Thursday, July 31, 2008

Importance Of Training On A CRM Solution

Imagine buying a car before you have had driving lessons of any kind, and then sitting behind the wheel trying to figure out how to get you and the car back home. You would likely fail. Not only that, but you would most likely have an accident by either running into another car, or into a wall or something. That's not how to learn to drive.

It's the same with learning any system. You need proper training before you are let loose on costly equipment, delicate machinery, or sensitive software programs. It's no different when it comes to customer relationship management (CRM) applications, such as GoldMine? software or ACT!? software. It's not enough either to spend a few minutes with someone who struggled through and now knows most of what's needed--you need training that is tailored to your company's requirements.

This might mean that you will not be trained in certain aspects of the CRM system. This could be because your company has no requirement for that module, and supplying training that is not needed is clearly a waste of everyone's time.

Proper implementation of any CRM solution must commence with proper planning. It is likely that a number of questions pertinent to the internal business of the company will need to be answered before the CRM strategy can be fully defined. These questions may concern why the company's products sell and what kind of person buys them, why the company differs from its competitors, and how effective the company's current marketing efforts are.

The next step to securing proper contact management software training should be to find a good CRM consulting company. They should be expected to commence with a careful analysis of your company's needs. They should also be expected to discover as much as possible about the processes involved in your company's sales and marketing activities.

Any good CRM consulting company should also do the obvious--ask the company what exactly they intend to achieve through training. Armed with this vital information they should then be able to design and deliver a custom-made training program tailored precisely to your company's needs.

It is extremely important at this stage to ensure that the database software, whether for the GoldMine? software or the ACT!? software, is fully ready for use with all customizations and customer data in place. This allows for the added benefit of having staff train on a real-time database in a real-time environment.

Staff involved in GoldMine? training or ACT!? training, or indeed any other contact management training, including the various web based CRM applications, will undergo a similar routine. Training for half a day is usually better than a whole day. This is because intensive and attention-demanding training becomes difficult to sustain after three or four hours with attention time-spans waning as a result. Keep the training short and crisp without laboring the obvious. More valuable information will be retained this way.

Any experienced consulting company conducting the training will know to carefully observe all personnel while they are being trained, and thereby be able to give you their professional advice as to whether or not further training is necessary.

Syed Ali, is the lead CRM consultant for a Toronto based company. His company offers, GoldMine Software and ACT! Software CRM Syed can be reached at Tel : (905) 815- 1995 ext 22, email :asyed@cqsolutions.com

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Commence CRM to Offer Compendium of Findings

According to Larry Caretsky, President of Commence Corporation, "Today's industrial sales environment is characterized by intense competition, strategic sourcing contracts, online auctions, customer pressure for self-service, and the ongoing debate over fee-based services. To thrive in this environment, industrial distributors and manufacturers need more than leading technology or efficient warehouses to achieve long-term growth."

Leading industrial organizations are looking outside their four walls to their customers for growth ideas. By leveraging the voice of the customer, these organizations achieve a competitive advantage in redefining sales and marketing, the all-important customer-facing portion of their operations.

In an effort to help industrial distributors and manufacturers sell more, more effectively, Commence Corporation has developed this compendium of more than 40 smart practices in industrial selling, culled from interviews with leading executives within high-growth companies, and building on a comprehensive review of published perspectives on smart industrial selling.

Entitled Smart Practices That Pay: Leveraging Information to Achieve Industrial Selling Results, this compendium focuses on the three key elements of a successful industrial sales effort: marketing strategy, sales management, and sales optimization through technology.

Commence Corporation knows that the information technology investments of sales departments are often wasted due to failed implementations. This study focuses on the keys to successful industrial selling, all of which can be enhanced with proper application of technology. Based on extensive experience, Commence Corporation believes that the only path to success is to first develop consistent marketing and sales processes, then utilize these processes in a disciplined manner reinforced by dynamic training and carried forward through effective coaching.

