Archive

Archive for the ‘Dynamics CRM’ Category

Post-Sale Service: Strengthening Customer Engagement After the Sale is Made

July 16th, 2015 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

Post-Sale Service: Strengthening Customer Engagement After the Sale is Made

Congratulations! Thanks to your hard work, you closed the sale and have a brand-new, happy customer. But don’t pop the cork on the champagne bottle quite yet – your job isn’t over. In fact, it’s just beginning.

Maintaining strong customer relationships is crucial to maximizing profitability. With competition for customer wallet share growing fiercer, and the cost to acquire new customers growing higher, companies that focus on increasing customer retention rates gain a significant advantage.

Providing exemplary customer service (even immediately after a successful sale) is essential to making loyal customers.

Show Your Appreciation

This may seem like an obvious point, but it’s shocking how often companies simply ignore a customer after a sale. You know that old saying – the opposite of love isn’t hate; it’s apathy. If a company signals indifference to a customer’s decision to choose them over a competitor, the customer will mirror that indifference and take their business elsewhere. Because why would a customer stick with a company that doesn’t care about them?

Expressing appreciation to a customer shows that you value them and their business. A token of appreciation doesn’t need to be big or flashy – a handwritten thank you note, a coupon, a small special offer – can go a long way toward making a customer feel special. A positive emotional experience is what binds a customer closer to a company.

Know Your Customer

Working hand-in-hand with showing your customer appreciation is actually knowing your customer. What are their likes and dislikes? What are they looking forward to? What do they need right now, and a few months down the line?

Using a customer relationship management (CRM) system is extremely valuable in keeping all of this important information in one place. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, sales reps can view all pertinent information on a customer record, such as contact details, location, and all past interactions with the company. By leveraging this information, sales reps can better understand and anticipate customer needs, and thus create more meaningful engagements.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM also enables companies to include personal details about the customer, such as relationship status, birthday/anniversary, and can also link people who are related to that particular customer. For instance, in the below example, a sales rep can see that Emilia Clark is married to Dominic Clark – if Dominic Clark is also a customer of that company, the sales rep can link his customer record to Emilia’s as well.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM also enables companies to include personal details about the customer, such as relationship status, birthday/anniversary, and can also link people who are related to that particular customer.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps sales reps see a complete view of the customer, which facilitates more targeted – and more conversion-worthy – engagement.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps sales reps see a complete view of the customer, which facilitates more targeted – and more conversion-worthy – engagement.

Encourage Feedback

To better serve your customers, you need to hear from the people who know best: your customers. As with any relationship, open communication is crucial for a mutually beneficial relationship between a customer and a company. Your customer wants to get the most value out of the time and money he gives to your company; your business wants to make him keep coming back.

Encouraging feedback, especially negative feedback, helps you better understand what works and what doesn’t. Negative feedback is particularly valuable in that it a) helps you pinpoint and correct specific issues that are causing your customer headaches, b) helps you prevent other customers from experiencing those same issues, and c) gives you another opportunity to delight your customer.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM enables sales reps to store all interactions with a customer on the customer record – from email, to phone, to in-person. This interaction history serves as a helpful reference point for future communication, leading sales reps to better connect with the customer’s needs.

For example, in the case of Darla Worth (screenshot below), a past issue she experienced was a delivery of poor quality paper. While that issue was resolved and she continues to be a customer, a sales rep can follow up with her on if her paper orders have still been meeting her standard of quality. This attention to detail and consideration can be the difference between Darla being a company advocate or a company antagonist.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM keeps track of all interactions between the customer and the company, providing a useful reference of any previous issues, questions, or requests.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM keeps track of all interactions between the customer and the company, providing a useful reference of any previous issues, questions, or requests.

Investment in Customer Relationships Pays Dividends

The bottom line for any customer service initiative is the fact that if you invest in the customer, then the customer will invest in you. By putting in the effort to genuinely connect with your customers and make them happy, you can benefit from a long-term revenue stream.

If you have any questions on how a CRM system can help you more effectively strengthen customer relationships, please email 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.

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.

Storing and Accessing Valuable Content Quickly in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

April 21st, 2015 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

Effective communication translates to effective sales – which means salespeople need to engage with today’s buyer on the buyer’s terms. But this can be a challenge as today’s buyer doesn’t want to be engaged – at least, not until they decide to engage.

So what can break the silence? How can a salesperson proactively engage the prospect and take them further down the sales cycle without the prospect blowing him off?

The answer: By offering the prospect valuable content.

Whether it’s useful information, or a discount, or a special offer, salespeople need to deliver content that the prospect gains something from – because valuable content shows the prospect that the relationship with the salesperson is worthwhile.

But not only does this content need to be at the salesperson’s disposal; it needs to get to the prospect as quickly as possible.

