Author Archives: PHadmin

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EDI Integration – What Are the Benefits of Business System Integration? CRM Integration?

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The EDI Integration provides many benefits to the Business World. Computer-to-computer exchange of information is much less expensive than handling paper documents. Studies have shown that manually processing a paper-based order can cost $70 or more while processing an EDI order costs less than one dollar.

  • Much less labor time is required
  • Fewer errors occur because computer systems process the documents rather than processing by hand
  • Business transactions flow faster.

EDI helps to reduce Cost and improve efficiency, considering a fairly simple example of non-EDI-based purchase, wherein a customer needs 365 widgets, and he/she creates a purchase order, gets it printed and mails it over. As the supplier receives the order, he/she types it into the computer system of the company. This is followed by the inventory in-charge pulling up the order and shipping out the concerned widgets.

By removing the manual keying of key business documents such as Orders, Invoices, Acknowledgments and Despatch Notes your company can benefit significantly from:

  • reduced labor costs
  • elimination of human keying errors
  • faster document processing
  • instant document retrieval
  • removal of reliance on the postal service

Once all this is done, the supplier mails the generated invoice, and looking at the sequence of steps to be followed, one can imagine that the entire process would surely require several days, whereas EDI comes with enormous potential to cut short all the delays, and shorten the process drastically! With EDI its all paperless PO, Paperless Invoice, Paperless electronic Ordering and more. Send EDI 850, EDI 856, EDI 855 and EDI 977 are the documents which will do their job and two trading partners can exchange documents in seconds.

With the help of EDI services, the process of sending documents like invoices, purchase orders hardly take a few minutes because everything is done electronically, rather than being done manually. It may have initial cost to it but it cuts down the everyday cost drastically and improves ROI on investment.


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As a matter of fact, the biggest advantage of an EDI system is essentially its capability to eliminate the necessity to re-key the received data, which means that you end up saving lot of human labour as well as time. Moreover, absence of human involvement in the process also eliminates the possibility of errors being committed by the data entry operators, hence improving the accuracy, reliability, stability and efficiency of the entire system.

A typical EDI system takes many other factors into considerations and essentially helps in upgrading the performance of a system at a meagre cost, and processing becomes much easier and faster. With an efficient EDI system in place, a company can easily receive and process an order, and even release its in-voice along with the shipment on the same day.

In a broader way it means greater customer satisfaction, due to faster processing, and zero processing error-rate, and the EDI services like order form 810 etc also facilitate an organization to handle large volumes of work on a daily basis.

Over time, as the usage of EDI services and systems has increased drastically, the operating cost has also reduced considerably, and today it is quite affordable for any small-mid size company to deploy an EDI system with their business.

Channel Integration is a company which helps in in-house and outsourced EDI solutions.. The EDI reporting services are also highly effective and allow easy auditing to ensure that the work is being carried out smoothly within the organization and any kind of discrepancy can be easily spotted as there’s no manual work involved. With the tremendous upsurge recorded in the EDI industry over the last decade or so, the EDI transactions are expected to grow to even larger scale and quite obviously more and more companies would be looking to incorporate the EDI system into their business in near future.

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Source by Sarab Singh


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Evaluating Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software – Increase Productivity Database

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As I work with clients this tool is becoming increasingly important. To try to track your correspondence, email, documents, phone calls and appointments with your customers and prospects is nearly impossible to do on paper. I have yet to find someone who has done it successfully. Even those people who are not computer savvy need to understand and learn this powerful tool. Why? Because it can increase your productivity and bottom line.

Before you even evaluate a CRM you need to be very clear and concise about what you are interested in tracking. Sit down, take out a piece of paper, yes paper, and make columns. Now put the name of your hats/roles at the top of each column. For example, administrative personnel, customer service, sales person, etc. Think about what you have to do for that hat and list those duties. Now ask yourself, “What would I need to track on that list?” The reason you do this is so you have very clearly defined needs. This will help you develop your criteria.

