We’re in a fortunate position at All My Systems. We know about databases, CRM systems and many other business systems. We know the impact that well implemented systems have on a business. These tools help us to run our daily operations and generate meaningful strategic reports on activities.
Specialist systems in an industry often claim to provide a one-stop shop for all your needs. They may provide ways of managing prospects, contacts, quotes, orders, finance and customer care. But, by trying to be all things to all people, they compromise in many areas: take prospecting, for example.
A specialist system might provide the functionality to record basic prospect details and arrange a follow up call. Don’t get me wrong, a well implemented follow up system works wonders, but as your team grows the system can begin to creak. You employ new staff and they have different ways of working and of storing data in your prospecting system, different times of the day when they update this data and different ways of generating prospects.
Soon enough, you realise that your prospecting system is hindering your business growth when you experience any of the these:-
- You’re missing follow ups: Either the system isn’t being used consistently by everyone, or follow ups are falling between the cracks, either way you’re losing prospects and money.
- Your system isn’t available anywhere and on any device: You need to connect into a central server to access your system, or it requires a special PC or laptop to log in. All you and you team want is to have fast and easy access to check your prospects on any device.
- You create an Excel spreadsheet to report from: Your system can’t tell you which stage each prospect is at in your process, or which member of your team is prospecting the best. You’ve now got two separate systems that need maintaining with data duplication between them.
- “What’s the next stage?”: It’s not clear for users in terms of a business process flow what they need to do next after they have entered data into the system, they feel lost, especially if they are infrequent users.
- No centralised view of prospects: There’s no easy way to view the complete history of communications with a prospect, which includes emails, phone calls or appointments. You need to ask people, check mailboxes, sent items and calendars to understand the full picture.
- No custom data views or lists: You have to rely on the standard system generated views of data, when it would be more useful to create your own views with the fields/columns you need, the data sorted in a useful order for you, and the ability to add your own filters to these data views. If you use Excel, then you end up copying and pasting data between worksheets creating a data duplication problem.
- Complex user interface: Your team spends too much time inputting data when they should be prospecting, and the data entry forms are unintuitive and don’t guide the user on which fields to complete and how to complete them.
- Custom fields: You can’t create additional fields that are unique to your company to store data about your prospecting process.
- Calculated fields: You’re unable to automatically calculate a prospect or lead score based on key data.
- Pre-populated fields: You’re unable to save your team time whilst also improving data quality by pre-populating certain form fields.
Moving away from using specialist databases or Excel spreadsheets, a flexible solution like Microsoft Dynamics CRM can overcome these issues:-
- Firstly, it’s developed by Microsoft and provides a user interface which is comfortable for anyone who is familiar with Microsoft products – the majority of the business community.
- Secondly, the amount of research and development time and money Microsoft spend on the product ensures that it integrates with Outlook, Word, Excel and other Microsoft applications seamlessly.
How Microsoft Dynamics CRM can streamline managing prospects
|Issue||Dynamics CRM solution|
|Missing follow ups||Integration with Microsoft Exchange and Outlook provides reminders for tasks and appointments in Outlook or on your mobile device, leaving no room for missing follow ups.|
|Not available anywhere on any device||The system is available from any internet connected PC, laptop, tablet or mobile and the layout is consistently familiar throughout.|
|Creating Excel spreadsheets for reporting||Powerful built in reporting makes it easy to create targets to check your prospecting activity against, for example the number of quality phone calls, or the number of appointments.|
|Not knowing what the next stage is||Create tailored process stages aligned to your business for team members to follow. These can be high level or a more detailed level depending on your requirements – either way, users can see what the next stage is, removing confusion and increasing system confidence.|
|No centralised view of prospects||Emails, phone calls and appointments are stored and tracked centrally and can be viewed by your team, ensuring your whole business can understand the unique relationship with each prospect.|
|Lists of records with columns you don’t need and filters that are not tailored||Easily create your own personalised views of data from any available field in the system, and use filter criteria to return just the data you want to see, from simple “this field equals this value” filters, to complex filters containing AND and OR statements.|
|Complex user interface||You can change form layouts, move any field within a form, create new form sections where you want them on screen. You can also expand frequently used areas of forms and collapse less frequently used areas. Users can see different forms per role that work off the same set of data but are tailored to that role’s daily needs. For example, quick data entry for field based staff versus detailed data entry for office based staff.|
|Inability to create custom fields||As your business changes or you need to store new information about your prospects, create new text fields, date fields, number fields, lookup fields and many more field types, to ensure you store all your prospecting data in a single system.|
|Users running manual calculations||Simple calculations to complex calculations including prospect scoring, fields that “rollup” data from other related records such as calculating the number of phone calls or appointments, and the ability to run workflows to automatically process calculations across the system and calculate fields in bulk.|
|Users having to repeat data||Populate field contents based on the values of other fields in the system, for example, fill in a probability rating based on the stage a prospect is up to. Save time for users and improve data quality for your reports by pre-populating prospect fields.|
A business solution like Microsoft Dynamics CRM transforms your prospecting database into one which helps you to achieve your desired business growth. Whether you have a specialist supplier system, another CRM system or are managing your prospecting process using spreadsheets, if you’re experiencing some of the above issues, it’s worth reviewing whether your current systems are hindering your business growth.
Make sure there are no blockages within the prospecting pipeline in your business by using the right tools for you and your team to manage this process.
Contact us if you would like to know more about making the best use of CRM in your business.