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Microsoft CRM Implementation - Fundamental CRM Principles Revision

Microsoft CRM Implementation - Fundamental CRM Principles Revision

Microsoft CRM is relatively new player on the now becoming traditional CRM software applications market. We would like just to mention shift in the technical conception - Microsoft CRM is committed to Windows and Microsoft components: Exchange, Active Directory, SQL Server, etc (while traditional CRM applications, such as Siebel were biased toward multiplatform compatibility: Unix, Oracle, Windows, SQL Server) and move up to business logic paradigm shift. 

 

There is high-tech wisdom and it is always applicable to traditional industries, such as auto makers. Don't try to be too innovative on the market, rather have your competitors build the market niche and then move in. It is rather safe not to purchase the car of the new line, just introduced this year, even if it comes from such a respectable manufacturer as Toyota. The same in software industry - we have unlimited trust and greatest respect to such CRM makers as Seibel - but I guess we have to admit - companies like this had to be pioneers on the market and had to create the market, being a little bit premature, however savvy in the long term market prediction. 

 

Microsoft seems to be allowing the enthusiasts to create the market niche and then move in with its own or purchased and beefed up solution. In the case of MS CRM it seems to be from ground up MS development and very excellent fit to Microsoft Business Solutions business strategy. 

Microsoft CRM application conception in our opinion was substantial simplification in CRM functionality and making IT group to support it, by deploying all the recent Microsoft technologies. 

 

Bullets to emphasize: 

 

1. Microsoft CRM is for MCSE / Microsoft oriented IT departments - Microsoft CRM would be be-loved system for IT specialists. If you are MCSE+I - CRM will recruit all your MS Exchange, Active Directory, MS SQL Server, Windows domain security, Windows 2003 Server, Web publishing and HTML knowledge and experience. This is completely opposite to earlier Apple Computer believe - that computer systems should be easy in service and completely intuitive. MS CRM is kind of intuitive for end user, but not for its administrator. 

 

2. Microsoft CRM - is not CRM - but rather simplified CRM - if you do remember old days whitepapers about CRM in general, or even it's predecessor - Lotus Notes/Domino - these papers were full of predictions about the future and were written for top level company executives, not for regular computer specialists. This was probably why so high percentage of CRM sales failed in implementations. Microsoft CRM has the highest ever rate of successful implementations, because it is not a CRM, but rather popularized version of it - it just does the job - as cheap and reliable car. 

 

3. Transportation Companies - about 30% of our clients in the States are transportation and freight forwarding companies. This actually proves the hypothesis that MS CRM is very simple solution - these companies usually do not have extra money to spend on their computer system, but need the solution for its sales people to instantly see the cargos, plus have simple customization, allowing them to integrate with legacy system. 

 

4. Movement down to small and tiny companies - this is completely new trend for CRM market. We know the examples when 5 employees companies make a decision to implement and have surprising success in Microsoft CRM implementation. 


Microsoft CRM Programming Secrets - Tips For Developers 

 

This article is for advanced Microsoft CRM SDK C# developers. It describes the technique of direct SQL programming, when SDK doesn't have the functionality to do the job. 

 

Introduction. Looks like Microsoft CRM becomes more and more popular, partly because of Microsoft muscles behind it. Now it is targeted to the whole spectrum of horizontal and vertical market clientele. It is tightly integrated with other Microsoft Business Solutions products such as Microsoft Great Plains, Solomon, Navision (the last two in progress). 

Here we describe the technique of creating closed activity-email using MS CRM SDK and direct SQL programming. 

 

Imaging something like this. You need to handle incoming email before it is committed to MS Exchange database. You need to analyze if incoming email doesn't have GUID in its Subject (GUID will allow MS CRM Exchange Connector to move email to Microsoft CRM and attach it to the Contact, Account or Lead) - then you still need to lookup MS CRM in case if one of the accounts, contacts or leads has email address that matches with sender email address - then you need to create closed activity-email in MS CRM, attached to the object and placed into general queue. 

