessed, I’ve been going through this process in a trial as I’ve been documenting it. My next steps are to start exploring the new features on V10 and reporting back to you all. I’ll keep you updated with my favourite features and any issues to watch out for over the next few weeks. If you’d like them straight to your inbox, sign up for email updates from myself and the team, or follow me on LinkedIn.

Cheers,

Rick Lyle

Redspire Technical Director

3 min read

Social Selling at the Institute of Sales Management, Scotland.

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We recently attended the first ever Edinburgh-based event hosted by the Institute of Sales Management

The inaugural Scotland Event showcased the dramatic change in the sales environment, as businesses spanning all industries accelerate digital transformation through cloud technologies.

Businesses today are meeting the challenge of servicing a new breed of B2C customers and B2B clients who have ever-increasing expectations and demands on sellers. This is the age of the professional consumer.

Throughout the evening, one main question was raised…

Is cold calling dying out as an introductory technique for selling?

Selling and outreach are constantly shape-shifting. With the rise in intelligent, data-driven technology and machine learning, social media platforms are intuitively becoming the go-to place for content placement and customer contact. Cold calling has become a much less popular and effective method of interaction.

In its place, social selling has become a key part of an organisation’s customer engagement strategy. Why cold call when you can outreach to a warmed prospect, and make use of insights that make the nurture and sales process easier for salespeople, marketers and business owners?

What is social selling? And do traditional salespeople need to adapt?

Short answer, yes.

Social selling is a modern approach to identifying and engaging with a custom-built audience based on your business’s target market and a great way to establish rapport, connect and verify the legitimacy of the relationship between seller and prospect. Post-purchase by Microsoft, LinkedIn is proving itself one of the most valuable sales and marketing tools for social selling, with 96% of B2B buyers seeking to read content and engage with industry leaders (Demand Gen report, 2017). Other channels also have validity, and it’s worth pointing out that the fundamentals of social selling translate well to offline relationship building.

So is cold calling dead?

Technology is driving behavioural change in buyers and sellers and it’s essential that sellers keep pace in terms of expertise and personal learning, to avoid becoming redundant. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place for a cold call, however where engaged, meaningful contact can be achieved easily, why reduce your chances with your prospects?

Not only does social selling give you a 360-degree view of prospects, it allows you to tailor your approach to current customers and meet their needs at the right time. The social selling model supports account-based selling and allows you to deliver hyper-relevant messaging and content that speaks their language.

Social selling for operational efficiencies

According to a recent survey by CSO Insights and Seismic, one in three B2B sales professionals said that not only was social selling increasing the number of leads they had to work with, but also the depth of the relationships they had with existing and prospective clients. Building relationships rather than leading with the hard sell allows salespeople to maximise their own efficiency by reducing the prospect research time, having a positive impact on the sales cycle.

Transactional vs Strategic Sales

Cold calling is usually a game of chance with decision makers within a company out of reach for the average cold sales call. Social selling converts the sales process from transactional and functional, to a strategic plan that provides hard ROI, produces serious wins and enhances customer experience and satisfaction.

Companies are being left behind because they’re yet to acknowledge that the buying process has changed. It’s no longer a one-way system made up of cold calls, qualifying leads and sales demos. 84% of vice president and C-level executives use online and digital media channels to influence their purchasing decisions.

5 min read

Heal your business pain with Dynamics QuickStart CRM

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When it comes to business pain, at Redspire we’ve seen it all. And help our clients UK-wide solve theirs, via our Dynamics QuickStart CRM package or phased CRM implementation.

As one of the UK’s leading CRM consultancies, we are experts in resolving the digital and data pain points that all businesses face.

Our client base share similar internal challenges, but we understand that the internal approach to resolving them may vary from business to business. Time constraints, changeable budgets and operational capacity all impact the ability to undertake a CRM implementation project, even when it’s badly needed.

That doesn’t change the fact that we are living through the 4th Industrial Revolution. Consumer expectations are at their highest, radically transforming the way businesses interact when they sell, promote and provide service. In this digital age, personalisation and customer connectivity are a fundamental business priority. And the only way to achieve them is with a fit for purpose CRM system that will unify data, streamline processes and improve productivity.

