[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]real estate o365 managed solution

Three Digital Marketing Tactics That Work for Real Estate

There is no doubt that digital marketing is what everyone in business is talking about these days. It’s no different in the real estate industry. According to Borrell Associates Inc.’s 2015 Outlook for Real Esate Advertising, real estate agents and brokers are now spending over $13 billion on all forms of advertising, a whopping 75% of that amount is going towards online and digital advertising.
However, the percentage of ad spend devoted to digital marketing is predicted to slow down and possibly even drop in 2015. It’s possible that, according to Borrell’s report, that an optimal ratio has been reached. It also suggests that real estate advertisers may be moving their resources elsewhere.
Certainly, digital marketing is a great way to generate interest and leads. However, much like in other industries, real estate advertisers are throwing lots of budget at obtaining leads, whether it’s through social media, pay per click ads, display advertising, AdWords, YouTube, Facebook ads, and on and on. The focus seems to be on generating massive amounts of leads with little thought given to whether they are qualified and even less thought given to the most important point of all – how many of those leads will ultimately convert to clients.
With this in mind, here are three proven digital marketing tactics that work for real estate agents and brokers, much like they do for businesses of all kinds.

1. Effectively Manage Your Relationships

Digital marketing has grown in popularity because of its ability to help you reach a massive audience in a fast, cost-effective way. Websites, blogs, social media, and videos are designed to help reach more people, and people will find you. But what is an astounding issue in real estate is what happens next. Consider these contrasting, and extremely worrisome, statistics:
  • The REAL Trends 2013 Online Performance Study found that 45% of consumers expect a response from a website within 15 minutes and 56% expect a response from their real estate agent within 30 minutes of contact.
  • Contrast that with the statistic that 45% of inquiries on real estate websites never receive a response.
What is happening here? Immediate response to your customers is critical. Utilizing a powerful communication and productivity tool such as Office 365 with Outlook will put you ahead of the competition according to these statistics. Real estate is still a people business and people expect to be contacted as soon as possible. Office 365’s mobile experience is unparalleled, and gives agents the tools they need while on the road. See how one top producer manages his emails from the road utilizing Office 365. >>>

2. Use a CRM System to Manage Your Leads

Staying in touch with the right people at the right time is more than just replying to their inquiries. Generating leads is definitely something that you need to do. Maintaining a healthy, active pipeline of leads is the lifeblood of any business. However, it’s critical that you use a contact/customer relationship management (CRM) platform, such as Microsoft Dynamics, to help you store, track, and qualify your lead database for effective communication and management of your prospects. This will help you sift through your leads to find the qualified prospects and work towards converting them to clients. Email marketing campaigns to your qualified leads is still the most effective digital marketing you can do. It’s even more powerful when the emails are targeted with relevant content. For example, you may have clients who are only interested in investment properties or multi-family units. Having this information stored in your CRM system will help you build target email marketing campaigns that deliver above average response. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online integrates seamlessly with Office 365 and Outlook to give you a powerful digital marketing platform that will help you convert leads to prospects and prospects to clients. Take a tour of Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions and find one that’s right for your business. >>>

3. Stay in touch frequently and utilize dynamic content

Now that you are ready to start your email marketing campaigns and manage them through a CRM platform, the next crucial step is to make sure you’re sending relevant and engaging content to your prospect database. Don’t send the same tired emails asking people if they’re ready to buy or sell. Get them excited about your listings. Motivate them to seek out the home of their dreams. Emails need more than text, they need powerful visuals. One powerful tool that lets you create impactful, media rich content is Microsoft Sway. With Sway, you can create and share attention-grabbing digital stories with text, images, and video to showcase your services and properties to prospective clients looking to buy or sell. These digital presentations can be made quickly and deployed on demand to target specific customers or to your entire database. Forget about paper flyers, and stop sending the same boring emails – stand apart from all your competitors by sending fresh, exciting content via your Sways! See a sample listing Sway below >>>
Digital marketing doesn’t have to be an expensive crapshoot. By sticking to the tried and true tactics and being smart about the tools that you use, you’ll be on your way to converting more of your leads into valuable customers. To learn more about the Microsoft solutions presented in this article, contact Managed Solution to see how easy, quick and cost-effective it is to get started.

