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CRM

26
Apr

DestinationCRM provides a great summary of Gartner’s insights into successful CRM deployments. While they mention firms spending $100 million on CRM software deployments, the principles outlined really apply for Customer Relationship Management at the SMB level as well.

The 25-page report lists three key findings:

1. The process of creating a CRM strategy has three steps: Set the destination, audit the current situation, and map the journey to the destination.

  • Step 1 — Set the Destination: Managers are urged to examine the various definitions of CRM, creating their own to gain buy-in and cohesiveness from those involved in the initiative. A vision for CRM that identifies why the organization wants the initiative and that defines its desired results should be established immediately. Teams that drive the initiative should be composed of three key roles: a sponsor, facilitator and project/program manager.
  • Step 2 — Audit the Current Situation: Beginning with a full assessment of past CRM initiatives, participants should be asked what they thought needed to be changed in order to understand what did/did not work. The report also states that “assumptions, business case, and goals of past projects remain valid, even if the execution was not as successful as hoped.” Readers are also warned to beware shortcuts in information gathering. “Seek information from external sources first, and weight customer and consumer feedback highest.”
  • Step 3 — Map the Journey: Identify the steps to achieve the vision. Core value propositions for customers and motivating factors for customer loyalty should be classified. The company should be revalued on the potential of its customer base rather than on current revenue or profits. Processes and systems that can be altered rapidly and dynamically as individual customers move among segments should be built. Three to five top-line objectives for CRM initiatives should be established — more than five is considered unnecessary. The initiative should be communicated daily to sponsors and executives.

2. A CRM strategy cannot be developed in isolation. It must be relevant and linked to the overall corporate strategy, and it must build on existing sales or marketing strategies that are already in use.

3. CRM initiatives have eight aspects in common: vision, strategy, customer experience, organizational collaboration, processes, customer information, technology, and metrics. Achievement of some of these aspects is not enough to ensure CRM success, which hinges on covering all eight aspects.

I think the challenge for most SMB Sales Managers and Owners is to allocate the time and develop the necessary process mapping skills to complete these steps. Of course, that’s where IncorTech and our Client Advantage Discovery Engagement can help. Interested in learning more? Give us a call at 949-309-5099 or Email for more information.

Category : CRM | Blog
17
Feb

DestinationCRM.com provides us with an choice excerpt from CRM thought leader Paul Greenberg’s CRM At The Speed of Light, now in it’s 4th edition.

Here is one of my favorite observations by Greenberg:

What the social customer is expecting is a human being who’s not selling products at them or just following a particular path, but providing a relationship that will be mutually beneficial.
For the salesperson, this experience will be the purchase of something by the customer. For the customer, it will be an experience that provides her with what she needs to solve a part of her personal agenda—be it in a B2B environment (such as meeting an equipment need) or in a B2C environment (purchasing a family vacation package). But the expectation goes beyond that. The customer is looking to have a relationship—if not with the salesperson then with the company the salesperson represents. Skeptical? Think about your own relationship to Amazon.com, and why you shop there: It’s convenient, and the site “knows” you.

This change in customer-salesperson interactions has certainly occurred in my industry, for those companies who are prepared to embrace it at least. How has this affected your industry?

Category : CRM | Marketing | Blog
17
Sep

IncorTech Senior Consultant Jim Vogl was recognized recently as a Scribe Software “MVP” thanks to his expertise in using the powerful middleware in multiple deployment scenarios.

“Jim’s appearance on the list is an honor and we appreciate the recognition of his knowledge and expertise among his more than 800 peers in the Scribe Software implementation community,” said Steve Birdwell, President of IncorTech.

IncorTech can provide integration from many different Business Applications to one another using the Scribe integration framework. This is a real benefit to our Clients,” said Vogl. “I look forward to continuing our profitable relationship.”

Category : CRM | IncorTech News | Blog
16
Sep

Now piloting a cloud edition of Sage SalesLogix for commercial availability in 2010

Scottsdale , AZ – Sep 14, 2009 – Sage CRM Solutions, part of The Sage Group plc which provides business management software and services to more than 5.8 million small and midsize businesses worldwide, today announced it is piloting a cloud computing edition of the Sage SalesLogix CRM suite for commercial availability in early 2010. Sage is also demonstrating Sage SalesLogix in the cloud this week at the Gartner CRM Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“While first generation Software-as-a-Service generated a lot of interest, people will look back on this era as a period of big-iron, centralized operations that restrict the ability to customize the solutions,” explained Joe Bergera, executive vice president and general manager, Sage CRM Solutions. “The next wave of Cloud Computing will benefit customers by providing a highly distributed and flexible deployment model that shifts control of the service to their favor, rather than SaaS vendors, so they can better tailor their CRM experience in a way that optimally suits their business.”

