Natwest Business Banking opted for a Microsoft Dynamics Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to replace a number of other software processes because of the flexibility and integration it offers, the company has claimed.

Now part of the Royal Bank of Scotland group, the company spoke to Microsoft about the benefits it gleaned from utilising the software.

In 2011, the prestigious financial services organisation found that its legacy technology was beginning to show its age and decided a full CRM overhaul was needed if the firm was to provide customers with the service they demanded.

David Russell, head of CRM for business & commercial banking for the Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “To improve our business banking division, we wanted to create a consolidated view of all customer touch points and streamline processes to free up employee time to better focus on those customers.”

He explained the bank was also hoping for analytics capabilities that would “allow us to further improve those customer relationships, while driving cross-selling opportunities through value-added customer interactions”.

The personalisation offered by CRM has proven beneficial both to the financial services firm and its customers, declared Mr Russel.

Natwest looked at a host of options beyond the Microsoft version of the software but decided that its integration capacity made it the best option, in addition to the fact that its interface would be more familiar to users across the organisation.

“In order to get the adoption we needed, we knew we didn’t want a system that our users viewed as yet another software program they had to learn and use,” he said – rather, they were aiming for a process that would be considered helpful and intuitive.

Some of the additional benefits cited by Natwest include a rapid return on investment and a boost in customer relationships, with workers able to prepare for meetings in a matter of minutes because the information they need to do so is right at their fingertips.

From a financial perspective, looking to adopt a CRM can be a bit daunting. The extra expense coupled with statistics claiming that up to 80% of CRM projects fail to meet their objectives means any decision concerning this should be made with great care. In an attempt to combat this uncertain malaise, most of the market-leading CRMs now offer a 30 day trial to allow you to get to grips with the software without any expense.

Your CRM Experience

Having access to a variety of powerful CRMs, such as Microsoft Dynamics, for free can help you concentrate on the decision without worrying about the bank balance. It also allows you to try multiple different systems to find the one that best suits your organisation. Although at Redspire, we recommend that you only choose 2 or 3 to trial as adding any more can complicate an already difficult issue and take up too much time.

In spite of the relatively short time frame of these trails, there are benefits that can be measured from each. Increased security levels are one of the first noticeable advantages of using a CRM. Using Microsoft Dynamics, for example, allows data to be stored in a single place; noticeably safer than using a spreadsheet and not to mention far more secure than relying on paper and pen or memory.

Automate your processes

Secondly, having the data in a single place boosts productivity and efficiency, with staff no longer tasked with collecting data from different sources to maximise marketing strategies or sales pitches. These powerful systems include automated workflow functionality that allows time to be saved, ensuring that enquiries and complaints are sent to relevant bodies without any manual resource on the part of Sales or Marketing.

Once again, with all your company data unified, it gives your colleagues the information at hand to respond to these communications speedily. Further efficiencies are possible if you decide to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM; its familiar interface and integration with the Microsoft Office Suite means that it takes general CRM efficiency to the next level. Even within a 30 day trial, you will notice the difference in productivity levels, which could, in turn, lead to boosted revenue.

Can 30 days make a difference?

Deciding what tasks need to be streamlined and which need to have more time spent on in order to boost revenue and minimise losses is an important part of your role. Adding a CRM to the mix, even if it is for only 30 days, will help refine how you track your ROI and will undoubtedly become an invaluable tool. Track the progress of your business’ marketing strategies, see which are having the best impact coupled with the least amount of investment and relay this back to your marketing team. Even in the trial period, a CRM will boost your sales strategy, by helping the sales team to refine their approach and create the right first impression using the lead’s personal details that Sales have in front of them.

Despite the apparent brevity of a 30 day trial, there are definite economic benefits to be found from successfully trialling a CRM. Not only will a CRM help you to identify your most profitable tasks, but a CRM such as Microsoft Dynamics will automate more menial functions, allowing you to spend more time on those tasks.

