Archive for July, 2012

Enabling Commerce and Order Entry Integrated with Dynamics CRM 2011 for your Sales and Customer Service teams

July 9th, 2012 Pankaj Kumar No comments

If you are using or planning to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Sales Force Automation, you are making a great first step for your organization because:

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables your sales and customer service team to have an intelligent dialog whenever they interact with your customers. Sales or Customer Service Representatives have visibility to activity history so they know what the last few contacts with the customers were & what occurred at those touch points.
  • Sales, marketing & customer service teams begin to see the business as it should be seen – from the eyes of the customer.
  • You can connect with customers like never before via Social Capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and understand their likes, dislikes & get deeper insight into their behaviour.

Ignify’s flagship Product – eCommerce for Dynamics has been offering eCommerce Solution integrated with Dynamics ERP for a number of years. Enabling commerce for Sales Force & Customer Service Organizations using Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a natural extension of eCommerce for Dynamics. In early 2011 we released the Order Entry and Ignify ecommerce solutions integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Since then we’ve made two releases of the software and have multiple customers now using Ignify ecommerce and Order Entry integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to gain significant productivity benefits.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM can greatly benefit with enhancements that Ignify ecommerce brings for complex commerce scenarios. I’ve listed some examples below

  1. As a Quote or Order Entry system:
    • Ignify Order Entry can significantly reduce the number of clicks on for entering a Quote or Order thus improving user adoption within your team.
    • Providing key commerce-related web services such as address validation, sales tax/ GST, shipping calculation and online payments services
    • Provide a sophisticated pricing engine with the integration with Dynamics ERP
  2. Provide a self-service web interface for your customers so that they can view and approve Sales Quotes or directly placing Orders.
  3. Provide product configurator functionality: If you have a complex product or service that customer would rather configure & send to you before discussing their need with you. This improves customer satisfaction and can reduce the sales close cycle time.

We took the concept of Commerce enablement for Microsoft Dynamics CRM one step further to ensure that we enable it in as seamless manner as possible. This is done via two key concepts – an integrated user interface & a Single Sign On facility for Microsoft Dynamics CRM users.

Single User Interface for your Sales Force & Customer Service Teams – “Read” Zero additional learning or Training

Microsoft Dynamics CRM has an awesome user interface that packs a lot of functionality in a Microsoft Office like manner ensuring a high level of user adoption & productivity. Ignify eCommerce plugs into that functionality seamlessly requiring zero learning or training. Given below is the screenshot of the Ribbon on the Customers Form in Microsoft Dynamics CRM as an example. The buttons highlighted in green launch Ignify Order Entry forms and are fully integrated within Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Dynamics CRM Accounts Grid with eCommerce Enabled

Figure 1 – Dynamics CRM Accounts Grid with eCommerce Enabled

These additional ribbon options on the Customer form allow you to:

  1. Enter a New Quote or New Order for a Customer (Account) right from the ribbon.
  2. Create a Quick Order List –a list of Item Code & Quantity – that you can use for repeat orders. These are usually targeted bundles that are offered during campaigns.
  3. Configure the Customer Loyalty / Reward Program, Pricing & various other Customer account related services such as Address Validation Service.

The same design continues when a sales rep is working on a Customer. The customer account screen shot below again shows the Ignify Order Entry buttons integrated on the account form.

Dynamics CRM Account Entity Ribbon with eCommerce Enabled

Figure 2 – Dynamics CRM Account Entity Ribbon with eCommerce Enabled

This concept is used across the board in various Microsoft Dynamics CRM Ribbons & Sitemaps. This makes eCommerce features added to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, feel like a natural extension of native MS Dynamics CRM capabilities.

Single Sign On – Simple yet Powerful experience

In the unified CRM user interface explained above – clicking on a New Order button on the Account Grid or Entity Ribbon launches the window shown below which is just one click away from creating a Sales Order. The system would be able to identify the logged in Sales Rep & automatically login to Ignify eCommerce Manager Panel using Dynamics CRM credentials via Single Sign On.

Single Sign on with Dynamics CRM makes using eCommerce Facilities a Breeze

Figure 3 – Single Sign on with Dynamics CRM makes using eCommerce Facilities a Breeze

Commerce Transactions on your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Solution

Ignify eCommerce as an offering has a fully integrated product catalog into Microsoft Dynamics CRM as well as various web services required to enable commerce.

Pricing Services

Ignify eCommerce has always been able to offer the same pricing that is configured in your Dynamics ERP. This allows for complex pricing rules that are setup in one place to be extended to Sales & Service organization using Dynamics CRM without the need to use another system. Ignify eCommerce also has inbuilt pricing rules that can be used in case you are not maintaining prices in your Dynamics ERP or not using Dynamics ERP. System calculated prices can be overridden by the Sales Rep using the system with appropriate security permissions. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Approval workflows can be used for Quote Approvals to ensure that while your Sales Force has the visibility to organization wide pricing information, you still retain the control on what level of discounting can be done by different levels within your organization.

eCommerce Pricing Services on eCommerce enabled Dynamics CRM

Figure 4 – eCommerce Pricing Services on eCommerce enabled Dynamics CRM. Prices can be overridden.