Commence (www.commence.com/mfg) offers lean industrial companies complete "Freedom Of Choice" to select the solutions and platform that best meets the business requirements of manufacturers and distributors. The comprehensive CRM Industrial application suite is available for use on premise or on-demand as a hosted service. Industrial leaders often build departmental lean CRM solutions with the award winning Commence Lean Industrial CRM Framework. These choices are why so many industrial companies choose Commence as the solution for managing customer relationships. All Commence Industrial solutions support mobile or wireless connectivity and integration to back-office accounting and ERP systems.

Commence Corporation www.commence.com/mfg/ Larry Caretsky Marketing@commence.com 732-380-9100

Professional Marketing Firm for the Manufacturing Community and Manufacturing Journalist to most manufacturing magazines

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Distributors Find Value Proposition in Commence CRM

According to Larry Caretsky, President of Commence Corporation (www.commence.com/mfg/), "Defining your value proposition is a key task for all industrial management teams. Without a clear value proposition, sales reps will have varying success and deliver a myriad of messages to your target markets. Start by answering the following question: what services do we provide to our target market better than any competing alternative in the world? This should not be an easy answer. It needs to be specific, compelling, and something truly unique that customers care about. Most importantly, it needs to be quantifiable. The term value proposition is widely overused, and often "valueless" because it has no money associated with it. Though it seems obvious to the leading industrial manufacturers and distributors, choosing a focus is a difficult task that few industrial organizations do consistently well. Creating a focus is as easy as articulately answering the following question: What customers can we serve better than anyone else? Your research should point you in a clear direction. Leading industrial organizations state that clearly defining the target market, including job title, pains, number of potential customers, locations, and any other pertinent information, is an extremely useful way to generate a list of viable prospects. "

Manufacturers will next need to determine if they need additional channel resources to reach this target market. If so, create a clear profile of the ideal distributor or manufacturer's rep and generate a list of candidates.

In an effort to help industrial distributors and manufacturers thrive, Commence Corporation presents Practices That Pay: Leveraging Information to Achieve Industrial Selling Results, a compendium of smart practices from the leading industrial sales and marketing experts and organizations that are growing in today's challenging environment.

Commence offers industrial companies complete "Freedom Of Choice" to select the solutions and platform that best meets the business requirements of manufacturers and distributors. The comprehensive CRM Industrial application suite is available for use on premise or on-demand as a hosted service. Industrial leaders often build departmental CRM solutions with the award winning Commence Industrial CRM Framework. These choices are why so many industrial companies choose Commence as the solution for managing customer relationships. All Commence Industrial solutions support mobile or wireless connectivity and integration to back-office accounting and ERP systems.

Commence Corporation www.commence.com/mfg/ Larry Caretsky Marketing@commence.com 732-380-9100

Professional Marketing Firm for the Manufacturing Community and Manufacturing Journalist to most manufacturing magazines

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Commence CRM Smart Practices for Industry

According to Larry Caretsky, President of Commence Corporation, "Experienced executives know that all good marketing starts with good strategy. Success in marketing is not about expensive advertising, big trade show booths, or slick brochures."

Smart marketing begins with a strategic examination of your customer base:

* Market Segment: What customers do we serve better than anyone else? * Competition: What are these customers' competing alternatives? * Value Proposition: What value do we provide to these target customers better than any competing alternative in the world? * Branding: How will we profitably communicate and deliver all of the above to our target customers? * Sales: How will we convert all of this into new customers?

For more than a year, Commence Corporation has interviewed dozens of leading executives in high-growth industrial manufacturing and distribution firms in segments that include power transmission, fluid power, welding, electrical, safety products, industrial supplies, instrumentation, and building products. Commence has also hosted several Executive Roundtables to obtain additional input and feedback from key executives building on their dialog on the topic of industrial selling with one another.

The Smart Practices reports are a summary from the variety of these sources, combined with Commence's more than 20 years of experience and complemented with contemporary commentaries from more than 50 magazines, presentations, web sites and books. Each of the major sections - Marketing Strategy, Sales Management, and Sales Optimization through Technology - include an Executive Summary, a set of Smart Practices derived from the research, and techniques to Leverage Information for results. Finally, the bibliography contains numerous reference materials that you may use for additional learning.

