The Technical and Human Hurdles of a New CRM Implementation

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It took Jamie Wilson, Coordinator of Global Operations for Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC) six months to evaluate all the CRM systems the nonprofit was considering. He looked at Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Siebel from Oracle, and Zoho. His top requirement was a CRM system that could offer tight integration between financials and billing.

Initially Wilson began advocating Microsoft Dynamics because it integrated with Sharepoint and Microsoft offered a decent nonprofit pricing scheme. But when Wilson made his final decision he advocated for Zoho because of its interoperability with other applications through its open API. CDISC uses so many different systems and Wilson discovered that a lot of them integrate with the Zoho API right out of the box.

Choosing a system that fit CDISC’s needs was Wilson’s first technical hurdle. Now he needed to get people to actually use the CRM system which was a major culture shift for the nonprofit. Just because you create the workflow processes it’s not easy to get people to stop inefficient behavior such as sending all communications via email and attaching documents to emails. Ultimately his job required a lot of follow up with members and leads on how to use a workflow to make their life a lot easier.

For any other nonprofit struggling with a similar situation of porting over legacy financial data, Wilson highly recommends you get your financial data in the most standard format possible and get ready for a long cutover period. You’ll have to rely on old Excel spreadsheets for a while until you can start relying on the live CRM data coming in.

For both technology and people, Wilson advised, “Don’t rush the money and be sensitive to people’s attitudes to how they do work.”

CRM Centralizes Data So Everyone Can Better Service Customers

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What most companies want out of their CRM is customization to generate reports, said Crisantos Hajibrahim of VIWO, a reseller of Google Apps and integrator of popular Zoho apps such as Zoho CRM and invoicing.

Generating reports is the most important aspect of CRM, said Hajibrahim who echoed Gene Marks’ top point in his keynote at the Zoho User Conference, Zoholics, in Burlingame, California.

To generate those reports, you need data. And it’s not just any data, it’s data that’s lined up for your needs. To get that data in such a format, you need a process and that often requires a fix to current processes and business methodologies. Hajibrahim said you need to ask yourself the question, “What is going wrong that needs to be fixed to generate the reports.”

Getting to that point requires a CRM Czar, said Hajibrahim. People have to buy into the idea of what the CRM does, the role it plays, and how the business uses it to support the customer.

If you don’t have a CRM, how is a guy you just hired two weeks ago going to know about your most important customers, asked Hajibrahim. “Everything has to be centralized so everyone can have access to better service your customers.”

ClickDesk integrates with Zoho CRM

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ClickDesk is a cloud based service that lets you communicate with website visitors directly from your instant messengers.

This is a guest post by Jagan Ganti, Product Specialist at ClickDesk.

With tight competition in most businesses these days, it is the level of customer support provided that determines their success. Also, the customer support agents should have all the basic information about the person in chat handy.

With ClickDesk, your visitors can chat from the website, while operators can respond conveniently from Google Talk or Skype. With the integrated browser phone (Flash – VoIP), visitors can also call you in any of the 3 ways – PC, Skype or by using local access numbers provided in 40 countries. You can receive the calls on your mobile phones, desk phones or even on your Instant Messenger.

ClickDesk now integrates with Zoho CRM, thus giving you instant access to your customer info while you are chatting with your customers. A live chat support tool with tight integration to your CRM system is a powerful combo. Customer support agents can view the visitor’s details, provide live support using their instant messenger on their laptops or mobile phones and can even update the lead details in Zoho CRM instantly.

What does this mean for users of ClickDesk + Zoho CRM?

The ClickDesk-Zoho CRM integration can automatically retrieve visitor’s details present in your Zoho CRM account and provide it along with other information such as IP address, country, referrer URL etc. You can then add notes directly from your instant messenger by using the short command /note option. The entire chat transcript also gets posted in the notes section after the end of each live chat session for further reference.

Find out more about this integration here.

What do you think of the integration? Do try it and let us know.

– Jagan

Build better Customer Relationships. Facebook Integration is here!

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Check out some of these statistics about Facebook.

  1. If Facebook were a country, it would be the world’s third largest.
  2. An average user has 130 friends.
  3. 67% of B2C and 41% of B2B companies that use Facebook for marketing have acquired a customer through this channel.