Introducing Dynamics QuickStart CRM…

Dynamics QuickStart CRM is a fixed scope, fast implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365, built to fit your business need, type and budget. Implement a new CRM, upgrade a current CRM or entirely replace your existing system fast, for maximum impact and little business disruption.

Perfect for busy businesses who want quick improvements and results, and suitable for all organisations of all shapes and sizes – from Banking and Financial Services to Manufacturing, Government and the Public Sector – QuickStart CRM from Redspire is a quick and simple CRM solution that delivers immediate results.

If you’ve heard your c-suite leaders and department heads make any of the following statements, your business will benefit from Dynamics QuickStart CRM…

PAIN POINT 1: “There’s no single version of the truth!”

Also known as the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing.

It’s surprising just how many large multi-national businesses are operating with outdated data silos and no single view of their customer across various departments. Which begs the question, how can you understand your customer, predict sales propensity and provide great service, if you can’t view their interactions with your business holistically?

If your customer, sales and service data sit on multiple databases and spreadsheets, you’re undoubtedly only skimming the surface of your sales capabilities. Whilst delivering poor service to your client base. Yet you can optimise operations fast with Dynamics QuickStart CRM. Your teams and your bottom line will benefit from a single customer view that accelerates sales, personalises service and increases customer engagement.

PAIN POINT 2: “What are the salespeople doing?!”

Also known as the boss is getting twitchy because there’s no visibility of what the moneymakers are up to.

Digitally optimised workplaces and effective data and pipeline management have been proven to make teams much more productive. Yet workforces often resist the serious benefits of a transparent CRM system for fear of big brother watching, measuring their performance and finding it lacking.

With a collaborative, visible pipeline, the improvements to the workforce, customer and management are immeasurable. Put your hands on real time reports with ease, review an up-to-the-minute pipeline status and automate business reports at the click of a button with Dynamics QuickStart CRM

PAIN POINT 3 : “Excellent – sales are up…but where are they coming from?”

Also know as winging the sales process rather than using an evidence-based approach

If you aren’t tracking customer buying patterns, sourcing lead traffic and attributing your sales to marketing touchpoints, how can you understand your sweet spot? If you don’t track the customer journey and how you win or lose, you’re undoubtedly leaving money on the table. Which makes your salespeople’s lives harder and returns poor ROI from your marketing spend. Integrate Dynamics QuickStart CRM with your existing systems to see the bigger picture and find your strengths and weaknesses. And then watch your sales grow.

PAIN POINT 4: “I’m sick of the ‘them and us’ – they’re supposed to be part of the same team!”

Also known as sales and marketing blaming each instead of working towards shared goals

Despite being part of the same organisational family, with shared business goals, Sales and Marketing teams are notorious for being the warring siblings of the business world. How often are you hearing ‘what are marketing doing, there’s no leads coming through, and when they are, they’re awful!’ Or marketing complaining about lack of sourcing and poor conversions from the sales teams?

The issue is typically lack of visibility, reporting and communication. A CRM that works for all departments, tracking campaigns, leads and opportunities will encourage a positive workforce, working together with shared vision, and MI that fosters a collaborative, data-driven approach

PAIN POINT 5: “Where’s the paper trail for this complaint?!”

Also known as lack of customer information management

We’ve all endured the customer frustration of a poorly handled complaint. It’s often just as challenging for agents trying to manage customer services issues if their organisation isn’t managing data properly. Customers need to repeat themselves each time they call or email, and your employee is on the back foot from the outset, not knowing what decisions have been made previously. With QuickStart you can automate and aggregate customer service information, so that your people always have what they need to hand, when they need it.

PAIN POINT 6: “Reporting shouldn’t be this hard. Can’t we automate it?”

The simple answer is yes. And you should be! Free up your key people’s time from hand preparing reports and get them back to their day job. With QuickStart, you’ll access management information, sales, marketing and customer satisfaction reports as and when you need them, even when you’re on the go.

Ready to find out more about QuickStart CRM?