Commence (www.commence.com/mfg) offers lean industrial companies complete "Freedom Of Choice" to select the solutions and platform that best meets the business requirements of manufacturers and distributors. The comprehensive CRM Industrial application suite is available for use on premise or on-demand as a hosted service. Industrial leaders often build departmental lean CRM solutions with the award winning Commence Lean Industrial CRM Framework. These choices are why so many industrial companies choose Commence as the solution for managing customer relationships. All Commence Industrial solutions support mobile or wireless connectivity and integration to back-office accounting and ERP systems.

Commence Corporation www.commence.com/mfg/ Larry Caretsky Marketing@commence.com 732-380-9100

Professional Marketing Firm for the Manufacturing Community and Manufacturing Journalist to most manufacturing magazines

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Commence CRM Finds Industry Expertise Required

For more than a year, Commence Corporation has interviewed dozens of leading executives in high-growth industrial manufacturing and distribution firms in segments that include power transmission, fluid power, welding, electrical, safety products, industrial supplies, instrumentation, and building products. Commence has also hosted several Executive Roundtables to obtain additional input and feedback from key executives building on their dialog on the topic of industrial selling with one another.

According to Larry Caretsky, President of Commence, "One of the consistent themes that arose from our interviews involved a focus on defined industry segments. Rather than trying to be a generalist that can out-service or under-sell any competitor, the pattern among these smart companies was to choose a few specialty areas in which to become true experts. The key to success, over and over again, was to build upon existing successes that best matched the company's products, employees, and interests. With this narrow focus, companies can acquire or build internal competencies that are most highly valued and sought after by customers. These smart practices stress segmented focus and differentiation. No longer is it reasonable for management to simply expect higher sales each year without a strategic focus. The specialization in a few defined segments gives the sales force some added expertise that is welcomed by tough-to-reach prospects, leading to improved sales over time. A market segment discipline leads to goals for sales activities and sales results that can be reviewed segment by segment. Training for each segment can address the language, buying processes, common objections, and competing alternatives of those with buying influence. The focus on market segments yielded higher profit margins for many of our interviewees. We also consistently heard that customers were much more interested in seeing a salesperson who had the knowledge and reputation of being a specialist. As the segmentation strategy gains momentum in a sales organization, the company accumulates more and more knowledge and insight from the shared experiences and successes. This growing body of expertise becomes a true differentiator that isn't easily matched by competition. This leads to quicker sales cycles, since customers aren't simply comparison shopping for price."

The Smart Practices reports are a summary from the variety of these sources, combined with Commence's more than 20 years of experience and complemented with contemporary commentaries from more than 50 magazines, presentations, web sites and books. Each of the major sections - Marketing Strategy, Sales Management, and Sales Optimization through Technology - includes an Executive Summary, a set of Smart Practices derived from the research, and techniques to Leverage Information for results. Finally, the bibliography contains numerous reference materials that you may use for additional learning.

Commence (www.commence.com/mfg) offers lean industrial companies complete "Freedom Of Choice" to select the solutions and platform that best meets the business requirements of manufacturers and distributors. The comprehensive CRM Industrial application suite is available for use on premise or on-demand as a hosted service. Industrial leaders often build departmental lean CRM solutions with the award winning Commence Lean Industrial CRM Framework. These choices are why so many industrial companies choose Commence as the solution for managing customer relationships. All Commence Industrial solutions support mobile or wireless connectivity and integration to back-office accounting and ERP systems.

Commence Corporation www.commence.com/mfg/ Larry Caretsky Marketing@commence.com 732-380-9100

Professional Marketing Firm for the Manufacturing Community and Manufacturing Journalist to most manufacturing magazines

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Can CRM Adapt To My Way Of Working

Introducing new software into any company can be disruptive and can pose a challenge for employees. They will most likely have to be trained to learn how to use the new software. But employees can feel resentful to new software, feeling that the old solution, which they understand perfectly, are good enough. This can mean that they do not cooperate fully, which in turn can lead to a less than fully successful training experience for the company.

