Do you know who you are using as a reference? Do you know how many times and the win rate of using that reference? If not track it in CRM

Reference customers are critical to a service provider business model, but how do you keep track of requests, usage and success of reference customers?

The answer is that it is quite easy if you keep it simple! Follow my simple steps below to keep a record of requests, usage and success.

  1. Create a new solution for your reference entity, or open up your existing solution
  2. Create a new entity “Reference” and specify type as Activity
  3. Add required fields to the new entity i.e. Account and related contact who will do the reference, type of reference Case Study, Reference, Speaker etc, Organiser as the person who has requested the reference and Owner who is the owner of the related account or contact. See screen shot below
  4. Reference Entity
  5. Once you have created the entity, update the associated Account and Contact forms to move the new reference relationship down into Sales area of the navigation.
  6. Optionally may want to create a workflow to auto update the Owner of the reference to the owner of the Contact, leaving the organiser as the person who is requesting the reference usage.
  7. You now may also want to create some charts around status and due dates or even as in the example dashboard below a chart showing references by opportunity revenue and status to see how well your references are performing
  8. Reference Dashboard
  9. Once you are happy you can publish your configurations.
  10. Once published you will need to train your CRM users to create a new reference activity when a reference required and if related to an opportunity create it from an opportunity so that the regarding in populated. You can manage the status and performance of your references using standard views, you can now view which customers are being referenced the most and finally manage who have or are proposed to provide Case Studies for you. In addition you could set the regarding against a Campaign if you are using a contact or account as a speaker or case study for an event.

Keeping track of references and usage across the business ensures happy long-term customers. I hope this has been useful.

First Glance Dynamics CRM Polaris Skype Call via Online Trail org

So again this is an organisation that at Intergen we created as a trial through the standard process of requesting a 30 day trial except it was published as Polaris which was strange as it was requested on the 10th Jan, 6 days prior to what we have been led to believe was the rollout to APAC!

Since this trial all other requested trials has been pre polaris releases, so do not know what happened but hey its great to get a glance at the production view of this functionality post the Microsoft TAP program that I was on.

So how does the skype call work?

Simply click on the phone number and Skype if running will dial the number. When you complete the call and return to the CRM contact window or during the call, a new phone call activity will have already been created to enable you to capture the discussion that you have had!

Simple and intuitive, the way forward!

Some screenshots:

Click on a phone number:
PolarisSkype

Update the Phone Call activity with details:
PolarisSkype2

Phone call Activity created:
PolarisSkype3

System Setting to default country code:
PolarisSkype4

First Glance Dynamics CRM Polaris Cross Browser via Online Trail org

In the third series of first glances, here are some screenshots of CRM via Chrome and Safari on a Windows PC.

So again this is an organisation that at Intergen we created as a trial through the standard process of requesting a 30 day trial except it was published as Polaris which was strange as it was requested on the 10th Jan, 6 days prior to what we have been led to believe was the rollout to APAC!

Since this trial all other requested trials has been pre polaris releases, so do not know what happened but hey its great to get a glance at the production view of this functionality post the Microsoft TAP program that I was on.

Chrome via a Windows PC:
PolarisChrome4

PolarisChrome3

PolarisChrome2

PolarisChrome1

Safari via Windows PC:
PolarisSafari3

PolarisSafari2

PolarisSafari1

Firefox via Windows PC:
PolarisFirefox2

PolarisFirefox1

On my ACER A500 tablet via Chrome using /main.aspx URL as per safari comment, only opens records where new process UI forms are not enabled.
polarisAcerA500

First Glance at Dynamics CRM Polaris new Service Flows

So after posting some first glance images of Polaris sales processes and new user flow user interface, I thought I would post some images of the new Case Management flows.

So again this is an organisation that at Intergen we created as a trial through the standard process of requesting a 30 day trial except it was published as Polaris which was strange as it was requested on the 10th Jan, 6 days prior to what we have been led to believe was the rollout to APAC!

Since this trial all other requested trials has been pre polaris releases, so do not know what happened but hey its great to get a glance at the production view of this functionality post the Microsoft TAP program that I was on.

As promised here are some screen shots of the Service flow.

