Best of CRM: December 14th

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Every week, we recount some of the best buzz around CRM and data integration. We’ll review our favorite articles and share the most pressing findings or key takeaways from each.

Solving the Customer Puzzle
By: Susan Oblak
This article by Susan Oblak provides three key steps to solving the customer puzzle using data integration. With an Oracle-commissioned study finding that over half of business respondents reported staff downtime due to cloud integration issues, the problem is more pressing than ever. To succeed with integrating customer data, businesses need to make the integration journey easy, fun and available, meaning the data integration platform used must be visual, intuitive and powerful. It must be visual so sales and marketing can complete some of the simpler integration jobs and modifications themselves, intuitive to allow LOB leaders to make sense of data integration maps, and powerful so highly technical IT personnel can still complete complicated multi-point integrations. In conclusion, Susan writes “though many organizations struggle to achieve the necessary customer data integrations, today’s integration platforms are accessible and provide the key to solving this customer data puzzle.”

Your Company’s Most Valuable Sales Rep? Integrated Data
By: Lou Antonucci
Starting with another Oracle finding that 81 percent of businesses deem cloud integration very important and contrasting that with the Scribe Software finding that only 16 percent of businesses indicated full integration between business systems in 2013, Lou explains the importance of integrated data as a sales tool. As an example, he writes “imagine if you were able to predict churn with analytics captured across channels and customer access points, or able to subtly adjust a sales tactic for a specific cohort.” Key benefits include understanding customer needs to meet (or exceed) their expectations, leveraging customer care data to solve problems and introduce new solutions, following up on marketing campaigns, and avoiding frequent follow-ups with clients who indicate a preference for privacy. Moreover, sales can use the 360 degree customer view provided by integrating systems with CRM to leverage referrals, recognize and reward long-term clients, review the success of marketing and sales campaigns to adjust tactics, and route support tickets to the optimal customer support associate.

Three Keys to Igniting Sales Team Motivation
By: Walter Rogers, Nick Stein (@walterrogers, @stein_nick)
This article from Salesforce Work.com Senior Director Nick Stein and CloudCoaching CEO Walter Rogers provides three crucial tips to motivate your sales team. These tips go beyond monetary compensation and simply “managing” the team and include being a coach, training managers how to coach, and leveraging your CRM system. To enable coaching, companies must train their sales managers how to effectively coach, since they typically come from within the sales ranks and have little experience with guiding others. In fact, most sales managers believe that to manage effectively they must lead by example, while employees deem managers effective by an entirely different set of criteria more aligned with coaching and personal guidance. Sales also needs to fully leverage CRM as more than an accounting tool, using it to “identify performance gaps in sales process and sales skills, plan/execute coaching and mentoring sessions, deliver follow-up reinforcement, and ensure steady performance improvement for the whole team.”

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Tablet Interface Favors Sales Scenarios Initially, Experts Find
By: Mark Anderson
Since the recent release of mobile apps for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, employees using the tablet solution have been empowered to take real productivity capabilities on the road – productivity that “represents a kind of middle ground between the home office and the open road.” According to Rik Dubbink, partner at consulting firm CRM Partners, the standardized tablet app provides substantial improvements with portable business logic and rules. The ability to update opportunities and rules from the tablet app improves the functionality for sales workers, allowing them to do something like create and take questionnaires and have the data automatically update within the system. Unfortunately the capabilities for service are hindered due to the limit of only one dashboard. However, Ted Thompson, Technical Advancement Developer for PowerObjects, believes updates catering to service reps will come soon.

Survey Reveals Cost Benefits of Cloud-based CRM the Major Advantage for SMEs
By: Maximizer Software (@MaximizerCRM)
A new survey from Maximizer Software discovered that among the benefits of SaaS for small and medium enterprises, cost savings were the primary decision-driver in adopting cloud solutions. Scalability was also an important benefit over on-premise systems, with additional advantages including reduced maintenance and staff costs, easier access to multiple functions and integration between departments, and access to powerful processing capabilities from the cloud provider. In terms of concerns, survey respondents indicated the risk of service outages as their number one worry, followed by worries about the speed of service and security issues. Overall the benefits of cloud CRM can outweigh the negatives assuming the right choice in CRM provider. Mike Richardson, managing director of Maximizer EMEA, concludes that “a cloud-based solution and the subscription model offers not only savings on the up-front cost of implementing a CRM system, but a scalability and the potential to upgrade easily to the most up-to-date technology at a reasonable cost, which would enable SMEs in particular to achieve greater efficiency while remaining flexible.”


We hope you had a great week! We’ll see you again soon with a roundup of all the movers and shakers in CRM and data integration news.

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