It has to be said that this is indeed true of CRM software as much as it is of any other type of software. But one provider has come up with a solution that can change all that. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 software package works with you--not against you.It works in the same way that you do, learning and adapting. It works in the same way that your employees do, which of course, should be the way that your business as a whole does.

How can it achieve this level of synchronization? Does your business currently use the modules within Microsoft Office, as well as Microsoft Outlook? If it does, then Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 will seamlessly and invisibly slot into your existing systems--your way of working--without requiring any major changes, or major re-training of your employees.

Will this make your employees happier? It most likely will. They will realize that their cherished work habits are not about to be abandoned for something new and shiny--and unproven. They will be much more likely to be behind the introduction, thereby giving it their silent approval, which in turn will mean a much greater and speedier success for the company as a whole.

Customization lies at the heart of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 secret of success. The program can be customized so easily to fit into your company's standardized style of documentation. This is how it will fit in seamlessly and invisibly. Other CRM solutions have suffered from implementation failure simply because they failed to make integration and easy and seamless maneuver. This leads to change resistance, which in turn leads to disaster. At this point it would be easy for any manager to conclude erroneously that CRM "doesn't work."

Because Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 makes full use of existing and proven industry platforms, it starts out with a significant head start. Employees who already use Word, Excel and Access, as well as Outlook, will have little resistance to a new program that integrates fully with these known and proven entities. They will realize that the introduction of such software will not make their working lives more difficult, but will enhance it, making their working lives so much easier.

The automation possible with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 will most likely amaze them if they were previously unaware that such possibilities existed. Mass email broadcast, customer analysis with meaningful reports--all so easy and so useful. Tracking customers and each customer's requirements is essential to meaningful customer relationship management. It becomes almost comically simple when you employ Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 to do the job.

Syed Ali, is the lead CRM consultant for a Toronto based company. His company offers, Microsoft CRM Software Syed can be reached at Tel : (905) 815- 1995 ext 22, email :asyed@cqsolutions.com

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Monday, July 14, 2008

CRM And Small Businesses

Perhaps resistance to many small businesses employing CRM is that they do not fully understand why they might need it. CRM, or customer relationship management, means that when a prospect is contacted it is with the hope in mind that they will soon become a customer. If they become a customer they become even more valuable.

It is therefore very sound practice to retain all the contact information for both the prospect and the resultant customer so that they can be contacted again with fresh offers. This simple practice leverages the fact that an existing customer costs much less to market successfully to than a cold prospect that has yet to purchase.

Knowing as much as possible about a customer allows the sales person to be able to tailor and market products to them in a much more focused way. This is where CRM, or customer relationship management, software comes in. It can do all the boring, difficult jobs for you, which you can then access at will at the click of a button. It employs strategies, methods and proven techniques to gather and organize the information in meaningful ways. It then makes all this fully accessible in a multitude of different ways, allowing the sales person a freedom that formerly was unknown.

Come back with me for a moment to the "old days." Customer details was all written down, or typed at best, and the contact information was stored in a rolodex. Bills and orders may have been stored in files, and archival data may have been stored anywhere. Imagine trying to figure out if Mr Smith of 234 New Avenue is below 40, is married, and if so, has children, and if so does he have two, three, or more?

It could be done, of course. But if you have 100, or worse still, 1,000 similar customers, and you need to find out similar detailed information about each one--well, I guess you get the point. Today it is all so much easier. First we had the desktop computer revolution. This encouraged programmers to write better and better software. Finally, along came CRM software, which now automates customer management and relationships better and more efficiently than ever before.

It's not that sales persons of yesteryear didn't know what they wanted or needed. It's just that they had to struggle so hard to get it. Is the CRM software of today making sales people more lazy? Not at all! They recognize a golden opportunity when they see one. Today people have more money in their pockets than previously. This means that there are greater opportunities for selling, and CRM has arrived at exactly the right time to take advantage of that unique situation.