Contact Us & See How Today’s Technology is Shaping the Real Estate Industry of Tomorrow 800-293-6593


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Wednesdays With Will - Voice Of The Customer

Wednesdays With Will: Voice Of The Customer

By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist

Welcome back!  In our last installment we discussed how you can better visualize your business with the use of dashboards to represent data.  This week’s topic is going to touch on the same topic but from the other end…gathering the data.  There are many ways to gather data but it’s important that the information collected is leading to what you’d like to know.  One of the most tried and true ways to accomplish this is through surveys.  Today we are going to discuss why the voice of the customer is a key component for meaningful business analytics and decision making.

The primary reason most businesses use surveys is to develop a go to market strategy for acquiring new business or to learn more about their existing clients.  When crafting your go to market strategy it’s important to understand the market you will be servicing.  You will need a clear grasp of your value proposition including how to position your product or service and the price it can be sold.  This is all part of the research stage and surveys can be leveraged for acquiring this information.  It can be very costly for an organization to launch a new product or expand their business without doing the proper research and having a proper understanding of their potential market.

When used for an existing customer, the goal may be to get a heartbeat on the business relationship between the client and your organization.  This is important for understanding what your business does great and where there may be opportunity for improvement.  It can be crucial for identifying gaps in current service.  It also leads to an increase in customer satisfaction and retention.  This is the first step in transforming your client from a customer to an advocate of your business.

Surveys can be used to increase sales with both new clients and existing customers.  Since a survey gives your customers a voice, you are given a defined understanding of their need and possibly others in the same industry.  This information can then be used in a targeted market campaign to let others with the same challenge know that your organization has a solution.  We live in the age of the internet where most people will do their own research prior to engaging with a salesperson.  Demonstrating an understanding of a challenge and a possible solution helps build trust in the early stages of the business relationship.

The focus of my previous articles has been about how leveraging a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool can assist with simplifying Sales, Marketing, and Services processes.  The latest edition of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, 2016 and the Online version, has included a survey maker as a new preview feature.  At the time, it can be tested and used in a non-production environment.  The full release should be available in the next couple of months.  If your organization is already using Dynamics CRM and contemplating the use of surveys to improve the customer experience?  Now is a good opportunity to try it out and see how easy it is to create a custom survey with your company’s branding.  To improve user accessibility, it’s been optimized so a survey can be taken on a phone, tablet, or computer.  Your Services team will gain more customer insight because they will be able to view customer feedback history as they resolve a service case.  As mentioned earlier, the survey information can be translated into dashboards for better visualization.  Surveys are just another way of augmenting the capabilities of your Sales, Marketing, and Services teams.

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.

Other articles by Will Marchesano:

For information on deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM in your organization, please call us at 800-257-0691.

To distinguish Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL) from its larger competitors, its member firms must maintain closer relationships with—and deliver personalized attention to—their clients. The independent member firms of GTIL are deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM to facilitate collaboration around sales, marketing, and customer service. The solution has driven an increase in the number and size of sales wins, while helping the firms offer better value to clients and maintain consistency in a complex environment.

In an industry that has long been dominated by the Big Four, the Grant Thornton organization is under constant pressure to differentiate itself from its larger, better-known competitors. To do this, Grant Thornton member firms, which operate in more than 130 countries, offer their clients something the competition cannot: personalized service and closer relationships.

“We are not, nor do we want to be, the biggest accounting organization,” explains Rick Stow, head of Client Relationship Management. “We compete with four much larger firms, so we differentiate by having closer relationships to earn credibility and increase value. We choose to be much more connected to our clients. We need to have a good presence in our local markets if we're going to compete.”