Finding and retrieving that content, however, can be a challenge. Whether it’s due to an aging infrastructure, multiple repositories, or lack of any central storage system, not being able to locate content wastes a significant amount of selling time – which results in fewer sales. According to Docurated’s 2015 State of Sales Productivity report, survey respondents said that on average, sales reps spend approximately 8 hours per week searching for content.

By placing marketing content in a searchable, easily accessible storage place is essential for improving a salesperson’s efficiency.

One such place is the Knowledge Base in Microsoft Dynamics CRM – a database that helpfully allows reps to store, upload, search, and access useful materials. The Knowledge Base can be set up to house different categories of content, creating a useful hierarchy of item storage that reps can refer to.

Searching for articles is quick and easy, with reps able to search on a number of different parameters:

  • Full-Text Search: This search looks at all published articles containing the specified keywords in the search box.
  • Keyword Search: This search compares alternate terminology with the keywords specified in the search box. For example, an article about bicycles might use keywords such as “bike” or “cycle.”
  • Title Search: This search finds the titles of published articles for the keywords specified.
  • Subject Search: This search finds the subject of all published articles for the keywords specified.
  • Article Number Search: This search looks at the subject of all published articles for the keywords specified.

Storing and Accessing Valuable Content Quickly in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

The ability to browse articles according to different parameters gives reps flexibility in finding the content they need.

Since articles in the Knowledge Base are editable, team members can easily collaborate with each other on content. New articles can also be based on templates that define the structure of the specific document, but allow the rep to personalize the document according to their needs. After making customizations, the sales rep can then email the content from Microsoft Dynamics CRM directly to the prospect.

Storing and Accessing Valuable Content Quickly in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Templates in the Knowledge Base allow reps to quickly and efficiently customize content for specific prospects, ensuring that the content is most relevant (and thus most valued) by the prospect they are sending it to.

By making critical knowledge available to your salespeople, you help set your team up for sales success. For more information on how Microsoft Dynamics CRM can improve your company’s sales productivity, 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.

Building an Effective Loyalty Program: 3 Ways to Drive Success

March 31st, 2015 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

As personal technology gives customers convenient tools for being more informed, and thus more selective, about where they spend their money, companies need new ways to capture their hearts. With loyalty programs incentivizing customer behavior, more and more companies are making them a key part of their business development strategies.

But just having a loyalty program does not necessarily translate to automatic success. According to Colloquy’s 2015 Loyalty Census, approximately 3.3 billion loyalty program memberships are in the United States, with each American household averaging 29 loyalty programs each – but more than half (58%) of total loyalty members do not actively participate in their memberships. That 58% translates to a staggering amount of lost business opportunity.

What makes a loyalty program thrive? The ability to engage program members. The more relevant and attractive a loyalty program’s offerings, the greater the chance that customers will keep coming back for more – and bringing friends with them.

By using the right tools and methods for attracting and sustaining loyalty members, companies reap significant benefits of customer retention and organic promotion. Check out three tips on how to get the most value from your loyalty programs.

1. Personalize Rewards to Customers

We live in the age of personalization – people want the products and services that suit their needs. In order for a loyalty program to be effective, rewards need to be personalized to the individual customers.

But the only way that truly effective personalization can take place is if companies know all about their customers. With Ignify’s Loyalty Management Solution, companies are able to store all customer data in a single, comprehensive database.

With this database, customer service representatives are able to access consolidated customer master records, which can include loyalty program transaction history of each customer across channels. Equipped with this information, companies are able to quickly identify and track the loyalty rewards that are most quickly earned and spent by customers (on both an individual and group basis), allowing them to create more targeted promotions.

2. Measure Program Effectiveness with Analytics

A loyalty program cannot be considered effective if the numbers don’t back it up. With the analytics and reports offered by the Loyalty Management Solution, companies can closely examine reward earning and redemption rates, as well as the performance of reward-related marketing campaigns, helping them better pinpoint the programs that are working, and the ones that aren’t.

Dashboards in the Loyalty Management Solution allow companies to view real-time data in graphs and charts, enabling them to get an understanding of performance at a glance. These charts and graphs are fully configurable by the user, which means that if the user prefers to see certain data in a pie chart, all he has to do is change the graph with a click of the button, and the data will change into a pie chart.

loyalty management dashboard

The Loyalty Management Solution’s dashboard functionality provides data right at a business user’s fingertips, allowing them to get an instant snapshot into loyalty program performance.

The charts are also dynamic; in other words, if a manager wants to get more information about a particular slice in a pie graph, all she has to do is click on the slice – the data then filters accordingly, allowing her to see the data only associated with that pie slice. If the manager wants an even more granular view of the data, all she has to do is click to view the records associated with that section of the graph, and then click on whichever individual records she chooses.

