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Why do small / ALL business need a CRM solution?

The short answer to this is because all businesses need customers (or clients). However, we are all human and therefore fallible. So we need some support to make this happen continuously and successfully.

What is CRM?

There are many answers to this question, but perhaps what is most important is to remember that CRM is far more than technology. In fact, although technology usually forms part of a CRM solution, it is never all of it. I like this model of CRM as it reminds us that CRM is about people and process.

CRM Model by Gill Walker

The technology is subservient to these.

The technology performs three parts of the overall process

  1. Holds the data in an easy to enter way
  2. Makes the relevant data easy to retrieve
  3. Does the repetitive work to save time for your people.

In summary, what CRM gives us is easy access to the information – both our own and colleagues – to enable us improve the relationship between our organisation and the prospect, and where relevant, their organisation. We should be able to see quickly and simply a history of communications, so that we can move the relationship forward, rather than going over old ground. We should be able to rely on the CRM to take on some of the repetitive tasks such as sending high quality emails and updating some data.

How CRM can increase the profit of your business

There are five ways that we can increase the profit of any business. These five ways are shown below:

Five Ways CRM Increases Profit by Gill Walker
What is particularly interesting in this model is the compounding. If you increase each of the lines by 10%, your overall improvement is not 10%, it is not 50%, but 61% !!

True CRM can help with all five of these improvements.

Increase the number of leads to the business

Structured marketing campaigns which take advantage of the metrics so you can see what is successful and what is not will form part of any true CRM solution.

Increase the conversion rate of those leads to actual customers / clients

Once someone has approached your organisation and expressed some interest, the improved interaction management will prevent these interested leads from falling between the cracks

Increase the size of an order

A true CRM should have enough information about your products to help your sales people upsell, not just the eponymous “Would you like fries with that?” as an upsell to the current order, but also showing all of the client’s order history.

Increase the number of orders placed in a time period

By alerting your sales team to when a particular customer has not had a call for a while, you can reduce the likelihood of that prospect moving to another supplier for products that you can provide

Increase the profit per order

The biggest hits to profit are often hidden in the overall cost of sale. By making the entire sales process easier, the profit per line goes up.

CRM is not just for sales

True CRM will give you one data repository for all of your client data – from the moment that they first engage with you, or a colleague at your organisation, to when the relationship comes to an end. This encompasses marketing, sales and support. Once a prospect becomes a client, they should be receiving communications that relate to sales and marketing as well as service in parallel, rather than sequentially. Organisations who are successfully using a CRM will be touching each of their clients and prospects at least 15 times per year – in a mixture of ways. Modern CRM solutions can also bring information in from social media and SMS communications to help you build up that big overall picture of the relationship.

True CRM will also enable to ‘slice and dice’ that data to see what is working, and perhaps more importantly, what is not working, so that you, and your organisation, can learn and grow.

How to make YOUR CRM implementation successful?

Understand the issues that you are trying to solve. These issues will be areas within the business where processes and / or data in the legacy systems cause the users, or customers / clients to work inefficiently, perhaps re-entering data, or hunting for information or performing manually tasks that could readily be automated.

Understand the technology in enough detail to see how much of the issues can be resolved out of the box and then design a solution that really takes advantage of the existing functionality. I have worked with many failing and failed projects and the underlying cause of he failure comes back to poor use of the selected technology.

Ensure that your implementation includes enough education so that the implementation maximises on the functionality that comes out of the box and the users know how to use the solution to make their own tasks simpler and more efficient.


This article was written for and originally published in Behind The Brand

What do the current and upcoming changes to Dynamics 365 CE mean to our implementations?

Newly renovated house - used to explain the changes to Dynamics 365

Recently I had to explain the changes – both the upcoming changes and the recent changes – to a prospect who is not a Dynamics 365 user and has limited familiarity with it. While the changes cannot and must not be ignored, they do only affect certain aspects of the product.

If we use the analogy of home renovations, we could describe the changes as follows:

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 2020 update Wave Two is rapidly approaching.  What does it entail and will you be ready?

The next update to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online will be here in a few weeks. Between now and it arrives in your production system – which will happen automatically – you have a chance to ensure that it rolls out to your users smoothly.  This is a brief overview document with links to Microsoft documentation where you can find more details.

What is included in the 2020 Wave Two update?

