Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Business Intelligence’

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

_____________________________________________________________________________

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.

 

Advertisements

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.

_______________________________________________________________

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.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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 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.

CRM is not enough, its time to switch to ODBC

It’s time for some radical changes in Business CRM software industry, why?

With the Introduction of On-Demand Business Collaboration (ODBC) technology, working on   your company CRM just got a whole new meaning, equipped with a Hosted Collaboration Space {Task Management, Email Management, Document Management, Project Management, integrated Google calendar, other useful applications} supporting different user tasks, with dedicated applications for Sales, Support and Receivable’s Management, and  comfortable User Interface, ensuring optimum performance by the sales team and in time highest Return on Investment ROI.

ODBC’s Customizable User Interface provides different Micro and Macro level Business Intelligence Tools that help management optimize the Business sales cycle {Generate demand > Qualify Prospects > Close the sale > Deliver & Install > Provide Support } and helps better understand the Consumers Buying cycle {Gather Information > Evaluate Solution’s > Purchase > Take Delivery > Get Support }, with valuable insights in consumer behavior and their needs, data gathered helps immensely in fine tuning Sales processes before being sent to the Research and Development Team for developing new products or services to enhance customer experience and ensure repeated sales.

Another very useful concept of optimizing the different Routes or Channels to the customer is also sufficiently aided using ODBC technology. These Routes are basically an efficient combination of internal or external resources that move the customer from the beginning to the end of the Sales Cycle. this Routes-to-Market methodology also helps vendors plan, operate and optimize their routes, this is important because properly Optimized routes produce more revenue and profit per dollar spent on marketing, sales, distribution and customer service”,  meaning Highest ROI.

Management can use these highly customizable micro Business Intelligence tools available in ODBC technology to,

1)    Optimize Routes

2)    Sales process alignment

3)    Automate repetitive processes

4)    Use User Input

5)    Different System’s Integration

6)    Educate and empower all system users and hence add incremental improvements over time.

Each of these above mentioned concepts play a crucial role in determining the success of CRM Implementation in a organization and ROI time, to help those who are new to these concepts, I would like to elaborate a few lines explaining each of these new age ODBC based concepts,

Once the sales channels or routes have been established, the entire sales process needs to be aligned this means that the management must match the way people actually use the system and its outputs, this will help them make effective changes when people and processes change & simplify user screens, decision tree maps or indicators placed on the screen at different stages of a sale help make sales executives make a more alert and confident sale.

Management can also automate repetitive processes to help save time during a sales process; system can be configured to pop out different pop-ups with useful information or help gather additional customer data.

User, which in this case would be the sales representative is using the system first hand and might have useful insights, suggesting changes to make the process more user friendly, these suggestions should also be taken into account by the management.

If possible management should integrate different systems used in the organization, like mobile CRM used by on field sales representatives, back office staff, ERP software used in organization, this will provide management a complete 360 degree customer centric view, which would help them serve the customer better by designing policies and practices accordingly.

Last but not the least management should impart not only initial training but should conduct features training on regular basis to educate the employees on these changes, this would in turn make employees more knowledgeable and capable of giving valuable feedback, which can be further used to do Research and development and to include incremental improvements over time.

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.

SaaS Application’s – Much Better, Much More Secure and a whole lot More Dependable


A critic of SaaS application based CRM software always has an argument stating these systems to be less secured and less dependable than their On-premise counterparts, reason which they usually give is that “One has no direct control over it and the connections are not as secure as needed by critical enterprise level business intelligence solutions.”

What these people do not understand is that SaaS vendor’s providing internet based services usually provide these services based on a safe and secure platform, like Google, for example which uses the most advanced security features to protect data on its network, the data is encrypted using UTF-8 encryption while it is in transit (Emails,chat,etc..) for more security  features please visit :-  http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/infrastructure_security.html

On the other hand – SaaS companies provide professional services to a large clientèle, and usually  store client’s business information, in a safe and secure server with an trusted outsourced security firm, where these agencies monitor the data on daily basis and also provide daily/ regular backups for the same, these professionals use the most high-tech and advanced technology to make sure that the data integrity and security is maintained.

Taking regular backups of data and maintaining the security is a difficult and tedious task, which usually requires a team of IT professionals working on it, with SaaS based software these problems can be eliminated as the vendor takes care of it from his end, further regular updates and various security patches are also installed by the vendor, this ensures smooth, safe and worry free experience for the user.

Talking about the availability of features on a SaaS based application; all the mainstream products come loaded with almost all the features and business intelligence tools available on a conventional On-Premise model, Besides it is easier to add different applications as per the need arise, tweaking  and updating current functions is also a piece of cake with SaaS based technology.

Another advantage SaaS based systems have is ease of access, SaaS software’s are On- Demand which means that they are accessed via the internet, all the end user needs is a computer with internet access and he can comfortably work from anywhere in the world, hence it becomes easier to collaborate and share information across organization, eliminating the need to install a specific on premise software to work on.

Obviously all new technologies have some ups and downs or trial time attached to it, but SaaS technology over the years has matured, and as the testing times still continue, it can now be safely declared as a tried and tested model,

If you still have doubts about the advantages of SaaS based technology, here are some facts, most of the fortune 500 companies are already using SaaS applications to run their day-to-day business, in my opinion, an SaaS model has all the required features and advantages to become the Ideal technology 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.

CRM – On-Demand or On-Premise — which is Right for You?

September 30, 2010 1 comment

There is a lot of confusion among CRM buyers today, with so many deployment options available, choosing the right company and software package which suits their requirements is becoming more complex,

Maximum value for their investment, with ease of use and multiple coApp’s to support different business functions is what’s on a customer’s mind while selecting the best CRM among the lot,

Customers today have multiple options, they can either go for a traditional or conventional on-premise CRM software package, or subscribe to one of the new breed of on-demand services delivered via the Internet,

Of course, there are pros and cons to each approach, but over the past several years, most CRM customers – particularly small and mid-sized businesses – have chosen Hosted web based applications instead of an On-Premise model may be because of its ease of access and low initial cost.

While bigger business with couple of thousand employees might want to opt for an on premise model as they might have security concerns regarding the information stored in the system, and even though the friendly hosted CRM vendor might provide data security for the data stored in their system bigger organizations would rather exercise full control over their data and hence opt for a on premise model. Vendor stability and reliability also are important issues.

Businesses need to choose the right type of CRM which best matches their needs while delivering superior performance, applications integration and functionality.

Modern day CRM has expanded to include a wide range of predefined tasks, customized and integrated business functions that maximize the value of the customer relationship at the same time also contribute to sustainable revenue growth.

An on-demand solution can be combined with the security and control of an on-premise solution to give you the best of both worlds, and at a really affordable monthly subscription price. it is also a preferred option as the vendor ensures data integrity and security while updating the system from his end with regular updates in software as per changing business needs and security patches making the On demand model more trouble free and enhancing the user experience.

CRM encompasses everything companies use to manage customer relationships, including capturing and analyzing customer information and then leverage that data toward better sales performance. Effective customer and prospect relationship management is critical to the success of a business, and that takes technology-enabled solutions like CRM to make the job more convenient and effective.

Looking at it from the return on investment (ROI) perspective, and on demand CRM clearly has its benefits with almost negligible initial investment and a affordable monthly subscription, small and medium sized business or first time users can leverage it to their benefit.

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.