6 Ways to Sell Management on CRM

A useful white paper from Ziff Davis on the benefits of CRM to management can be downloaded here

Two wrongs don’t make a right. However, bad technology can make your whole business model seem wrong. When the boss doesn’t want to spend the cash, it may take some convincing to make things right.

The Ziff Davis guide can help you.

Download “6 Ways to Sell Management on CRM” to find out how to:
• Get beyond talks about money and focus on business value
• Discern between the top CRM systems for your industry
• Build a case for your business’ future
• Dispell common CRM myths

Good CRM needs good Processes….

Excellence in CRM is not just about having a database with lots of fields, you need supporting processes too. Users need to know what’s expected of them, what information to record, who needs to record it, and when.

Great article here that supports this idea: http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/insidecrm/excellence-in-crm-70887?reftrk=no&trdref=4232425265674d61696c696e673a496e736964652d43524d&mailing_id=1543371

The risks of SAAS or online cloud based systems

We have regular conversations with clients who say ‘I want it in the cloud’ we say ‘Why?’ The answer always seems to be ‘well everyone has cloud based systems’. We then have to explain the risks of taking this approach and the limitations of this approach.

Don’t get us wrong, there are some clear benefits of web-based systems and modern business is wholly dependent on websites and email to make them work but when you lose access to your documents, your email you’re a bit stuck.

It’s a bit like the ‘Kings New Clothes’ everyone saying how great it is not wanting to accept the reality so as not to look silly without realising how exposed they are, and they are tempted by low prices always thinking of saving a few pounds.

And then today this happens Office 365 and Azure are offline.

We rest our case.


Act! Premium Hosted – Accreditation

We are please to announce that Project Support Ltd are fully accredited to the new Act! Premium Hosted product available from Swiftpage. Act! Premium Hosted will soon be available to customers in the UK.

Our websites will be updated as soon as this new product is available – in the meantime we can be contacted on 01473 659551 to discuss…


How to drive CRM adoption….

Sensible article addressing the main points which will drive success, or failure, when implementing CRM http://hosteddocs.ittoolbox.com/zdwphow_to_drive_crm_adoption.pdf

Interesting article on the impact of CRM and small business

The customer relationship management (CRM) solution market has all manner of applications, from customizable on-premise systems to easy-to-use solutions that integrate right into your email. Even enterprises fall into the trap of getting CRMs filled with features they never use. See more…

Keeping your CRM data clean

Useful article on the importance of keeping CRM data clean and up to date: CRM:Clean Your Data

SQL Server 2005 Support ending soon – Act! 2007, Act! 2008, Act! 2009, Act!2010

Microsoft has announced that as of April 12, 2016, they will no longer be supporting Microsoft SQL Server 2005 – see more info here

How does this impact Act! users?

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 is used in the following versions of Act!:

  • Act! 9.0 (Act! by Sage 2007)
  • Act! 10.0 (Act! by Sage 2008)
  • Act! 11.0 (Act! by Sage 2009)
  • Act! 12.0 (Act! by Sage 2010) – although some Act! 12.0 versions may use SQL 2008 R2

If you are using a version of Act! that communicates with SQL Server 2005, it is strongly recommended that you upgrade your database to the latest version of Act! so that it can communicate with a newer and supported version of SQL. When you upgrade to a more recent version of Act! you will also receive a more recent version of SQL that will remain supported by Microsoft.

The current version of SQL Server deployed with Act! is SQL Server 2014

Contact Us for help and advice with upgrading Act!

Act! Version 18 and Act! Premium Hosted – due soon….

We’re pleased to be able to report that Act! v18 is waiting in the wings, the launch date is yet to be announced but it’s imminent and promises further enhancements to functionality, look and feel.

Also, ‘Act! Premium Hosted’ will also soon be available for clients who want to be able to access their databases whilst out and about and do not have their own hosting facilities.

