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5 Myths Scaring Companies from Using CRM – and Why They’re Bogus

September 10th, 2015 Chelsea Cole No comments

Diving into the unknown can be a daunting process. As with most unfamiliar practices, it is not surprising that companies can be ambivalent about introducing new software to their business structure. There are a number of factors that can scare companies away from implementing a CRM system, even though it provides a more comprehensive and accommodating customer relationship approach to business. Despite the proven benefits of using a CRM system, there are still a lot of myths that can delay or prevent a software search and eventual implementation. Check out these five myths preventing companies from using CRM, and how we have debunked them using Microsoft Dynamics CRM:

1. The Implementation Will be Too Complicated or Time-Consuming

The number one fear for many businesses when it comes to CRM systems is the implementation process. If implementation does not go as planned or becomes too complicated, companies worry they won’t be able to potentially fix the problem. This will leave them stuck with an intricate system that they cannot handle, wasting time and resources rather than improving business processes. The fear of installing a complex system that no one really knows how to use can keep companies from using CRM.

Solution

Implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM requires excellent execution. This is where choosing the right implementation team comes into play. A team with extensive implementation experience and a risk management system designed for getting businesses up and running on Microsoft Dynamics CRM can ensure success. Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services implements and protects projects while helping organizations improve the predictability and quality of implementation by simplifying and standardizing the process to realize business value faster. Proper implementation is also ensured by utilizing Microsoft Dynamics Sure Step, which is a proven framework of methodology and tools for implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The key benefits of which include predictable, on-time, and on-budget implementation. The robust combination of methodology coupled with best practices mitigates the common risks that can occur on a project, improves overall consistency and predictability, expands business agility, and increases the probability of a successful implementation.

Ignify overall implementation Process.

Figure 1. Ignify’s overall implementation process provides for multiple validation points so there are no surprises guaranteed from early on in the process. This reduces the risks during the application of the project.

2. CRM Won’t Fit with Current Processes and Systems

Some companies fear that CRM software might not fit with their current processes and systems. They believe that installing CRM will require a fundamental change in their current systems, which can disrupt the business process and cause more hassle than it is worth. If the transition is too hard or the software does not fit smoothly into the company’s already established dynamic then the results will lead to frustration and waste of the new CRM system.

Solution

When implementing a new CRM system, failure most often results from poor communication or expectation gaps between the consulting organization and the current business processes that the client is actively engaged in. However, specific processes are used to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM that aim to bridge this gap. During the initial days of the relationship between Ignify and the individual client, the frequency of meetings is high in order to ensure that all problems are proactively identified and resolved so that configuration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM will best fit with the respective company. Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps employees by working the way they already do, and providing them with consolidated customer knowledge along with intuitive relationship management tools that are a natural extension of the Microsoft Suite, including Outlook. This tight integration with Microsoft Outlook allows employees to continue using the tools they are most familiar with and already use on a daily basis.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is integrated with Microsoft Outlook.

Figure 2. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is completely integrated with Microsoft Outlook. A user can convert a lead to an opportunity directly in Outlook, and the information will flow directly into Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Any changes and upgrades requested by the company are easy to make and the IT staff will be fully trained on how to manage and maintain current systems along with the new CRM program.

3. The Learning Curve Will be Too Slow

Companies worry that the time and energy spent on learning about and training on a new system will take away from productivity. This transition can seem like a long and difficult process that is best avoided. In other cases the employees themselves might be apprehensive about their abilities to use a CRM system resulting in open resistance to the new processes that managers and business owners do not want to deal with.

Solution

Formal training and proper knowledge transfer can minimize any potential for frustration that can come with learning a new system. Ignify has flushed out several strategic steps within the training process in order to guarantee the smoothest transition to Microsoft Dynamics CRM possible. Informal knowledge transfer happens with managers and IT staff early-on in the engagement with formal training in all functional areas to follow. Typically a “train the trainer” approach is taken and planned well ahead of time in order to ensure that the process becomes repeatable internally by management staff to end users. Adequate training is one of the most important steps in a successful implementation. Ignify also provides E-learning training to help users increase productivity without spending time away from the office. E-learning allows employees access to training 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so they can learn at their own pace. Microsoft Dynamics CRM works with familiar Microsoft Office software so that employees don’t have to learn a completely new application or juggle different applications.

4. Security Issues Can Cause Important or Confidential Data to Become Compromised

It’s natural for a company to worry about the security of their customer data or other types of confidential information. Implementing a CRM software means putting all of this customer information and sensitive material in one place. Having important information in one program can pose a security threat. Companies worry that if the system is hacked or a bug causes it to shut down, all of their important resources, information, and data could become compromised.

Solution

Ignify is, in partnership with Microsoft, committed to delivering the reliability, high security, and privacy expected by its clients through centralized management as well as options for application delivery based on factors such as device trust and type. Microsoft Dynamic CRM uses Enterprise Data Security as well as Customer Portal. Enterprise Data Security provides customer service while ensuring data security and implementing a system of appropriate approvals, reducing the risk of implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Customer Portal has a two factor authentication and role based security system that provides a unified customer registration and self-service module. A business unit framework is also created that establishes clear security boundaries. This is tested across two business units to ensure that while a unified customer master is visible everywhere, the legal boundaries of data access can be enforced in the platform.

