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Measuring CRM ROI

A detailed research measuring the Return on Investments upon implementing CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

What is ROI:-

ROI

Measuring ROI with CRM

Note: This post is being updated. Please revisit for the complete post.

CRM going Social

There has been a lot of buzz over the past couple of years about this new concept of marketing called as “Social Customer Relationship Management”, this blog aims at putting some light on the Concept , how it works, and how the data is gathered and fed into CRM systems to do further analysis.


*Concept – Social CRM & Social Media Marketing

Social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Face-book are amplifying the voice of people in the marketplace and are having profound and far-reaching effects on the ways in which people buy. Customers can now research companies online and then ask for recommendations through social media channels, making their buying decision without contacting the company. People also use social media to share opinions and experiences on companies, products and services. As social media is not as widely moderated or censored as mainstream media, individuals can say anything they want about a company or brand, positive or negative.

Increasingly, companies are looking to gain access to these conversations and take part in the dialogue. More than a few systems are now integrating to social networking sites. Social media promoters cite a number of business advantages, such as using online communities as a source of high-quality leads and a vehicle for crowd sourcing solutions to client-support problems. Companies can also leverage client stated habits and preferences to “hyper-target” their sales and marketing communications

What Data to gather and How?

With access to such a huge resource of real-time prospective customer data, marketing communication’s need to be planned and executed properly. Advantages of undertaking this strategy are High-quality leads & to provide user-friendly, cost effective and participatory platform for customers to find instant solutions to their problems.

Customers looking for a product or service would express their views on an open platform, where other members help in, by providing more information and adding personal experiences, helping in short-listing the best fit for his requirements.

Companies could monitor these discussions and suggest their product and services to people looking for them; they should start profiling these new contacts to understand them and their future needs better,

They could also add current customers to their company’s online community and increase fan following, this increases brand loyalty and ensures repeat sales. Various social engineering techniques can be used to study each customer better, this would not only help cross selling other services to that customer but also would generate a database which on analysis would give valuable insights on changing customer preferences, and hot industry trends.

How it affects company’s overall CRM strategy?

Social CRM will mean different things to different companies, the goal is to first understand the business challenge and then to make a SM supporting strategy to reach that goal, different companies would want different things and a sound strategy to achieve that goal needs to be formulated before the company enters into Social CRM.

Data gathered over time from such sources could be fed into company’s CRM infrastructure, and can later be used to analyse for better decision making.

NOTES:-

*Source Wikipedia.org

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DISCLAIMER: – IDEAL CRM, blog post is a personal collection of  Research Oriented information, Focusing  on CRM and Customer-Centric Web strategies, comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent views of  coAction.com ,Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes. This Content may not be used for any other purposes, in any other formats or media. The content on blog is provided on “as-is” basis, coAction.com shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or the use of this blog.

 

CRM on CLOUD

CRM:

Customer relationship management is all about putting your customers first, understanding the needs of your clientele and designing Products and services which meet those requirements is all but a easy task, finding new customers and engaging the existing ones for them to keep coming back for more is a planned and intelligent approach, using tools like CRM which provide flexibility, seamless collaboration of information, creative thinking in rules and policies, abundant storage and much more is a important part of a company’s marketing strategy.

The Cloud:

Cloud computing has become a important part of this process with most vendors offering CRM solutions on the cloud, such solutions are now much more affordable for the masses. As a metaphor for the internet “The Cloud” harnesses the processing or computation power and storage capacity of multiple computers and servers, such services commonly known as SaaS, do not require the end user knowledge of the physical location and configuration of the system that actually provides the service.

Cloud Computing

Image courtesy – Wikipedia.com

Advantages of using Cloud Computing in CRM implementation:

There are a lot of advantages in running a business application which operate’s from a remote server that can be accessed via “The Internet” aka “The cloud”, with cloud the end user can simply log on to the business application generally using a web browser to gain access to the CRM system, generally paying a small monthly fee for the service, the user can avert financial expenses in setting up the infrastructure and maintaining it, security patches, computer viruses and system crashes are all taken care of by the vendor, software updates are also provided by the vendor and are updated at the server side from his end.

