Category Archives: CRM
Some time back I bought a Lenovo Z580 laptop for my son. From the start he had problems with the mouse. My son is pretty “tech savvy” — but he kept having problems. Finally we agreed to mail it to Lenovo to replace the trackpad.
We mailed off the Z580 for repairs 6/24 and it never came back.
5 weeks in we were MAD and one day Lenovo customer support called US. They offered to replace the PC. My son if he could get one (same model) with a better graphics card and they said “Sorry, it is out of stock, would you like a different model?”
Well my son is a GEEK. He knew Lenovo had just come out (2 weeks earlier) with a new gaming PC that cost $800 more than his old one cost NEW. He asked if he could possibly get it.
They said YES!!!!
Yesterday at 6:00 PM UPS delivered his brand new Lenovo y410p gaming laptop! Woo hoo — way to go Lenovo! Thanks to Debbie on the Lenovo CRM team! THAT is customer relationship management — do you think we’d consider buying a different brand any time soon?
When it comes to making money with technology a key is knowing who your customers are, what they buy (and why they buy it) — so that you can then offer them the products and services that they need. It is much easier to sell new products and services to existing customers than to attract a new customer — and a great new technology that allows you to discover unique customer segments one that does micro-segmentation.
Recently Microsoft acquired YaData, a company with a software tool that provides advertisers with richer targeting capabilities than they could otherwise have — CRM business intelligence. This software makes money for its users by more pinpoint targeting of what sells and how to offer complimentary offers.
Marketers for years worked with anecdotal information (a successful sale here being exploited in ads, or marketing what the competitors are selling. With micro-segmentation science is now clearly identifying what sells.
One great thing about YaData is that it includes segment discovery. Normally data mining (being able to make “what if I did this?” type of questions based on existing data) requires us humans to make the initial assumption. The problem with this is that our assumptions may be wrong and we waste a lot of time going down a path that is not fruitful.
YaData has behavioral targeting tools within its online advertising platform, which lets marketers provide more focused and relevant advertising. The benefit includes better ROI for advertisers, higher yields for publishers and more on target advertising for consumers. The software discovers and managemes market segments (rather than having people identify the segments as with traditional data mining). YaData uses a search engine, and the system is designed to discover consumer behavior patterns and then sort them into segments. This actually has a name all its own: segmentation relationship management (SRM). The YaData engine can analyze companies’ quantitative databases on the basis of hundreds of variables, in order to create clusters.
Interesting enough, YaData originally received much of its funding from Oracle, only to be sold to Microsoft! Strange world!
Hal Howard has been promoted to corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics ERP Research and Development, from general manager. Hal is an amazing person, who has overseen the four ERP solutions Microsoft acquired years ago Dynamics AX was Axapta, Dynamics GP was Great Plains · Dynamics NAV was Navision, and Dynamics SL was Solomon. . . and the terrific Microsoft Dynamics CRM which is modeled after Microsoft’s email product, Outlook.
I’m very late on my congrats — as this happened in January. Oops, sorry it took me so long to notice, Hal! Still, no one deserves it more.
Speaking of the Dynamics family, there is news on that front from Convergence 2010 Europe. Both the ERP products and the CRM offer have done very well, and the CRM product has penetrated the Fortune 500 — not its initial target. It was initially aimed at small and medium sized businesses. Unlike many CRM platforms, Dynamics does not cost a fortune to implement. The “big boy” CRM suites cost at least $1 in professional services to integrate it and customize it for every $1 spent on the purchase.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM integrates with Outlook so most people can be productive on day one — it is not a huge learning or integration curve — although it can be customized and integrated if need be. Now at Convergence 2010 Europe the long awaited cloud (SaaS — software as a service) version is said to be available very soon.
This aims Microsoft Dynamics CRM squarely at Salesforce.com — the leader in SaaS CRM. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online will have launch events sometime in January 2011. The beta of Dynamics CRM 2011 is currently available, having been released in September. If you want to check it out, now is a perfect opportunity!
Since this blog is about making money (or saving money) with technology — which is the goal of good customer relations facilitated by CRM — definitely take a look at the beta of CRM 2011 and also consider the very attractive promotional price for Dynamics CRM Online of $34 (31 Euros) per user per month for the first year of service. This price is available to new customers and will start when Dynamics CRM Online is launched in January. The offer will end on June 30, 2011.
Again, congratulations Hal!
Years ago, I ran product management for several industry specific CRM data warehouses (in other words, business intelligence) for Teradata . My team worked with large Teradata customers including Wal-Mart, Bell South (now AT&T), Delta and Continental Airlines and other household names who were using Teradata to locate all their customer data and compile it in a system capable of analyzing customer buying trends. The goal was to increase cross selling and up-selling to existing customers as well as to retain them (at least the profitable ones!). Data mining (“what if I did X instead of Y”) type analysis could help target new customers as well.
It was interesting, and profitable. The customers targeted in different market segments (like Retail, Banking, Telecom, Travel, Hospitality and Healthcare) saved money because they did not have to “tweak” generic systems to their industry variances. It was profitable for Teradata, because a good chunk of development could be spread over multiple customers instead of starting from “scratch” each time.
No CRM solution can be 100% “off the shelf” — even for small businesses. There are certain things that are unique to the way a company does business. Yet, the more that can be “out of the box” and functional, the faster the rewards and the easier to get it up and running.
The reason I’m traveling down memory lane is because last week I received an email from Lauren Carlson, a CRM Market Analyst. She wondered if I’d be interested in blogging on the topic of industry specific CRM applications built around Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
If you’ve read my blog for awhile you may know I am a big fan of Dynamics CRM. My curiosity was raised so I check out her blog, “Microsoft Dynamics CRM Industry Solutions: Our 15 Favorites.” Since there are over 750 industry solutions built around Dynamics CRM this was quite an undertaking!
For easy navigation, the article links each industry to its corresponding solution:
If you take a look at any of these solutions for your industry segment heed these warnings: check out the vendor’s track record for keeping up to date with Dynamics CRM. Any time you have a third party “adding value” to another vendor’s product they can begin to slip behind in updates. Suddenly your third party application may not work with newer releases. Also, in your contract with the third party ask what happens if they go out of business. Any customer / vendor relationship is a bit like a marriage — so go into your relationship with your eyes wide open, and a pre-nup in hand!
It also behooves you to check some happy users who have been with the third party independent software vendor (ISV) for a few years, to make sure the customer support and “bug fixes” are fast and relatively painless. Keep in mind that you are paying a premium for the value add of the industry specific application (although you may get a discount on the CRM software) — do your due diligence to determine if the value you will get makes the additional cost of the third party application cost effective for your business.