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How Microsoft Dynamics CRM Crushes 3 Sales Productivity Killers

May 19th, 2015 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

A sales team’s ability to meet their goals is a direct indicator of business health – if sales are up, the company will flourish; if sales are down, the company will flounder.

No matter how fantastic a product or service that the company offers, if successful sales are not happening on a consistent or growing basis, then the company is on its way to stagnation or, worst case scenario, failure.

Creating an environment for salespeople that enables them to focus completely on selling is crucial toward getting those sales quota numbers met. But too often, salespeople’s time is gobbled up by tasks that don’t add value to their selling efforts.

According to the sales and marketing leaders surveyed in Docurated’s State of Sales Productivity Report, they report that only 32% of their sales reps’ time is spent selling and pitching. The rest of their time is spent on CRM/admin/reporting (20%), searching for or creating content (31%), and other (17%).

By helping salespeople streamline and automate time-consuming administrative tasks, businesses help their reps gain more time to dedicate to making and closing deals. Implementing a CRM system that consolidates sales information is a major step in accelerating sales productivity.

Check out how Microsoft Dynamics CRM eliminates three painful drains on a salesperson’s time and energy.

Problem #1: Lack of Accessible Information

“I know I saw that brochure somewhere” – being able to send prospects the right content at the right time is an important part of effectively engaging the prospect, as effective engagement leads to higher sales conversion rates.

But unfortunately, without a designated storage repository for sales collateral, salespeople waste valuable time trying to pinpoint where specific pieces of material reside, or trying to re-create it. As the Docurated report found, sales reps spent about the same amount of time searching for content as they did selling.   

Microsoft Dynamics CRM solves this challenge with the Knowledge Base. The Knowledge Base is essentially a virtual library in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, allowing reps to upload and store articles, product guides, data sheets, and other types of collateral. Reps can search for content either by browsing through the category hierarchy that administrators set up, or they can search by identifying specific parameters, such as by keyword, title, subject, etc.

Lack of Accessible Information

Lack of Accessible Information

Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows sales reps to use already created and stored templates and articles, which helps them provide answers and information quickly and easily.

Problem #2: Time-Consuming Administrative Tasks

Without a sales database in place, salespeople are forced to keep their own records – which means salespeople burn massive amounts of time manually compiling and consolidating notes and communication, and creating reports. This process is also unreliable in that information can easily be missed or undocumented, causing gaps in the sales cycle that lose prospects.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM keeps sales data right at a rep’s fingertips, making it quick and easy to add lead information (notes can be entered as quickly as a sales rep can type), and to view past interactions with the prospect. In Dynamics CRM, salespeople can also schedule follow-up activities, as well as set up reminders and alerts on items that need to be completed.

With a prospect database making information easy to reference and update, and timely alerts that help keep track of activities related to each individual prospect, Microsoft Dynamics CRM gives salespeople the insight needed to make meaningful connections, and the push to action.

Time-Consuming Administrative Tasks  

Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides an in-depth look into prospects, allowing sales reps to enter and upload all relevant information for easy access.

Problem #3: Moving In and Out of Different Systems

For salespeople who have to work in different systems, it can be a serious headache toggling back and forth. System integration is key to work efficiency and data accuracy.

As a Microsoft product, Microsoft Dynamics CRM has the distinct advantage of being able to integrate across the Microsoft Office suite. For instance, data from Dynamics CRM can be exported into Excel for closer examination.

In addition to Excel, the integration between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Outlook is an important time-saver in linking incoming communication (email) with the CRM database in just a click of the button. For instance, a sales representative can convert an email to a lead or opportunity, with the information provided by the customer populated into a new CRM record.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM also enables sales reps to track their email communications, and link those emails with either the customer’s individual contact record in CRM, or the company account, or even a specific case. After selecting the “Track” button on an email, a sales rep can then click “Set Regarding”, which gives him options to link the email with the account or contact record in Dynamics CRM that he wishes. The sales rep can then view and reference that email in Dynamics CRM.

Not needing to switch out of Outlook to enter lead information saves the salesperson not only on time, but it also ensures that the lead details are all stored. When shifting information to a different system, bits and pieces can get lost – but that’s not the case when it’s directly captured from the source.