Not only can business avoid financial waste but they can also track their employee’s performance and maintain a collaborated systematic database which post analysis will help business in understanding their customers better and hence formulate better workflows and administrative policies.

Hence CRM implementation via cloud computing (HOSTED CRM) provides all the benefits of On-premise model, but at a much lower cost and minimal infrastructure and maintenance staff. Not only that, the model also provides troubleshooting in a contained and secured way making sure that no virus contamination reaches the end user ever.

Disadvantages of using Cloud Computing in CRM implementation:

Cloud computing application is hosted and is heavily dependent on Network connectivity, and requires higher bandwidth to run the SaaS based applications. In case the network goes down the company loses its access to its business applications running on the cloud.

Some more disadvantages of cloud computing are being addressed to by each vendor in their own way, concerns about Data Security –

How the data is transported form user end to vendor’s server?
Is it encrypted to avoid interception?
What happens once the data reaches the vendors server? Is it stored encrypted?
What is the strength of the encryption algorithm used?
How often is the data being backed up? Etc.

CRM in 2011?

January 3, 2011 1 comment

Was wondering what would CRM in 2011 look like.

CRM on Mobile

I’ve been reading this over and over now. There are lot of people who think CRM by the end of 2011 will be over mobile phones and most other online-offline softwares will be gradually available over mobile platform too.

CRM privacy guidelines and policies could be introduced

Privacy concerns

With the advent of online collaboration utilities, social media platform, and other tools most organization would have personal information of individuals and there could be lot of privacy related issues coming up. To counter the same, governing bodies would come up with stringent guidelines and policies to counter problems aroused thereby.

Important events for CRM trend followers

Upcoming CRM Event’s |Forum’s|Workshop’s

CRM Predictions for 2011

DISCLAIMER: – IDEAL CRM, blog post is a personal collection of  Research Oriented information, Focusing  on CRM and Customer-Centric Web strategies, comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent views of  coAction.com ,Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes. This Content may not be used for any other purposes, in any other formats or media. The content on blog is provided on “as-is” basis, coAction.com shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or the use of this blog.

Information Security in CRM

Customer Relationship Management software is a centralized database of various kinds of information, safe and secure storage of which is of utmost importance to the company, it contains information which is sensitive in nature and needs to be protected.

Information about the company’s customers is saved in form of Customer’s Profile, these profiles form an important part of the database (name, address, contact details, previous conversations, purchases, etc.), and such details are very sensitive in nature as customers privacy is at stake,

Sales team’s from other (mostly competition) organizations are constantly on a lookout for new leads to sell, this database of customer profile is of a lot of value to them and would go to any limits to get access to it, Data digging is hence one of the most common type of cyber crime. Data digging happens when data is stolen from a database, usually done by employees who have access to such database for financial motives, to sell it in the open market to make a quick buck, in some cases competitors hire professional hackers to hack into a system and manipulate, delete or steal data.

Such Unauthorised access and Data Alteration can cause considerable harm to a company; data available on CRM includes Accounting information, Email record, internal chat conversations, list of current tasks, and other such sources of information. All available in a hosted platform on the internet, this is prone to malicious activities like hacking, interception during transit causing un-authorised access and theft of confidential information.

To ensure safe transit and storage of information CRM vendors follow security policies, which provide a combination of role-based and object-based settings to ensure restricted access to information based upon User’s role or Organizational Policy. A user can also be allotted more than one role to provide access to additional information using a combination of 2 or more user policies. Restricting access is good way to ensure that confidential information remains restricted to appropriate users.

For Small and Medium sized businesses with small infrastructure looking at setting up Information security in their organization, following is a quick checklist to keep in mind for a basic setup.

Step 1:- A Team of qualified professionals. Candidates with a good understanding of how the CRM enviournment works and basic security practices.

Step 2:- Infrastructure {Software and Hardware}.

Step 3:- Policies and Procedures, including procedures for Data Backup and Emergency Restore, policies regarding Information Management, Data routing, Storage and Security {Antivirus, firewalls, Encryption, Cryptographic kernels, etc}.

