Are you a non-profit professional whose organization currently uses
a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, but find that it
does not seem to suit your organization’s unique needs? Does it
not work well with other systems or you find yourself spinning
wheels looking for information when you need it the most?
Join our expert panel for an informative and objective look at four
commonly used CRM tools and the various ways organizations can
utilize them to their advantage. This seminar will analyze the
following CRM tools:
Whether you find CRMs difficult to use or you are deciphering if a
CRM will benefit your organization, this seminar is a great
opportunity to get an in-depth foundation of CRMs and how they
can work for you.
Jason Tucker Manager of Donor Relations, Ocean Discovery Institute
Jeff Hancock CEO, Social Data Systems
Sean Ferrel CEO, Managed Solution
Rachel Luis y Prado COO & Chief Academic Officer, Workshop for Warriors
February 7, 2017
11:30 am Registration 12:00 am - 1:30 pm Program Lunch provided
Attendance is complimentary
Barney & Barney Community Conference Center
9171 Towne Centre Drive, Suite 150
San Diego, CA 92122
As LinkedIn inches closer to completing its $26 billion acquisition by Microsoft, smaller rivals have stepped up their game building viable alternatives for those who might want more independent products when it comes to managing contacts in their professional networks. FullContact — one such competitor — has now raised a further $25 million.
The funding brings the total raised by Denver-based FullContact to just under $45 million. Lorang said the company is not disclosing its valuation.
The big elephant in the room for FullContact is LinkedIn. Fast approaching 450 million users, the company is one of the bigger players in the area of online professional identity and has become the go-to place for people looking to connect with people in their professional networks. On its own it was already a competitive threat, and its acquisition by Microsoft may be even more so, as it speaks to the bigger company’s ambitions to leverage LinkedIn’s social networking in its own enterprise-focused products, from sales through to productivity services.
But rather than wilting under the obvious challenges that this poses to FullContact and others in the space, FullContact’s co-founder and CEO Bart Lorang has a more constructive view on the deal and what it means for his startup.
“The LinkedIn acquisition demonstrates the power of the single ID and a unified contact record in the ecosystem,” he said in an interview.
The key thing for him is that Microsoft remains a proprietary platform, and LinkedIn has not demonstrated itself to be particularly happy to share its data with the rest of that ecosystem, either. “FullContact’s strategy is to create an open platform that is owned by humanity. We allow and invite developers to integrate with our platform, unlike LinkedIn. It has been rather closed off. They very much want to build a wall,” he added a little mischievously, borrowing a phrase more commonly (and controversially) associated with something and someone else.
Led by Foundry Group with participation from Baird Capital, Shea Ventures and Blue Note, FullContact’s latest round will be used for acquisition — “I see a lot of distressed startups out there in our wider field unable to raise more money for sure,” said Lorang; and also hiring, business development, and adding in new features that will expand FullContact beyond contact management and into new areas.
One of those new features, Lorang said, sounds like a way to use your contact information in FullContact’s database as an identity card across the wider web.
“We have quietly been working on FullContact Connect, our next-generation platform capabilities where you will have your own ID, your own contact record, and you can use it to consume and control content online,” he said. “We are working on that. We do have ambitions.”
Founded in 2010 in Denver (where it is still based), FullContact has built itself out as one of a group of companies that is trying to tackle the issue of managing contacts that you make through your normal business life, as well as growing that list through intelligent searches based on the people you already know, and turning piecemeal contact info into more complete profiles.
The company has its own primary data that it augments with data from across the web, and using algorithms — both built in-house and also picked up by way of acquisition of competitors like Brewster — it merges all of it to create a database of some 40 billion contacts that its users can access. (FullContact does not disclose its actual user numbers, except to say that they are in the ‘millions.’)
FullContact today makes revenues from three categories of customers: individuals, businesses and software developers. It taps the first of these groups via freemium-style iPhone and Android apps that let you do things like scan and digitize business cards and then augment that information with more data about those people.
Meanwhile, the business and developer solutions let third parties tap into FullContact’s database by way of APIs to help create more complete customer profiles. The latter of these is a smart area for the company to develop to pick up developers and others who found themselves in a lurch when LinkedIn shut down similar API functionality in 2015.
