A little TLC for CRM

Jack Simpson

Head of Marketing and Communications

So it goes

I sat down today with the Operations Manager and the Systems Manager to learn all about Customer Relationship Management or, because everything technology related that’s more than three letters simply must be shortened, CRM.

Here at Web Applications UK we utilise Microsoft Dynamic CRM (Customer Relationship Management). CRM provides centralised storage for information pertaining to customers, suppliers and/or partners. It also offers a number of functions including: record keeping, navigation areas, assigned tasks, audit history and arguably the most important but definitely the most powerful, Workflow processes.

Administration tasks in Settings

I am going to attempt to use an example to illustrate the functionality of CRM and, if your company does not at the moment take advantage of CRM, show you what you’re missing. So, you are the MD of Badger Spotting, a British holiday company. One of the first tasks to consider is creating a Marketing Campaign. Microsoft Dynamic CRM is especially designed to document and help analyse all stages of a marketing campaign: planning, targeting, implementing, monitoring, measuring and refining. Information can be added to the campaign at any time to update it on your progress, and define criteria with which to measure success. Each client or company has an area where you can designate who the key contact is, all of their pertinent information, and a memo box for free text to add any special or specific information you might wish to record.

Resource Highlights

Your marketing campaign has reached its target, you have acquired 500 new contacts, and in addition to this you documented all your progress so that all of the necessary contact information is recorded. Now you can use your navigation bar to find all the information you could ever need. Your records can be updated at any time, and every time a problem arises, it becomes an issue. I really enjoy the Issues section, it just sounds fun to me, “Houston, we have an issue.” Okay back to the point, the Issues section is really quite important and it’s is a great example of the ways in which CRM can be customised. Though not a core functionality, it is so seamlessly incorporated into the framework that I had no idea it wasn’t there to begin with. Anyone can file an issue at anytime; when an issue gets filed it can be dually entered into Workflow. Within Workflow, you can assign someone to take care of the problem by performing a follow-up. The person to whom you assigned the task will receive notification of their new duty in the queue (which is kind of like internal communications crossed with a ‘my tasks’ section) and can also receive an email to outlook (that is a question of personal settings). In a way issues are kind of like leads, because the next step is quote, then order (or perform whatever service), and then invoice. Once one step of this is completed, Workflow will automatically get the ball rolling with the next step by either notifying someone of a task or auto-generating an invoice or whatever else it is programmed to do.

Example of a Queue

One aspect of CRM that is extremely useful is the way it documents actions. Whenever anything is changed in CRM, there is a record of who changed it, in what way and at what time. There is also an automatic record of client/supplier/partner contact, whether through email or phone. This helps if you ever want to review how often you make contact with a client or when the last time you spoke was (or when you placed an order).

So in finishing up I’m going to leave just a few more things to think about. Here at Web Applications UK we have been able to integrate CRM into SharePoint and customise it to our needs, but we are programmers. Generally it takes a certain amount of expertise to make CRM look and perform the way you want it to, so we suggest you use an experienced supplier. That being said, Web Applications UK is happy to let you all know that we sell, install, configure, customise and support CRM, and if you need any more information you know where to find us. 😉