A full-featured, single-tenant cloud edition of Sage SalesLogix using Amazon’s EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) will offer businesses:

  • Data Ownership: Businesses retain ownership of all their data and processes—with full reuse and compatibility on-premises—a benefit not provided by most current multi-tenant SaaS CRM alternatives.
  • Upgrade Control: Businesses can choose when to trigger an upgrade to the latest cloud computing edition of Sage SalesLogix, rather than have an alternative SaaS vendor’s upgrade schedule and any unwanted features forced upon them.
  • Deployment Flexibility: Businesses receive the benefits of a hosted, on-demand solution with the flexibility to migrate to an on-premise deployment should their needs change. Likewise, on-premises Sage SalesLogix customers can transition to the cloud edition.
  • Customization Flexibility: Businesses can adapt CRM to their own unique sales, marketing and support processes, without the common customization restrictions of multi-tenant SaaS offerings; or use industry-specific versions built by Sage business partners.
  • Buying Flexibility: Businesses can select a subscription purchasing option, in addition to the existing perpetual license option for Sage SalesLogix, and benefit from the flexibility to purchase CRM in the manner that best suits their business model and financial goals.
    Gartner estimates the current market for cloud services at $46.4 billion, and forecasts $150.1 billion by 2013, representing a 26.5% compound annual growth rate. (Gartner, “Forecast: Sizing the Cloud; Understanding the Opportunities in Cloud Services” March 2009)

“The flexibility of Sage SalesLogix in the cloud will greatly benefit organizations seeking an on-demand CRM solution,” said Yacov Wrocherinsky, Founder & CEO, Infinity Info Systems. “The marriage of best-of-breed application and platform deployment options creates unique benefits that to-date have simply not been available in the on-demand CRM market.”

Infinity Info Systems, a leading global Sage CRM Solutions partner for over 12 years, and the Sage Business Partner of the Year for CRM the past 6 years, is demonstrating its Investor Relationship Management system, powered by a cloud computing version of Sage SalesLogix, at Sage’s booth #4 during the Gartner CRM Summit this week.

Sage CRM Solutions is a portfolio of market-leading applications consisting of ACT! by Sage, Sage CRM, and Sage SalesLogix. Over 63,500 organizations and 3.1 million users worldwide rely on Sage CRM Solutions to develop profitable, long-term business relationships. Sage CRM Solutions are part of a broad portfolio of Sage business management applications and services, including accounting, enterprise resource planning, customer relationship management, human resource management, and specialized solutions for construction and real estate, healthcare, distribution, manufacturing, and nonprofit organizations. For more information visit www.sagecrmsolutions.com orhttp://community.sagesaleslogix.com.

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Category : CRM | Sage Software | Blog
2
Sep

This 5/22/09 article from Outbound Call Center does a nice job of explaining the differences between On-Demand vs On-Premise CRM solutions as well as outlining four key considerations to aid in making this important decision.

– On-Premise: Your data and software applications are held in-house by your company where servers, connections, access, and data are all controlled by you and housed internally.
– On-Demand: Your data and the CRM or SFA application are available via the web where servers and data are housed by the application vendor. Often called software-as-a-service (SaaS).
– Hybrid Solution: Some vendors and partners are starting to offer a combined solution with some of the best of both worlds—data and applications are hosted by a third-party, but ownership is still held internally.
 
To help you narrow down the vendors, consider your business’ position with these four questions:
 
1. Is customer data an important asset to your business?
Your accounting and order information is certainly critical for your business. But what about your customer history, profiles, and analysis, as well as your customer service processes? Not to mention, your sales methodologies and forecasts. If your business lost part of this data, how would the future of your business be impacted? Some companies place more value on transactions rather than relationships with customers and customer-facing processes. But if customer information is a key asset to your business, ensure that data receives top priority. For example, if you were to leave a vendor after five years of customer and business history, how could you port that data into another system for future use?
 
An on-premise application enables you to have the most control over your data because you hold it in-house. But if you don’t want to dedicate resources system maintenance such as back-ups and security, a hybrid solution may be an attractive option. This enables you to have complete ownership of your information and the software application, while utilizing a third-party partner for hosting, back-up, extra security and other services.
 
