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Adopting Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software

January 4, 2011 1 comment

     With all the buzz over web marketing, social media, smart phones, apps, etc.,  cluttering up the blog sites and news feeds, it’s extremely easy for businesses to overlook even the most basic principles and practices in sales and marketing.  If you stop and think about it, although new technology changes the way we conduct business, the core principles behind our practices rarely change.  Businesses need to generate and qualify leads, engage in communication throughout the sales cycle, convert leads to customers, and then nurture the ongoing customer relationship.  In order for this to be done successfully, businesses must be able to organize, track, store, share, and recall this data.  Here’s a newsflash folks…execution will become increasingly important.  I recently read a statistic that Business Intelligence (BI) has remained the #1 technology expenditure for top companies for the last 2 years.  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a major component of BI.  Let’s explore how CRM can benefit your business.

     There are many CRM solutions available, but Microsoft Dynamics CRM is our platform of choice for its low cost of adoption, familiarity and ease of use, and immediate integration within Outlook and other essential Microsoft products.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows companies to:

  • Capture and track leads all in one system.
  • Qualify and convert leads into Accounts.
  • Easily assign and track all Contacts associated to an Account.
  • Create and track Opportunities.
  • Launch and track Campaigns.
  • Create Workflows based on person, team, or organization.
  • Assign tasks and activities.
  • Easily track e-mail communications, documents, and histories.
  • Compile reports and review analytics.
  • Access from multiple locations and mobile devices.

     These are some of the main functions, but there are many more features included with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  The benefits that your company will experience from adopting this type of CRM platform are priceless…increased productivity, communication within the organization, better insight into marketing ROI, real sales analytics, informed conversations with leads/customers, and improved sales.  Let’s look at some very simple, yet practical applications of Microsoft Dynamics CRM in this excerpt from another one of my blog articles.

Begin a marketing list or enhance your existing one – Cost:  $0 to $50/mo per user (depending on database software) – How many people interact with your business that you never get a name or contact information from?  Your website should be generating contacts for your marketing list on a regular basis.  If it’s not, then you probably don’t have an appropriate web form and call-to-action to encourage signups.  Your call-to-action should have prominent placement on basically every page of your website.  You should have customer information sheets in your store or office that every person who comes in is encouraged to fill out.  You should request (as applicable) their company name, contact name, mobile number, work number, email, physical address, preferred contact method, birthday, plus other information as it relates to your business such as product interests, products owned, industry, job title, etc.  Any networking groups, tradeshows, or industry events you attend should also be leveraged for as many business cards and contact forms you can get your hands on.  The database you build becomes a list of contacts, leads, opportunities, and accounts.  You can market to your list in multiple ways at various times.  Send an email campaign announcing your new company website, send a direct mailer promoting your special internet-only sale, send a written invitation to attend your company open-house, make phone calls to invite people to an exclusive new product “sneak peek”, the possibilities are endless!  You can accomplish this with little to no cost, but I highly recommend a quality Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.  At SRC Technology we use, highly recommend, and sell Microsoft Dynamics CRM (contact me for info), but numerous possibilities exist.

    

     If your organization is not using a customer database at all, or is relying on primitive notepads and excel spreadsheets, you are penalizing your company more in lost sales and lack of productivity than it would cost to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

     I would love the opportunity to meet and discuss your business and how you could adopt Microsoft Dynamics CRM into your Business Intelligence strategy.  This is an extremely powerful technology that will help business owners and sales/marketing managers operate more efficiently and capitalize on more opportunities for revenue.  In today’s world, who can afford to miss out?

If you would like an informational meeting to discuss your business and how Microsoft Dynamics CRM may fit into your organization, please call or email me at your earliest convenience.