Grant Thornton LLP, which operates in more than 56 offices in the United States, maintained various customer management solutions (including SalesLogix); they lacked visibility into contacts, accounts, and influencers across all employees and practice areas. This sometimes led to duplication of effort and missed opportunities. Further, because account teams were not aware of all interactions with a specific customer, it was difficult to gauge the strength or extent of the relationship. With no way to identify opportunities for cross-selling services, the member firms’ ability to grow the business was limited.

With a single standardized solution, Grant Thornton LLP aims to ensure that the firm—rather than individual employees—maintains the relationship with each contact.

Going mobile

Grant Thornton member firms in the United States, Canada, and Germany currently use Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and on-premises for sales force automation, marketing management, and comprehensive account planning functionality built using the xRM extensibility capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics. In addition, two add-on solutions augment Grant Thornton LLP’s account and customer data with third-party research, including data from InsideView and LinkedIn. Future plans include adding social listening capabilities that will capture additional information from public sources.

The upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 will also allow Grant Thornton LLP to fully exploit the mobile capabilities of the Microsoft Dynamics solution. Today, a handful of people access the system on Windows 8 Surface devices, but because most employees spend a majority of their time outside the office, making functionality available on virtually any device or platform will be key to successful, widespread adoption.

“More and more people are asking for a true ‘app’ experience,” explains Stow. “One of the most appealing aspects of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is the ability to deliver the same experience across multiple platforms. Whether you’re opening a form from within Outlook, from a browser, or on a mobile device, you have access to the information and full functionality.”

Fostering collaboration

Finding ways to foster collaboration among accounting and advisory professionals is key to Grant Thornton LLP’s continued success. “Relationships are everything,” says Stow. “So people are very protective of their relationships. But to understand the full scope of a client relationship, we need to overcome that individual mindset and find ways to collaborate effectively.”

In addition to establishing Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a standardized solution for CRM, Grant Thornton LLP has found that other technologies have been key to helping employees share information and work better together across member firms. A large-scale SharePoint deployment includes more than 50,000 unique sites where employees share documents and collaborate on accounts and initiatives. Communications and enterprise social media tools, including Lync and Yammer, provide voice, instant messaging and conferencing capabilities — and connect to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to facilitate communication around client and account activities.

As a result, the employees in Grant Thornton LLP can depend on one another and deliver more comprehensive service to clients. “It’s not just about using the technology,” says Stow. “Our workforce today is more connected — and more productive. People see the interactions and work more efficiently, and that ultimately allows us to serve our clients better.”

Enhancing sales processes

Microsoft Dynamics provides Grant Thornton LLP with a process-driven CRM solution that accommodates different sales processes and regional requirements. For existing accounts, the connection capabilities of the solution allow each member firm to build virtual account teams that include all employees and partners involved in a particular relationship, who can collaborate on a plan to nurture and proactively drive the relationship forward.

Using the collected data in the CRM solution, account managers see strengths, weaknesses, and threats related to a particular relationship or opportunity. They identify competitors that might be serving the client — in addition to potential partners in other advisory roles who might influence sales — and collaboratively develop a plan to pursue the opportunity.

Since deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Grant Thornton LLP has experienced a 450 percent jump in the number of opportunities it is tracking, a 36 percent increase in average win value, and a 700 percent rise in the number of contacts in the system. In addition, by tracking employee behaviors in the system, Grant Thornton LLP correlates factors such as sales activities and frequency of client contacts to win rate and revenue generation so as to further refine the sales process through insights.

Delivering better client service

Stow is quick to point out that the benefits of the CRM solution extend beyond sales. “Our goal for the solution is not to push additional services on our clients, but to better serve our clients,” he says. “The enhanced planning and collaboration tools enable us to respond to clients more effectively and in a more timely fashion.”

In particular, he points to the ability to conduct proactive planning using custom account plans developed in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The tool helps Grant Thornton LLP identify priority accounts and includes a complete history of account activity and plans for nurture or contact efforts. Connections to partners and other service providers enable Grant Thornton LLP to identify partners who might enhance the value proposition through collaboration.