2. What is the total cost of the solution over five years?
The cost and scope of CRM go beyond the software alone. Successful CRM is achieved by using a solution to optimize processes and training the staff to properly use it. That said; ask these cost-related questions of your vendors when planning your CRM solution:
 
  • Licenses: If I am charged on a monthly basis, what’s the commitment? If it’s a perpetual license, are there extra annual maintenance fees? Do my field and mobile staff receive online, offline, and mobile access for that price?
  • Extra Functionality: Are all features included or will I need to purchase additional third-party applications and licenses? For example, email marketing, industry-specific interfaces, and data cleansing tools are often desirable features to support and extend CRM business processes, but may not be included in the base fees. 
  • Hardware or Hosting: Will I need additional server hardware if bringing the solution in-house? If hosting outside, are there additional hosting fees beyond the licenses, such as services for back-up, data exporting, extra data storage?
  • Support: What will it cost to get the phone and email support I need? What are the charges for on-site support?
  • Configuration & Process Mapping: What resources (from the vendor or partners) are available to help configure our processes into the CRM software? How long will the process take and what are the fees?
  • Training: What training options are available, and what is best suited to my users – out-of-the-box online training – or customized user manuals and face-to-face classroom-style training?
 
Whether it’s a capital expenditure or operational expense, understanding the total cost over the next five years will ensure that you’re focusing on the total ROI of a CRM solution.
 
3. Will this be available in the field where business takes place?
Consider how your field and mobile professionals and executives will actually use the CRM solution in the field. If CRM is meant to benefit the staff, it needs to be easily accessible.
 
For example, will they boot up their laptop in between sales calls to update meeting notes and look-up information for their next call? Will they do these tasks at home at the end of the day? Or will they use mobile devices such as BlackBerry smartphones to update and retrieve information on-the-fly? In each of these scenarios, consider what type of information the sales people need, what information their managers need, and whether they are operating online or offline. Also, consider whether these professionals need access to viewing and updating information in airports and planes, as well as whether they are usually operating within the city or are in rural areas where full wireless connectivity may be difficult to secure.
 
When you’re evaluating CRM solutions, consider the fastest and most convenient method for the mobile workforce to access their key information, while keeping them in front of customers selling and minimizing time spent on administrative tasks. Go with the field reps on a “day in the life” trip to fit your CRM or SFA application into their work style, and even better – to improve the productivity of their current work day.
 
4. How can I customize or integrate CRM with my processes & back-office information?
Oftentimes, having back-office information accessible to customer-facing staff on the front lines is critical, including credit balances, outstanding invoices, shipment status, and product details. At the same time, you want to shield your customer-facing staff from full access to accounting or ERP systems that hold this information. Essentially, you need to bring key pieces of relevant information into a CRM or SFA system for sales and service staff to use.
 
It’s often easier to make your CRM work with your back-end than the other way around, since a migration of accounting or ERP software isn’t an easy task. But similar to roadblocks for renovating a rented apartment, it may not be feasible to customize or integrate a hosted CRM solution. Ask how the solution is hosted and how it affects your ability to customize or integrate it with your back-end solutions—whether you approach it through batch synchronization or real-time data feeds.
 

These are all great points to consider.  I want to add a couple things that I think are very important in making this decision.  In my 11+ years of working in the CRM industry, I have witnessed item number two being overlooked many times when companies choose an on-demand solution.  Make sure you do your homework and read between the lines.  Because like the old adage goes…if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.  Calculate your ROI over five years, not the first couple of months.  You’ll often be surprised at what the actual cost of ownership is for on-demand solutions (higher than you initially thought).  I’ve also learned (the hard way as a CRM developer) that item number four is critical if integration with other systems is desired.  Take the time to understand the flexibility and limitations of the environment if you choose an on-demand solution.  Let IncorTech help guide you through the decision making process and find the best solution for your company, whether it be on-demand or on-premise.

Category : CRM | SAAS | Blog
7
Aug

I somehow managed to miss this anouncement in January of 2009 but it’s a truly high accolade for what I feel is the benchmark for Customer Relationship Management software.

Sage North America announced that Sage SalesLogix v7.5 has been named CRM Suite – SMB Product of the Year for the second straight year in SearchCRM.com’s Products of the Year program. Awards were judged by the SearchCRM.com editorial staff and a team of industry analysts and consultants. Judges cited Sage SalesLogix for its ease of use, innovation, and performance.