This makes me wonder: How would it be if a sales rep could use the power of people on Facebook? Imagine how much you’d benefit if your CRM account is integrated with Facebook?

Zoho CRM now offers an integration with Facebook, thus bringing your customers’ Facebook profiles inside your CRM account itself.

So, how does this help to build better customer relationships? Here are a few ways:

Instant information about your prospect:
You have a lead with you. All you have is the email id. How do you know more about this person before shooting that email? With the ability to associate Facebook profiles, you get most details – like their professional history, designation, schooling, location, etc inside the contact detail page. And with that info, you’re all set to make the follow-up with the prospect a success.

Facilitate faster decision making:
A prospect of yours has mentioned about your product in an update. Adding a reply to this comment is possible from the contact’s detail page itself. You not only engage your prospects in a conversation, but also help them get the right answers, right from inside your CRM account.

Know your customers better:
Says Rebecca Lieb in her book, Content Marketing: Think Like a Publisher, “Wall posts create a dialogue with users, friends and fans offering marketers an opportunity to be reactive as well as proactive in terms of content…” This can very well be extended to the sales teams too. The selling process does not end when a prospect ‘buys’ your product. You can be up-to-date with a customer’s updates and even comment or like them without leaving your CRM account. So, the next time you make that call – just to say “Hello” or to talk about a new offer – you know how to keep the conversation going!

These are just a few ways in which you could use the Facebook Integration, and we’d like you to tell us more. Do try this out and leave your comments below.

We also have an Online Guide to get you started.

We started off social CRM with the LinkedIn Integration, now it’s Facebook. Next..? :)

Reach out to customers on birthdays and holidays with Coconect and Zoho CRM

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This is a Guest Post by Melinda Yeoh, CEO of Coconect.com

We understand that it’s tedious to remember and send birthday greetings to customers. Also, when you are busy, it’s easy to lose track of the time where you didn’t keep in touch with your contacts – An easy mistake for most business owners & sales professionals.

Coconect now integrates with Zoho CRM so that you will never miss sending birthday greetings to your customers. Plus, you’ll have a systematic way to schedule in bulk and send messages, the whole year through. You also do not have to set reminders and tasks for each contact one by one, hooray! All you have to do is to link your Zoho CRM contacts, and your e-card or text messages will be sent to your contacts for the whole year.

Why are we doing this? We believe that every great business is built on relationships. And two things are needed to build a relationship – time and effort. We cut down both, and even added some fun in exchange! Coconect is an efficient way to build relationships and stay in touch consistently with many customers in one go. While Zoho CRM concentrates on helping you to manage contacts and follow up your sales & marketing pipeline; Coconect provides an extension to reach out consistently to your contacts on holidays and events, without overloading them on sales messages.

Go ahead and give it a try, we are pretty sure that your customers will be impressed by your thoughtfulness.

Oh yes, join us on Facebook too.  Looking forward to see ya!

– Melinda

Key to social CRM success is simple integration of products and channels

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Integrating CRM with business processes is both a challenge
and an opportunity. Not only are we faced with a proliferation of products, but
also channels. Every day we wake up there is a new social media forum that our
customers can touch us with, said Om Kundu who is on the Editorial Advisory
Board for CRM Journal, and Director of Thought Leadership for ATP Board.

Are you taking advantage of opportunities? How aggressive
are you integrating your CRM with products and channels?

TeamSupport.com Integrates with Zoho CRM

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This is a guest post by Robert C. Johnson, CEO of TeamSupport.com.



TeamSupport.com, a cloud based customer support management solution, is excited to announce the completion of a powerful new integration with Zoho CRM.

Once the simple setup is completed, the integration provides for the seamless transfer of select customer and contact information from Zoho CRM directly into TeamSupport.  When new support tickets are created in TeamSupport they are automatically added as notes into Zoho so that the sales team can be kept in the loop on support issues.

The transfer and update of contact names, addresses and phone numbers happens seamlessly in the background with no intervention required by either TeamSupport or Zoho users.  When a Zoho user marks an account as a “Customer” then that data is automatically sent to TeamSupport.

TeamSupport is a powerfully simple customer support software, and our integration with Zoho CRM brings two best of breed solutions together for our mutual customers.  We’re very excited about our integration with Zoho and look forward to a great partnership!

Read more about the TeamSupport – Zoho CRM integration here.