This release includes updates to most of the Dynamics 365 family. However, in this article I focus on the changes coming to Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE.

Great strategy, poor implementation, poor result; weak strategy, good implementation, poor result; great strategy, good implementation, fantastic result

How to ensure a fantastic result in your CRM project

Getting a poor result in a CRM – or in fact in pretty much any technology – implementation must be pretty easy.  After all, a large proportion – up to 85%!! - of projects are deemed to fail.  I have written and spoken about his failure rate elsewhere.  Getting a fantastic result in your CRM project, however, is also not hard.  However, achieving that fantasitc result may require some changes in your thinking and perhaps your plans.

The two major parts to the project are the strategy and the implementation. If you want a fantastic result (and who doesn't?), you must get both your strategy and your implementation right. And getting them right requires more than wishing or wanting.

What is....700x300jpg min

What is Microsoft PowerPlatform, what is Microsoft Dynamics 365?  And why should you care?

Over the past several months, I have seen several people asking about Microsoft PowerPlatform?  And asking what is Microsoft Dynamics 365?  What is PowerApps?  Where does BizApps fit in?  And how are they related? I also hear people wanting to know if Microsoft has a CRM product - which it does.  I also know that many people are curious about how any of these products will benefit them.  To remove some of this confusion, I wrote this blog.  If I can help you with your CRM needs, please do get in touch. 

Articles about these key concepts of Microsoft's vision for the future of business technology can quickly deteriorate into 'BuzzWord Bingo', so I decided to provide you with simple, overview answers to these questions.  I have also included some video overviews of how Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE benefits your business - before any configuration is completed.

Seven Success Steps for your CRM project – a checklist for your success

​"A project is like love; it has clear intentions at the beginning, but it can get complicated." - Gerry Geek.

sevensteps checklist to CRM success

Many people find (unexpectedly!) that a CRM solution has to be implemented three (or more!) times to get it right.  This usually happens because the project was started without some (or all) of these key foundation steps.  Not infrequently, someone has jumped into a trial, and started tinkering - without any planning whatsoever.

In the CRM space, this complexity often comes from trying to use a software development approach to a project that is really configuration of an existing product. Just because it is configuration does not mean that it is easy. However, it does mean that you will do better if you approach it from an understanding that it is configuration.  In other words, you have most of what you want, and your efforts should be on the final detail that make it perfectly meet your needs.

Where projects go wrong is when there is a feeling that the client can have everything / anything that they want. This is rarely true. If this feeling is added to a technical team, who are so keen to please the client, or a particular user that they agree to everything, the problem, and of course the cost of the project, gets bigger. If we complete the trifecta with technical people who have limited knowledge of the technology in use and the methods available to change the technology – and this trifecta is commoner than you may believe – you can see why projects go awry.  I call this the trifecta of project failure, but it could also be known as the Trifecta of Trouble.  Thank you Ian.

Trifecta of project failure

To understand this better, think about a birthday cake. Many people buy a birthday cake from a patisserie, where you choose the base cake and then you add to this cake the icing, perhaps some candles, and some writing, to make it perfect for your birthday person.

In the CRM space, choosing the base cake is equivalent to selecting a specific user requirement or user story.

Even in the comparatively simple world of buying the perfect birthday cake, you need to specify your requirements: What are the interests of the birthday person? Do we have any guests who are allergic to specific ingredients? Are we expecting the cake to keep for a period of time? etc....

Once you have chosen a cake that meets your base requirements, you can then choose the decoration. Not all cakes will allow, or work well with all of the possible decoration options. So, you will do better if you are guided by someone who knows the limitations of your chosen cake and the decorations. If you have a limited budget, there may be some decorations that you cannot have. With this information you will create the cake of your dreams.

This seven step CRM Project checklist will start your CRM project correctly.

Opsis is an expert Microsoft Dynamics 365 consulting company. Our focus is your Microsoft Dynamics 365 success - not licence sales or billable hours. As Principal Consultant, Gill oversees all business operations and strategic planning and execution, yet she still believes in offering personal attention to each and every client, so as to understand their needs and offer tailored solutions.  We are based in Sydney, with clients in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Brisbane and across Australia.  We offer Microsoft Dynamics 365 strategy, Microsoft Dynamics 365 scoping, Microsoft Dynamics 365 implementation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 technical support, Microsoft Dynamics 365 advice and guidance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 training and mentoring.