The new Outlook folder composition, note the extra sub folders to clearly define the content:
ServicePolaris1

Additional options to start a new Case from, Phone support enables a phone call activity to record on creation of the case to record the details of the call into:
ServicePolaris2

New Case, clear process and easy to select existing customers:
ServicePolaris3

On selection of a Customer, the customer details are populated, recent cases and recent activities, to remove the need to open the contact record up, plus the Find cases presents an easy way to select an existing case from within a new case flow:
ServicePolaris4

Stages control what the options are in the flow, notes can be taken in the phone call activity at the same time the case is being edited and saved:
ServicePolaris5

Selecting the Find button allows a user to search for similar cases based on the subject or key words and review the activities, posts and notes regarding them:
ServicePolaris6

If a solution is found then you can select Found a solution to create a connection between the records:
ServicePolaris7

A connection to the similar Case is created:
ServicePolaris8

To close the phone call select OK, to resolve the case, select the next stage or click resolve in the quick action buttons, note no new screen pop up, all inline:
ServicePolaris9

Finally you can create tasks or phone calls be clicking the Add Task, Phone Call buttons:
ServicePolaris10

I hope this has given you a quick glance at what will be available as part of a rolled up Polaris CRM instance.

All in all, a much improved user experience for managing incidents and enquiries, providing a much more intuitive user interface.

Creating Dashboards to assist Training and Complex Processes

I was recently trying to explain what I thought was a simple process for marketing to create events and registration forms using ClickDimensions, but as I was explaining it to the marketing team, I realised for an inexperienced CRM user there were a few steps involved. For me, the process was straight forward and easy, but for an inexperienced user or someone new to CRM, the thought of copying campaign templates, cloning web content and navigating around the system to the different views was daunting.

So I thought how could I simplify this process and remove the clicks to navigate to the different areas of the system required. What I came up with was using a HTML web resource and a dashboard.

Which looked something like this:

Dashboard

So how did I create this? It was simple as follows:

  1. Open up your customisations solution and create a new Web Resource
  2. Select a web resource type of HTML and save
  3. Select Edit Text
  4. Add links and text to the web resource that describes your process. (tip to get a url of a specific record, open the record and select F11 to show the URL)
  5. Add images to support the process ( added a visio diagram to the resource), upload the image as another web resource or link off to your intranet. Alternatively link off to a document on your intranet.
  6. Save and Preview
  7. Publish the Web Resource
  8. Now Create a Dashboard and add your web resource to it, and any other lists or charts that support the process
  9. Save and share or publish the dashboard to the required users. I created a dashboard out of the solution so that I could share it to specific users who owned the process.

I hope this helps and makes you think outside of the box when considering training and improving the user experience.

Keeping CRM Simple

When implementing CRM there are some simple principles to follow. The list below highlights some of these:

  • Focus on core CRM first I.e. management of Accounts,  Contacts, Opportunities and Activities
  • Agree as an organisation, business department what is the definition that works for the organisation
  • Once defined, agree the processes that surround these entities, when should I enter a contact, an account or opportunity
  • Don`t create an activity when an opportunity should be used I.e. send an activity to someone to follow up a meeting to discuss a problem, instead create an opportunity with the topic and description pupulated and then assign this. Its crucial to have consistent processes.
  • Plan to train regularly and reasert the key principles of why the organisation is using CRM
  • Give value back to the end users, why should they enter the data, give them a reason to

The list could go on and on but these are some of the key ones I think you should follow.

What do I mean by Naked CRM?

When I talk about naked CRM I am referring to a CRM system that is configured for the business user with the Customer in mind. Its all about keeping it simple and focusing on the needs and insights required by users to make it worthwhile to enter the data in, in the first place and then use it in their day to day work.
 
If you undress CRM to the bare essentials what are you left with?
  1. The ability to manage relationships between your employees and the Customer
  2. The ability to capture activity that you have had with a Customer
  3. The ability to manage Lead Generation
  4. The ability to track and record the outcome of opportunities with your customers
  5. The ability to visually review the data that is captured and compare and contrast to other Customers or Business Users

So when you are thinking of CRM and implementing CRM focus on the bare essentials first and dress later.