So, where does that leave the small business? It doesn't leave them--it places them right in the forefront alongside the larger businesses. It empowers them to go on to bigger and greater things, if they bother to grab the opportunity awaiting them. It's not a matter of whether or not they can afford to implement CRM--training, deployment, managing, etc--it is simply a matter of how can they possibly not afford to.

Syed Ali, is the lead CRM consultant for a Toronto based company. His company offers, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Software Syed can be reached at Tel : (905) 815- 1995 ext 22, email :asyed@cqsolutions.com

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CRM: Who Are Your Most Profitable Customers?

By knowing the answer to that question, you will discover how to multiply your profits. Let me ask you another question, if you knew who they were would spend most time with them? Now be honest, have you ever thought to really look at who your most profitable customers are, what similar characteristics they have, what made them be your best customers.

Because when you know that?it then becomes a lot easier to keep them profitable and happy and to ensure that you have new customers joining this elite group all the time Do the following and guarantee that your profits will increase exponentially.

Depending on the size of your customer base, you can decide on how many you wish to select. For this example, we will look at the top 5.

Without a proper CRM system, this is going to be quite difficult to calculate. If you had an automated system, this would be one of the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) that you would always be looking at. Let's start by looking at your biggest spenders.

You will need to calculate exactly how much profit you get from each of them. You will need to apply some simple accounting rules in relation to fixed and variable costs. To calculate your fixed costs, look at all the items that you spend money on every year. Things like; rent, light, telephone, salary costs, etc. When you have the total, then divide that by the amount of customers you have, and that is the amount you will assign as the fixed cost to each customer.

Now look at the variable costs. This will be made up of cost of goods sold to each. Items such as; material costs, variable manufacturing costs, sales commissions, lead generation costs, service costs, etc. Now apply this to each of your largest customers.

So how much does profit does each generate? Do the same with your 5 smallest customers and the 5 customers in the middle of the revenue ranking.

Have you noticed any interesting trends? Is the percentage of profit consistent? Are the largest customers still your most profitable ones? If like many businesses at this stage, you have not got any clear cut answers, you will need to perform this exercise for your whole base.

OK, let's assume for now that you have finally identified your most profitable customers. You will now need to look at what they have in common. Some suggested commonalities might be as follows:

They are all in the same industry
They have the same size
You have a specific sales or service representative looking after them
They are all in the same area
They buy a specific set of products

Whatever the answer you come up with, you now will have the secret to multiplying your profits. Do the following and guarantee that your profits will increase exponentially.

Spend the most time with them, love them to death

Cross sell to other customers, those products which your most profitable customers buy.

Focus your lead generation efforts on prospects with similar characteristics

Ask each one of them for two referrals, after all, since they are giving you so much profit, they must be happy!

There are many other things you can do to boost your profits with this sort of information, so my key tip to you, is ensure that you get some automated system in place which can answer these questions. What is more, you will guarantee that you repeat success and avoid costly mistakes.

This article was written by Peter Lawless, founder of 3R Sales and Marketing. For previous articles like this, visit 3R's Articles. Alternatively, subscribe to Success our free monthly Information Bulletin with sales and marketing articles.

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5 Ways Microsoft Dynamics CRM V3.0 Can Save Your Small Business Time And Money

A solid knowledge of your customers is vital to succeed in today?s modern information driven business world. Small businesses are widely considered to provide a better customer service because the decision makers are closer to their clients than in much larger companies. Managing customer relations has grown increasingly complicated as market forces and trends change at a much faster rate than in the past, and with the internet revolution, that is set to continue and accelerate.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 Small Business Edition is designed to work with other Microsoft applications such as Microsoft Small Business Server 2003, Outlook, Word, Excel and Publisher. Working together, the Microsoft Dynamics Suite greatly helps your staff to build closer customer relationships and achieve new levels of productivity and profitability.

