3 ways Power BI can help your sales team succeed

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3 ways Power BI can help your sales team succeed

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With an ever-evolving market and a massive amount of data available, your sales team’s job of knowing their customer base isn’t easy. A multitude of information streams in every day. Sorting through data sets, spreadsheets and a dozen apps can slow them down—hindering the growth and success of your company. In fact, 90 percent of sales reps associate missed opportunities with the inability to leverage all available information.
Instead of solely focusing on dissecting the customer data in front of them, sales reps should be looking to data visualization to pull out insights not apparent at first glance. Microsoft Power BI in Office 365 can help by enabling your sales reps to collect, unify and visualize all their data in one place. It’s cloud-based and compatible with 59 different applications, which simplifies the process.
Here are three ways data visualization can transform your sales process:
1. Instant reports—Companies are always trying to find new ways to increase productivity. For a sales team, that can mean eliminating difficult and time-consuming manual reports and replacing them with a technology partner that can sort through data from myriad sources and produce actionable insights. Pipeline reports and sales trends can be generated in hours, minutes and sometimes seconds—instead of days—leaving you plenty of extra time to review and develop thoughtful strategies.
2. Data share across departments—For your sales team to succeed, your company’s other departments also need analytical success. Because Power BI supports nearly 60 applications, different departments can import the data they’ve collected to share with each other and provide deeper insight. When a sales team can see where marketing efforts have succeeded, for example, they can more effectively realign their strategies.
3. Quota management—In an ever-changing market, setting realistic quotas proves challenging, especially when your sales success depends on variables like region, month and customer segment. Power BI eliminates the difficulty by gathering past and present data—in one place—so you can set attainable goals for the future.
Your sales team already knows how to close a deal. Help them get there faster with the insights gained through data visualization.

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Wednesday With Will - Do You Have A Business Process?

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

Wednesdays With Will - Knowledge Is Power

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Knowledge Is Power

Wednesdays With Will: Knowledge Is Power

By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist
Knowledge is power.  This is a saying that you’ve most likely heard at some point in your life.  The reason it rings true is because knowledge allows you to maneuver through the different obstacles life throws your way.  Knowing how to overcome a particular challenge allows you to keep moving toward your goal.  Since we have a finite lifespan, there is only so much knowledge we can individually obtain within that time.  One of the reasons we’ve been able to progress as a society has been because of collaboration and sharing knowledge with others.  Instead of having to start from scratch each time, we are able to build off of what has been established by our predecessors.  All of the advancements in civilization and technology would not be possible if we didn’t share our knowledge and experiences with each other and continue to build from there.  The same can be said in the business setting.
Shared knowledge empowers your employees to do things above their individual capabilities.  Whether their role is in sales, marketing, or customer service, having the answers they need at their fingertips makes them more efficient internally.  When customer facing, having the right answers allows you to establish trust quickly and increase ease of use to do business with your clients.  A big challenge for most organizations when hiring a new employee is getting them up to speed as quickly possible.  Having a knowledge base available to them can help accelerate this process so they can become a valuable resource sooner than later.  This also helps strengthen business continuity and allows your employees to build off of the lessons of their colleagues and predecessors.
There are many ways to go about implementing a knowledge base system within your organization but it can seem a little daunting to start.  Like all data, it has very little use unless you know where to find it (stored location), how to pull the information you need from within it (search/query), and a way to properly manage it (governance/updating).  It was only logical that Microsoft incorporated a knowledge base system into their Dynamics CRM platform that addresses all of these needs.  The same customer relationship management (CRM) system your sales, marketing, and services team uses each day has a customized library where they can store product white sheets, industry specific articles, marketing materials, frequently asked questions (FAQ), or any other information regarding customers, partners, and/or competitors.
Creating new articles for the knowledge base and finding them when you need them has been made easy as well.  Colleagues within your organization can collaborate on creating these documents and submit them to a manager for review and approval.  If approved, they can then be published by the manager or sent back for revision.  Once an article has been published it can then be searched by the individuals or departments within the organization with the proper permissions.  Searching for what you’re looking for is very flexible as well.  You can find an article by keyword, title, text from within the document or the article number if you happen to know it.  Having this many options to find the answer you are looking for improves resolution time and customer engagement.