Using data to drive value

The value proposition of Grant Thornton LLP is also enhanced by the analytical capabilities of the CRM solution. Using CRM in conjunction with business intelligence tools such as Power BI, Grant Thornton LLP can identify trends or issues affecting a particular class or segment of clients and then reach out proactively to other clients in that segment to address these issues.

The development of new services is also driven by analytics, which provide insights into client demand based on service line, service type, revenue, and other factors — which makes their very smart people even smarter from a sales, marketing, and business development standpoint.

“The solution enables us to be much more focused,” says Stow. “We can use data to make data-driven decisions and communicate to our teams using actual data. Everyone here is very smart, but the additional insights — based on a single shared version of the truth — make us all smarter.”

Read customer success stories to learn how Managed Solution helps businesses implement technology productivity solutions.

For information on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, please call us at 800-257-0691.

Business Resolutions

Wednesdays With Will: Business Resolutions

By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist
I know this greeting is about five days late but…Happy New Year! That’s the challenge of “Wednesdays With Will”, I have to stick to my day (Wednesday) for the blog title to make sense. Regardless, I’m sure most of you participated in the common ritual of making resolutions for self-improvement now that a New Year is upon us. Instead of asking about your personal resolutions, why don’t we discuss your business resolutions for the year? This question isn’t intended to give you anxiety but to get you thinking about how you can take what you did well in 2015 and make it great in 2016. Let’s narrow the focus to 3 areas that are common among most businesses no matter the size or industry…Sales, Marketing, and Customer Services/Support.
If your business is like 99.99% of businesses today, you are looking for ways to improve at least one if not all of these aspects of your organization. As we discussed in previous posts, one of the best ways a business can address all three facets or each individual component would be to leverage a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Is your sales team currently using one to track your interactions with customers, prospects, and opportunities? Is your marketing team using one to manage marketing campaigns (including budgets), gauge effectiveness of individual campaigns, and track social sentiment to better position your organization through messaging? And finally does your customer service or support team have the tools to effectively service your customers so that they become your advocates? These are all tasks that can be easily managed by a CRM.
It’s a New Year so that means you have a fresh start and new opportunity to set your business up for success. Seize the opportunity and have the conversation now. What you do in January will dictate your success for the rest of the year.

 

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.
Other articles by Will Marchesano:
For information on deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM in your organization, please call us at 800-257-0691.

crm-ua- managed solution

The new light-weight CRM App for Outlook

What is it?

With no installation, no configuration, and no additional log-in steps, you can now quickly track your important customer emails directly within Outlook, whether on your PC or Mac running the desktop version of Outlook, or on the go through Outlook Web Access on your laptop or phone (Windows, Android, or iOS). You can even see relevant information from Dynamics CRM Online about the person who sent you the email, or pop open the full form directly from within our new CRM App for Outlook.
What’s the difference between the new CRM App for Outlook and the existing CRM for Outlook Add-in?
The new CRM App for Outlook is a light-weight app directed to accomplish a few specific tasks like tracking and converting emails as well as reviewing a few details about the specific contacts and leads from the email. Alternatively, the CRM for Outlook add-in is a full client for Dynamics CRM that allows you to have complete access to all of Dynamics CRM’s functionality, including dashboards and full grids, and even allows you to work offline.

How do I get the new CRM App for Outlook?

Note: The CRM App for Outlook is rolling out over the next few weeks to CRM Online organizations independently following the CRM 2016 release. If you don’t see the below options, your organization hasn’t yet received the feature. This app requires Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Online and Exchange Online.
Dynamics CRM Online users can easily add the app to their Outlook directly from within Dynamics CRM Online. Simply click on the gear icon and choose Apps for Dynamics CRM. Then choose Add app to Outlook under the CRM App for Outlook heading. The app will show up in the user’s Outlook interface when reading or composing emails anywhere they use Outlook.
Dynamics CRM Online administrators also have the ability to push the app to user’s Outlook interfaces through the newly added CRM App for Outlook settings page. To do this, simply navigate to Settings > CRM App for Outlook and click on the Add App for All Eligible Users button. Optionally, you can select individual users from the grid to add the app on an individual level. Use the auto-add feature to ensure all newly added eligible users automatically get the app added to their Outlook.
Keep in mind that for both cases, in order for users to be eligible to get the app, they will need to have their Exchange mailbox configured with Server-Side Synchronization for incoming emails as well as have the Use CRM App for Outlook user role privilege.