Here are 5 ways Microsoft Dynamics Suite can help your small business save time and money:

1. Centralize all your customer information

Microsoft Dynamics Suite captures all customer contact information from your sales, marketing and support sections of your business and houses the information in a central repository. Microsoft Dynamics CRM v3.0 provides instant access to whoever needs the information, wherever they are and when they need it. This reduces costs by minimizing non-productive time wasted, increases profitability by maximizing cross-selling opportunities and enhances customer relations with a more personalized approach from all staff in contact with customers.

2. Protect your customer information

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v3.0 has built-in security features to ensure your customer information is protected and kept confidential. Employees are only given access to that information on a customer that is required for the role they need to perform. By combining Microsoft Dynamics CRM v3.0 with Small Business Server, a powerful firewall is provided that allows mobile employees and remote locations to have secure and enhanced access to customer information while out of the office. The ability for mobile and remote workers to access customer information out of the office allows them to continue to be supported and productive as well as spend more time where they need to be ? with customers and prospects.

3. Integrate with Microsoft Office Outlook

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v3.0 has been designed with Outlook in mind, and can be enabled to let your employees work directly from their Outlook email client. This close integration with Outlook and other Microsoft applications such as Word and Excel means that all staff with client contact can look up customer information, manage email communications, arrange appointments, record customer and prospect contacts from within Outlook and share this across the business with the Microsoft Dynamics Suite. This makes staff more productive, generating greater revenues and reducing time wastage dealing with administrative customer affairs.

4. Tailor Microsoft Dynamics Suite to your small business

The Microsoft Dynamics Suite contains a configuration wizard so you can tailor the customer relationship software solution to meet the particular needs of your business. You can customize and modify forms, construct your own data entry fields and arrange how information is to be presented while an intuitive engine allows for automation of repetitive tasks. An alert system raises flags when you need to perform a task so nothing need ever fall down between the cracks.

Microsoft Dynamics Suite is an out-of-the-box solution that is quickly and cheaply implemented while maintenance costs are also minimal. The Microsoft Dynamics Suite is also scaleable to meet the future demands of your business with additional features that can be added as and when the need arises.

5. Fast and simple implementation gets you up and running quickly

Microsoft Dynamics CRM v3.0 has a very fast and simple set-up to speed up productivity and profitability, this minimizes business disruption. For existing users of Microsoft Office applications, the customer relationship software solution is readily adopted by your staff as it has been designed to look and feel like all other Office applications so use is intuitive.
This minimizes the costs of implementation and user adoption while at the same time increases productivity with minimal business disruption and faster adoption by employees.

Syed Ali, is the lead CRM consultant for a Toronto based company. His company offers, Microsoft CRM Syed can be reached at Tel : (905) 815- 1995 ext 22, email :asyed@cqsolutions.com

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hosted CRM: What is it?

San Francisco, CA (ARTICLEMARKETER) August 09, 2005 -- When hosted CRM was first introduced, concerns were voiced about its drawbacks: the lack of customization, integration with other applications, support, third party storage, control over data control and the performance of service reps - not to mention the all-important security issue. Hostings biggest drawback is that your most important data is in a third-partys hands.

Although CRM, as hosted solutions are also known, are not as difficult or as costly to install as packaged solutions, they still require an infrastructure, significant IT resources, and time to deploy.

Application integration has been another challenge for ASPs. Since ASPs unilaterally update their code bases, this opens the possibility that an integrated business process could be broken by a change that you dont control.

Privacy and privacy laws are another concern: you must investigate what safeguards an ASP offers to protect your data. As you can see, hosted CRM isnt perfect. Aberdeen researchers found that when considering these problems, support for hosting dampens. One way around this might be a hybrid approach: rent now, buy later.


It Does Not Have To Be Either-Or

Another emerging trend is that companies adopt hosted solutions as a low-risk way of evaluating a CRM solutions capabilities before they buy into an in-house set up. This approach allows companies to mitigate risk and experience the benefits of rapid time-to-value. Once companies see a ROI, then they can choose to bring the solution in-house.