 

 

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

To sign up to receive our industry newsletters, complete the form below.


Other articles by Will Marchesano:

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Wednesdays With Will - Sales Pipeline Management Is Essential

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Sales Pipeline Management
By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist

Welcome back! Today we are going to take a step into the exciting world of sales pipeline management. At first glance you may not think it’s an exciting topic but once you realize how much of an impact it has on the entirety of your business, it becomes much more exhilarating. The obvious connection made between a sales pipeline and your business is sales. It goes much deeper than that though. We are going to cover how properly managing your sales pipeline can also affect product inventory, hiring, operations, and of course…sales.
Like most businesses, chances are you currently have a sales process in place. Depending on the complexity and size of your business, your sales process may exist as a loose idea or a well-defined process. Either way, it’s the journey your business takes from the point of acquiring a lead to converting them into a customer. Your sales pipeline represents the stages in which your current opportunities exist. The number of stages you use is dependent on your sales process but 6-7 stages is the most commonly recommended number. Understanding your opportunity life cycle, or amount of time it takes to complete each stage, should be the next level of importance considered.
Now that we have these areas defined let’s discuss how they will affect the seemingly different areas of your business. If your company sells a product, ideally, you like to verify your supply meets customer demand. Oversupply leads to increased costs such as warehousing and undersupply can lead to missed sales. Maybe your business also manufactures the product. That can amplify these costs even further. If it’s your company goal to operate on a just-in-time (JIT) model, understanding when and how much supply you’ll need to meet demand can be predicted through proper sales pipeline management.
Much like in our product example, a services company has much to gain with sales pipeline management. In this instance, your staff are your product. Depending on the type of service your company offers its clients, different skill sets can be required from different employees. Let’s say your business specializes in Service A, Service B, and Service C. You currently have 50 employees that are qualified to do Service A, 20 employees that are qualified to do Service B, and 10 employees qualified to do Service C. Over the past 6 month market trends have changing and your business started getting more requests for Service C. These deals are now being won and you find yourself understaffed to deliver what was sold. By using sales pipeline management and knowing the life cycle of each type of opportunity you would then be able to recognize new potential business in the early stages and then decide whether to hire more staff that can do Service C. On the flipside, you may also identify a reduction in demand for Service A. In this scenario, it may make sense to start training your Service A specialists to learn Service C instead of hiring new staff.
Using sales pipeline management helps your sales team become better at selling. Time management is often cited as one of the top reasons a sales person fails. Understanding what stage an opportunity is truly in allows you to dedicate your time more efficiently. As we mentioned earlier, a key component of sales pipeline management is understanding the opportunity life cycle. This is important to a sales person because it gives them an idea of how long an opportunity should take in a given stage. If it’s sitting in the same stage noticeably longer than it typically should, it may mean something was missed and has stalled the progress. It could also possibly mean the salesperson is not properly guiding the opportunity through the sales process. If management can identify this shortcoming, they can help their salesperson fix it and improve.
As a manager or business owner, you have company goals to hit to “keep the lights on” and grow your business. Using sales pipeline management allows you to see where you are currently from a sales perspective and helps you forecast to make sure you are hitting quarterly and annual goals. This is also part of the business intelligence and analytics for your organization. One of the best tools used for sales pipeline management is a CRM. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has done a really nice job developing the opportunity and sales pipeline components of their solution. If your organization is already using Microsoft Office 365 and you are looking for a pipeline management tool, Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be a tremendous solution for you.

 

 

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 or complete the form below and we will contact you shortly.


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Wednesdays With Will - Business Resolutions

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.