At Redspire, we specialise exclusively in Dynamics 365, helping clients across different industries – from Government to Financial Services – transform digitally. Working with world-class tools from the Microsoft universe, Dynamics integrates seamlessly with existing operations to unify whole businesses into a single, intelligent system. Get quick installation, rapid delivery and faster return on investment with Microsoft Dynamics QuickStart CRM. Read more today or get in touch for a no-obligation chat with our consultants now.

6 min read

Public Sector: Digital Transformation through Microsoft Dynamics 365

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Can public sector organisations afford not to take advantage of digital tools?

It’s a slightly controversial statement but nevertheless true. Whilst commerce and industry advance at speed towards great digital change, the public sector in the UK is in danger of being left behind. Potentially, at great sacrifice to public health, well-being and economic wealth. It’s indeed an uncomfortable truth that our most visionary, forward thinking public sector leaders are challenged every day in a drive to make UK public services world-leading again.

Digital transformation in the public sector

In the UK’s Institute for Government’s Manifesto for Changing Public Services it’s estimated that up to £46billion could be saved across UK public sector year on year with digital transformation that eradicates out-dated legacy systems and the need for costly suppliers. Which equates to an additional 1m frontline public servants.

Which begs the question, can public sector organisations afford not to take advantage of the digital tools available today?

Innovative public sector leaders value digital change

Innovative leaders in the public sector continue to push the mandate in a positive direction, encouraging their boards and final decision makers to engineer the digital change that will steer the UK and its people in the right direction. All the while, commercial private sector businesses, innovative third sector organisations and manufacturing, banking and financial services leap ahead with digital transformation that’s energising their business, boosting their bottom lines, massively slashing costs and increasing customer satisfaction tenfold.

Deploying an innovative digital toolkit has the power to solve much of the organisational pain our local authorities and service providers face, whilst correcting the disconnect that so many of our citizens feel from our elected leaders and public services. Saving heaps of money from public funds in the process.

CRM for citizen engagement

As the demographic make-up of our country ages and shifts, it has never been more important to reach citizens at a time that suits them, where they naturally consume their media and messages. Our culturally diverse and digitally switched on nation demand personalised multi-channel, multi-lingual interactions. Keeping citizens informed, engaged and aware in a cost effective, timely manner, and in a way that speaks their metaphorical language is invaluable. Yet a difficult operation without the right digital tools.

CRM solutions for the public sector

Enter Redspire and Microsoft Dynamics 365, with the tools and expertise you need revolutionise your organisation. Bespoke solutions built to your organisational needs, these purpose-built Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications work seamlessly to help manage specific business functions across the organisation including Customer Service, Operations, Finance, Field Service, and Marketing, and all contribute to Customer/Citizen Insights.

CRM in simple terms simple terms is a category of integrated, data-driven solutions that improve how you interact and do business with your clients. CRM systems and applications are designed to manage relationships, track engagements and sales, and deliver actionable data, all in one place.

The next generation of intelligent business

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the next generation of intelligent business applications that enable organisations to grow, evolve and transform. As technology continues to transform the world, Redspire are a driving force that will help public sector organisations optimise operations, reach and engage with the public and empower employees to deliver services and the most personalised and powerful ways

Digital Transformation is here. And it isn’t only for corporate, digitally focused businesses. The tools must be deployed for public sector organisations. Our public services can, and should be as accessible as Amazon, as easy to use as Google and as exciting and flexible as Uber and AirBnB. And all delivered ethically to deliver front end services, in the public’s best interests and with the ability to save millions in public funds.

AI for the Public Sector

Artificial Intelligence has become ‘The New Normal’ and touches many aspects of our everyday life. Early adopter public sector agencies like Enfield Council and Aylesbury Vale District Council are already seeing the transformative value for services and citizen engagement, investing in AI chatbots to improve customer service, simplify internal processes and to guide residents through various form fill processes.

Constantly learning from previous conversations with residents, these revolutionary bots have the power to improve response times to generic service queries in areas like benefits and council tax queries, refuse collection requests and so much more.