Below is some of the criteria that a client and I developed with the method above. Your criteria may have some of these same needs along with ones specific to you and your business.

o Manage all email accounts all in one place.

o Have access to your history of phone calls, emails, etc under that specific person you are establishing or continuing a relationship with (clients, potential, leads, strategic partners, etc.)

o Manage a schedule with the ability to move appointments around with your mouse. (drop and drag)

o Manage workflow with the ability to set up a schedule for automated tasks and workflow for specific hats/roles.

o Create a custom newsletter with the ability to personalize it and mirrors the website for consistency.

o The ability to save documents in the software so you do not have to keep them in my documents on your computer.

o To be able to email and forward those documents from within the system to other individuals or email recipients.

o Have multiple users so there is a separate log in for each person to control access and security.

o Sync with phone.

o Grow with your company so you can upgrade services as you need them. (long term expansion and growth)

o Export not only the contact data but the history also so if you choose to stop using the service you have all the information that has been entered and tracked. That it be exported in a form that another program can read.

What is so powerful about this list is the amount of time you will save researching options. If you do a Google search on web based CRMs for example, you will get multiple programs to choose from.


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However, all of them will not do what you need. Start by visiting the site and doing their overview demo. See if you like the way the program looks, is laid out and if it looks easy to use. Once the program fulfills those criteria, you can contact customer service or technical support with your list of specific criteria you developed while examining the workflow. If the software comes back with 90% of what you are looking for, great. But a deal breaker could be what is not included. Make sure you know what you must have and what you would like to have. If the program can not do the must haves, they are not even in the running.

Once you get your answers back and you narrow it down to the programs that meet all your “must haves” and most of your wants, schedule a demo for those programs with a live person. Have them show you not only an overview but how you would perform the tasks on the criteria list. This will allow you to narrow down the options further.

Finally, when you have narrowed it down to two or three software packages, do the free trial for each. Put test information into the programs to take them for a test drive yourself. Pull out your list of criteria and try doing all of those items on the list. Also, use the program just as if you were doing utilizing it in your everyday workflow. This final step will eliminate any contenders and leave you with your CRM champion for your needs and business.

Lastly, make sure that you purchase a program that is well supported, easy to get data in and out of and the company will assist you in setting up the system for your needs. If it is not easy to use… well you know the story. Your CRM will be just like the treadmill that is a clothes hanger.

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Source by Cynthia Marsh-Croll


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Guidelines For Selecting A CRM Vendor

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Whether you sell homemade socks or provide valuable computer hardware, you definitely need to make sure that your customer base is pleased with you, and one way to ensure that they continue to look upon you fondly is by making sure that your customer relationship management abilities remain high. If you are considering getting software that allows you to improve your ability to interact with your customers, there are quite a few things that you can do to make sure that you get the right vendors.

Remember that the best CRM software out there is not necessarily the one that is the most expensive or the one that has the most features; the best CRM software for you will specifically meet your needs, no matter how few or how many that there are. The key to any good network is specialization, and no matter how good a program is, if it doesn’t meet your needs, you’ll never be able to realize your own business’s potential. The first step you should take upon deciding that you need good CRM software is deciding what it needs to do. Do you want to give customers a direct line of communication to your office? Do you want to give your audience a good way to check their orders or to make complaints? Figuring out what you want from CRM software will let you know how to direct your search for vendors.

When looking for vendors for CRM software, you have a wide pool to choose from. A quick net search will turn up dozens of names and companies, but out of those companies, who is going to to provide you with with the best service and the best software interface? One way to find a good CRM vendor is by referral. Do you know of someone who recently got CRM software installed? Ask them who they went to and if they would go again. Remember that when you are looking for a good CRM vendor, he should have some experience in your field or industry. A good CRM vendor will be able to install your new software with a minimum amount of fuss and ensure that everything displays correctly.