I’ve been using the preview version of the app, do I need to do anything?

Yes. With the release of Dynamics CRM 2016, the preview program for the CRM App for Outlook will end. Thank you for all of your valuable feedback. Once your CRM Online organization is upgraded to Dynamics CRM 2016, the older app that was available during the preview period will no longer connect to your Dynamics CRM service, and will be removed from the Office Store. You will need to manually remove the app and then follow the instructions listed above to get the new, fully-supported app.
To remove an app from Outlook, simply open Outlook Desktop and choose Manage Add-ins from the File menu, or from Outlook Web Access, choose the settings gear icon, then Manage add-ins. From there, choose Dynamics CRM and then choose the uninstall button to remove the app.

Source: http://blogs.msdn.com

Business Analytics

Wednesdays With Will: Analyzing Business Analytics

By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist
As a Business Owner, Director, or Manager, you know that having insight into your business allows you to make the right decisions for it. Not many people realize that the use of analytics has been a part of business for over 100 years. Henry Ford is probably one of the best known of the early adopters. Even though the concept of business analytics has been around in one form or another over the past century there have been some challenges with its use. The most common stumbling block has been gathering and maintaining the integrity of data. By definition, analytics is the information that you are able to pull from data. If you are trying to build a house (analytics) you must make sure the building blocks (data) are not of poor quality or you will not achieve the desired result. Typically the other challenges are pulling meaningful information from the analytics as well as sharing that inform between separate departments. This week we’ll discuss how to overcome some of these obstacles in your business.
Over the last couple of months, we discussed how you can effectively enhance the capabilities of your Sales, Marketing, and Services teams by leveraging a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. There are many CRM systems out there but my posts were mainly focused on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. I have used a few other CRM systems over the years such as ACT!, SalesLogix, and of course SalesForce. In the past few years, my preference has leaned towards Dynamics CRM because of its improved ease of use, functionality, and cost. Its tight integration with Office 365 and other Microsoft products doesn’t hurt either. For the sake of this article and to tie everything back to my previous articles Dynamics CRM will be our point of reference once again.
Of the myriad types of widely used systems in businesses today, a CRM is probably the most common technology used to gather customer information for analytics. Yes, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can fall under this category as well but that is a different story for a different day. A CRM system such as Dynamics CRM gives you a place to input pertinent information about your customers and prospective clients. This information is then easily searchable and accessible by your Marketing, Sales, and Services teams. Each team will have a slightly different use of the information. Let’s touch on some basic scenarios for each.
From a marketing perspective, analytics provide insight to the effectiveness of different types of communications. There is huge value in understanding how campaigns perform so that budget and time can be best spent. Dynamics CRM powered by Power BI also provides you a visualization of how campaigns are reacting as well as sentiment from a geographical standpoint. Knowing and understanding where potential or existing clients are can help you when crafting your messaging. Being aware of when a prospect has reached a certain level of engagement is key as well. There is a certain level of timing involved when Marketing hands a lead over to Sales for contact. Too early can scare the prospect away and too late may mean the lead is cold again and has to be sent through the nurture process once more.
Once the Sales Team starts their engagement with the client it’s important to understand the journey the lead went through to reach them. The reason this is essential is because it allows you to have greater insight to their need and urgency. This in turn leads to a higher success rate of providing a solution and gaining a new client. The analytics produced by Marketing can provide the Sales Team this information. Throughout the sales process the Sales Team can leverage the analytics in Dynamics CRM to track touch point to conversation rates, pipeline and opportunity stages, and wins/loses over designated periods of time. It basically helps you become a smarter salesperson. Even better, management now has a better understanding of what is working and what is not so they can provide assistance in making you more successful.
The final example I would like to discuss is for the Services Team. With all the time, effort, and money required to gain a new client your number one priority should be to retain them. This is where a high level of customer service becomes crucial. By leveraging analytics through Dynamics CRM, you are able to recognize trends from similar support case instances. This allows you the opportunity to devise a resolution that will prevent similar cases from occurring. The goal is to increase customer satisfaction so they not only remain your client but become your advocate.
Trends are showing there will be a sharp increase in business intelligence usage over the next few years and a CRM system such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM is going to be a big part of that. 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.
Other articles by Will Marchesano:
For information on deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM in your organization, please call us at 800-257-0691.

