Marketing efforts are only effective when they reach the right contacts. Therefore the importance of gathering the appropriate contacts and maintaining their accuracy is indispensable, as is the time and effort it takes to maintain your existing contact and opportunity base. Microsoft Dynamics CRM manages client relationships and relevant contact information, and should be a one stop location for company data. This is great in theory but most marketing and sales employees are just too busy to constantly update their accounts, contacts, and opportunities keeping old irrelevant information in the database which causes CRM to lose its effectiveness. CRM 2011 has taken these marketing and sales woes into consideration and the results go a long way towards a remedy.
CRM 2011’s Marketing Module has more advanced automation features which allow the user to import contacts from an outside list and segment the information with existing lists to develop the most relevant and powerful target lists. This automatic list creation and import directly from Microsoft Outlook can update contact data in CRM and vastly improves data management because it also removes duplicates. The mail merge function will create and distribute personalized emails to your contact list. After sending, the system can track invalid emails and those who wish to subscribe or unsubscribe to your mailing list further cleaning up and adding to your company’s contact data thus improving the marketing effort. Once the emails are sent out, an automatic workflow can be created to send confirmation emails to anyone on your list who has signed up or expressed interest. The response options can be based on previously determined criteria created in CRM. All of this is done as your first push for the campaign, with very little time and effort, while providing updated contact and opportunity data in CRM.
Once a campaign has been successfully executed, you have the ability to flag any prospects who are interested in related products for cross selling opportunities and can qualify future leads for your sales team. The new dashboards available in CRM 2011 illustrate a campaign’s effectiveness with charts and other user-specific visuals allowing everyone involved to view its effectiveness based on previous campaigns. The dashboards allow you to compare metrics, develop custom reports and analyze key market trends providing instant insight for future efforts across the company.
Microsoft CRM is also compatible with Facebook, LinkedIn and Windows Live Messenger further realizing how CRM and Social Media platforms work together to collect and manage real time data. The addition of the Outlook Social Media plugin over the summer has made it possible to pull a contact's newsfeed into Outlook and then into your company’s database – if it's CRM. This streaming feature can update a contact's information as it changes by syncing the incoming information directly with corresponding contacts in Microsoft Outlook.
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