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When you have a good list of criteria, it may be to your advantage to think about putting out a request for proposals (RFP) to different companies. A good RFP will tell these companies what you are looking to spend, what you need done and allow them to really show off what they can do. A good CRM vendor will be able to do a lot with a RFP, and you’ll see some results which have been custom tailored for you.

If you are in the market for CRM software, make sure that you make a good decision on CRM vendors. Do your research and remember that your CRM software should be as specifically tailored to your work as possible!

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Source by Andrew Winthorp


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How CRM Software Programs Helps in Sales Force Automation (SFA)

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a widely practiced method for improving customer service of a company/organization. CRM systems are software integrated systems which help in CRM. The specialized CRM software programs in these systems automate all business processes, from tracking customers to large business undertakings. The basic application of a CRM software program is sales force automation (SFA), which serves as the base for all CRM practices.

Sales force automation, also known as employee automation, includes automation of all employee related proceedings and procedures. This include automation of information sharing, opportunity management, order tracking, order processing, lead reporting and lead routing, contact management, inventory monitoring and control, employee performance evaluation, customer management, sales analytics, quota management, partner tracking, sales forecast analysis, and trouble shooting. The powerful analytical tools integrated in a CRM solution help to tackle difficult tabulation problems easily.

CRM software or sales force automation software improves the productivity and customer satisfaction level of a company/enterprise. All sales force automation techniques help the company to maintain the cutting edge in a business. SFA software programs are primarily CRM software versions, customized for this purpose. The Sales force automation functions are extended in marketing, sales and service providing fields.

The key infrastructure requirements of sales force automation like database management, integrated product configuration and mobile synchronization are satisfied by a CRM system. The point click customization facility of CRM systems imparts flexibility to sales management system. Open source or customizable CRM software programs available today enable company management to add additional tools on demand to the basic program. This feature becomes much more important to many service providing and product marketing companies, who have to redesign their user interface with the introduction of new plans and products.


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A well planned sales force automation process can greatly boost all customer relationship management practices. Sales automation provides an effective assistance to all level personals involved in a business. SFA reduces paper works, time expenditure and money expenditure involved in tracking and co-coordinating all business proceedings. The real time information access helps employees to offer better service to the customers. The sophisticated communication possibilities built-in these CRM systems assist the employees to fulfill their target within the allotted time. Better SFA solutions help organizations to improve the ratio between selling time and non selling time.

From an administrational point of view, SFA through CRM systems integrates all administrational efforts. It helps the company managers to effectively control their sales team. The CRM facilities like real time status reporting, lead visibility and order tracking help to encourage their sales team to fulfill their goals. The accurate information online about the business trends helps company officials to answer the critical questions in the business. Advanced sales force automation software programs also help company officials to analyze their competitor trends and to plan better business practices according to that.

In shortly, sales force automation is one of the objectives of a CRM practice. But what make it different from other objective is it provides the base for all other practices. SFA capabilities are useful for formulating and serving matchless product practices to impress the customers. A successful SFA practice enables the companies to experiment more in designing better services with increased customer loyalty. May be this is the reason why all modern day companies, regardless of their status and size, pay more importance to all customer relationship management practices.

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Source by Grady Hawley


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Web Based CRM Software Web Forms

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Web forms are a central part of web based CRM software. After all, the end goal when a user is visiting your website is to gather their contact information. Today, email is king. When you have an email address you own that contact.

Day in and day out I see web marketers requesting way too much information on their web forms. Of course sometimes it’s necessary to have long form web forms. However, if you’re looking for more raw subscribers fast then you want your web based CRM software web forms to be easy and simple to fill out.

The revolution of Email Address Only web forms has hit! That means the only information your contact needs to enter in is their email address. If they want more information they can fill out a longer web form later later, but it’s so important to get their email that it’s better to leave out other information and get it later.

