Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Getting Started With CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

By Dexter Duncan

It amazes me how many businesses or midsize company sales or service departments that do not take full advantage of modern CRM (Customer Relationship Management). Either they are using an ancient version with limited capability or they still rely on paper based processes. Some have invested heaps of money in a full ERP solution with supply chain, finance and human resource automation, but have never integrated a front-end sales and marketing solution.

The competition in the marketplace in general and from Microsoft and SalesForce in particular have made entry level CRM possible for all size businesses and departments. With all players focused on cloud based solutions and each offering their own set of integration options, there are many ways to spend very little money to get started, making it possible to invest and build on your solution as results are gained. Gone are the days of a twelve to twenty four month implementation plan before results can be gained.

CRM is intended to be a full life-cycle solution for managing customers from marketing to after sales support. The below is a sample sales solution that can broadly be implemented within five days and cost you less than $10,000. This give you a foundation to build onto. If you select a cloud based solution, you only pay on-going license fees based on usage and have no upfront hardware costs.

The functionality below are some of the areas you can consider implementing for under $10,000. Costs are kept in check by "time-boxing" the solution. The idea is to offer a time based solution that involves the key stakeholders to get a solution going within a week.

Sales Automation:

  • Account, contact, opportunity and activities
  • Basic workflow
  • Customisation of Objects and Fields
  • Data mapping, transformation, migration and data validation
  • Notes and Attachments
  • Lead Management, Routing and Assignments
  • E-mail templates and tracking
  • Analytics, reports and dashboards
  • Product catalogue
  • End user training

Note there are many areas not included in the above, such as territory management, full life-cycle management, contract management, customer portals, Service dashboards, etc., but the above is more than enough to improve your business and establish a foundation for the future.

The five days roughly include:

Day 1: Initiation and Analysis including a design workshop

Day 2 & 3: Configuration and Review - prototyping a solution based on design workshop for immediate feedback, allowing time for minor changes.

Day 4: Data Migration

Day 5: Training and Wrap-up

We are not promising a perfect solution, but instead a usable software that allows room to maximum staff efficiency in rolling out a foundational improvement to managing your client life-cycle.

Give your local technology partner a ring for more information.

See our website for more: For more advice and information on how you can streamline your IT to support your business, come to Empower IT solutions.

For IT Managed Services and Support for your Infrastructure Projects go to:

or for your Microsoft CRM or SharePoint solutions, go to:

About the author: Dexter Duncan is a Manager at Empower IT Solutions. Contact Dexter at

No comments: