Best of CRM: October 20th

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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.

Microsoft Rolls Out Dynamics CRM Tablet App
By: Jennifer LeClaire (@jleclaire)
A large focus of Microsoft’s with their new Dynamics CRM Online release is mobile, so it’s no surprise that the company is rolling out Dynamics CRM for Windows and Apple tablets. The touch-screen optimized app allows employees to access and update all CRM activities directly from their tablet of choice, bringing the mobility benefits of their new CRM Online release to tablets. According to Rob Helm, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, the release underscores Microsoft’s new focus on mobile and social. Explaining this focus, Rob said “On the mobile side that means having a good story on tablets and smartphones, both Microsoft and non-Microsoft. On the social side, to be continued, but with Dynamics CRM 2013 you are already seeing integration with Yammer and down the road you’ll start seeing more integration with public networks as well.”

CRM Software: Good, but Not Enough
By: Paul Rubens (@PaulRubens1)
The argument about the importance of CRM is over, and CRM won. The leading CRM providers, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce.com and SAP continue to help brands maximize the productivity of their sales, marketing and customer service departments. That said, in order to remain relevant companies must go beyond the tactical level of customer relationship management to become customer adaptive enterprises (CAEs), according to Jeremy Cox, principal analyst at Ovum. They must understand their customers and surrounding context, which Jeremy says is “made difficult because most companies are organized into silos — e-commerce, mobile, physical retail and so on.” Jeremy’s vision of a CAE follows the need many companies have recognized for integrated systems, including HR, ERP, financial, marketing automation and more. The CAE of the future must use technology and strategy to focus on eight core elements: leadership, workforce engagement, collaboration, sensing capabilities, customer experience, innovation, process integration and enterprise architecture.

Use Social CRM to Boost Inbound Marketing
By: Andy Steggles (@asteggles)
As we’ve mentioned recently, social is now a core component of successful CRM strategies. On a higher level, Social CRM allows companies to “view information about the customer or prospect, including all mentions relevant to the brand or, possibly, a competing brand, as well as the person’s online influence via tools like Klout, Kred, or Peerindex.” Using this information, social helps companies like the American Podiatric Medicine Association target prospects, monitoring social channels for individuals mentioning their topics of interest, then pulling those conversations into CRM with specific labels. In the case of the APMA, within three months they had built comprehensive prospect profiles using social, enabling them to reach out to these leads armed with the right data for higher conversion rates. Incorporating social into CRM also allows companies to “surprise and delight” influential customers and recognize and reward the most loyal customers, all geared towards increasing the most influential type of reach: earned.

Scribe Announces Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Fall ’13 Compatibility of its Cloud Connector
By: Jason Gumpert
Integration with other business systems plays a key role in maximizing the benefits of CRM, and with the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online release rolling out, new and existing customers must plan for integrations with this iteration. For companies looking into integration platforms over custom-coding, Scribe’s Dynamics CRM Online connector has already been updated to work seamlessly with the new version, and will “enable new customers to build out integrations (while also enabling) continuity to existing Dynamics CRM Online customers with a Scribe connector,” according to Betsy Bilhorn, VP of Product at Scribe. Beyond the new connector, Scribe CEO Lou Guercia noted that Microsoft’s cloud solution shows particular promise in the SMB market, as those companies are drawn by the rapid benefits and low initial costs. However, for the same reasons the cloud draws SMBs, the deals often last for only a year or so before dropping off due to integration challenges — educating these companies on the importance of planning for connected business systems from the outset plays an important role in CRM success.

5 Traps to Avoid in Social CRM for Retail
By: Erika Morphy (@emorphy)
Social capabilities have become a key priority for most CRM vendors, and the majority of U.S. citizens have incorporated social media into their daily lives. The question for retailers then becomes not whether they should use social in their CRM strategies, but rather how completely they should rely on it for customer support at the risk of alienating customers who eschew social channels. In addition to that risk, retailers face a variety of social pitfalls, primarily from a lack of knowledge and planning. Some potential pitfalls include thinking they’re in charge of the conversation and failing to properly prep customer data for social use, as according to Connor Marsden, U.S. lead for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, said “the biggest challenge for these companies is building a consolidated database or integrated set of data, then building the appropriate profiles.” Retailers are also often at risk of overshooting from the get-go with grandiose plans instead of incremental steps, not setting up a customer service triage policy, and failing to recognize and reward their most loyal social customers.


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.

1 COMMENT

  1. From my experience, I like PayPanther.com, it’s the easiest to use cloud-based CRM software and they also do cool things like invoicing, online payment processing, and time tracking. I tried Zoho, but they are too complex and nothing is integrated. Besides, PayPanther is free, which is great.

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