Interested? Choose to trial Microsoft Dynamics with Redspire and we will offer you a half day of consultancy and training to ensure that you make the most of the 30 day period.

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We understand that many businesses may be a little unwilling to adopt CRM. You may have previously tried to implement a system and been deflated by the experience. It may even be that you’ve heard uninspiring statistics or testimonials about CRM technology. However, the technology behind advanced, forward-thinking CRM systems is constantly updating; the CRM you used previously is most probably not the same CRM that can be tailored to your needs now. Similarly to legacy systems, what were once the height of sophistication are now a barrier to business growth. Is your business ready to move with the times?

Companies such as Microsoft are spending considerable sums in research and development to ensure that their products, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, are at the forefront of their sector.

Professional and supportive CRM vendors understand the importance of trying before you buy to ensure that a system fits your needs and objectives before you take the plunge. Our 30 day free trial (with no obligation to buy) is the ideal litmus test for assessing what your business could achieve. And don’t be under the impression that 30 days is too short a time frame to really notice any benefits; coupled with the correct vendor support, there are most definitely measurable benefits even within this short period. Redspire, for example, offers a 1/2 day of analysis and consultancy for free to make sure you do notice the following benefits:

  1. The real time visibility offered by CRM systems, such as Dynamics, can help increase sales even in a one month period.
  2. The customisation tools embedded within most forward thinking CRMs means that you can tailor the UI to help you spot crucial trends and comparisons.
  3. Identify and resolve customer issues quickly by having an arsenal of tools at your disposal to deal with anything much more efficiently.
  4. Increase efficiency without cutting corners by using a CRM that already integrates with your current internal software packages. If you are heavily reliant on Microsoft Office, it may be worth considering a Microsoft Dynamics trial.

These advantages continue to grow exponentially the longer you use your CRM and, with a well-refined and fully thought out CRM strategy, you will notice an increase in sales, as well as significant cost savings elsewhere.

With the multitude of CRM systems offering 30 day trials without commitment, there is almost no reason not to go ahead and see whether a modern CRM is a perfect fit for your modern business.[divider_space]

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Microsoft has released plans for a new set of Microsoft Dynamics CRM capabilities that it hopes will help organisations engage with a new set of customers and then keep track of and nurture these relationships.

The launch is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2014 and could offer a boon for British businesses attempting to automate their marketing processes.

Arguably the most exciting shift in the new release will be the move towards a better-implemented social system, which could prove to be a game-changer when it comes to linking up with customers online.

To encourage sales, marketing and customer care to gain insights into the buyers they interact with, the global tech giant has created Microsoft Social Listening, a new service that allows firms to glean information from conversations on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

It will let marketers track the success of their campaigns and products on a global scale, allowing them to learn more about their potential customer base and tweak or improve their approach further down the line.

Furthermore, the service will make it easier for everyone in a business to examine social metrics rather than limiting this information to a small number of experts, allowing more broad-based marketing plans to emerge.

Bob Stutz, corporate vice president with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, said: "Businesses want solutions that give them market insights and the ability to deliver amazing customer experiences."

"The new Microsoft Dynamics CRM update democratises social listening, adds new marketing capabilities for more impact and enables businesses to deliver outstanding customer service. With this new release, we are essentially changing the CRM game."

In addition to the social developments detailed above, Microsoft are planning to improve case management facilities to make it easier for businesses to maintain a strong relationship with customers of all kinds.

This development will lead to a smoother and more personal approach, the firm claimed.

Many businesses have given a warm welcome to mobile CRM – it helps them work faster and more efficiently. This useful infographic shows you how companies use mobile CRM to their advantage.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 has been here for quite a while now and we have already managed to fall in love with its fresh look, smooth processes and new features.

So what exactly do we love? Well, count with us.

