Many companies using enterprise CRM systems such as Salesforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM encounter low user productivity and adoption rates. The primary reasons are that users do not want to have to manage or maintain data in multiple applications or have to navigate through these CRM applications to find the data they need or looking for. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding integration among Microsoft Outlook and Enterprise CRM's:
What type of integrations are there between Microsoft Outlook and CRM's? There are usually two categories of integration:
- First, is the integration of Email, Calendars, Contacts, and Tasks. This type of integration is used very often by the users.
- Second type of integration, is the ability to access CRM data quickly which pertinent to the email or calendar item you are currently viewing.
Which CRM's have theses types of integration?
- Many of the enterprise CRM's such as Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM, SalesLogix, SageCRM and ACT! have integrations that support the Email, Calendar, Contact and Task integrations. Some of these vendors use third party ISV's to provide this integration since they have the expertise in the technology.
- The productivity and CRM adoption integration is not offered by these CRM vendors as of yet. This type of integration is currently provided by third party ISV's.
How can integration between Microsoft Outlook and a CRM increase productivity?
- Users can immediately see contact and Lead information about the recipients of an email that is being previewed in Outlook.
- Users can view Opportunities, Cases, Notes, Tasks and other information for each Contact and Lead from their CRM application inside Outlook without having to open another application.
- Users can View, Edit, or Create Contacts, Leads, Opportunities, or Cases in their CRM, directly from Outlook with the click of the mouse button. No more navigating to find the necessary data.
How does this type of integration increase Productivity and Adoption?
- When a user reads an email in Outlook, they are also viewing data directly from their CRM next to the email.
- User can quickly track emails to Contacts, Leads, Opportunities or Cases inside their CRM increasing the use of their application.
Glenn the Director of Business Development at LinkPoint360. LinkPoint360 provides add-on solutions for enterprise CRM systems as Salesforce.com, Microsoft CRM, SalesLogix, SageCRM, ACT!, Pivotal CRM, and Netsuite CRM. LinkPoint has two major products LinkPoint Connect and LinkPoint Vue. LinkPoint Connect provides IBM Lotus Notes and Novell GroupWise Integration to these CRM applications and LinkPoint Vue provides Microsoft Outlook integration to these CRM's. These integrations provide CRM customers increase in CRM Productivity and CRM Adoption.
CRM Systems - Top Ten Dos and Don'ts For CRM Project Success
Properly implemented, deployed and managed, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system will bring significant benefits to your organisation. It will help you manage your data, run your marketing campaigns, streamline your sales processes, help prevent you losing customers to your competition and avoid missing out on new opportunities. It will make it easier for your sales people to sell, improve customer service and a whole range of business processes in between.
CRM technology itself is rapidly developing and changing. The advent of 'Social CRM', the growth of hosted CRM, cloud computing, integrated solutions and 'xRM' (where the 'x' means 'Anything' - it's not just about customers anymore) and increased computing power all mean CRM projects can become even more far-reaching and complex.
However simple or however complex your business requirements are, a modern, well-implemented CRM system will improve the effectiveness of your organisation across nearly all its key functions. And when CRM systems are properly implemented, the results can be outstanding. But, for a variety of reasons, CRM projects sometimes fail. Mistakes and failures can be costly, so you need to get it right.
So, here are ten tips, or "Do's and Don'ts" to help ensure the success of your CRM project:
1. DON'T see CRM as just software. Even for small implementations a CRM project is a strategic shift involving staff, processes and procedures
2. DO allocate internal resources and schedule staff time specifically dedicated to your CRM project (your business partner will be able to advise you on the amount required - it varies between organisations and projects)
3. DON'T choose a CRM software solution until you have carefully considered what you want your system to do, and have set some objectives and KPI's. Once you've identified the key factors and 'pains' you need to overcome, you can then decide on the best software to do it
4. DO adopt and work to a CRM project management methodology
5. DO get buy-in from your staff - make sure they clearly see the advantages, have provided input, understand the system and are trained to use it properly
6. DO review the system on a regular basis. As your business changes, so will your CRM system. Regularly review its functionality from a process, user and technical perspective
7. DON'T forget to update your documentation, processes and procedures to reflect changes when you alter, update or change you CRM system
8. DO take time to choose the right business partner. Make sure they are experienced: check their references, technical accreditation and ask for case studies of previous work. Above all, they should demonstrate a clear understanding of your business requirements and be able to translate these to business benefits
9. DO choose a business partner that provides a full range of services, has more than one CRM software option, and can demonstrate their ability to implement your CRM system quickly, with minimal disruption to your business
10. DON'T stop communicating! Arguably, the most common cause of failure of CRM projects is poor communication.
This includes internal communications, for example between IT, project managers and end users, as well as between business partners and client companies
CRM Software - Finding the Right Solution
CRM software solutions have progressed considerably in recent times. While the key ingredient in a successful system is always the design and planning, the software solution can also make or break your CRM. The first step is to plan your system based on your needs - and then match a best of breed solution that best fits those requirements.