First, a proper landing page will be all about getting that email address. You should give away the world to get that email address. Free Reports, Free Videos, Free eBooks, etc. Anything digital. If you can give them three things, consumable in different formats (audio, visual, text) then you are far more likely to get them to opt in.

Second, and this is where web based CRM software can help you so much is getting more information after you initially get their email. The first thing that opt in is going to do is go straight to their email and look for the free content that you are providing. This is a perfect place to gather the rest of their contact information.


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You have a link that goes to a web page with that free content. On that page using your web based CRM software you can have an additional opt in form to gather more information for the people that are really interested in your offer.

So you’ve done several things with your web based CRM software.

1. You’ve driven them to a landing page with an opt in form that requires ONLY their email.
2. You send them a “trackable link” that sends them to your website to get their free content. On this page you collect additional information for people that are really interested in what you have to offer.
3. Your web based CRM software will “tag” these people that are super interested and your sales person (or you) can give them a call and follow up.

So what you’re doing is systematically finding out how interested your prospects are. Least interested will just enter in their email for the free content. The most interested will fill in the web form and then get the content and fill out the additional information on the content page. With a good web based CRM software you can keep track of all this or even watch it happen live on an activity feed!

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Source by Robert N Patterson


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Using Hosted Web Based CRM Software to Boost Your Business

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The term hosted web based CRM (Client Relationship Management) software may seem foreign to you but this article is going to explain why it’s a term you need to know and why it’s something your business should be using. What does a boutique, a computer store and a shoe store all have in common? They are a niche market target a specific type of customer and their needs.

This is the basis of any business. You have a targeted or niche area of business and you cater to a specific type of clientele. In the area of sales, no matter what your niche or targeted area is, you need to obtain new customers and retain current customers. You need to market new products and services to these customers. No matter what the economy looks like, sales is a 365 days a year job.

However, when the economy is down, sales become more important than ever. So, the question is: How do you process new customers and retain and market to current customers? How do you track their progress in the sales pipeline? If you’re using an in house system or a simple spreadsheet then you may not be taking the best approach. While these systems are good for local use, they are often limited in their abilities outside the office. As part of the sales process, you need to be able to track a customer’s status every step of the way. How many customers have been lost in the sale process because they were overlooked? How many long term customers have jumped ship and switched to a competitor because they felt your company wasn’t there to fulfill their needs? This happens more often than you may think.

Hosted web based CRM software is a lifesaver for a sinking business. While your company may not be suffering during tough economic times, web based CRM software can elevate your company to a whole new level. How? Let’s look a little closer. Hosted web based CRM software does the following:


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* Allows you to track customers in the sales pipeline

* Doesn’t require the purchase of new equipment

* Allows easy access to customer information

* Can be accessed from virtually anywhere

* Allows the sales person on the go the ability to obtain client information 24/7

Hosted web based CRM software is just as it sounds, it;s hosted off-site, so you the business manager or owner doesn’t have to buy expensive equipment to run it. Since it is hosted, it can be accessed from virtually anywhere you are and at all times of the day or night. So if you or your sales staff wants to access a client’s file while on a business trip 1200 miles away from your home office then it can be done from wherever you are. This system is hosted off-site and is accessed via a secure portal. Each user has a unique login and password. This is one of the easiest and protected systems you can use. It’s like a vitamin for your business. It’s aimed to give your business a boost. With web based CRM software, you can see where a client is in the sale process. You can see if they have been converted from a prospect to an actual customer. On the other hand, you can look at your current customers and see their buying patterns.

How does this help? A CRM software will allow you to pinpoint your current customers past purchases and how often they’ve purchased a product or service from you. This assists you in marketing and promoting other products and services that you have to offer. Hosted web based CRM software is changing the way businesses are interacting with their customers and the way they are marketing to potential and current customers. It’s a refreshing way to increase the power of marketing for your business.

