How Microsoft Dynamics CRM Can Help Recession-Proof Your Business

The instability of the Canadian economy combined with small growing organizations reluctant to take the leap toward CRM got me thinking about the fears in the minds of the people running those businesses. I’m here to assure you that Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help you to “recession-proof” your business by unlocking revenue by driving sales and reducing your overall operating costs.  If this interests you, read on.

First, let me tell you what Microsoft Dynamics CRM is to me.  It’s a starter-platform that can be configured to meet the requirements of any business who needs help getting and retaining customers.  It’s a simplistic statement, but it has far reaching positive impacts for many types of businesses from retail to higher education to local governments and beyond.  You can make it yours.

Real Time Metrics to Make Decisions Fast

The Sales and Marketing modules of Dynamics CRM are the key to getting and retaining customers and during a recession, this becomes critical for every company.  Your sales and marketing departments should be working together and chances are there is a disconnect somewhere.  So how will this help?  The data needs to flow through the system from lead to order so that you can get the metrics you need to figure out if your efforts are really driving your business.  Excel just won’t cut it. Each business unit needs to slice their data differently; managers in different departments want to see different things.  You need to do this without duplicating data entry that will double or triple your resource costs. You get this effort reduction from a solution like Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  The real time metrics allows you to make decisions and concentrate on areas or opportunities that will provide the biggest value to your organization.

Use of Proper Methodologies and Processes

Let’s say Marketing attends three conferences a year. We’ll call them Conference A, B and C. Each of these conferences provide about 300 leads in the form of business cards or perhaps lists from the conference organizers.  Some may already be qualified but most will not be.  After the conference, the list or business cards are handed off to the Sales department with the assumption that Sales will contact each one and hopefully get some bona fide leads that turn into sales. This scenario is not likely to happen if you don’t have a tool that can track your touch points from end-to-end and remind staff to follow-up on hot leads. Instituting a good sales methodology that everyone follows is important. What if one of your sales staff wins the lottery tomorrow and decides on instant retirement? Where are your leads? Where are they at in the process? Is there a quote pending? No one knows but that staff member as they are working in a silo on their own PC.

Tracking your leads also helps you to determine which of your conferences you should keep attending and perhaps put more money into.  If conference leads-to-sales ratios are A – 300:10, B – 300:100, C – 300:50 and you need to cut some costs to help weather the recession, you will have the statistics in your CRM to quickly know that Conference A just isn’t cutting it so you can save the $50,000 you normally spend on it every year and find another avenue that can help drive sales.  You also know with these metrics that Conference B is really worth attending. Put your money into what is working for your business.

Exploit self-service options

You can consider self-service to help staff focus on new opportunities.  Do your customers call in frequently to ask for Order or Shipment details? Having these details in CRM and allowing customers to login to your website and view these details themselves will make the customer happy.  It will also keep your operating costs down.  Microsoft has a CRM portal add-in that allows for easy configuration of simple deployments without development. You can create a whole new website or marry the application in with your existing site. The choices are up to you and the self-service options are limitless.

Invest in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

You may be thinking this is a great idea but you simply cannot spend the money; you can’t afford it. But can you really afford not to?  Our CRM Practice Lead, Ray Damphousse has summed it up nicely. “CRM is an investment, not a cost.”  This statement reflects the Return on Investment (ROI) that we see regularly within our practice. In discussing recession-proofing with CRM he makes a valid point, “Customers don’t have to implement all at once, decide where the solution is going to give you the most value first.”  Many clients believe that they have to complete it all but that’s the beauty of CRM; do what your business needs now and break your project over phases, over months and over years if you really have to.

Contact us today to find out how our CRM Consulting team can help you to recession proof your business.

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