Future planning with CRM

What does the future hold? The certainties are improved efficiencies, reduced demand on services and employees, a holistic citizen view that creates a better client experience and improved insights that lead more effective service provision. Digital tech provides a tremendous opportunity to improve all citizens life, for the common good of our country, and with ethics, security and privacy at the forefront of all decision making.

The fourth Industrial Revolution is here

We are now part of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The McKinsey Institute has stated that AI is contributing directly to a tremendous transformation of society, “happening ten times faster and at 300 times the scale, or roughly 3,000 times the impact” of the Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s.

What does this mean practically? Digital learning and skills development will be a core component of literacy and basic life skills. From pre-school to higher education, our education system must revolutionise and ‘keep up’ with the constant digital developments to ensure we don’t face skills shortages or challenges with talent acquisition.

What is certain however, is that change resistance within the public sector is beginning to break down. The opportunities for cost and efficiency savings, shared resources and joined up processes are too phenomenal to be ignored. Case in point, the Smart London plan, in which the City of London sets out the bold yet achievable ambition to become the smartest city in the world through mobilised services, data innovation and Artificial Intelligence. Improving the lives of some 30 million visitors, residents and workers.

Accelerating Digital: An Interactive Forum for Public Sector Leaders

Redspire has been a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner for over 15 years, helping all types of organisations across the UK transform through digital innovation and improvement. Our ever-expanding team of Microsoft certified consultants bring Dynamics 365 to life, with a bespoke solution that overcomes unique organisational challenges with a straightforward, customer centric approach. Our clients stick around, partnering with us long term, every time.

If you’re a digital leader who’d like to be part of the discussion on advancing digital transformation for the greater good in your organisation, reserve your spot at our interactive forum for public sector leaders today.

This not to be missed forum at Microsoft Scotland HQ, Edinburgh on 1st November 2018 will be chaired by Dr Jim Hamill – in association with Microsoft, Bridgeall and Exactive. Together, we’ll set the tone for the future of digital innovation in Scotland, and provide invaluable tools and support that persuades stakeholders and key decision makers on your future vision.

Full details can be found here – Accelerating Digital: An Interactive Forum for Public Sector Leaders. Sign up today.

3 min read

10 Things to Know About Your CRM Partner

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Why does CRM sometimes fail to deliver? Why does any relationship?

Here are ten ways to make sure you have the right CRM software partner.

  1. Know their strengths. Are they dedicated to the CRM platform you have chosen? Are they working with it day in/day out?  Have they worked within a business like yours before and if not, how well do they know (or get to know during pitch) your sector’s challenges?
  2. Know their structure. It’s all too easy to give the contract to a CRM partner on the basis of price, proposal and the people you met at the pitch. But those are all fleeting moments and what you need to know is the day-to-day reality of working with them. Who are the team working that will work day in and out on your project and what are their roles? How do they communicate with clients, and with each other? What processes do they follow to make sure nothing slips through the net or is misunderstood? What are their individual competencies and experience? What additional value will they bring to the project?
  3. Know what you’re getting. What level of system detail can you expect to see before being expected to sign on the dotted line? Make sure it’s what you’ll need bearing in mind the different stakeholders who will have to sign off on your final decision.
  4. Know their wider business knowledge. This might seem obvious. It’s all very well having a partner who knows the CRM platform inside out but they have to also have business sense. You want them to understand the current customer experience challenges that technology, legislation and your sector are throwing up, as well as then quickly understanding the process challenges from within your business. Do they understand how to be GDPR compliant? Can they help you get there?
  5. Know their capacity. What else they are working on during the timescales you are planning around. Do they have capacity? Should you wait until they do? Will you be a priority?
  6. Know their skills. Don’t just ask how many clients they have, who they’ve helped or the results. Know what kind of modifications they’ve made to make the CRM platform work with client’s existing infrastructure.
  7. Know their aftercare approach. Once you’re up and running, how do they stay in touch with you and your team? What does support look like? Is it as and when? Proactive? Reactive? Are they providing value all the way through?
  8. Know their honesty. Just how clear are they about what can and can’t be done? Do you sense there are things being said to secure the deal? Trust your instinct and push for commitment if you’re not sure.
  9. Know your own project team. Are they and the potential partner team compatible? They are going to be working closely together and it would be far more beneficial to have a mutually respectful relationship rather than supplier/client.
  10. Know their current client list. Don’t be put off by where they don’t already have a business in your sector. It means there will be no conflict of interest and with any good partner, they will be party of their platform network and as such, have access to shared knowledge and practice that will only add even more to the balance of skills, technical know-how, business aptitude and team relationship.