 Josh Davis, Technology Strategist – SRC Technology Solutions

 joshd@srctechnology.com – (423) 267-0588

Technology wishes and predictions for 2011

December 17, 2010 Leave a comment

     As we near the end of 2010 and I reflect on all the new gadgets, apps, and websites that have popped up, I can’t help but consider how all these new technologies have impacted and become a part of my life and those around me.  If I were pressed to pinpoint a specific direction in which I think technology is gaining adoption rates in the business world and will continue to do so in 2011, I would say mobile technology would be the star performer.  With the rise of tablet PC’s and the iPad,  Android devices, geo-location services, mobile versions of websites, apps galore, and advancement from 3G to 4G connectivity, it’s clear that the mobile data industry is the farmer’s dog herding us all toward a pocket-computing future.  With that in mind, here are a few of my wishes and predictions for both consumer and business technology in 2011….

  • Social media marketing will continue to grow and be adopted by more businesses.  In my opinion, social media marketing is a stronger branding tool than any other form of marketing or advertising.  Potential customers can very quickly get a feel for the “personality” of a business by examining their profile and their regular interactions on social networking sites, and through the information they offer up on their blog and website.  Smaller locally-owned businesses will have an opportunity to compete on a more level playing field in the social media marketing realm and will have a much better chance of winning the business of more tech-savvy consumers.  This will give them a powerful foothold in the online community as the adoption rates of these technologies continue to rise.  Company marketing dollars will be increasingly redirected from print marketing materials and traditional advertising campaigns to website upgrades and e-marketing campaigns.  Have I mentioned SRC Technology offers full-service professional web development, search engine optimization, and social media marketing?

 

  • Someone will develop (or may have already developed) an app to consolidate “check-ins”.  The problem is, with all the numerous accounts to keep up with…Foursquare, Google, Facebook, Yelp, etc….how do I choose which one to check-in with?  Why should I have to choose?  Why not just have an app that checks you in with all your accounts at once?  I think Gowalla is on track to accomplish this, recently announcing a new version with Foursquare and Facebook integration, but why not just go ahead and integrate with all of them?

 

  • There will be more and more focus on cloud computing.  If we can support the majority of our computing on a smartphone, tablet, netbook, or laptop, the need for a stiationary desktop or home computer is out the window.  Instead, we will be encouraged to replace desktops (and maybe laptops) with connectivity boxes to our virtual desktop that is hosted in the cloud.  The burden of hardware will fall on the service providers in exchange for monthly payments or licensing fees.  The average consumer will be more likely to adopt this business model as existing hardware becomes outdated and the cost of cloud computing remains lower than hardware replacement or upgrades.  From my perspective, if I can log in to a virtual desktop with all of my programs and files, and download to a mobile storage device, why would I want a big clunky desktop?

 

  • By the end of 2011, I want a fully functional internet TV.  I want to be able to access my virtual desktop discussed above, stream video games without having to own a console, watch any episode of any TV show through a completely on-demand service, watch any game from any sport (and without a $50 pay-per-view charge), and video chat (or skype) with all of my friends and relatives.  Come on America…we have the technology, so step up and get it done.

 

  •  I want a “car keys” app that will give me keyless entry and ignition for my car controlled from my smartphone.  In fact, why not just have a phone dock in the car that requires you to dock your phone before your engine starts.  This will prevent all the texting-while-driving problems and keep teens (because they’re the only ones who do it, right?) focused on the road.  You’ll still be able to use the phone, GPS, and other features through voice control.  And if you want to let someone borrow your car you can just fist-bump them your “car keys” with a designated expiration date, so that you know you’ll either get your car back in time, or they will be immobilized.

 

 At this point I should probably offer a disclaimer that these wishes and predictions are solely the opinion of Josh Davis, Technology Strategist with SRC Technology Solutions (in case any of them are worth a lot of money), and don’t represent the company as a whole or any other employee’s views of technology.

Here’s to 2010, which was a great year for technology…and the hopes that 2011 will be even more fun and exciting!

 If you would like to meet and review your current website and web strategy with no cost or obligation, please call or email:

Josh Davis, Technology Strategist – (423) 267-0588 – joshd@srctechnology.com

SRC Technology Solutions






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