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Source by Pete Kilby


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Microsoft CRM Implementation – Contract Management in Service Organization

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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 is powerful and at the same time very intuitive, plus it is web based, meaning that you can run nationwide company in MS CRM. Let’s review the example on how to create, budget and log time against CRM contracts. All the functionality, we are describing here is available out of the box, no custom logic required:

1. Leads. Everything should be originated from the lead object: somebody called or emailed you with question about your services. You enter this call into CRM as the lead, assign to relevant sales person and follow up with her/him on what happened with this lead.

2. Lead as Account or Opportunity. When your sales person classifies lead to become the customer, lead is transferred to account, or alternatively you can have intermediate step to classify lead as the opportunity.

3. Contract. When you have account in CRM (more likely customer), you can create contract for this account. Contract Budgeting is realized in so-called contract lines. In the case of service organization we recommend you to consider allotment in minutes (which you will have to translate into hours via reporting).


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4. Case against contract line. Then when you would like to open service ticket – you simply create the case against contract line. When case is created, it is ready for accepting your consultants time logs in the form of tasks.

5. Contract Invoicing status nuances. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has several phases for the contract, and you need to release contract for becoming active via Invoice Contract procedure.

6. Closing the case. When you close the case, you virtually update contract line budget and

real time spent. In the case closing form you see the time spent and you need to accept or adjust billable time.

7. At this step the case is ready to be exported from MS CRM to your accounting billing system to invoice your customer.

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Source by Andrew Karasev


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Customer Management Software: Guide To Buying CMS Software

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Customers are a vital component in the success of a business. All efforts should be maximised towards making the customer always happy and satisfied. Establishing and maintaining a solid relationship with customers ensures that they will be coming back, and this translates to more revenue. CRM software aids in making the interaction between the business owner and customer better and more effective. However, to ensure that the software is of use to both parties, the business owner should look into a few pointers. They are highlighted below.

Well Outlined Objectives
Before you acquire and install your client management software, it is recommended that you first define what you want from the software. Outline what you want the software to change in your business, the customer data the software handles as well as the expected returns on the investment. With such information, you can then be able to know the software that best meets your requirements.

Invest In the Best
Given the role the software plays in your business, there is need to invest in the best software that you can afford. There are many business application programs out there, and getting the one that best suits the business can be quite difficult. However as earlier highlighted in the previous point, once you define the objectives, narrowing down to the most suitable software becomes much easier. Common computer software programs have many versions, each with different features and capabilities. To ensure that you get the best out of the software, it is recommended that you invest in the latest version. This will ensure that you enjoy the advanced features in addition to getting value for your money.


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Use the Customer Information Effectively
There are businesses that invest in advanced customer relations software but fail to use them effectively. The customer information collected should be used to target new clients as well improve interaction with the existing customers. This involves customizing this feature to serve individual clients according to their profile information as well as use the information to target potential clients that fall in the same demographic parameters.

The customer management software is a vital tool especially for small upcoming businesses. It enables them to create a database of their customer information to help improve marketing and customer service. Through the improved communication, a solid bond is created between the business and the clients. This bond is beneficial to both parties, as it keeps the clients happy, satisfied and loyal to the business, which translates to more revenue for the business owner.

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Source by Lyanne K Watson


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Microsoft CRM for Large Corporation – Security

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Microsoft Business Solutions CRM proved to be reliable solution in the whole spectrum of industries and market niches: transportation & logistics, education, recruiting & placement, supply chain management, pharmaceutical, oil & gas, aerospace & defense, manufacturing, wholesale & retail. When corporation is looking into CRM application to choose from – one of the fist questions is security. In this small article we’ll try to give you the highlights on the most typical questions we are receiving in the security area.