Tax Services

You can import your taxes from Microsoft Dynamics ERP (if you are using Dynamics ERP) or use third party tax engines such as Avalara. Both are pre-integrated with Ignify eCommerce. These taxes are automatically calculated during Quote or Sales Order entry ensuring that your tax compliance is fully automated & does not burden your sales force.

Tax Services on eCommerce enabled Dynamics CRM

Figure 5 – Tax Services on eCommerce enabled Dynamics CRM

Shipping Services

Ignify eCommerce integrates with small parcel carriers like UPS, FedEx & USPS. It also integrates with LTL carriers such as Yellow, Conway & Estes. All shipping methods offered by these carriers are available with real time quotes during Quote & Order entry to give an accurate quote to the Sales Rep. Sales Rep can obviously override these rates by offering additional discounts or by simply overriding the rate. Ignify eCommerce Shipping Quote engine has in built restrictions and other rules that can be exposed to sales and customer service representatives for ease of Quote/Order Entry.

Shipping Quotation Services on eCommerce Enabled Dynamics CRM

Figure 6 – Shipping Quotation Services on eCommerce Enabled Dynamics CRM

Online Payment Services

Integration with more than 15 payment providers offers rich choices for choosing your online payment provider. All transactions including Authorization, Capture, Direct Charge & Refund are available to offer your Sales Organization facility to take instant decisions & execute transactions when they are on field in front of the customer.

Online Payment Services on eCommerce Enabled Dynamics CRM

Figure 7 – Online Payment Services on eCommerce Enabled Dynamics CRM

Minimal Click Experience for Quote or Order Entry for higher User Adoption

I had earlier blogged about how many clicks does it take to enter a Quote or Order Transaction. This can also take as little as two clicks, if you are working from a pre-configured list of items or if you are ordering from Customer’s purchase history. An excel like grid for entering lines does make entering a large quote or order much easier saving your Sales Force critical time.

Excel line Quote/Order Line Entry with Auto Fill

Figure 8 – Excel line Quote/Order Line Entry with Auto Fill

A self-service 24 x 7 eCommerce Store Front for your Customers

Ignify eCommerce offers a robust & scalable eCommerce storefront for your customers to self-service themselves. Given below is an example of a grouped offering that can be used by your customers to directly place orders on your eCommerce Store Front. These orders would show up in Dynamics CRM against the Customer Account giving your sales rep visibility around eCommerce Transactions executed by the Customer and help Customer Service respond more effectively to any customer call.

Self Service eCommerce Storefront powered by Ignify eCommerce

Figure 9 – Self Service eCommerce Storefront powered by Ignify eCommerce

Creating Complex Product Offerings or Business Rules

Ignify eCommerce provides a rich, search engine optimized catalog with various facilities for offering Complex Products. These Products can be configured & used by your customers via a self-service eCommerce Portal. These can also be used by your Sales Reps using the inbuilt Quote and Order Entry mechanisms.

These complex relationships are reflected in Order Lines. Given below is an example of a California Waste Recycling Fee getting added on Sale of a Lenovo Laptop. A business rule that your Sales Reps do not have to worry about since it would get automatically added.

California ewaste Recycling Fee Business Rule on eCommerce enabled Dynamics CRM

Figure 10 – California ewaste Recycling Fee Business Rule on eCommerce enabled Dynamics CRM

Pankaj Kumar is the Chief Technology Officer of Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of eCommerce, Order Entry, ERP, and CRM software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify eCommerce is the only PCI certified eCommerce solution in the market that integrates with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine. Ignify is winner in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2010 and 2011 – this list represents the top businesses in North America with disruptive and innovative technology. Ignify is winner of the Microsoft Partner of the Year award in 2012 and 2011.

Winning with Paid Advertising for Mobile users

July 2nd, 2012 Sandeep Walia No comments

It is common knowledge that a large percentage of users now access the Internet through mobile devices. As of this blog that number in the United States is over 100 million users accounting for nearly 40% of Internet users. This number is expected to be 134 million users next year without including SMS, MMS and IM users with 45% penetration of mobile users according to Piper Jaffrey.

mobile users

What makes that more staggering is that over 70% of U.S. cell phone users ages 18-29 go online from their phones. According to Morgan Stanley – in 2014 the number of mobile internet users will exceed the number of desktop internet users. The future decade is clearly going to be mobile. And businesses of any kind that don’t embrace mobile media will be left behind in their outreach to their customers. It doesn’t matter whether you sell to businesses, consumers or government users – your end customer is accessing content, buying goods and spending more time than ever before on their mobile device.

Yet mobile advertising accounts for only 1% of worldwide advertising revenue. The reality is most businesses and advertising agencies struggle with success in mobile advertising. The concepts that work in offline advertising and even those that work in the Internet advertising tailored to PC users do not work well on mobile media. Mobile users have smaller form factors i.e. smaller devices, pay less attention to awareness advertising and will only respond to ads that are immediately relevant. That challenge makes mobile advertising very hard to execute and also very effective for those that get it right.