5. Lack of Standardization

Due to the fact that CRM systems are easily malleable in order to fit into a system of operation in a variety of ways, some companies worry that this lack of standardization can lead to management difficulties. If the configuration of a new system is not implemented in a uniform way but constructed by multiple voices and opinions, then it can be hard to keep track of certain aspects of the company.

Solution

This concern can be easily appeased through assigning a lead person within the client company to work with Ignify and be immersed in the process. Ignify requires companies to assign a Project Manager from their own team to act as a contact person who will coordinate the project during its life cycle and will be the single point of harmonization. The project manager will be empowered to manage scope to ensure success of the project. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is built to make it easy to do business across locations and departments by consolidating and standardizing processes. With the Sure Step Methodology for implementations, Ignify has also developed RAPID, which acts as a layer above Sure Step. RAPID offers a set of standard and pre-built deliverables that are ready to use. If you would like more information on Ignify or Microsoft Dynamics CRM, please email crm@ignify.com.

Chelsea Cole is a Proposal Writer at Ignify. Ignify is Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2015, 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 Awarded Top Honors by CRM Magazine

August 7th, 2015 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

The 2015 CRM Market Awards

Microsoft Dynamics CRM was the leader of CRM magazine’s 2015 CRM Market Awards, winning the top spot in four out of nine categories. The categories it won include: Enterprise CRM Suite, Midmarket CRM Suite, Small Business CRM Suite, and Sales Force Automation.

“This was a banner year for Microsoft,” said David Myron, Editorial Director of CRM magazine, in the issue. “Analysts praised the company for building an integrated platform that enhances customer engagements through multiple touch points.”

CRM magazine's 14th annual Market Leader awards rate the top five companies in nine categories, using a proprietary selection formula. The overall award rating is based on a composite score of CRM revenues and analyst ratings for customer satisfaction, depth of functionality, company direction, and cost.

It’s no surprise that Microsoft Dynamics CRM won these award categories. Microsoft has long promoted its vision of making Microsoft Dynamics CRM a crucial tool in helping business deliver amazing customer experiences with intelligent customer engagement. And it has backed up these promises with significant investments in marketing, sales, mobile, customer service, social engagement, and mobile capabilities – not to mention the business acquisitions that further strengthen the CRM offering, such as Parature.

The flexibility and scalability of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM architecture also enables customers across diverse industries to use it. Learn more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s global customer base, how they leverage the system’s powerful functionality, and the crucial benefits these customers gain from the solution, at Microsoft Customer Stories.

With Microsoft committed to strengthening and investing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and with exciting new features and functionality coming from that investment, Microsoft Dynamics CRM is an exciting customer relationship management system to watch. We’ll keep you posted on new developments!

If you have any questions about Microsoft Dynamics CRM, please email us at CRM@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Marketing Coordinator at Ignify. Ignify is Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2015, 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.

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.

City of Long Beach and Microsoft form a ‘Digital Alliance’

July 1st, 2015 Brianne Schaer No comments

Ignify is proud to call the city of Long Beach our home. Headquartered in downtown Long Beach since 2011, we have embraced the city’s laid-back atmosphere while still working to provide the highest level of software services to maximize efficiency and streamline business processes.

Our Microsoft Dynamics AX customer, The Port of Long Beach, supports more than 30,000 jobs in Long Beach and is recognized internationally as one of the world’s best seaports. Ignify’s partnership with the Port has led to improved operating efficiency due to automated financial processes and increased visibility into reporting and analytics.

As a Microsoft Partner with strong ties to the city of Long Beach, we would like to share the collaboration between Microsoft and the Long Beach City Council to form a Digital Alliance. The Digital Alliance program was launched in 2012 in Washington, D.C. and aims to bring increased technology access, education and training to students, residents, and small businesses.  

Check out the article below, released by the City of Long Beach.

The Long Beach City Council has agreed to collaborate with the Microsoft Corporation to bring Digital Alliance programs to the City and its residents. Partnering with local governments, Microsoft provides staff expertise and capacity building workshops designed to inspire young people as well as entrepreneurs.

“This new partnership is part of our commitment to creating a tech culture and economy in Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Microsoft is a global leader in innovation and I'm excited that they are going to leverage their expertise and talent to support workforce and economic development programs for local residents and students.”

Currently, two types of events are proposed in Long Beach: Digi Camps and a BizSpark session. Digi Camps, which offer separate sessions for girls and boys, give kids a chance to take on technology challenges through small-group work, interact with Microsoft executives, and learn more about technology-related careers. The BizSpark session will serve local entrepreneurs and demonstrate how technology can simplify everyday tasks, increase their productivity, reduce business operations costs, and grow their business.

“By combining the numerous digital and training assets of Microsoft with the Mayor and City of Long Beach’s focus on education and investing in the technology sector, we know that this relationship will empower the citizens of Long Beach to realize their full potential,” said Tori Locke, General Manager for Microsoft’s State and Local Government business. “Microsoft is excited to support the City in its efforts to create more economic development and educational resources for the businesses and youth in Long Beach.”

The City and Microsoft will determine the best dates and locations for the events. Once planned, up to 100 girls, 100 boys, and 200 local business owners will be able to participate.

Brianne Schaer is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is Worldwide Microsoft Partner in 2015, 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.