The decision between an in-house implementation and a hosted solution is based on many factors. It is important to evaluate your business plan, technology strategy, risk profile, IT budgets, IT resources, opportunity costs, customization requirements and industry-sector requirements.


Visit http://www.sales-force-software.com for more information.

About the author:
Contact:
David Cowgill
http://www.sales-force-software.com
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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

CRM: Why Ask The Customer's Opinion?

The general perception of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has matured in the last few years, with potential users of CRM ensuring that people and processes form part of an implementation. In addition sensible success criteria are being set to create a compelling business case, which clearly states the potential returns and measurement goals.

Your customers know why they buy your products - do you?

However, I wonder how many companies actually talk to their customer or indeed to their future prospects about what criteria for success they would put on a CRM implementation. If done correctly, will also be an excellent source of leads and will signal to the marketplace that you really care about providing levels of service that delights your customers. After all, while CRM is primarily implemented in response to a demand for increased profit. This should be achieved by making existing customer delighted. In addition, it should make it easier for potential customers to identify what the benefits of doing business with you actually are.

Soliciting opinion from your customers is not only a sound business decision, but extending this approach to your potential customers and prospects can be a very effective lead generation technique. This article will talk about the best way of soliciting opinion from customers and will include a customer and prospect questionnaire that can be tailored and used as part of the assessment phase of any CRM implementation.

Conduct a survey of your customers

The more you talk to your customers the more likely they are to keep buying your products and services. Have you ever driven behind a lorry and seen the sign ?how am I driving ? phone ??? It makes you remember them. So go and talk to your customers. If you have a lot of them, get a telemarketing company to do it. Even better encourage one of your customers to set up a users group, and have the users group run the survey.

Here is a sample list of some of the questions you might want to ask your customers;

Overall, how would you rate doing business with my company?
What aspects in dealing with our company do you like? (Provide a list)
What aspects in dealing with our company do you not like? (Provide a list)
Do we communicate with you often enough?
Do you understand the value our products and services provide?
Which of the following things we are thinking of implementing would make doing business with us better?
Would you recommend our company to anyone else? If yes please provide contact details, if No ? why not?

Who else should you solicit opinion from?
There are three other key groups you should also speak with before you change how you interact with you customers. You should do this, even though you believe that the changes are positive. These groups are;

Your business partners
Key influencers like consultants or trade journalists
Your prospects.

This is an excellent, non threatening way, in which you can introduce new people to your business. If done correctly, will also be an excellent source of leads and will signal to the marketplace that you really care about providing levels of service that delights your customers.

This article was written by Peter Lawless, founder of 3R Sales and Marketing. For previous articles like this, visit 3R's Articles. Alternatively, subscribe to Success our free monthly Information Bulletin with sales and marketing articles.

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Microsoft?s Dynamics Software Brings Enterprise Class Crm To Your Business

The idea that customer relationship software is just for enterprise class businesses has long gone. Ask your CRM software provider for details of the developments in customer relationship software for businesses of all sizes and you will be met with a barrage of color brochures giving you the lowdown on the market as it stands today.

Microsoft Dynamics Suite has evolved from MS Great Plains, and MS CRM recognizes that there is a market for customer relationship software for mid-range and small businesses. No longer is there a barrier to implementing a MS CRM solution due to cost, with a range of solutions to fit the all business budgets.

Microsoft Dynamics Suite integrates seamlessly to provide your employees with information on demand concerning customers and prospect at their fingertips. The benefits of having customer information centralized in one place for everyone in your company to utilize are obvious and self-evident. The idea of being able to capture, organize and disseminate customer and prospect information at the touch of a button is now a reality.

Microsoft Dynamics Suite provides small and mid-range businesses with the ability to centralize all client and prospect contact throughout the sales cycle, from intial enquiry, pre-sales meeting, order, despatch and after-sales customer support. More than this, Microsoft Dynamics Software delivers information to everyone in your business the information they need on business activity when they need it and presented in a format that is understandable and tailored to meet the individual needs of your business.