 

How to create MS Exchange handler is outside of the scope, please see this article: 

Now the code below is classical MS CRM SDK and it will create activity email: 

 

public Guid CreateEmailActivity(Guid userId, int objectType, Guid objectId, string mailFrom, CRMUser crmUser, string subject, string body) { 

try { 

 

log.Debug("Prepare for Mail Activity Creating"); 

 

// BizUser proxy object 

 

Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Proxy.BizUser bizUser = new Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Proxy.BizUser(); 

 

ICredentials credentials = new NetworkCredential(sysUserId, sysPassword, sysDomain); 

 

bizUser.Url = crmDir + "BizUser.srf"; 

 

bizUser.Credentials = credentials; 

 

Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Proxy.CUserAuth userAuth = bizUser.WhoAmI(); 

 

// CRMEmail proxy object 

 

Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Proxy.CRMEmail email = new Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Proxy.CRMEmail(); 

 

email.Credentials = credentials; 

 

email.Url = crmDir + "CRMEmail.srf"; 

 

// Set up the XML string for the activity 

 

string strActivityXml = ""; 

 

strActivityXml += ""; 

 

strActivityXml += ""; 

 

strActivityXml += ""; 

 

strActivityXml += userId.ToString("B") + ""; 

 

strActivityXml += ""; 

 

// Set up the XML string for the activity parties 

 

string strPartiesXml = ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += "" + crmUser.GetEmailAddress() + ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += "" + Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Types.ObjectType.otSystemUser.ToString() + ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += ""+ crmUser.GetId().ToString("B") + ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Types.ACTIVITY_PARTY_TYPE.ACTIVITY_PARTY_TO_RECIPIENT.ToString(); 

 

strPartiesXml += ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += "" + mailFrom + ""; 

 

if (objectType == Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Types.ObjectType.otAccount) { 

 

strPartiesXml += "" + Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Types.ObjectType.otAccount.ToString() + ""; 

 

 

else if (objectType == Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Types.ObjectType.otContact) { 

 

strPartiesXml += "" + Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Types.ObjectType.otContact.ToString() + ""; 

 

 

else if (objectType == Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Types.ObjectType.otLead) { 

 

strPartiesXml += "" + Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Types.ObjectType.otLead.ToString() + ""; 

 

 

strPartiesXml += ""+ objectId.ToString("B") + ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Types.ACTIVITY_PARTY_TYPE.ACTIVITY_PARTY_SENDER.ToString(); 

 

strPartiesXml += ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += ""; 

 

strPartiesXml += ""; 

 

log.Debug(strPartiesXml); 

 

// Create the e-mail object 

 

Guid emailId = new Guid(email.Create(userAuth, strActivityXml, strPartiesXml)); 

 

return emailId; 

catch (System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapException e) { 

log.Debug("ErrorMessage: " + e.Message + " " + e.Detail.OuterXml + " Source: " + e.Source); 

catch (Exception e) { 

log.Debug(e.Message + "rn" + e.StackTrace); 

return new Guid(); 

 

Now I would like to share the trick with you - there is no method to make this activity closed in MS CRM SDK 1.2 (if somebody knows the one - I owe you small pocket aquarium - smile!). Obviously Microsoft doesn't support if you do direct SQL programming bypassing SDK. However I would say this is not direct objects creation - this is rather flags correction. So here is what we have - this procedure will do the job and make activity closed: 

 

public void UpdateActivityCodes(Guid emailId) { 

try { 

 

OleDbCommand command = conn.CreateCommand(); 

 

command.CommandText = "UPDATE ActivityBase SET DirectionCode = (?), StateCode = (?), PriorityCode = (?) WHERE ActivityId = (?)"; 

 

command.Prepare(); 

 

command.Parameters.Add(new OleDbParameter("DirectionCode", Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Types.EVENT_DIRECTION.ED_INCOMING)); 

 

command.Parameters.Add(new OleDbParameter("StateCode", Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Types.ACTIVITY_STATE.ACTS_CLOSED)); 

