6 Ways to Prepare Your Small Business for a CRM Implementation

Strategic CRM implementation can ensure benefits for both your business and stakeholders

Implementing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, particularly for small businesses, is not always easy. It’s a comprehensive process that, while ultimately benefiting your operations and customers in a variety of ways, can quickly become frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be. If you approach your CRM implementation strategically, you can ensure a successful process that ultimately benefits both your business and your stakeholders with minimal friction. To help in that process, here are 6 ways to prepare your small business for a CRM implementation. 1. Understand Your Goals As any strategic process, planning your implementation has to begin with goal setting. Exactly what do you want to get out of the new software? Try to stay away from general answers such as improving business practices, and get specific instead. Which processes could and should be automated? Which current problems do you face in interacting with current and potential customers? To succeed in this step, we recommend following the SMART goals framework. Each objective of the CRM implementation should be specific, measurable, agreed upon, realistic, and set within a specific time frame. Only once you understand exactly what you are looking to get out of the software should you proceed with the implementation. 2. Examine Your Current Processes Implementing your CRM will likely include at least some process automation. A core reason why businesses take this step is to move away from manual outreach to potential and current customers, or hand recording of relevant information about this audience and their interactions with your brand. To ensure lasting success, examine what exact processes you are currently undertaking, and how they are structured. For example, you may send a weekly email newsletter to current customers with coupons and other loyalty-based promotional items. You may also have a lead nurturing strategy in place that helps you increase your contact-to-customer conversions. In the course of your CRM implementation, you can automate these processes, but only if you know exactly how they are constructed. Examine the processes you look to implement, in order to smoothen the project as it occurs. 3. Strategize Your Timing There is no perfect timing for a major software implementation. The long-term benefits of a CRM are significant, but that doesn’t take away from the resources and efforts you will need to get it up and running. There is, however, a least bad time for your implementation. Don’t start your project without first understanding when that time would be. For example, you would not want your employees occupied and sales systems down during the holiday season. Most businesses experience lulls in revenue, which tend to be great opportunities to divert resources that may be difficult to give up in the short term, but encourage long-term growth. You should also keep in mind the employees who will need to spend time on the implementation, and whether their time is needed elsewhere during your suggested frame. 4. Choose the Right Product A large part of your implementation preparation should be dedicated to finding the right […]

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Selling Effectively using Dynamics 365

Your customers know more than ever before, and are making buying decisions before you can even engage. With all of this information available to customers, your sales team must adapt to the new customer journey. Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, your sales team can stay focused on the right customers and priorities, win faster by collaborating with colleagues to harness the power of the entire organization, and build a trusted relationship with customers through personalized and relevant engagements.

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 First Look

It’s here! The first look at Microsoft Dynamics 365 — the next generation of intelligent business applications in the cloud. Dynamics 365 uses artificial intelligence to re-imagine what’s possible for your business. Microsoft Dynamics 365 unifies CRM and ERP capabilities into applications that work seamlessly together across sales, customer service, field service, operations, financials, marketing, and project service automation. Start with what you need, add applications as your business grows.

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Why choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM over Salesforce?

As a small business, you know the importance of maintaining good customer relationships. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software provides an objective view of the inner workings of your business. These days, the CRM field is crowded with options and with teams which support this or that deployment. At present, two competitors dominate the CRM landscape: Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce. Today we’re going to look at the question: Why choose Dynamics CRM over Salesforce? 1. Microsoft-style User Friendly. When selecting a CRM, you are looking to streamline your customer service, and for that you want you want the kind of software you can use out of the box. Both Dynamics and Salesforce provide attractive, user-friendly dashboards which give you the power to monitor sales performance end-to-end. That means you can track how your products, ad campaigns, sales associates, etc. are doing. However, Dynamics is made by Microsoft, who probably also runs your personal computers and your servers, which means you already know how how their user interfaces function. With Microsoft software, you help overcome some of the trickiest usability problems up front because just about everyone knows how to work with Microsoft Windows. When you get Dynamics together with a reliable partner, you’ll have a usable implementation that will serve you well for years to come. 2. The LinkedIn Connection. As you may have read, Microsoft has recently purchased LinkedIn, the social network famous for connecting small business professionals. This purchase will have such a positive effect on Dynamics in particular that Microsoft must and will share that data responsibility with its competitors, including Salesforce. That said, direct access to LinkedIn will almost definitely prove a priceless benefit to Dynamics, and to its users. If you are not on LinkedIn or if you are unfamiliar with its features, and especially if you already are, bear in mind that LinkedIn is the place where professionals put themselves to be seen by other professionals. Via LinkedIn, you can recruit and track new clients, share leads, and even be rated in terms of your abilities. Imagine integrating that data and functionality with your CRM. 3. The Future is AI. On a related note, there is an old saying among software developers: garbage-in, garbage-out. Even the best software design relies on data that is correct, sound, and thorough. The best intentions cannot substitute for facts. In order to have facts, you simply need to have data and the longevity to have studied how that data functions in real time. Salesforce touts Einstein, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) which learns and adapts to suit your implementation. Well, maybe. On the other hand, Microsoft points out that they have been developing AI “over multiple decades,” putting billions of dollars into AI which functions in multiple, actual implementation. Again, Microsoft has the size and breadth of data and user experience which Salesforce lacks in this area. Let’s take a look at AI and how it relates to the ever-changing digital landscape. According to Gartner Research VP Peter Sondergaard, we […]

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