Social Engagements

Wednesdays With Will: The Importance Of Social Engagements

By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist
As a Business Owner or Director of Marketing, you recognize the importance of protecting your company’s brand and reputation. With the rise of social media over the past decade, everyone has been given a voice on the internet and you better believe they are going to use it. This can be perceived as either a good thing or a really bad thing. It can also be a moving target since public sentiment can change at the drop of a hat. Today we are going to discuss the importance of social engagements with your current clients and would-be clients.
Since there have been businesses, there has been a desire to know what prospective clients want without them having to tell you. In some respects, social media has become a vehicle for just that. With multiple social outlets available, people can now share their sentiment on a particular topic very easily. That information is now available for the world to see, in most cases, but you need to know how to find it and how to leverage it.
In my previous posts, I briefly touched on Social Engagements through Microsoft Dynamics CRM and how it relates to Sales, Marketing, and Services teams. Today we will be taking a deeper dive into what it is and how it can assist you with brand management. Let’s start with a quick example.
Imagine your company manufactures a popular line of household appliances. It’s November and your newly designed coffeemaker has just been released for the holiday season. Your marketing team did a stellar job raising awareness and excitement about your high-end coffeemaker so it has become the “must have” present for the holiday season. Some of your customers couldn’t wait for the holidays and decided to start using it immediately. To their dismay, the coffeemaker kept shutting itself off before the desired amount of coffee was brewed. They took their dissatisfaction to the internet and posted on social sites how it was a waste of money and that they recommend others steer clear of your product. This scenario could strike a major blow to your quarterly sales projections as well as your company’s brand. Luckily you have Microsoft Social Engagements.
Determining what is being said and by whom is the first step to resolving the situation. Social Engagements gives you the ability to see what is trending regarding your products and organization across multiple social platforms such as Twitter, blogs, Facebook, news syndication, videos, and any other source that supports RSS. It’s supported in 19 different languages so international brands can benefit as well. Based on your chosen topic and most active contributors to a conversation, you can determine the key influencers. From here you have the option to drill down even further to uncover the number of posts, trends, their location, and sentiment of these authors. You can also redisplay data to show influencers with the greatest reach by Twitter or news articles.
Being aware of social sentiment and being able to view what is being posted on social networks is important. Having the ability to easily interact with them is empowering. This brings us to the next step. Social Center allows you to view and respond to posts from multiple social outlets all through a single pane of glass. If you prefer, you can delegate these social interactions out to your team for response based on designated priority level. These great features help improve team workflow allows you to react quickly, remedy the challenge, and mitigate any potential damages.
I’m sure you have better things to do with your day than monitor the social sites. Through Trend Alerts in Social Engagements, you can set notification for when specific events occur regarding the topics you care about the most. Data is only as powerful as how meaningful you can make it. The Social Analytics in Social Engagements displays information that is easy to view as well as maneuver through.
Let’s put everything together using our earlier example with the coffeemaker. By using Microsoft Social Engagements we would be alerted that our product is trending through Trend Alerts. From here we can look at Social Analytics to determine what is being said based on geographic location(s) as well as the top influencers having conversations about it. After a solution to the coffeemaker malfunction has been determined, we can now reach back out to these influencers, using Social Engagements, letting them know about the resolution. At this point we can use Trend Alerts once again to be notified of improved sentiment. This information can be shared across your Marketing, Sales, and Services teams.
At the beginning of my post I mentioned that social media gives everyone a voice and this can be perceived as either good or bad. The realty of the situation is knowing what is being said about your company or product is always a positive. If something bad is being said, this gives you a chance to make it right. How a business handles customer service defines them in their customers’ eyes.
There is more to discuss when it comes to the Social Engagements portion of Dynamics CRM but I like to keep these articles short and to the point. 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.
Other articles by Will Marchesano:
For information on deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM in your organization, please call us at 800-257-0691.