Ironically, while FullContact has built its business on the concept of being able to enhance contact information, another area where Lorang also agreed it might move in years ahead might be in helping manage that info for those who don’t want it out in the open.
This is a trend that we see picking up some speed with the recent surge in interest in online privacy and data protection. For example, in Europe, you have the “right to be forgotten” development, where Google and other search engines are required to remove search links on people’s names when requested to do so by those individuals.
“I love the trend of being more transparent,” said Lorang. While Lorang said you can already claim and manage a profile on FullContact, it’s now working on ways of expanding that to other data repositories. “We are just starting to roll out that type of capability to remove yourself,” he said. “You’ll see more from us on this in the next year.”
For now, FullContact and its investors are happy to keep the startup in Denver and well outside the Valley bubble to grow.
“With over 40 billion contact records under management, FullContact was already on track to more than double recurring revenue for the fourth straight year,” said Brad Feld, MD of the Foundry Group, in a statement. “The funding will be used to support the company’s rapid growth by further expanding sales, marketing and engineering as well as pursuing strategic acquisitions that bolster our technology and data assets.”
Get to Know Your Customers
Get to Know Your Customers
The Managed Solution Sales Team shares their favorite ways to build relationships with customers
By Kelly Cronin
Happy official Get to Know Your Customers Day! Every great sales team knows the best part of working with customers on a daily basis is building relationships with each and every customer. Sometimes connecting with customers means stepping outside of the office environment. To celebrate the big day, we asked our sales team what their favorite techniques are to get to know their customers better.
"I really enjoy having lunch or dinner with my customers. It’s great to talk over good food and get them away from the office. I learn a lot more about their personal life and get to know them as potential friends, not just clients."
"I connect with customers by asking them about their favorite restaurants and activities – people enjoy talking about the things they love, which makes it easier to connect on a personal level before getting down to business."
"Just take the time to hear a little about their personal life. Usually you have something more in common with everyone you meet if you let yourself have an ordinary conversation. I met with a customer here in town on Monday and the next time I spoke to him he ended the call 'thanks my friend'"
As customer service and the customer experience become key differentiators for brands and organizations across all industries around the world, it has never been more important to know as much as you can about customer service expectations, perceptions, preferences and trends so that your organization can not only move forward, but move ahead when it comes to customer service and engagement.
Below is a sneak peek of just a few of the survey responses from United States consumers polled as part of Microsoft’s 2016 State of Global Customer Service Report, which also includes responses from 4,000 additional consumers across Brazil, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. This year’s report also breaks out the data by age groups, revealing some fascinating insights into where customer service expectations and preferences are heading.
Communicate directly with customers via Skype for Business inside your mobile apps
Communicate directly with customers via Skype for Business inside your mobile apps
The Skype for Business team is always on the lookout for new ways to bring greater value to our customers. We look for new and innovative ideas that connect people together utilizing the power of our platform. Today, we are pleased to announce that the Skype for Business App SDK Preview is now available for download. This new SDK enables developers to seamlessly integrate instant messaging, audio and video experiences into their custom iOS and Android applications.
At Build 2016, we previewed the Skype for Business App SDK and highlighted the ease of seamless integration into native mobile and tablet applications powered by Skype for Business. We showcased a real-world solution created by MDLIVE—a pioneer and visionary in telehealth and leading provider of online and on-demand healthcare delivery services and software—that connects patients and physicians together via mobile devices in a new, convenient and efficient way. And by collaborating with Microsoft and Office 365, MDLIVE is able to offer a secure and HIPAA-compliant system for patients and providers to communicate, share and review patient medical records, lab results and provide assessments.
“Skype for Business will provide MDLIVE with a much more scalable architecture, so we can accommodate even higher volumes of video consults daily,” said Randy Parker, founder and CEO of MDLIVE. “The adoption of Skype for Business also enables us to deliver a significantly improved user experience for both patients and physicians.”
The initial focus of the SDK Preview is to power “remote advisor” solutions that enable consumer mobile and tablet applications to communicate with Skype for Business organizations. Businesses can leverage the power of their existing Skype for Business Server and Skype for Business Online infrastructure—including the familiar native clients they use today—to reach customers never before possible.
