Put Microsoft Dynamics CRM Into Action To Increase Profitability

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Do you sell products, offer services or both? While CRM initiatives can, and often do, combine sales and service, implementing either a sales or service solution alone is also a valid approach. Here are examples of CRM implemented in medium-sized environments:

Sales Reps managed by a VP serving a national company with territories grouped by state and one territory serving major accounts. Several inside sales reps sell direct to individual consumers. Inside and outside sales each maintain unique islands of information. Sharing information between territories, and between inside and outside sales, is not practical. Monthly sales forecasts are needed of course, and sometimes accuracy is a problem. Sound at all familiar? This scenario presents challenges that can be addressed by a CRM solution that provides:

  • A business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales solution
  • Leads and sales opportunities assigned automatically to sales staff
  • Accurate tracking of leads and sales opportunities
  • Application of standard sales processes for leads and sales opportunities so they can be handled more efficiently and close more consistently
  • And, critical opportunity information can be easily prioritized and tracked
  • Lead information from lists, with unproven potential, can be separately managed
  • Forecasting of opportunities, based on complete and consistent opportunity information will be possible

Warranty and extended service contracts are only part of the workload for this customer service environment. Customer calls average about 50 per day, handled by three customer service reps. Their supervisor manages contracts. OK so far, but there’s 200% growth projected over the next 24 months.

Contracts are in one database and requests for service are tracked in another. Each customer service rep looks up customer contract status when calls come in. Sometimes the customer is in the contract database but not in the service database. It’s difficult to determine if a contract is expired or on hold and what service remains on each contract. Also, many customers have similar questions. Short of searching the entire database of calls, it is difficult to provide consistent (and accurate) answers.

What are some solutions CRM could provide in this situation?

  • An integrated database of contracts and service cases could allow: identification of a customer’s contract(s) that are neither expired nor on hold and the ability to determine which contract(s) are available, have available time or cases and linking a contract directly to a service case
  • Contracts that support multiple links and addresses at a customer for billing and service
  • Automatic deduction of time or service incidents against a contract as services are provided
  • A history of service calls by account and/or contact to help staff understand better a customer’s level of expertise and provide better quality answers
  • Tracking and categorization of service cases to enable searching for similar solutions
  • A knowledge base management system providing steps from entry through approval of resolutions for service- or policy-related questions

Maybe with these faculties, the increase in service calls will be manageable.

Service and Sales
What if both of the scenarios above were combined? Sales reps really do need history about service activities; and it could help customer service to know what kinds of opportunities were in the works for their customers. Customer service folks could even advise sales when they discovered that a customer needs a product or service.

CRM for both Sales and Service could give an organization the ability to understand the needs and wants of their customers and provide the sales support and service levels individual customers require.

Your Bottom Line
Isn’t there value added for your customers by providing these capabilities? What if you were the source who could provide the products, services, and answers a customer needs when they need them … why would a customer want to work with anyone else?

That’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM in practice. Provide a customer with what they want, nurture a relationship of trust, and you both win.

 By Sikich, a leading Chicago IL Microsoft Dynamics CRM partner serving IL, IN and MO

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