The 5 big changes that transform the CRM experience:

  • The interface: The fact that the UI is much flatter and colourful makes it very easy to interact with and cheers up your tired eyes.
  • It’s mobile: We’re happy to see that you can access Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 from your iPad, Windows 8 tablet and even from your Android, iPhone and Windows phones.
  • Platform investments: Microsoft have reached into their pocket to develop a much better platform. The new platform is more intuitive and a lot easier to amend for the end users.
  • It’s social: The whole enterprise can now communicate via the ‘What’s new’ feed or use Yammer to share files, schedule events and organise themselves in groups. You can even click-to-call anyone in your database after installing Skype or Lync.
  • Better Outlook client: Microsoft have put a great deal of work into isolating the processes that are running in the background so that the Outlook client is faster and more stable.


The 5 small changes that are nice to have:

  • Real-time workflow: Now it’s easy to create synchronous (real-time) workflow without having to use any code. This is a great way for the end users to amend their processes, which reduces the system development time.
  • Autosave feature: Your system can now auto-save your work every 30 seconds. This means that if you’re working connected to an unreliable internet source, you don’t have to worry about losing your data.
  • Bing maps & client picture on the record page: These two features bring a nice touch to every record as they break the mass of text. They also serve as a quick way of reminding oneself of the particular client.
  • Quick Create: The new button for creating entities on the fly is great. You no longer have to exit your current screen to quickly add new entities such as phone calls, leads, appointments and more.
  • Recent records: And finally, what we love about Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is having the ability to quickly jump to a recent record without having to navigate through multiple screens. How convenient!


Free is great! And, many CRM systems will try to tempt you to buy with a free CRM software trial. However, you must be prepared if you are to get the best out of a trial. Choosing a CRM solution can be hard work and making a mistake can be costly for your organisation.

If you already use a CRM system then at least you will have something against which to judge the new product. Even then, you should try to evaluate what your current CRM does well and what it doesn’t, you’ll want to have a baseline that you want to exceed.

Free CRM software: The opportunity

Remember that a CRM system is a solution to a business challenge, so ask yourself what questions you want answered by this new tool. Throughout the preparation for the trial and the actual evaluation involve as many of the stakeholders as possible. You’ll want input from a representative of every department who’ll actually be end users of the system; What do they need from the system? What are their specific requirements? What questions do they want answered?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 was launched in October last year  and offers users a free trial period and Redspire are on hand to help you get the most of your Dynamics trial.

With or without our help, it is very worthwhile to watch all the supporting videos, and you should certainly review all the documentation you can before you get going. Experts also agree that using your own data will make any trial more realistic and more useful for you. Try to use your trial CRM as you foresee it actually being used in your organisation, if you have to prioritise, pick the processes that you think will make the most difference. Use processes until you’re happy with them and can demonstrate them to colleagues.

Do you need a CRM consultant?

As to whether you should use a specialist – like Redspire – to guide you, there is certainly room for debate. Clearly, you know how your operation works but a CRM specialist will be able to identify how to migrate your processes into the day-to-day operation of a CRM system.

CRM systems can be very complex, and take time to learn, so there’s bound to be a period with any new product while you’re finding your way around, bear this in mind when you’re going through your trial.

Free trials are a great resource, but they’re not free in terms of time and effort on your part and you must be prepared to expend both to get the most out of trials.

MS Dynamics CRM 2015 free trial

[/one_third][two_third_last]Ready for your Microsoft Dynamics CRM free trial?

Let Redspire guide you through your free 30-day Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 trial.

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If there has been a trend that was very evident in 2013, it’s been the fact that almost everything has gone mobile. Mobile business was a great challenge for professionals in 2012, so it’s nice to look back on 2013 and see how the technology has advanced to enable businessmen to boost their work experience.

Since today’s topic is mobile CRM, we’ll focus on how mobile CRM can leverage your business while making life easier for you. Some CRM providers have already integrated the mobile technology into their CRM systems. One of these is Microsoft Dynamics CRM, who have launched their 2013 version only a few weeks ago.


