See the Big Picture: Working with Goals in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011

Setting goals is a necessity for any successful business. By setting and meeting goals, your business can gauge progress, boost motivation, and project growth. Goal Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011 allows organizations to track goals by using any metric that measures the performance of their various teams.

Usually, a business determines its goals by using a top-down forecast based on factors such as research, budget planning, and historical performance. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online takes it a step further. Overall goals, or parent goals, can be assigned to sales managers who have the responsibility of meeting them. Child goals can then be created, which are assigned to individual teams, organizations, territories, and product lines. The child goals are then rolled up into the parent goals in order to measure progress. This means individual users or teams can measure their contributions to the company’s overall goals, thus keeping them informed and motivated.

Goal Management allows you to track just about any metric you can quantify in Microsoft CRM Online. You can set a goal for how many prospects you want your sales team to call every day, and then track the number of contacted records. You can set goals for your service team based on resolved cases. Goal metrics can also extend beyond company boundaries. If your company sends its customers a satisfaction survey, CRM Online can track the results. You can even track customer satisfaction by team member, so individuals can learn what needs to be improved upon.

You can access Goals from the Sales or Service modules. Click the New button in the ribbon to create your own Goal.  

Working with Goals in Microsoft CRM 2011

Through effective goal management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2011, your business can identify points of growth and areas that need improvement. In addition to helping your business deploy a CRM Online solution, xRM.com can also help you fully utilize its many capabilities, such as Goal Management. For tutorials covering a range of features in CRM Online, we invite you to sign up for the xRM.com CRM Success Portal.

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New Interview with Microsoft Dynamics CRM General Manager Brad Wilson: Evolution of CRM

In this video interview, Brad Wilson, General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Management Group discusses the evolution of the CRM software industry over the past fifteen years, and how the Dynamics CRM creators strive to meet the needs of the modern business. This interview will be most helpful to those looking to deploy a CRM solution for the first time.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM General Manager Brad Wilson discusses the evolution and current state of Dynamics CRM.

CRM has evolved from a business option to a business necessity. Brad Wilson, who joined Microsoft in 2005 and has been in the technology industry since 1986, has witnessed this CRM evolution personally.  While technical advancements contribute to the evolution of CRM software, modern businesses placing a high value in their customer relationships have shaped what CRM is today. Wilson states that in the past half century, businesses have gone from measuring company value in physical assets, to measuring value in the quality of their customer relationships. An effective CRM solution can help a business cultivate and maintain its customer relationships.

Wilson goes on to cite four themes that make Microsoft Dynamics CRM the product it is today:

  • A full CRM suite: This includes sales, service, and marketing. With Dynamics CRM, Wilson wants to cover the basic needs of a wide range of companies. Going beyond the bare-bones requirements of a CRM solution, Wilson wants the three modules of Dynamics CRM to integrate seamlessly with one another.
  • Flexible configuration and deep customization: Each business is unique. Companies have individual business processes, language, and terminology. “Being able to turn a vanilla system into one that’s tailored not just for an industry, or a vertical, but for a given company, is super important,” says Wilson. That way the software is adjusting to needs of the business, not the other way around.
  • User experience:  Wilson states, “The number one thing that’s been impeding deployment of CRM in the last ten years has been users rejecting it, either not embracing it or having what I call, ‘malicious compliance,’ [in other words] barely using it.” Finding ways to make Dynamics CRM a more user-friendly experience is paramount to Wilson’s team.
  • Affordability: According to Wilson, it is important to place Dynamics CRM in the affordability range of businesses of all sizes. Due to Microsoft’s commitment to a cloud strategy, CRM software is available to customers through a monthly subscription, an alternative to investing in the upfront costs of launching an on premise Microsoft CRM solution.

Founded in 1997, xRM.com has witnessed first-hand the evolution of CRM software as highlighted by Brad Wilson in this interview. As a Microsoft Dynamics CRM reseller and partner, xRM.com understands the intricacies of Dynamics CRM as well as the necessities of a successful CRM deployment.

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New Interview with Microsoft Dynamics CRM General Manager Brad Wilson: The Cloud

This video interview with Microsoft Dynamics CRM General Manager Brad Wilson is titled, “What percentage of customers are deploying in the cloud?” The title is a bit misleading since Wilson primarily focuses on the customer’s power of choice between on-premise (on-premises) and cloud deployments, as well as the ability to seamlessly transition from one to the other. If your company is looking to deploy a Dynamics CRM solution, or you are considering changing the deployment model of your current Dynamics CRM instance, you may find this video useful.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM General Manager Brad Wilson discusses cloud and on-premise deployments of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft’s commitment to the cloud provides Dynamics CRM customers with flexibility. In the video, Wilson reiterates that customers have options in deployment models, and can choose that which is best suited for their company. Larger companies with sound IT resources may be better off with an on-premise solution. Smaller businesses with a limited infrastructure could benefit most from a cloud solution. Businesses can choose to deploy a hybrid solution as well. “I want to make sure the technology is embraced by a wide range of companies, and then they decide how they want to ultimately deploy the technology,” says Wilson.

Another aspect of the cloud Wilson is embracing is the trial capability. Customers can engage first through a free, cloud-delivered CRM product trial (with no reduction of functionality). This allows any business to make a smarter investment, having tested the product first. Wilson states, “Giving people a choice, letting people make that decision, is our fundamental strategy.”

It is a simple process to move between the cloud and on-premise for Dynamics CRM customers. Additionally, a company that has purchased Dynamics CRM software in the past can be moved to a cloud solution as part of their software assurance (SA) agreement. According to Wilson, the goal is to be as open and flexible as possible for the customer base.

xRM.com is a Microsoft Certified Partner, and as such, we can help you through all stages of the software lifecycle. xRM.com provides services such as customizations, application hosting, and consulting. With a handful of deployment models to choses from, xRM.com can help you identify, launch, and maintain the best possible business solution.