Our CRM discovery webinar series was set up to help you own each stage of the CRM journey so that you can arrive at the right software and partner for your organisation.

Catch up on our free webinar series ‘Your 8 Steps to CRM Implementation Success’

 

Want to know more about Redspire? Here’s our MD Billy to give you a quick summary:

3 min read

Why CRM Doesn’t Instantly Create Customer Experience

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Every year, at around this time, we like to reflect on the year that’s passed and what the key learnings have been for us as a business and for the wider CRM landscape.

This year, unsurprisingly, one of the main themes is the blurred line of customer experience and customer service.

With much of our new work this year coming from the insurance and financial services sector, we’ve been at the coal face of one of the most commoditised markets, and each and every one of those projects has been a salient reminder of the enormity of customer experience.

Regardless of the sector that your business is operating in, customer service and customer experience are two different things.

Customer service is about those individual moments when employees are providing direct interaction to customers, what happens prior and what happens next.

Customer experience is so much wider than that. It encompasses every single aspect of how a customer perceives your organisation. Website, packaging, events, marketing campaigns, sponsorships, blogs, product delivery, going beyond the necessary, knowing customers so well you can predict what they might be interested in next, knowing when to back off, knowing their price.

So, even with the best efforts of every single department to provide excellent customer service every time, if they are not joined up, your customer is left with just a snapshot, and that’s not enough to evoke the positive feeling you need to create customer loyalty. It’s enough to satisfy their need in that particular transaction but nothing more.

That comes down to emotions. Yes, even in B2B.

Emotions shape the attitudes that drive decisions. More than 50% in fact according to the Journal of Consumer Research.

Customers will be loyal because they remember how they feel dealing with you. If you get it right once, well done. If you get it right twice, not bad at all. If you get it right across the whole journey, you’ll win their loyalty. I know if I think about the businesses that we deal with, and those I interact with personally, I know I could go anywhere at any time. I have to like them. I have to think they make my life easier or better in some way. And for our insurance clients where prices can always be matched, it’s been even more critical that they don’t slip up, ever.

In one department such as claims handling, everything could go beautifully. But if I’m the customer and I’m contacted at the same time about a fantastic new product and it doesn’t recognise I’m currently dealing with another claim, I’m going to wonder why departments aren’t talking to each other! Separate decisions in separate departments all impact on customer experience so it MUST be joined up.

Businesses starting their journey with CRM generally always want to know how it will help create customer experience.

It won’t. It will, however, facilitate it.

It will bring together all of those excellent customer service efforts into one place meaning that the overall effort can be overseen and future needs can be predicted before the customer even knows they have the need. You can be attentive and proactive without wasting their time.

With 60% of customers willing to pay more for a better experience (according to American Express) and the increase in customer loyalty that comes with it, look beyond the functionality of the CRM systems you are looking at, and really get to grips with the very first stage of how it will inform your overall experience.

 

Want to follow up on this?

We’ve broken the CRM journey into key chapters. Find the full series overview here.

In the spirit of customer experience, we also like to talk. Every conversation leads to more knowledge so feel free to get in touch!

2 min read

The Truth About Your Customer Service

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All successful businesses have one thing in common. They ‘get’ their customers. Not only do they make sure the product/service is meeting their needs, they make sure that their relationship with them is unshakeable by providing the best possible customer service. So, what does that look like?

Well, here’s what it’s not. It’s not keeping your customers waiting for information, it’s not being passed around multiple people, it’s not missing deadlines and only explaining after the event, it’s not when the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing, it’s not blaming other departments when things go wrong, it’s not incentivising new customers and taking the existing customers for granted, It’s not providing information only when it suits you.

Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? Yet UK firms that aren’t getting customer service right are losing £234 billion a year.  So what gives? Why is it proving so hard?