3. Use Social Media to Promote Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are an important way to strengthen existing customer relationships, but they are also an excellent opportunity to entice new ones as well. Who can resist a great offer?

Social media can play a significant role in effectively promoting your new loyalty reward offerings because it facilitates connection. In addition to people able to share content quickly and easily, social media’s ability to interlink people means that potentially huge pools of people can indirectly access that content. For instance, I can see when a friend on Facebook comments on the wall of a complete stranger (at least, a stranger to me). I can view the content that is being commented on, and if it’s something interesting, I might read that article myself – or even share it with my own Facebook audience. Hence, viral content.

If you share the amazing deals that can only be accessed by signing up for a loyalty program, you generate curiosity – or even lust. And better yet, if you have loyalty program members seizing on your social media promotions, sharing the value they get from being a member, you gain a powerful form of advertisement.

Remember – It’s All About the Customer

The primary factor behind a loyalty program’s success is whether the program truly serves the customer. By always keeping the customer experience front-of-mind, businesses will create the offers that most resonate with their customer base, and that drive customer engagement.

If you would like to see the Loyalty Management Solution’s features in-action, please be sure to sign up for our upcoming Loyalty Management Solution Webinar! Click here to register: http://bit.ly/1Gd2n85

For more information on how to improve your company’s loyalty program management processes, please email us at loyalty@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.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Online vs. On-Premise

January 5th, 2015 Michael Ual No comments

With cloud computing becoming more and more prevalent in not just the business world but in our daily lives as well, it is no wonder that for many businesses Software as a Service (SaaS) has become an increasingly viable option when they are considering a Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation.

Any business decision maker tasked with selecting a CRM system should understand the benefits and drawbacks of both Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM On-Premise deployment, and how each will affect the business.

Security

CRM was born out of the business necessity to gather, analyze, and utilize data in a meaningful way, so it is no surprise that one of the primary concerns any business would have about a CRM system is the security of that data.  As an internet facing system, Dynamics CRM Online is theoretically susceptible to security breaches, but unless an On-Premise deployment is entirely offline, with no internet facing features, it is no less susceptible to the same sort of theoretical breaches.  Furthermore, for most small to mid-size businesses, achieving Microsoft’s enterprise level security is a near impossibility.

For most, security should not be a major point against Dynamics CRM Online, with perhaps the exception of certain businesses which must keep their data in-house due to regulatory requirements.  It is also important to note that while downtimes outside of the business’s control can occur when using any SaaS system, Dynamics CRM’s Online comes with Microsoft’s money-backed 99.9% uptime guarantee.

Price

The second, and sometimes most heavily weighted factor is price.  Dynamics CRM Online has a fixed amount per user, per month that the business pays for as long as it utilizes the software.  In contrast, the On-Premise deployment option has significant upfront costs associated with it with regards to infrastructure – such as the server it will run on, and various user licenses – but no monthly payment to Microsoft.  That is not to say that there are no ongoing costs to the On-Premise version, as the company still has the cost of maintenance, including IT personnel to manage it.  Generally speaking, however, an On-Premise deployment will generate lower monthly expenses than Dynamics CRM Online.

Implementations and Customizations

Beyond price and security, decision makers should look at the sort of implementations and customizations that their companies need. Dynamics CRM Online can scale infinitely at a set rate per user, and implementations can be completed more quickly since there is no need to set up infrastructure, such as a server, whereas the On-Premise deployment is gated by factors such as server capacity, which would eventually need to be upgraded before additional users are added.

However, in general, integrations with other software in an On-Premise deployment are easier to implement compared to Dynamics CRM Online, as code can be stored on the same server, which is not the case for Dynamics CRM Online.  This is not to say that integration with Dynamics CRM Online is impossible, just slightly more difficult to achieve.  More and more, however, Microsoft has been bridging this gap, and soon it will not be an issue at all.

What Works Best for Your Business

When it comes down to it, the decision of whether to choose the SaaS version or the On-Premise version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is based primarily on the resources available to a business. Small to midsize businesses would likely benefit more from the easy implementation and Microsoft’s enterprise level security offered by Dynamics CRM Online, which allows them to utilize the software while still focusing on their core competencies. Larger businesses with robust servers and sizeable in-house IT departments might benefit more from the ease of customization, lower monthly costs, and adherence to potential regulations offered by an On-Premise deployment.

For more information on which Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployment option would work best for your business, please email us at CRM@ignify.com.

Michael Ual is a Microsoft Dynamics Sales Professional at Ignify. Ignify is winner/finalist of the Worldwide Microsoft Partner 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 business in North America for seven years in a row by Inc. Magazine and Deloitte in the FAST 500 from 2008 to 2013.