Benefits of mobile Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

The early adopters of mobile Microsoft Dynamics CRM are already enjoying the innovations it brings. So, how can this mobile CRM speed up your work and improve your working experience?

  1. Mobile Microsoft Dynamics CRM detaches you from your desktop computer and allows you to access your customer database anywhere – online or offline.
  2. You can access your mobile Microsoft Dynamics CRM from a Windows 8 tablet, an iPad or as a smartphone application on your Windows 8 phone, an Android or your iPhone.
  3. Your data is always safe: it’s automatically cached so you can access it later offline and maintain your peace of mind if you suddenly get disconnected.
  4. You can enter any new data in your system as soon as they emerge – while they’re still fresh in your mind without having to wait untill you get to your office.
  5. On your tablet, everything important stays the same as in your web client with a slightly different, very touch-friendly layout.
  6. If you configure your CRM web interface, the changes will also appear on your tablet – no need to hire a mobile developer!
  7. You can work on your selected leads by pinning them straight to your dashboard to access all their data or call them within one or two clicks.
  8. Your phone application is slightly less complex than the tablet one, but you can still manage almost all your data and arrange your custom entities as you wish.
  9. You can stay in touch with your team members as well as your clients with a seamlessly integrated Skype calling function.
  10. And finally, you’ll be able to keep track of all your leads no matter where you are – commuting, hiking, at home, and even abroad – to see where you are in the sales process and what other challenges are ahead of you.


Want to see an on-screen demonstration of the mobile Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 on an iPad? 

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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


Microsoft have been in the customer relations management (CRM) game for a decade, and on July 28th their latest product, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, went into closed beta testing in preparation for a release sometime before the end of the year.

So, what can CRM users expect from the software giant? So far, of course, we only have Microsoft’s view, which is – as you’d expect – that this is going to be a fantastic product. Their last release was in 2011, and that system did indeed get good reviews in general.

Microsoft promise a ‘reimagined’ user experience that will put practical, useful information easily at hand and even claim that MS Dynamics CRM will ‘reignite the passion’ sales, marketing and customer services workers feel for their jobs.

Microsoft says Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 release has been based around five themes:

  • A cleaner, faster interface;
  • Processes that allow quick responses to changing circumstances;
  • On the go access;
  • Collaborative processes between departments;
  • Improvements to the user platform.

The upshot of all this should be that, “users recognise value, opportunity and insight immediately — either on the road or in the office,” says Microsoft.

The user interface should offer a single point of access to all information, with no pop ups or screen switching. Data entry and record creation is said to be super simple and customer records can be made more personal with images and map locations.

Users can now design processes and are guided through them with lists of options and with a clear idea of where you are going. Microsoft claims this is a breakthrough in CRM; a change from focusing on transactions to making outcomes the centre of the system.

You’ll get just one process already installed when you buy Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 along with samples, but new ones can be downloaded online. (See picture below, you can find more pictures here or here .

microsoft dynamics crm 2013

Everyone is going mobile these days and Microsoft have made sure this edition of Dynamics CRM is accessible from tablets and smart phones. There will be a slight lag between the release of the Dynamics CRM and its availability on phones.

Microsoft’s purchase of enterprise social network Yammer and Skype make sense now, as the use of both is integrated within Dynamics CRM 2013. Communications are a big part of this new release, which has (or soon will) email connectivity, the ability to Skype of phone call from within the CRM as well as chat and instant messaging. Webmail like Gmail and Hotmail will also be supported.

Microsoft also continue their shift towards cloud computing with regular updates which can be scheduled to suit users. Actions in the CRM can be created and edited even by non-developers.

Naturally, there is full compatibility with Microsoft’s office products with which the new interface shares many superficial similarities judging by the screen shots made available.

A release date for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is yet to be confirmed, with two updates to complete some of the integration with email and phone systems due sometime in 2014.

As few people have actually got their hands on this new release, we shall have to trust what Microsoft is saying for now, but things sound promising and the interface shots look great. You can find out more and take a test drive here.