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Archive for January, 2007



The Rise And Rise of CRM

Posted in Microsoft CRM | January 31st, 2007 | No Comments »

In the early days there was notebooks, file folders and Rolodex files for keeping track of customers and their details. Cross matching customer details, or filtering and record production was barely thought of simply because it couldn’t be done with any ease. Probably some individuals dreamed occasionally of how wonderful it would be to be able to do these things, but such dreams were viewed as fruitless and a waste of time. In the 1980s personal computers started to become more and more popular–and affordable. Thomas Watson, who was chairman of IBM in 1943, would have been amazed that this was so. He once famously said, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers,” which has to be one of the most inaccurate predictions of all time. And of course, had he been correct, CRM would not be with us today, Or at least, it would not be nearly so prevalent as it has now become. But CRM is with us today. The software is carried around on lightweight laptops that field operative use on the go, whether in an airport or a railway station. Luckily for them a prediction made by Popular Mechanics in 1949 proved to be quite true: “Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons.” Indeed, most modern computers do fall well below that mark, otherwise mobile CRM would require a forklift truck!Microsoft CRM Software Provider

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Free CRM? (part 3)

Posted in Microsoft CRM | January 30th, 2007 | No Comments »

At the end of the day there is definitely a place for free CRM solutions; not every company can afford highly customized CRM strategies requiring special training of staff and probably a re

adjustment of established working practices. But, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.A company with a low budget might think that a free CRM solution would be a great way to test the waters, so to speak, before spending money on a full scale CRM solution. This is probably a very bad idea in most cases. Any company who is considering implementing a CRM solution should start off as they mean to go along.

In other words, they should get the CRM solution that can scale up with the company if and when it is required. It is false economy to do the job half right. Look carefully into the future and assess exactly what your company’s needs are. That is the CRM solution you should get today.

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Free CRM? (part 2)

Posted in Microsoft CRM | January 29th, 2007 | No Comments »

Does this mean that you should stay clear of any CRM solution that is offered free? Not necessarily. As with anything that involves your business, you should do your due diligence and very carefully check everything out. Seek out others who have used the software and ask them what their experiences have been. In short–be very careful!

There is another possible CRM solution for those who do not have a large budget, and that is open source CRM. At least one company offers this solution, and being open source, the underlying software program code is transparent to all. This is a much safer way to implement a low cost CRM solution, but it might require some work from a competent software programmer, which rather negates the whole ‘low cost’ idea.

Many of the free CRM solutions being offered online are hosted on the parent server. This means that you do not have ultimate control. To be fair, this is no different to paid for online CRM solutions, and many of the free ones offer professional upgrades; the free solution is often nothing more than a lure to get you in, and once in you will probably realise that you need more features than you have. Of course, the only way to get those features is to pay for the professional version, which is not free.

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Free CRM?

Posted in Microsoft CRM | January 28th, 2007 | No Comments »

Customer relationship management is a serious aspect of any business that is serious about its business. Why then would such a company want to investigate any CRM solution that comes free?

One of the first things that springs to mind when you consider a free software program, as opposed to a software program that is normally not particularly inexpensive, is the thought, “will it do a satisfactory job for me?”

Surprisingly, the answer can be ‘yes.’ However, it can be ‘no’ too, depending on the solution you look at. It shouldn’t come as any surprise to learn that there are shady characters ‘out there’ on the web. And certain free CRM solutions are nothing more that a way to steal your customer information, which is subsequently used for quite unethical purposes.

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Making Better Use Of CRM (part 3)

Posted in Microsoft CRM | January 27th, 2007 | No Comments »

The third question that should be asked is, “Does the company really require data that is perfect?” In other words, near-perfect data might be sufficient to start out with, refining and perfecting as you go along. This will usually significantly speed up the roll out process and should not detract in real terms from the end results.

The last question that a manager should be asking is, “Once the CRM strategy has been launched and implemented, how should it be increased to properly take account of every necessary aspect?” There is often a right way and a wrong way to do this. That is the dilemma that the manager faces, and he must choose the best way if the company is to succeed.

Asking these questions need not be a harrowing experience. They should simply be part of the overall strategy deployed, an essential element of the procedure that needs to be properly addressed. And following the company’s first successful CRM project, it can be used as a kind of blueprint for further projects. It is in this way that any company can go forward into a future with CRM technology with confidence.

