Dynamics 365

Evolve your business on your terms. With intelligent business applications across CRM and ERP, Microsoft Dynamics 365 gives you choice. Start with just what you need to run your business—and delight your customers. And then add apps as your needs change.

5 Reasons to Add a CRM to Your Magento Ecommerce Site

If you run an Ecommerce business, you know that working with both future and current customers is crucially important. You are not just using your website to sell your audience on potential engagement and purchases down the road, but asking them to become a customer and complete their buyer’s journey right there, on the spot. It’s only natural, then, to ask whether you should add Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software to your Ecommerce system. Though the implementation is not instantaneous, the long-term benefits are significant. More specifically, here are 5 reasons to add a CRM to your Magento Ecommerce site. 1. Provide a More Complete Sales Funnel When do you first learn about your customers? If it’s the moment they check out, your marketing strategy could use some enhancement. Ideally, you should begin to learn about potential customers long before that moment, when they first express interest in one of your products. Using only Magento, that feat can be difficult to accomplish. But through a CRM, you can begin to build strategies that help in the process. For example, you can begin to build lead-generating landing pages that get potential customers into your sales funnel before they’re ready for the purchase. Then, you can build specific email drip campaigns that slowly and strategically nudge them toward the shopping cart. 2. Collect Customer Information Once you embrace gathering information about your customers before they take that final step, you need a system can hold that information. In addition, wouldn’t it be great if you could track the various ways that your potential customers begin to interact with you, such as replying to emails and visiting specific pages on your website? Through a CRM, you can accomplish just that. Once a lead is in your database, the software dynamically gathers the information about potential customers, allowing you to take marketing and sales-related actions based on this intelligence. In addition, you can use the information the system gathers for you for the next step: 3.  Segment Contacts For Targeted Outreach Not every potential customer comes to your website for the same reason. Especially if you offer a wide range of products or services for sale online, the audience your website tends to attract may fall into more than one core group. In that case, segmentation becomes crucial. Integrating a CRM allows you to group potential customers together in segments that are homogenous across a number of characteristics. As a result, you can send more customized marketing messages and ensure more relevant outreach. Rather than simply sending a ‘Holiday promotions’ email in the days before Christmas, you can send specific, product-focused promotional emails during the same date that more directly speak to your individual audience segment. 4. Build an Abandoned Cart Strategy If you’re like most Ecommerce merchant, chances are you have an abandoned cart problem. A meta analysis of studies on the subject showed that almost 70% of shopping carts across industries are abandoned. Losing customers during the checkout process is difficult to stomach. They […]

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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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5 Statistics That Show the Importance of Marketing Automation For Your Business

You need marketing automation. But why? It’s easy to make that claim; backing it up, however, is more important. Especially if you are looking to grow your business and connect with your customers, automating your digital communications with interested members of your target audience should be a key part of your marketing efforts. What is Marketing Automation? Put simply, marketing automation describes the process of setting up automated workflows that send out regular messages on your behalf. Here’s how HubSpot, a leader in the field, describes the concept: [Marketing automation allows companies] to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. This type of marketing automation typically generates significant new revenue for companies, and provides an excellent return on the investment required. Typically, the process depends on emails that are triggered by audience actions. For example, a lead entering your database may trigger a workflow to send them a set of automated emails designed to guide them through the sales funnel and become a customer. Similarly, a customer’s purchase may trigger emails that encourage them to return. As business communication has increasingly moved into the digital realm, marketing automation has risen in importance. It can be a crucial part of helping your business grow, and here are statistics that back that up. 1) Email Marketing Continues to Succeed Marketing automation, as described above, relies heavily on mass-customized emails to reach your leads and drive them through the sales funnel. Its success relies on the continued prevalence of email marketing as a whole, which is why it’s comforting to know just how powerful commercial emails can be in today’s digital environment. A study by the American Direct Mail Association, for example, showed that emails had an average return on investment of $38 for every $1 spent. Especially compared to other digital marketing opportunities, email is relatively affordable; but its continued preference by audiences everywhere continues to drive that success. Research firm MarketingSherpa found that 72% of customers prefer email as their prevalent source of business communication, far ahead of second-place direct mail. Marketing automation, in other words, works because the medium it uses continues to be successful. 2) Audiences are Cutting Out Ads Part of the reason email marketing has continued to be so successful across industries is the decline which many digital ads have seen over the past few years. Ad blocking is on the rise, in large part due to the fact that audiences are becoming increasingly cynical toward banners and other types of paid advertisements. The outlook is bleak. This summer, eMarketer found that almost 70 million Americans use an ad blocker, a 35% growth over 2015. In 2017, the research firm projects another 24% increase. How do you reach an audience that does not want to see your ads? Simple: through more relevant content that reaches them in a more effective spot. Marketing automation builds on leads who have already expressed interest in your company, and will be receptive to more […]

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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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