With the launch of Act! Premium Hosted it means that Swiftpage Act! will have the widest range of CRM options available whether it means, on premise, hosting in ‘your cloud’, hosting by Swiftpage.

We will update our main Act! website as soon as Act! Premium Hosted is launched




How to organise a Telemarketing or Telesales Database ?

How to organise a telemarketing database ?…..

….it’s a question that needs answering as we know people are searching for an answer when they find our website.

So, how should you organise a telemarketing database? or organise a sales database? essentially they are likely to be very similar.

To decide how to structure your database you first need to engage the users:

  • User Engagement

Organise a workshop style meeting with the people and teams that will use it to ensure they have an input in the database design. This not only means the ‘inputters’ but the people that will use the data for reports.

It’s an essential meeting and guaranteed to generate some interesting conversations as it might be the first time they have got together and shared opinions. Stay focussed and be prepared to make recommendations!

This meeting will identify some aspects and requirements that you may not have been aware of and of course it will support the training that users will attend when the database is delivered.

During the meeting you should then consider all of the following:

  • Reporting Requirements

So you are setting up a database, no doubt you will want to generate reports and produce statistics to monitor progress and success rates. You cannot report on something that is not in the database!

Consider this in the database design and add the fields and options that you will need.

  • Database fields

Your database needs to have the right fields to support your sales activities and your business, think these through carefully. Make sure that the options available in each field make sense and are actually valid.

If you are canvassing potential customers you may well need specific database fields to capture their interests, or suitability for the specific products and services being offered. You should also consider recording what products they buy currently if they are already your customers. All of this will help support future marketing and sales activities.

When considering future marketing think about flag fields on the database to identify marketing preferences e.g.  email marketing, telephone marketing, postal marketing.

  • Structured data!

What do we mean ‘Structured data?’

It’s very difficult to produce meaningful reports from a database where the fields just contain free text. To produce accurate reports the data must be structured, that means where appropriate the database fields should always use centralised ‘Drop Down Lists’

Just think how many ways a light bulb can be described, not only that if you take into account possible spelling errors, free text fields should be avoided at all costs.

Whilst we are on the subject of data you should also consider ‘mandatory fields’ i.e. a field that must contain a value. These should be used with caution but so many times we see databases where key data is missing and this could easily be avoided.

  • Sales processes & Opportunity Management

Business processes play a big part in sales databases, you’ll need to track at what stage a sale is at but you should also ensure that contacts are categorised accurately. Are they ‘Suspects’, ‘Prospects’, ‘Customers’ all of this will aid reporting and database queries. To support this see ‘Structured Data!’

  • Document or Quote production

So you are capturing prospect and customer data in the database, how are you going to communicate with them? Whether it is by email or post you will want to ensure that all communications support your brand and conform to your standards.

The answer is to integrate your database with your email system and MS Word and produce documents automatically populated with the customer specific information from shared templates.

Those communications can then be attached to the contact record in the database so that all users can access them and see ‘who said what to who and when’

  • Activity scheduling and recording

This links to Reporting, because most Sales Managers and MD’s we speak to want to know ‘how many phone calls have been made and by who?’ or ‘who attended client meetings this month?’

The database will need to have the ability to record these activities and also schedule future activities. The requirement to have ‘custom activities’ in a database to support the specifics of services offered, is a regular requirement and links back to structured data.

  • System usability

It’s no good having a database with hundreds of fields capturing masses of information unless it is laid out on screen in a manner that’s easy to use and information is easy to locate. Some data fields will be more important than others, e.g. the name of the person, their company name, their phone number, their email address etc.

Some data needs to be on the front screen can be placed on tabs and accessed when needed. Use colour to highlight fields, bound fields with boxes, do whatever you can to make the screen attractive.

This aspect is regularly overlooked but if done well it will help immensely in user adoption and success of the database implementation.

There are also other factors that should be considered, but these are the main ones that have priority. If you need assistance give us a call.




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