Step 4:- Compliance and Upgrade, once the setup is done team should make sure that the policies are followed and procedures do not have any loopholes,  regular patches and upgrades to discovered problems should be made to avoid any hacking through backdoors.

It is highly advised to follow the above mentioned instructions at organizational level,            although most CRM companies would provide hosted services with standard security technology like Secure Socket Layer (SSl) to form an encrypted link between the browser and the web server, and then store the encrypted data in secure servers.

For companies with bigger size, in terms of employees and core infrastructure it a totally different affair, multiple offices situated nationally or globally requesting real-time collaboration of information, Management and Storage becomes a mammoth task. Such companies usually have a dedicated Information security department, with multiple teams to focus on different aspects, sharing responsibilities.

Such companies generally use CRM systems which are highly customized, and made specifically to fit company requirements,  further customization is added as per policies are formed and problems are discovered.  These customized CRM packages usually employ a mix of different technologies for effective protection and efficient management of data. Here is a checklist of things of major concern.

1)      Storing Customers Profile data.

2)     SSl secured web servers to ensure safe access by Users (employees), which may be using different technologies like PC, mobile devices, PDA and laptops.

3)      Troubleshooting various problems in CRM applications and Making role based users (SQl 7.0), storing this data.

4)     Continuous maintenance of infrastructure (Upgrading, Updating, Patching) and making new policies to ensure safe and secured enviournment.

Choosing a CRM vendor wisely can evade much of the trouble for companies both small and big alike, Information security team should do a thorough analysis of the services offered by vendor and the platform they use, preferably choose a platform which the company workers are already familiar with, if not, then what kind of staff training dose the vendor provide? Security aspects of the service should also be kept in mind, a background check on the vendor can help a great deal in understanding not only the product offered (previous versions, security issues, patches, etc) but also the service support offered by the vendor company in terms of  regular updates and security patches.

NOTE: – Hope you found this information useful; please feel free to leave comments below.

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DISCLAIMER: – IDEAL CRM, blog post is a personal collection of  Research Oriented information, Focusing  on CRM and Customer-Centric Web strategies, comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent views of  coAction.com ,Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes. This Content may not be used for any other purposes, in any other formats or media. The content on blog is provided on “as-is” basis, coAction.com shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or the use of this blog.

How can CRM help in identifying new customers?

Good data on your current customers and prospects and good marketing analysis will help you identify new customers.

Quality data collected from various online resources and SEO channels, like online directory advertisements and Google add campaigns, marketing campaigns etc, can be fed into CRM systems.

With additional information and a Quality Database sales can start PROFILIING these new made contacts into different segments, based on their characteristics, this will give a broader view of the existing database for conducting extensive analysis.

CRM systems are built to integrate customized applications to help analysis of this new data and will also provide a collaboration platform for seamlessly sharing this data with colleagues,

Raw data can be filtered based on various parameters to processed data, which can freely be exchanged with various departments through sharing, exporting other formats or by email.

New age CRM software’s can be customized to support various analytical needs of the organization; it will also support analysis of customer feedback, networking data and also as a tool to study data received through social media.

Built in functions to carry out campaigns (Survey, Newsletter etc.) along with good CRM integrated analytical tools can be used to shortlist prospective customers.

CRM applications help you reach and rediscover existing customer engagements, make sure you notice every little traits/buying pattern and if analyzed properly will give you signs about reaching out to new customer, how one reads the signs is purely based upon human judgment and customer experience.

It is indeed very difficult to do Profiling of customers without a good marketing tool like CRM which allows seamless integration of different technologies in a hosted platform where data can be imported from various sources, customized applications can be developed and which can store the information in a structured and organized manner.

This data can further be used to educate sales personnel to make faster and smarter sales by cross-selling products increasing profitability, analysis of CRM data can help identify not only new customers but also new business.

Social Media is yet another medium which businesses are tapping to get access to new markets and to understand consumer behaviour; in fact the entire CRM industry is banking heavily on this new found 21st century tool to drive sales and to find new ways to integrate this data into their CRM systems,

Although there has been a lot of buzz about the social CRM in the recent times, it is still considered to be in a nascent stage and the hype in the CRM industry seems to be due to the probable ways in which this medium can be fully utilized, it will only be by 2012 that we would be in a position to include social CRM  as a full  fledged medium to execute marketing strategies and a some more time there after for it to become a major contributor to a company’s profits.