Empowering Your Sales Team

Wednesdays With Will: Empowering Your Sales Team With Microsoft Dynamics CRM

By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist
As a Business Owner, VP of Sales, or Sales Manager you are heavily invested in the level of success your sales team can reach and rightfully so. If they are unable to close enough business in a set period of time it may lead to the downsizing of your overall staff. If they are greatly exceeding company goals, this can lead to challenges for your operations teams to meet the expectations of your clients. It may also lead to a secondary adverse effect on your customer service team in keeping current customers happy. It seems to be a delicate balancing act in this ecosystem you call your business.
Last time we discussed a smarter way to market, “smarketing’, by using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The methods highlighted in last week’s post were suggestions for improving lead generation. Leads generated by your marketing team will become new opportunities for your sales team. Once you have entered these opportunities into Dynamics CRM, you can now properly usher them through your company’s defined sales process, increasing your probability for a win. If the opportunity is lost, you now have the ability to analyze why it was lost as to make corrections for other future opportunities. If you are looking for a way to increase the value of an opportunity, Dynamics CRM makes it simple to set up upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Possibly the most important aspect of opportunity tracking is forecasting. Proper forecasting plays a huge role in scheduling and allocating the proper resources on the operations side of the house. From a management prospective, it may be used to dictate whether to hire more people and if so for which role or roles.
Something that may seem so basic but is often overlooked is the handoff from marketing to sales. The reason the lead, from marketing, became an opportunity, for sales, is because they followed a certain path or journey that qualified them. Understanding how and why they arrived is imperative to understanding how your business can solve their challenge and gauging the timing for a decision to be made. When you leverage a tool such as Dynamics CRM, you are able to align your sales and marketing departments, in turn making each much more effective.
From a sales aspect, contact management has been the most fundamental use of a CRM system over the past 20-30 years. It gives you a searchable, centralized location to keep information about an organization, contact information for its people, as well as a place to log notes from phone calls, emails, appointments, and other interactions. Most systems will also provide you a follow-up component that alerts you of when to reach out to a particular contact. These functions are highly valuable when prospecting and/or managing multiple accounts. With Dynamics CRM you can add more meaning to the way you follow up with prospects and clients through social selling. The Microsoft Insights and Social Engagements components of Dynamics CRM gives sellers this ability in two different ways. Microsoft Insights pulls information about an organization (size, annual revenue, industry, etc.), its people (phone number, email address, role, etc.), and recent news (mergers, acquisitions, expansions, etc.) from multiple social media platforms. By leveraging Social Engagements, you can captures information about what is trending on social media. This is helpful for learning about a change occurring in your prospect or client’s business without them having to tell you.
Most sales professionals are always on the go so most of what we have discussed would not be as useful unless it was easily accessible “out in the wild”. Dynamics CRM can be used on a variety of mobile devices such as tablets and cell phones. This allows you to access information already entered into the system as well as the ability to input additional information. I’m really excited about the next iteration, Microsoft Dynamics 2016, which will take advantage of Cortana’s search by voice capabilities.

 

 

We covered quite a bit today regarding the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM sales automation and there is still so much more such as the ability to instantly generate proposals through the system and save documents pertaining to accounts. I can go on forever about how you can empower your sales team with this platform but I digress. 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.
Other articles by Will Marchesano:
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