First of all, the service you think your customers are experiencing and the reality can be two different things and it won’t be because you’re not trying. One of the first things we do with our own clients is look at their existing processes. Yes, we’re IT driven but every piece of software and every application have the potential to enable or disable your team’s best intentions.  So we ask questions like:

  • How do your processes look?
  • Are teams able to communicate effectively with one another?
  • How easy is it to access and share information between departments?
  • How quickly and effectively can a client’s query be answered?
  • How easily can you spot a pattern in complaints or in product issues before they happen?
  • How do your customers want to interact with you?
  • What are your customer satisfaction rates?
  • What areas do your customers need you to work on?
  • Every process you have should be removing the barriers that prevent all of these happening.

How would you answer all of these? At the end of this month, we’re holding a webinar to look into exactly how Dynamics365 removes the barriers to gold standard customer service.  Not that long ago, CRM was a means to collect and store data, identify your best customers and prospects, send customer communications and to look at buying patterns.  Dynamics 365 has responded to the new age of customer expectations and has changed the customer service rules significantly.

Find out more information by watching on our Dynamics 365 for Customer Services webinar.

4 min read

Marketing Wins: Keep Your Customers Coming Back with CRM

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A new blog on how the right CRM customer experience can retain customers, not just attract them. Read more

3 min read

Why CIO-CMO Alignment Is The Key To Contented Customers

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Discover how breaking down Marketing and IT silos can lead to high levels of customer satisfaction and improved data-driven Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

Today’s marketing is data-driven. Marketing and IT therefore need to remove any departmental silos that exist between them and put aside any arguments about who owns what. Their joint endeavour now has to be about delivering on the data-driven marketing, IT and business goals of their organisations.

Data-driven marketing campaigns become more successful when CIOs, CMOs and their associated departments collaboratively work well together. Data is the fuel of any organisation – large and small – as it can inform a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and its users about customer preferences. The insight gained from it enables Sales and Customer Service Representatives to up-sell, cross sell or simply to help customers to solve their queries.

In other words if you put fuel into a car you can drive forward. Both engine and fuel need to work together in order to go anywhere. This principle applies whenever a company wants to use data to increase customer satisfaction levels, or if it wants to sell more products and services to either existing or new customers. Conversely if CMOs and CIOs (the engine) aren’t present the business (the car) just won’t move forward.

Nicole Laskowski, Senior News Writer for Techtarget’s Search CIO writes in her article, ‘Strong CIO/CMO alliance paves the way for [a] data-driven marketing strategy’: “IT and Marketing executives illuminate the need for building a strong CIO/CMO alliance…” Her article supports the view that CIOs and CMOs need to connect more than they have done in the past, and it offers some suggestions about how collaboration can work effectively.

In essence, collaboration is about winning in today’s digital and increasingly mobile age. It has changed the role of the CIO, for example. The role of CIOs today has become more strategic, and they can help organisations to increase their sales by developing new mobile applications, for example, that deliver a new opportunity to capture and analyse customers’ buying and browsing habits. Mobile applications can be designed by CIOs team with the help of captured marketing data in order to develop new revenue streams and to improve customer experience.

The bridge between the CIO and CMO divide then has to kick in because mobile applications, for example, won’t always sell themselves. Marketing has to promote them to raise customer awareness of the issues they can solve or about the new services they offer. By doing so it will drive customers down the right sales funnel. Marketing and IT are still integral to the completion of this customer journey because CMOs need to work with CIOs to either develop new products and services, or to develop improvements to existing ones by using customer insight from their organisation’s CRM system’s data.

In summary effective data-driven marketing and CRM is about mapping the customer journey through the sales funnel, and CMOs need to work with their CIOs counterparts to ensure that the CRM system and other related solutions are designed in such a way that encourages the breaking down of departmental silos, while allowing each other to share data and customer or even technical insights. As a result of achieving this goal your organisation will improve its customer satisfaction levels leading to an increased ROI per customer and sales volumes.

Remember now is time for collaboration not disconnection.