Microsoft CRM provides mobile and remote workers with the up-to-date information on the status of prospect and customer enquiries far faster and more accurately than any traditional methods currently employed by businesses today. Using Microsoft Dynamics Suite any business is able to deploy the benefits of customer relationship management software to provide the benefits of enhanced customer service, avoidance of non-productive activity and concentration of resources on maximizing revenues.

Microsoft Dynamics Suite is implementated with minimal business disruption to existing business practices, and quickly adopted by users familiar with Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel and Publisher. Customer and prospect information collected by a MS Dynamics solution is available at your employee?s fingertips and intuitively adopted as it has been designed to integrate seamlessly with existing Microsoft applications.

Importing client information from the Microsoft Dynamics Suite to applications such as Word and Excel for marketing and sales campaigns is child?s play, while mobile and remote workers can continue to be supported from their base by accessing Microsoft Dynamics Software information by using their Outlook email client.

Small and mid-range businesses are now in a position to recover the competitive advantage in delivering customer service that has been eroded by enterprise class customer relationship software, without the need to allocate the enterprise class budgets previously required and with no loss in functionality. The idea that customer relationship software is solely for enterprise class businesses no longer applies, you need only consult with your Microsoft CRM software provider to learn what is available for your business.

Syed Ali, is the lead CRM consultant for a Toronto based company. His company offers, MS CRM Software Syed can be reached at Tel: (905) 815- 1995 ext 22, email :asyed@cqsolutions.com

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is essential in the management of any sales driven business and Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides a solution to deliver management control over the entire business cycle from initial contact, pre-sale enquiries and meeting to sale and after sales servicing of clients in order to solidify the business relationship.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides modules for sales, marketing and customer service which are extremely ?granular?, that is, you have the ability to drill down to the core components of your business performance to individual relationship activity or step back and take a macroscopic view of the overall performance.

It is self-evident that developing business relationships that bind your clients and customers to your business helps you to maximize revenue and enhance profitability. Microsoft Dynamics CRM places you in control of managing the business relationship with your clients, even in the most complicated of sales processes. This ensures you will be able to meet their needs and service requirements on time.

Managing the disparate activities of prospecting, marketing, initial enquiry handling through to sale completion is a difficult and complicated task which Microsoft Dynamics CRM simplifies with intuitive, easy-to-use features to empower management.

Business managers will be able to coordinate the business generating activities to obtain the most effective combined result for both the client and your company.

The ability to manage and control the business sales process implies that the there are measurable and identifiable deliverables produced, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides detailed reports of all business activities relating to each customer.

The ability to identify and target customers, comparison of effectiveness of various marketing activity and campaigns and the appropriate deployment of sales resources are provided by Microsoft Dynamics CRM and are extremely cost effective.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides a seamless user experience as it integrates quickly and easily with other Microsoft applications such as Microsoft Office Outlook. As Microsoft designed Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Office Outlook in mind, users require less time and training resources to familiarize themselves with the tool.

Microsoft Office users, familiar with MS Excel spreadsheets and MS Word word processing, are quickly able to migrate data from these more familiar applications to and from Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The result is that user adoption is widespread, making it faster and easier to integrate the program with others. Business users experience an increase in ROI due to widespread adoption of Microsoft CRM Software.

From the business user?s viewpoint, implementation is greatly simplified and disruption minimized as Microsoft Dynamics CRM not only adapts seamlessly with employee activity but it is easily manipulated to provide a bespoke CRM solution tailored to meet your current business practices.

Microsoft Dynamic CRM Software makes it easy to modify forms, data fields and how client relationship data is presented are readily adaptable.

The largest software company in the world develops Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft provides the security that this CRM solution, increasing the likelihood that it will be supported effectively and consistently in the future.

Syed Ali, is the lead CRM consultant for a Toronto based company. His company offers, MS CRM Software Syed can be reached at Tel: (905) 815- 1995 ext 22, email :asyed@cqsolutions.com

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