Sage SalesLogix is a full-featured, customizable, multi-client CRM solution that provides businesses with a complete view of customer interactions across sales, marketing, customer service, and support functions. With Sage SalesLogix, businesses can manage their entire sales cycle and increase team performance by automating sales processes, monitoring and forecasting sales activity, responding promptly and knowledgeably to inquiries and opportunities, and targeting campaigns to their most profitable customers and prospects. Business analytics tools further enable users to make better strategic decisions and manage resources. More than 300,000 users at over 8,500 companies worldwide rely on Sage SalesLogix Web, Windows, and mobile access options to manage their customer information and accelerate sales results. For more details, visit http://www.incortech.com/software/crm-solutions/saleslogix-crm/ or call (888) 200-4171.

Headquartered in Needham, MA, SearchCRM.com is part of the TechTarget network (www.techtarget.com). TechTarget publishes integrated media that enable information-technology (IT) marketers to reach targeted communities of IT professionals and executives in all phases of the technology decision-making and purchase process. Through its industry-leading Web sites, magazines and conferences, TechTarget delivers measurable results that help IT marketers generate qualified sales leads, shorten sales cycles and grow revenues. More information can be found at TechTarget.com.

Category : CRM | Industry News | Sage Software | Blog
7
Aug

Sage Senior VP David van Toor writes on five ways that successful companies use social networking to manage conversations.

My take: van Toor really gets it. Social CRM is about conversations, not technology.

Source:DestinationCRM.com

Category : CRM | Opinion | Sage Software | Blog
5
Aug

As a provider of business technology solutions to small and medium businesses througout Southern California, I am often asked how a business can survive – or better yet, THRIVE in today’s economy.

One of the things we’ve found about the business software market is that it does tend to operate in cycles. There will always be new businesses that need software. Those turn up all the time. There is a large segment of the market that is much more typical, however. That would be the organizations that upgrade their software in a significant way approximately every five to seven years or so. I’m not talking moving from say, MAS 90 4.2 to 4.3, but something more significant like MAS 90 to MAS 200 or MAS 500. Chances are your business falls into that category.

So, if you do fall into that category, you are likely fairly satisfied with what your accounting or “ERP software” (to use the buzzword du jour) is doing for you. It provides you with reliable tracking of your operations (from an inventory / sales / purchasing and manufacturing standpoint) and your financial reports seem to be consistently reliable. There’s probably not much reason for you to give your software a second thought most of the time. Hopefully, like most of our Clients, your software “just works” and you know a friendly IncorTech representative will reach out to you to discuss your yearly maintenance releases and planning your upgrades.

What does all of this have to do with cycles in the software market? Well, you’re likely not to be in need of any significant changes for your accounting. But have you found that there are other business processes that impact your bottom line that seem not to have a home in your accounting software? Perhaps you want to track warranty information and track services performed for your customers. Perhaps you want to harness Email marketing and aren’t sure how to leverage the valuable information about your customer’s buying habits that seems to be locked away in your sales history data. Perhaps you have to employ a project manager to handle sourcing of products overseas but don’t have a good place to store the related information so that you can keep track of their progress. Perhaps you’re concerned about the competition offering a user-friendly customer portal that lets their customers (that used to be yours) log in 24 hours a day to print their invoices and get tracking information on their orders or service requests. Perhaps you’d like to know what your sales department is actually doing all day!

Fortunately, Sage and IncorTech have partnered to help you look into your options for software that augments your existing Sage accounting solution with the capability to address these needs. That’s right. We’d like to help you evaluate the business processes you aren’t effectively using technology to automate and show you the tools your employees can use to better serve your customers and prospective buyers.

It’s our goal to make your software evaluation informative, low-pressure, and hassle-free. So, here are some resources to help you start the process of understanding how Sage CRM Solutions can combine with your existing solution to help you build more business with existing customers and new customers alike:

[1] Customer Relationship Management in a Down Economy

[2] On the Hotseat: How Your Peers Are Tackling The Questions That Matter Now

So, what’s the next step? Call me and at 949-743-0858 and we’ll discuss your business processes and whether we can help you address your needs – be it through CRM or other tools we have available.

I look forward to speaking with you and helping you succeed in today’s economy.

Category : CRM | Sage Software | Blog
8
May

The 5/5/2009 issue of Selling Power shared some very interesting findings of a recent study conducted by the Gartner Group.

Gartner recently conducted a worldwide survey of 1,527 CIOs in the fourth quarter of 2008 in which CIOs identified their top business priorities for 2009. The survey showed – shockingly – that attracting and retaining customers had dropped from second to fifth place. “Although still highly placed, customer service is receiving less emphasis than cost cutting,” says Gartner vice president Michael Maoz. “Of course cost cutting is essential in the current economic climate, but knowing how to cut costs without damaging the customer experience is critical, and the role of the contact center is crucial to this.”