Whether you are looking to add voice, video or chat functionality into a new or existing application, the Skype for Business App SDK Preview makes it easy. The availability of these features is an important step in our Skype Developer Platform roadmap to combine the power of cloud voice, meetings and messaging with new cloud APIs and SDKs that work across a range of web and device platforms to drive new scenarios and help developers and partners re-imagine how they engage and win customers.
Head to Head: Dynamics Marketing vs. Click Dimensions
Head to Head: Dynamics Marketing vs. Click Dimensions
In a previous post, I compared the newly released Microsoft Dynamics Marketing with Click Dimensions. Since then, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (MDM) have released its ‘Electra’ update (see ‘Dynamics Marketing: Electra update’) but with the number of improvements it brought, I wanted to update the comparison between Click Dimensions and MDM.
Previously, Click Dimensions ‘won’ out of the two due to its established support, streamlined integration, user experience and email marketing capabilities. But if you’ve read about the Dynamics Marketing update you will know that this release saw some great improvements - particularly to user experience, campaigns and email marketing.
We’ve compiled a list of features and ranked Click Dimensions and Dynamics Marketing against these to give a ‘Win’, ‘Lose’ or ‘Draw’ outcome, shown below. While this infographic provides a great summary, every business has different requirements, restrictions and even preferences, so we think it’s always best to speak to an expert and start with a trial as everyone likes different things. If you do want to speak to us about marketing automation for your CRM system, please get in touch.
June 7: Save the Date Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring 2016 Virtual Release Party
On June 7th , Microsoft will be hosting a Live Virtual Event called “Customer Driven” to showcase the exciting new Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring 2016 Release. This 90 minute event will include keynotes from:
Scott Guthrie, EVP Cloud & Enterprise
Jujhar Singh, GM Dynamics CRM R&D
Paul Greenberg, President of The 56 Group, LLC; CRM Analyst
As well as a Customer Panel.
The registration link will not be live until May 23rd, but we wanted to make you aware of the event so that you can “Save the date”.
Wednesday With Will - Do You Have A Business Process?
Wednesdays With Will: Do You Have A Business Process?
By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist
I recently met up with a friend of mine who owns a small but growing business. He was telling how when the business had less than 10 employees things seemed so much simpler. Everyone wore multiple hats and they just figured it out as they went along. They must have been doing something right because before he knew it they had doubled in staff. As they approached 15-20 employees, he realized they couldn’t do things as they had in the past. Roles became more defined and the need to put processes in place became essential. Like most entrepreneurs, he was more of a visionary than a process implementer. For that reason, he hired a management consultant firm to help him develop processes for his expanding business.
Though the management consulting firm helped him in multiple areas of his business, my friend was most proud of his newly developed sales process. They hadn’t had a formalized process in the past and pretty much left it up to each salesperson to figure it out on their own. Once again this was fine when they only had 2 or 3 sales people but as the business continued to grow and their sales team approached 8-10 people there were need for some standardization. His goal was to help his sales team open more opportunities and achieve a higher success rate from those opportunities. He was also thinking about how he could simplify the onboarding process for a new hire and reduce the amount of time it would take to get them up to speed. Having a sales process in place would allow him to accomplish both outcomes.
My friend is aware of my passion for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms. The management consultant recommended they start using one to reinforce the processes that had been developed for them. I couldn’t agree more. What is the value of developing a process if you have no way to ensure it stays in place? I told him how Microsoft Dynamics CRM has had an “out-of-the-box” business process built into it since the 2013 version. Every business has its own unique sales process and Microsoft has accounted for this. You have the ability to customize the business process to match your business’s need. Analytics provided by Dynamics CRM would allow you to adjust your business process if need be as well.
Here’s a short video showing you what the business process looks like in Microsoft Dynamics CRM:
As always, I encourage you to reach out to me to discuss these topics in deeper detail. I hope you enjoyed and found this week’s article informative. If you’re interested in some how-to related CRM material, check out blogs by my colleague Ben Ward here. Till next time…
About the author:
Will has over 16 years of experience in business development, team management, and project management. Will has worked at Managed Solution for over four years and is currently advising businesses on best CRM practices and implementations. Will’s focus is on process improvement and analytics specializing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Will is a Microsoft Certified Professional, with certifications in Presales Technical Specialist – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Sales Specialist- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Application, Sales Specialist- Office 365, Sales Specialist- SMB Infrastructure and Sales Specialist- Datacenter.