Takeaways

  • Identify CMOs as chief experience officers (CXOs).
  • Accept IT as a strategic partner with Marketing, not just as a platform provider.
  • Agree on key business levers for Marketing and IT alignment, such as access to customer data vs. privacy and security.
  • Change the skills mix to ensure that both functions are more marketing and tech-savvy.
  • Develop trust through collaboration.

Find out how you can take advantage of the benefits of improved CIO and CMO collaboration to drive your data-driven marketing campaigns and sales: Download our eGuide ‘The Ultimate Guide to: Creating customer centricity with CRM’

The-Ultimate-Guide-to-Creating-customer-centricity-with-CRM

4 min read

Why Customer Satisfaction Should Be Your New Metric

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Discover how an effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can enable your business to measure customer satisfaction in order to boost sales and increase customer loyalty.

Customer satisfaction has become an increasingly important metric. Happy customers are more loyal and therefore more likely to invest more in your products or services. Whereas dissatisfied customers can cause brand damage, customer churn and lose you opportunities to earn more revenue. Furthermore, Gallup Organization has long recognised the correlation between happy employees and contented customers. Whatever your Sales staff do, or how your Customer Service Agents and other customer-facing staff react whenever they are dealing with customer queries or engaging with prospects will have an impact on your business.

That’s why it’s important to put in place the right organisational culture, people, processes, and metrics; as well as the most appropriate means of analysing customer data with the help of an effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.

The Ultimate Guide to Measuring Customer Satisfaction’ by Gregori Ciotti, adds that customer satisfaction can also help organisations to improve how they support their customers as well as informing their product and service development.

“A satisfied customer is one who will continue to buy from you, seldom shop around, refer other customers and in general be a superstar advocate for your business”, Ciotti states. The problem is that it’s hard to measure customer satisfaction. He rightly asks: “What should be measuring?” Indeed, what are the key performance indicators that can help you to define whether one customer is satisfied while another one needs more support?

 

Fundamental measurements

Ciotti recommends author Prof. Scott Smith’s methodology, which considers the fundamental measurements of:

  • Perceived quality: This looks at whether customers felt that product or service fulfilled their needs, wants and desires in a way that met their expectations.
  • Customer loyalty: Customer loyalty can be measured using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Net Promoter Value (NPV). An unsatisfied customer is unlikely to make referrals, and so it’s reasonably accurate (but, for example, customer loyalty can’t simply be based on how long a customer has remained with a particular bank. Sometimes customers just prefer the devil they know, and so more qualitative research is often required to support quantitative metrics such as NPS, NPV, the number of years a customer has been ‘loyal’, ROI, etc.).
  • Attributional satisfaction: What feature did the customer like about a product or service? Conversely customers can be asked what they didn’t like, and about what could be improved to increase their levels of satisfaction. Satisfaction can lead to attitudinal loyalty, but while customers may be positive about your products and features, they may not necessarily translate to future sales. Effective use of CRM will take develop their attitudinal loyalty to behavioral loyalty, leading customers to a desired action, thus increasing your sales.
  • A customer’s intention to make new and ongoing purchases: A happy customer will in most cases tend to return to buy products from you time and time again, and yet there are exceptions to this rule. Customers will, to a certain extent, forgive organisations for a few minor misdemeanours and so they may continue to purchase from them. While some may not have an option to buy the same kind of product or service from elsewhere. Yet in both cases your goal should be to fulfil their needs and meet their expectations.

Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) can train their customer-facing staff to ask short and simple questions each time they interact with customers and then record and collate this kind of data in their CRM system. CMOs can then use data insight tools to form a single view of each customer. This analysis can then be used to inform Customer Service Agents and Sales about what interests each customer, their purchase history, any issues that have arisen and so on.

The CRM system’s data analysis would most probably also use some or all of the above metrics to form a complete picture of the value of each customer to the organisation. It enables CMOs to segment each customer according to buying habits, needs, demographics, value to the business, and other insightful variables in order to improve customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and profitability. To achieve this, use CRM to know your customer.

Learn more about using CRM systems to make customer satisfaction the soul of your business by downloading our free eGuide: ‘The Ultimate Guide to: Creating customer centricity with CRM’

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