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New Interview with Microsoft Dynamics CRM General Manager Brad Wilson: Three Themes

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is a tremendous step forward in CRM software. While remaining true to the qualities that make Dynamics CRM a great application, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 was created with three particular themes in mind that will take Dynamics CRM into the future. In an interview with General Manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Brad Wilson expands on these themes.

 

Brad Wilson, GM of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Management Group, discusses Dynamics CRM 2011 with Don Fornes, CEO of Software Advice.

The first theme is familiarity. While Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 boasts many new features, it maintains continuity with CRM 4.0. When upgrading to CRM 2011, the user will retain a natural and intuitive CRM experience. Familiar Microsoft tools like Outlook work in harmony with CRM 2011, minimizing the need to move between windows in order to accomplish tasks. Giving people the personalized role-based experience inside of Outlook, a web browser, and a mobile device is core to how Microsoft delivers familiar experiences.

The second theme is Intelligence. Real-time dashboards and inline visualizations received much attention in the development of CRM 2011. The result is a dynamic, business-intelligence-focused environment that provides users with key data in an intuitive manner. Dashboards in other business intelligence applications can be static, providing a limited set of data. CRM 2011 dashboards are fully drillable, allowing users to navigate through layers of information such as lists, campaigns, and service cases.

The third and final theme driving the development of CRM 2011 is connectivity. CRM 2011 connects with other Microsoft technologies such as Lync, SharePoint, Exchange, and Office seamlessly. This helps simplify user interaction with technology, increasing user adoption and user productivity.

More than a catalog of new features, CRM 2011 was designed simultaneously to enhance and to simplify the user experience while giving users better business intelligence. The key themes expanded on by Brad Wilson allow CRM 2011 to create a familiar, natural experience within the Microsoft ecosystem. By connecting with other tools businesses use on a daily basis, CRM 2011 fits well into a wide range of business solutions. As a Certified Microsoft Partner, xRM can help your company implement and leverage your Dynamics CRM solution.

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xRM at NAB

We’re back at NAB for our annual presence as a Microsoft Partner in the Microsoft Booth at the National Association of Broadcasters Show (NAB). There is heavy foot traffic this year and the Microsoft Demos are looking great. We are here with a few other Microsoft Partners along with the Silverlight and Mediaroom Teams. Behind us sits an 80 inch touch screen that I must say seems like something out of Minority Report.

We have an exciting new demo we have put together which demonstrates the integration of Microsoft adCenter and Microsoft Dynamics CRM using the xRM Framework. This is a great way for us to show of the underlying xRM framework and its capabilities. With this demo it is easy to see how powerful this framework is and how it can be used to create any variety of line of business applications easily through the point and click interface.

If you would like to see a demo of xRM in action you can check it out at Hosted Microsoft CRM

This is great opportunity to push the xRM Platform and get to network with our partners as well as meet all the industry professionals who have taken the time to come out and see our new solutions and what we have to offer.

If you want to check us out, the Microsoft Booth is located at the entrance of the Lower South Hall. We are on the corner of the Microsoft Booth.

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What’s in a Name: xRM

Ever wondered what exactly makes up a name? We are all familiar with the quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet “A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. I do have great respect for Shakespeare and his writings but I disagree with him on this. Names are not just meanings they have identities. In general we have an association to certain names for certain things or even people. As an individual we all have different names associated to different things eg: daughter, wife, mother, aunt. A name eventually develops meaning, character and history. So getting a dozen “odorsnouts” does not give you the same feeling as getting a dozen “Roses”.

What am I getting at you might ask? xRM.com has been around for a bit and has its own identity and we would like to share that with you so you know the meaning and the history behind it.

The box really goes well with the software/hardware industry and with the addition of the Brightness in the middle adds the “light going on” and “thinking” concept in a very subtle way. The flexibility added to the sides of the square give the notion of thinking outside the box in a sense that it’s expanding and going to explode. The idea of “flexibility” is enforced and the concept of “expanding boundaries” and “growth” are conveyed. There are a lot of logos that use a square framing, but the angle of this one gives it a unique twist along with the added notion of movement. The logo is serious, but friendly at the same time. It gives the impression that xRM is not out of reach and too intimidating to approach!

This logo is much more abstract in terms of the ideas behind it, but I think that’s a good thing. People can make their own interpretations and it’s safe enough that no negative association can be connected to it.

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CRM’s Role in a Challenging Economy

In today’s economic climate, customer loyalty can separate who will stay in business and who will go under. In fact, improving customer loyalty and experience are listed in Forrester’s Trends 2009 report as the top two concerns of business executives.

 

That’s why companies should demand more from their CRM solution.   To help you navigate through these times, we are offering this informative Microsoft Whitepaper, “Customer Relationship Management: The Winning Strategy in a Challenging Economy,” which covers such topics as the role of CRM, maximizing customer profitability, evaluating your marketing mix, criteria for technology adoption and more.  To get additional details, download it here.

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What’s New: Social xRM, Part Two

Forrester Analyst Jeremiah Owyang projects that in two years, social networks like Facebook and Twitter will become even more powerful than company websites and traditional CRM systems.  Customer relationships will be built on these platforms and growth will be driven by community and individual brand advocacy.    xRM comes into play again in this new era of “Social Commerce”—it’s a framework that can manage all existing relationships and pave the way for developing new ones as well. Read more about the future of social media and what it means for CRM, here.

 

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