Nevertheless, Customer Relationship Management systems for all the above mentioned reasons and many more plays a important role in running a profitable business, by increasing effectiveness of execution and increasing the efficiency of performance in conducting day-to-day activities, it helps sustain steady growth for the business by identifying prospects and providing new business opportunities.

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DISCLAIMER: – IDEAL CRM, blog post is a personal collection of  Research Oriented information, Focusing  on CRM and Customer-Centric Web strategies, comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent views of  coAction.com ,Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes. This Content may not be used for any other purposes, in any other formats or media. The content on blog is provided on “as-is” basis, coAction.com shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or the use of this blog.

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CRM Architecture

October 14, 2010 1 comment

Sustainable CRM landscape with a concrete implementation roadmap.                                                                     

Operational Collaborative Analytical
  • Automation of certain business process.
  • Boost marketing activities and sales

CAN BE FURTHER DIVIDED INTO :-

1) Enterprise Marketing Automation.

Provides the management valuable company information about the business climate, competitors, and trends within the industry & other important variables.

Basically strengthens the entire enterprise level marketing operations.

Integration of various technologies used for on field and in-house processes can provide added advantage as data would be available for analysis.

2) Customer Service Automation.

Automation in customer service related processes, helps save time and resources, leads to better customer satisfaction.

Applications specially designed to help sales representatives gather maximum amount of data from the customer during a call.

3) Sales Force Automation.

it Involves automation in company’s sales processes helps make tasks easier and speeds up the sales process.

This is done by automating repetitive steps or special applications to help get work done at a faster pace and in minimum time,

 

Providing sales representatives added advantage to gather maximum information from the customer to help close the sale at record times.

 

 

Collaboration places emphasis on quick and efficient information exchange between different departments of the company to better the interactions it has with its customer.

 

  • This is done using a effective Business Intelligence Tool called CRM,

 

  • The main objective being to better understand its customers and their needs.

 

  • This is done collaborating different technologies used in an organization in one single platform,

 

  • This is Collaboration Platform consists of various applications help employees carry out day to day activities like – Task Management or handle multiple tasks using Project Management,

 

 

  • With a Desktop like User Interface it provides email application in the same window this saves time and effort as employees never have to leave the browser, giving sales representative extra time to focus on sales.

 

  • CRM Architecture is designed to be flexible enable ling businesses to Integrate new functions in the software to customize and automate according to requirements,

 

This helps a great deal as management can integrate different features specific to their business model and practices, sales can hence use relevant information panels in the same window to help completing tasks faster and more efficiently.

CRM analytics deals with analyzing data collected in CRM software, it is a continuous process which if conducted regularly  helps the management to

  • Enhance customer experience.
  • Develop new products/services.
  • Boost profitability.

Data affects profitability as it can be used to

  • Cross-sell products to their existing customers.
  • It also helps a great deal in retaining the existing client base which otherwise might stitch to other service providers.
  • Analytics help in keeping the customer more informed by providing them additional account related information if required and that too in the quick way and in real time.

Data can be used by the management for

  • Understanding the pattern of sales, inventory, and profits.
  • Better understanding of these elements would also aid in Fraud Detection, as any irregularities in such the pattern can quickly be detected using historical data.
  • It can also be used to develop new products and services, according to changing market needs and customer buying trends.
  • Management can use it for maintaining optimum levels of inventory; hence it also aids business risk management.

Companies can use this valuable resource to alter/tweak current business strategy, develop new more effective methods to work and plan for the future.

 

DISCLAIMER: – IDEAL CRM, blog post is a personal collection of  Research Oriented information, Focusing  on CRM and Customer-Centric Web strategies, comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent views of  coAction.com ,Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes. This Content may not be used for any other purposes, in any other formats or media. The content on blog is provided on “as-is” basis, coAction.com shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or the use of this blog.