Obtaining expert knowledge of the market leading CRM platforms is critical if you want a truly tailored CRM system - designed to improve your business from day one, and be robust enough to grow as your business grows.
What is CRM?
CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. You can find a number of different definitions for CRM. CRM does not stand still; it evolves as "CRM solutions" and is used in a greater number of ways. This has now been termed xRM - Anything Relationship Management.
CRM is a process or methodology used to learn more about customers' needs and behaviours in order to develop stronger relationships with them. There are many technological components to CRM, but thinking about CRM in primarily technological terms is a mistake. Traditionally, the more useful way to think about CRM is as a process that will help bring together lots of pieces of information about customers, sales, marketing effectiveness, responsiveness and market trends.
CRM helps businesses use technology and human resources to gain insight into the behaviour of customers and the value of those customers.
Using CRM, a business can:
Provide better customer service
Increase customer revenues
Discover new customers
Cross sell/Up Sell products more effectively
Help sales staff close deals faster
Make call centres more efficient
Simplify marketing and sales processes
CRM software traditionally has a number of 'out-of-the-box' modules that can be turned on and off. Each vendor application has different features.
Sales Force Automation
Most companies today look to achieving the highest levels of efficiency. With CRM, they are able to automate various tasks that can be made available to anyone involved in customer service. This includes direct sales staff, management, accounting, ordering and customer service. Automating your sales force means you can free up time spent on repetitive tasks, and use that time more effectively.
Considering sales force automation, you need to answer of a few basic questions:
What tasks are my staff doing repeatedly
How much time is spent on this task
Can the "thinking" be easily defined?
Does the human element make the task more correct or more likely to contain errors?
There are a number of primary benefits of sales force automation:
Storing contacts allows you to track and manage your clients and prospects with an up to the minute view of where they are in the sales cycle.
Managing sales leads is often difficult, but essential to the health of a company. Being able to forecast and track leads in your sales pipeline enables you to have a clear understanding of predicting your revenue and profit.
Lead management can assist you to manage specific campaigns, improve conversion rates and measure ROI on that campaign.
Sales force and sales management productivity will increase with a more simplified and easier access to greater information on each client/prospect to give a view of the end to end sales process.
Customer information is shared and easily used across your sales, marketing and customer-service divisions.
HostedCRM or SaaS (Software as a Service)
Web based CRM is a simple customer relationship management solution for growing businesses.
In a hosted environment, all the software, hardware, and technical support and administration are made available by the CRM hosting provider via the internet. Some of the advantages of hostedCRM include:
You gain all the benefits of a more traditional CRM solution, but the maintenance and support of the infrastructure is managed by your web based CRM provider.
A distributed workforce is able to work more effectively satisfying customers with the most up to date client information. This works particularly well for a mobile sales team needed to keep track of orders.
HostedCRM solution is a cost effective solution as you pay a monthly subscription.
Call Centre Software allows you to manage a large number of calls. By queuing calls and processing them as quickly as possible you can maintain high levels of service.
Help Desk Software helps you manage problems and enables a quick response to your customers or employees. By having a repository of problems and resolutions, you create a knowledgebase for faster issue resolution. Additionally, you can create problem escalation processes and service level agreements (SLA) and report on them.
Service Desk Software is the evolution of Help Desk Software. By incorporating ITIL best practices with management best practice, Service Desk Software now does more than resolve a 'Case' or 'Incident'.
Partner Relationship Management
Contract management software automates the contracting process from contract creation, through tracking, managing, compliance and renewal.
Distribution Management Software enables you to work more effectively with your partners by creating, tracking and managing your distributorships and partnerships.
xRM (Anything Relationship Management) has evolved from CRM. Today, companies require a more integrated approach to managing their business and a key component of this is the access to mission-critical applications and information. As such they are managing anything (X) in their organisation going beyond just the customer relationships.
Essentially xRM does not distinguish between the traditional customer view and your "internal" customers. Having uniformity in the entire process, regarding all those in your company involved in satisfying your clients requirements requires uniformity of data, applications and processes accessible at all times from a single place.