 

command.Parameters.Add(new OleDbParameter("PriorityCode", Microsoft.Crm.Platform.Types.PRIORITY_CODE.PC_MEDIUM)); 

 

command.Parameters.Add(new OleDbParameter("ActivityId", emailId)); 

 

log.Debug("Prepare to update activity code " + emailId.ToString("B") + " in ActivityBase"); 

 

command.ExecuteNonQuery(); 

 

 

catch(Exception e) { 

 

log.Debug(e.Message + "rn" + e.StackTrace); 

 




Here's How Your CRM Software Can Help Convert Leads 
 
Customer relationship management is an important business strategy to drive sales growth in the long run. CRM technology is one of the best ways to convert leads, as it brings together sales, marketing and customer support efforts. But, simply purchasing CRM software isn't enough. You need to deploy your CRM strategy smartly across the company. The management team and employees need to work together and get the most out of the CRM implementation. 
 
The alignment of sales and marketing can further help in driving higher customer retention. With the use of CRM software, these two teams can have shared metrics and goals to streamline lead nurturing and evaluation processes. A CRM software helps companies manage customer interactions throughout the lead cycle, convert leads, nurture sales and enhance customer retention. 
 
By improving communication between teams to providing deeper insights, CRM software helps in achieving the alignment successfully. A well-designed CRM software can help businesses boost lead conversion and customer retention processes. It tracks prospects and the opportunity of sale to eliminate errors throughout the lead cycle. The challenge of data duplication can also be dealt successfully with CRM software. 
 
Here's how CRM software is transforming the process of lead generation. 
 
· Improve Relationships with Your Prospects 
 
The most important way to achieve customer satisfaction is to focus on their needs and offer them the service beyond expectations. Only by implementing CRM solution, you can ensure consistent interaction with prospects and achieve optimized results. This software can help you find out who subscribed to the newsletter and followed you on social platforms. With the help of CRM software, the marketing team of any organization can send customized emails to interested prospects and keep the conversation going. Further, tracking the web behaviour pattern of prospects becomes easier, and marketing strategies can be adjusted accordingly. 
 
· Collect Important Lead-Related Info 
 
With the use of CRM software, users can collect data related to lead generation from different sources. Lead-relevant data from different sources like manual entries, websites, social networks, surveys and referrals can be managed at a single location. Moreover, CRM tools avoid clutter by removing redundant data from the list. 
 
Leads can be further analysed to understand every lead based on their purchase pattern and buying behaviour, location, niche, and so on. With this information at disposal, companies can modify their sales and advertising strategies to get desired results. 
 
· Facilitate Lead Qualification 
 
Sales and marketing professionals often commit the mistake of giving undue attention to unqualified leads. Why direct all your sales efforts towards someone who is not going to purchase your product? Fortunately, CRM tools can help in figuring out qualified leads and moving them up on the sales pipeline. CRM solutions provide different lead qualification parameters, such as open rate, click rate, content downloaded on the website and requests for demo/ trials. 
 
CRM software not only helps in lead generation, but also promotes lead nurturing. This software can prove to be a powerful ally in lead conversion by tracking and managing every interim process. 
 
· Automate Your Data Entry Process 
 
With the use of CRM data, corporate leaders can design sales strategies and set sales metrics. It further helps in generation of reports and forecasts in error-free manner. In addition, you can save time and effort of sales reps, who don't have to enter data manually. Data input and other mundane tasks performed by sales reps can be automated, helping them focus on nurturing leads and achieving higher conversions. The sales staff can focus on conversion and sales, without worrying much about lead database management. 
 
· Optimize Your Sales Process 
 
Follow-ups, demo calls and meeting data schedules often give sales reps hard times. When managing all these activities manually, chances of errors are also quite high. To avoid errors and ensure that sales reps never miss a conversion opportunity, organizations often go for CRM software. CRM solutions support marketing automation, contact management and sales tracking to streamline different processes. Further, CRM help in creation of customized email templates and lead generation campaigns. This way, different prospects can be targeted in a customized manner for higher sales conversions. 

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