In this blog, we’ll share five not so well known secrets to get mobile advertising right

  1. Twitter – think mobile only: When advertising on twitter, focus on their mobile service. Here’s why: 70% of Twitters users access it through a mobile device and by focusing on the majority of users you will be much more effective. If you’re not familiar with Twitter advertising, here is a quick summary: Twitter can promote tweets and encourage users to engage with them or promote your accounts as a recommended account thus increasing the number of followers for you. You only pay when users engage with your tweet or follow your account. In addition you can post advertising (tweets) that show up when users search for search terms. In that scenario you will find that mobile advertising on Twitter rocks. PF Chang’s China Bistro was astounded that with a paltry $25,000 budget for a Lunar New Year Promotion posts promoting dining rewards to twitter users that in four days roughly 1 million people clicked, recirculated or otherwise interacted with the Twitter ad/ tweet. Of these people, roughly 70% did so from mobile devices rather than computers.

    Twitter – think mobile only

  2. Time matters: Make sure your message is time sensitive. PF Chang’s also ran a similar budget campaign on Twitter to the Lunar New Year campaign to pitch lunch offerings but found the response less enthusiastic. Posts/ Ads that are time sensitive Vs general awareness oriented will do much better. For example, both Target and Home Depot ran successful Time sensitive mobile advertisements using the Pandora mobile service. Target ran back to school advertising that rewarded the first 1000 likes with deals and Home Depot ran a Black Friday campaign to drive traffic to retail stores.

    Time matters

  3. Facebook – Mobile is 13X better: Contrary to popular belief, mobile advertising on Facebook gives you better conversion than PC advertising on Facebook. Mobile Sponsored Stories are getting over 13 times the click-through rates and earn 11.2 times the money per impression (eCPM) on mobile compared to all of Facebook’s desktop ads. This is primarily because the advertising with Facebook on the mobile streams the advertisement in the content stream while in the desktop advertisements / sponsored stories the placement is on the side. In June 2012, Facebook started allowing customers to specify that they want their advertisements to only appear on mobile devices and from the looks of it – that seems like the better deal.

    Facebook – Mobile is 13X better

  4. Facebook Mobile- Android and WP lead to better results: Android and Windows Phone users are going to give you most bang for your buck. On average, people using Android devices click on ads up 10% to 55% more than they do on iPhones, according to data from Optimal, an ad management firm that uses massive amounts of audience data to help marketers run ads on Facebook and other social media services. What’s more, conversion rates on those clicks–the rate at which people then proceed to become a fan by “liking” a brand or brand page post–are 28% to 109% higher for Android users. The data comes from four advertisers that spent up to thousands of dollars on their campaigns. The reason for this is the integration of the Facebook into the respective platforms. Both Android and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 ha much better integration with Facebook than Apple’s iOS does. For example, adding a Facebook account to a Windows Phone device pulls in Facebook status updates into the native People hub, for one and the Photos section includes not only images taken with the handset’s camera, but Facebook albums as well.

    One advertiser–an investor and blogger, James Altucher–was trying to get 100,000 Facebook fans for his blog, using Optimal for his mobile campaign. On the iPhone, people clicked the ad 0.91% of the time (which sadly is much higher than the rate for the average display ad both on Facebook and on the Web), while on Android, they clicked 1.41% of the time. While some 47% of iPhone users became a fan in response to a mobile ad, a stunning 98% of Android users did so. As a result, the cost per Like on Android was far lower, $1.06 vs. $1.61 on the iPhone, which translated to an effective cost per thousand people reached (known as eCPM) of $9, vs. only $6.52 for the iPhone.

    Facebook Mobile- Android and WP lead to better results

  5. Drive Relevancy with Location Based and Device based Advertising: Location based and device based mobile advertising can yield high impact results. For retailers displaying advertisements of a special offer to those within a 1-2 mile radius of their store is going to get much better results than one displayed to a general population. For example, T-mobile ran a mobile campaign on Adwords for people searching on 4G or Smartphones and served up different ads to mobile users based on their location and device. So the campaign served separate ads to mobile users, automatically showing both the nearest store on a map and a click-to-call button. The company also served different ads depending on whether the person had an Android or an iPhone or was on a particular service such as Verizon or T-Mobile.

    The results: In one month, the campaign attracted 162,000 people to T-Mobile’s website. The mobile search ads tied to a person’s location got a staggering 13% click-through rate, which a multiple higher than standard display ads. And the ads also generated 20,000 phone calls to stores. Google is also claiming that with its new visual redesign of mobile advertising, advertisers will get 2X of the Click-through compared to before. The new ads will make “get directions” and “click to call” buttons more prominent, and a marker will now show how far the searcher is from the local store.

    Drive Relevancy with Location Based and Device based Advertising

Mobile advertising is new – but with the right techniques and software platform, it can result in remarkable results for your business. The fact that Twitter’s mobile advertising accounts for more revenue than its website understates the growing importance of mobile advertising and that it is something you need to quickly add to your marketing arsenal.

Sandeep Walia is CEO at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRM, eCommerce and ERP, software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify is winner of the Microsoft Partner of the Year award in 2012 and 2011. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011 and 2010.