o Active Directory. Microsoft CRM uses Active Directory users and its security is built upon Windows domain security. We heard complains about this tight integration. If you compare MS CRM with Siebel, for example – you will see, that Siebel security is built on the CRM level and Siebel can be installed on Windows and Unix/Linux platforms

o Vertical Security, Roles. If you are thinking about vertical security, say assign more rights to manager, versus salesperson, this should be done on the role level. We first talk about vertical security, to give you conception of the matrix-type of security, realized in MS CRM

o Horizontal Security, Teams. At this moment (MS CRM 1.2, MS CRM 3.0 is due in September 2005) team can include users only, not other teams, however, if you share the object with the team – you can share it with multiple teams. This is the place where collective security begins. Imagine, you have Worldwide product line – widgets and you have several regions: Europe, Pacific, USA, Australia & New Zealand, China. In gadgets team you have product manager, who should see all the sales worldwide, also you create regional teams for European, America, Australian etc markets and then make gadgets manager as team member of all these teams


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o Secured Reporting. When you, as European market manager run report on the gadgets sales – you see only records in your security realm. This statement is true even if you have customization, done in MS CRM SDK: C# or VB.Net.

o Presentation Level. If you use MS CRM Web or Outlook clients – these are just two types of presentation level clients. Microsoft CRM schema sits in MS SQL server database, so if you deploy MS CRM SDK to modify/customize your CRM – both presentation clients will get the custom interface

o Messaging. Microsoft CRM deploys MS Exchange. However you can improve MS CRM Exchange connector to catch emails by addresser email or domain, also you can deploy Lotus Notes Domino as email server – check with Alba Spectrum Technologies

o Integration with MS Great Plains. Microsoft CRM integrates with GP customers, SOP Orders & Invoices. You can have custom integration, by calling Great Plains objects (customer annual sales info, employee’s payroll summary, etc.)

Good luck and you can always seek our help in customization, implementation, integration and support. Call us: 1-866-528-0577 or 1-630-961-5918, help@albaspectrum.com

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Source by Andrew Karasev


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CRM Training – All About Customer Relationship Management

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Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a widely regarded, highly acknowledged strategy for managing and developing a company’s interactions with its clients and prospective clients. It is an umbrella term for methodologies, software, and internet capabilities to manage and develop customer relationships in an effective way. For example, a company may build up a database about its customers in detail so that sales people, management, and service providers can access customer details. They can utilize these details to access customers with new offerings, or use information to analyze demand patterns, or even plan launches of new products and services.

The basic goals of CRM are to search for, pursue, and win new clients, as well as maintain relationships with existing customers. In addition, CRM aims at winning back the customers that the company may have lost for various reasons in the past.

Earlier a term to cover software tools, CRM now comprises a company wide strategy that encompasses all client-facing departments. It is a methodology used to learn more about customers’ needs and behaviors so that the company can strengthen relationships with them. While it has several technological tools, it is incorrect to think of it as purely technological. The larger picture of CRM is that of a process that brings together information about customers, sales, marketing strategy and trends, so as to use all of these to enhance business and expand the company’s sales.

The most notable trend in CRM is the growth of tools delivered via the Internet, also known as Cloud Computing and Software as a Service (SaaS). There is also the traditional on-premises software offered by several IT giants that remain popular as CRM tools.


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Training your sales people and other employees in CRM will depend completely on the tools that you use in the organization. While there are a large number of tools available for the purpose, it is important to gauge the needs of your own organization and the sales people before you make the decision regarding the software.

A great many online CRM tools are available for your company to try out and adopt in the organization. Many companies offer free trials and even free trainings for the software, in addition. When choosing online CRM software, always pick a tool that has an intuitive interface and provides training for the software. Also, some software is better suited for smaller businesses, while others are better suited for medium-sized or larger businesses.

It is only after you select the software that you will be able to train your sales team on the newly acquired software. Most online software tools provide free training for the CRM tool, while larger ones offer round-the-clock assistance, product updates, and other information along with the training programs. The larger software companies also offer different varieties of training, including online training, and study materials to enhance the use of the software. It is crucial that you ensure that training needs are fulfilled by selecting the right training vehicle and appropriate training solutions. For CRM to work for you and for your company, the correct training is of the essence.

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Source by John Baxter