Customer service, as delivered through the contact center, currently suffers from an overall lack of commitment to the customer service representative (CSR) in the form of tools, training, and compensation. Companies need to redouble their efforts in this area and extend the customer Web site, add multiple communications channels, and plan carefully to improve agent performance through the introduction of new technologies, according to Maoz.

Gartner predicts that by 2012, managing Web interactions will be a core competency of the contact center, with customers expecting the contact center CSR to know their Web posts in relevant online communities at the time of a telephone interaction. This will mean that by 2014, it will be an accepted practice in 30 percent of contact centers to have two standard monitors on each agent’s desktop. “Contact centers present the best chance to favorably impress customers, and yet organizations continue to drive customers away from interactions with people,” says Maoz. “With better processes and tools to support the system, an organization can demonstrate its competency and its knowledge of the customer’s needs.”

What steps have you taken since the beginning of 2009 to modernize the tools you provide to the people who service your customers?

Gartner recommends the following:

Personalize Your Customer Assistance.
Set up your customer service so that CSRs can connect directly with individual customers, rather than just be pulled from a pool. This reduces agent churn (a big expense) by giving CSRs a better feeling of competency and success.

Redesign Your Contact Center Application.
In order to be productive, CSRs will want and need a more compelling, responsive, and intuitive CRM interface to match the experience with the consumer applications that they take for granted.

Integrate the Web into Interactions.
Customers will soon expect an organization to lead them (as required) from self-service on the Web by detecting that they need help, then guide them into an assisted chat session and/or co-browsing session (if necessary), then transfer them into a telephone conversation.

Don’t Skimp on CSR hardware.
With the rise of multichannel and multimodal interactions, Gartner expects most contact center managers to consider either a second monitor for each desktop or a wide (landscape) monitor for better, faster navigation by the CSR.

And I’ll add my own $.02 here: for the smaller business, even the simplest of CRM systems that allows you to aggregate communications that occur between your staff and customers will empower them with what really should be considered the bare minimum of tools. Outlook by itself doesn’t count. As a service rep, you’ll need to login and see what one rep promised a customer and when. Outlook can’t show that chain of communications with multiple members of your customer service and sales team. It’s time to re-think what will allow you to retain and get more customers. All of the cost-savings in the world won’t matter if your competitor who makes it easier to do business with them invests in these relationship-enhancing technologies and you do not!

Category : CRM | economy | Blog
20
Apr

IncorTech is proud to announce our participation in the new SalesLogix Today product offering from Sage Software.

SalesLogix Today ships on a specially configured “Server Appliance” that includes system monitoring, nightly data backup and up to 30 hours of administrator assistance in the first 3 months of ownership.

InfoWorld magazine covered the story:

The appliance, which includes a “full-featured” CRM application, costs $45,887 but can be financed at zero percent in terms of one to three years. For example, it would cost $51 per user per month for 25 users on a three-year financing arrangement, Sage said. A minimum of 10 users is required.

SalesLogix Today, which is also available hosted through Sage, can be shipped and set up within 24 hours.

This special edition of SalesLogix leverages the powerful web client that was released in the 7.5 version for maximum flexibility in handling the needs of today’s increasingly distributed workforce.

TMC spoke to Sage’s General Manager of Sage CRM Solutions, David van Toor:

David van Toor, cited the “anywhere workforce” commitments of the Sage CRM Solutions 2010 product strategy and vision, first announced in March of 2008.

The product’s features include Web CRM allowing users to access SalesLogix anywhere via a Web browser. The Web client works with an Internet connection or while disconnected. In addition to sales force automation and marketing campaigns, customer support capabilities for assets, contracts, returns, and defects are now available through the Web client.

IncorTech is offering the new SalesLogix Today for immediate sale alongside it’s existing SalesLogix CRM solutions from Sage.

A product tour of SalesLogix Today and a product datasheet are both available for immediate access.

Sage SalesLogix Today is a groundbreaking, holistic offering that provides you a rapidly-deployed, affordable, and easy-to-manage CRM solution – today! Sage SalesLogix Today goes beyond the boundaries of traditional CRM offerings and recognizes that growing businesses need more than just software to be successful in implementing CRM to manage their sales, marketing, and customer service processes. Sage SalesLogix Today encompasses all facets of your CRM initiative – robust and flexible CRM software, reliable best-in-class hardware, professional implementation services, user training, customer support, and flexible payment options. For more information, contact IncorTech at 888-200-4171.

Category : CRM | Sage Software | Blog
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