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Making Better Use Of CRM (part 2)

Posted in Microsoft CRM | January 26th, 2007 | No Comments »

One of the many reasons for this change of heart is a much better understanding of what CRM is all about. That coupled with a much better understanding of how to implement strategies and processes to make better use of the technologies available.

There are several questions that any company should be asking prior to rolling out a CRM solution. The first question should be, “Is the problem that we are deploying CRM to solve part of an overall strategy?” Nothing should stand in isolation. Everything that involves CRM should have a strategic value and be an integrated part of the whole.

The next question a manager should ask is, “Have we set up the system so that our focus is clearly fixed on the customer’s desired solution?” This is the so-called ‘pain point,’ the thing that the customer wants cured. If you can focus on whatever the customer needs solving, you will develop a good relationship with that customer, building customer loyalty along the way.

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Making Better Use Of CRM

Posted in Microsoft CRM | January 25th, 2007 | No Comments »

In the early days of CRM software there was a degree of resistance towards implementing it among many companies. This was largely due to a lack of understanding of what the CRM software could do–and couldn’t do– and exactly how it should be deployed.

The whole CRM technology came to be seen as just another hyped up IT solution that didn’t really live up to its promise. This was mainly in the post dot com collapse, and many companies were confused about the real worth of IT in the workplace. In many cases they had invested strongly in IT, but seen the dot com bubble burst and had developed an understandable suspicion of it all.

Now, all that has changed. Sales of CRM software have never been healthier with more and more useful features being added to existing solutions all the time, and more and m ore companies putting their trust and their futures wholeheartedly into CRM.

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The Phases Involved in CRM (part 3)

Posted in Microsoft CRM | January 24th, 2007 | No Comments »

With your existing customers you can use filtering and reporting to discover your customer’s wants, preferences and requirements. Profitability can be enhanced by cross selling, and products and services can be customized for the customers.

The customer service module of your CRM solution is where you maintain your profits. You need to retain your hard-begotten customers; if they leave after you’ve spent months acquiring them and thousands of dollars, that’s money wasted. This is the critical part and getting it right is the key to your company’s overall profitability.

If you start to see the entire process of a CRM project as three distinct, but closely related phases, it becomes easier to manage. It’s a bit like the old joke: “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is not to try it in one bite, but rather, one bite at a time.

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The Phases Involved in CRM (part 2)

Posted in Microsoft CRM | January 23rd, 2007 | No Comments »

We have already touched on part of the final phase, which is the retention of your customers. It is essential that you find ways to keep your customers content. You can do this in any of a dozen ways with CRM. You can set up an auto responder email sequence so that your customer receives a regular message from you at preset intervals. This will appear to them as if you are keeping in touch personally, if done right. That can have the effect of making them feel special in some way, which can lead to the kind of loyalty that makes a high quality repeat customer.

You should know your CRM solution inside out in order to undertake all three phases correctly and efficiently. Use the contact management and direct marketing modules to educate prospects by marketing and promoting your company’s products. Modern CRM has fine-tuned these modules to the point that they can prove highly effective and cost efficient.

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The Phases Involved in CRM

Posted in Microsoft CRM | January 22nd, 2007 | No Comments »

CRM has three distinct phases that need to be considered before launching any project. The first phase is acquiring the customer. This can often be the hardest phase. Customers are not easy to acquire. There is the usual human trait of resistance to any initial approach that has to be overcome. The old foot-in-the-door method, typical of 1950s salesmen in Hollywood movies, has long been superseded. Today’s salesmen use much more subtle techniques that are usually much more effective too.

The second phase is nurturing and enhancing the relationship with the customer. This is the standard way to create customer loyalty. A repeat customer will cost the company very little as opposed to acquiring a customer initially. Once you have your customer it really makes sense to keep that customer, and also to investigate ways to improve and build on the relationship you establish with that customer.

Repeat customers who show their loyalty for a company often create extra sales through word of mouth recommendation. They tell their friends about the company and its products, and how they had a good buying experience. This represents absolutely free advertising that can eventually be worth thousands. Never underestimate the true value of a repeat customer, and never forget that they are hard earned and easily lost. Treat all of your customers with kid gloves and constantly nurture and enhance the relationships you have with them.

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