Moving In and Out of Different Systems

Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s seamless integration with Outlook allows sales reps to track communications with prospects and clients. This communication record ensures that sales reps are always fully informed of past interactions with the individual, and can leverage that communication for more personalized offers and service in the future.

Setting Sales Up for Success

No one likes wasted time – when sales teams are able to more efficiently and effectively engage with prospects and customers, winning results ensue. Helping them make the best use of their time with the right tools is a critical support not only for the team, but for the business as a whole.

For more information on how Microsoft Dynamics CRM optimizes selling processes, please email us at CRM@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Marketing Coordinator at Ignify. Ignify is winner/finalist of the Worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.

10 Tips for Choosing a Good POS System

May 14th, 2015 Manasi Kulkarni No comments

When you are a retailer, the one thing at the top of your mind is streamlining the checkout process and giving your customers efficient service. Having a good point of sale (POS) system can go a long way in ensuring that you not only send out, but also bring back happy customers to your store.

While the competition is high when it comes to choosing the right POS providers, the following pointers could help you narrow down the best one that suits your business needs – please also refer to our infographic for the quick checklist.

  1. Single screen interface: To ensure that your sales executive at the checkout terminal can process items faster, it is important to have a single screen interface that lets you input the item details, review the order details and process the payment. Navigating between multiple screens/windows for these primary functions can be confusing and cause the POS operator to waste precious time.
  2. Ease of use: A single screen interface also lends itself to ease of use that requires minimum training for the POS operator. This should be an important factor in deciding upon your POS system to factor in the various skill levels of POS operators (interns, students, freshers, part-time workers, etc.) at your checkout terminals. Irrespective of whether your POS operator has previous experience using a POS system, he should be able to manage your checkout process efficiently with the POS system in your store.
  3. Ability to function online and offline: The POS system should be able to function seamlessly irrespective of whether you are connected to the internet or not. It is not advisable to have only an offline or online system, as internet downtime for a web-only system can have serious repercussions on your sales. The system should be able to operate offline and then sync your records/transactions with your database once you are online again. 
  4. Flawless payment processing with multiple payment methods: The system should support all types of payment methods such as credit cards, cash, checks, and gift cards etc. as per your business policies. The method of payment should not impact the efficiency of the checkout process, nor should you be required to turn away a customer simply because your system does not accept the customer’s preferred mode of payment.
  5. Customer data encryption/security: One of the most important functions of the POS system that accepts credit cards and stores any form of customer information is to ensure that the information is transmitted and stored securely and in an encrypted format. Assuring the customers that their information is secure will help your gain their trust and repeat business.
  6. Ability to apply promotions/discounts: The various promotions/discounts that you offer your customers should be reflected and applicable via your POS system. Having to tell a shopper that a particular discount is not available to them can lead to a disgruntled customer and cause you to lose his business.
  7. Real-time inventory updates: All sales and modifications to your inventory should be reflected and available real-time to all your sales executives and/or online customers irrespective of the number of stores you operate. This can help avoid backorders for online customers. Inventory management and stock-keeping can be made easier as well.
  8. Connect brick and mortar stores to the web store: Your POS system should be connected to your inventory database and ecommerce web store, while keeping all three in sync at all times. Having two different systems for your physical stores and web store can lead to inventory and accounting management problems. 
  9. Integrated with backend ERP system: If you are already using an ERP system to manage your catalog, inventory, customers and accounts, it is advisable that the POS system integrates with it real-time for most of the basic functions such as sales order placement, inventory updates, etc. Being able to keep your systems in sync at all times helps improve overall business efficiency.
  10. Customizability: There is usually no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to managing your retail stores through POS systems. Based upon your unique business and customer requirements, the POS system provider should be able to provide you a customized solution that helps you maximize your sales and bring efficiency to the checkout process. 

point of sale

ax for retail webinar

For more information on how to choose the right POS solution for your business needs, please email us at retail@ignify.com.

Manasi Kulkarni is a Product Marketer Ignify is winner/finalist of the Worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010, and offers eCommerce, ERP, CRM, Order Management and POS solutions based on the Microsoft Dynamics line of products. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.