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It’s time to integrate Dynamics CRM and SharePoint

Since CRM Word Templates was introduced in CRM 2016, more CRM users are now generating documents with CRM than ever.

Documents generation in CRM is a one click function. Together with Dynamics PDF-Docs, the document is PDF, attached to the record’s Notes, and to Email as an attachment, a process that saves user’s time and makes documents generation in CRM, even more popular.

Documents are also delivered and uploaded to Dynamics CRM, stored in the record’s Notes, and as attachments to Emails sent to CRM users.

With so many documents stored in many CRM records, how one can find the document they need, stored in many records, some you don’t even have access to view the records. And how non-CRM user can access documents stored in CRM, if the person needs to action on document generated with CRM?

How user can manage different versions of same document, exchanged multiple times between the CRM user, customer and other stakeholders, before final version is agreed upon?

In the past, documents used to be stored in SharePoint. Now documents are stored in SharePoint, and also in CRM.  Finding and retrieving documents becomes a complex, and time consuming task. In addition, managing different versions of same document, duplication of documents stored in more than one record, and increase of CRM storage cost, due to the amount of space required to save documents in CRM, all point to one direction, It’s time to better integrate Dynamics CRM and SharePoint, and let SharePoint do what it does best, storing and managing documents.

Dynamics Objects offers number of tools to improve Dynamics CRM & SharePoint Integration. Our tools are using metadata, retrieved from CRM fields, saved with all uploaded documents to SharePoint. Metadata are the SharePoint columns that improve the way documents are organized, filtered, and viewed by SharePoint users. Metadata improves search results, by retrieving relevant documents using metadata content.

Dynamics PDF-Docs- In addition to PDF Word Template and attach it to outgoing Email, as explained before, the generated document is also uploaded to SharePoint, and SharePoint documents can be attached to the CRM Workflow. Read More …

Dynamics SharePoint Organizer (SPO) – an improved CRM and SharePoint integration, allowing automatic upload of documents to SharePoint, attached to CRM Emails and Notes, with metadata from the record. Read More …

Dynamics PDF-Docs and Dynamics SPO are two easy to implement solutions, to improve CRM and SharePoint integration, and can be downloaded and evaluated from our web-site. Integrating CRM and SharePoint is our business. Our experts are willing to advice you best practices to efficiently generate documents in CRM, and how to store and manage documents in SharePoint, with metadata from CRM records. Email as: Sales AT DynamicsObjects DOT com

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GDPR-Compliant Data Protection: For Consumers, It’s Personal

Mention the word fintech to veteran financial services executives and watch the hairs on the backs of their necks stand up.

Fintech is a broad term that applies to new digital financial technologies, from cryptocurrencies to mobile wallets, as well as the startups attempting to use those new technologies to blast centuries-old financial institutions out of the water.

Recognizing the existential threat, leaders of 233-year-old U.S. financial giant Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon) became convinced that continuous IT-enabled innovation was essential. To do that right, the IT team reorganized around specific capabilities—190 so far. Each capability has an owner who serves as a kind of CEO of that service and who is free to make any changes deemed necessary for success.

Like any radical change, BNY Mellon’s effort has seen its share of growing pains. For example, some take to the ownership roles better than others. And employees have required significant coaching throughout.

Several years in, however, a fundamental shift has taken place at the bank established by U.S. founding father Alexander Hamilton. “Change is no longer some big project,” says Jeanne Ross, principal research scientist at MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research, who has studied BNY Mellon’s efforts. “Change is what you do every morning when you get out of bed.”

Just about every industry is facing its own version of fintech these days, forcing organizations to disrupt their established ways of doing business or face disruption by an upstart unburdened by legacy processes and technology. It’s the age of digital transformation, which business consultancy Capgemini calls “the ultimate challenge in change management because it affects not only industry structures and strategic positioning, but also all levels of an organization (every task, activity, process) as well as the extended supply chain.” Dramatic increases in connectivity and improvements in technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and advanced analytics let companies optimize their processes continuously, but usually not without making enormous changes first.

SAP Q317 DigitalDoubles Feature2 Image2 GDPR Compliant Data Protection: For Consumers, It’s PersonalTo make the most of frequent and successive waves of technology innovation, organizations must build adaptability into their structures, their functions, and their individual employees. That calls for new approaches designed to make transformation real and continuous. “The ability to develop a culture of change where people rely less on habits and more on imagining what’s possible every day is going to be part and parcel of being a great company,” says Ross.

Unfortunately, the traditional command-and-control architecture of most businesses was not built for continuous adaptation. “The speed with which we need to take a good idea and get it in place is so much faster than before, which is why we are having this moment of truth,” Ross says. “Traditional approaches that rely on a lot of hierarchy to make changes are too slow.”

For years, most change efforts have been top-down, episodic, all-encompassing “big bang” attempts to alter systems, processes, and cultures. Executives announced a restructuring or an acquisition or the implementation of new technology and brought in external change management consultants to try to get people to adapt to new ways of working. It rarely succeeded.

Despite significant investment in the change management discipline and a library of books on the subject, just a quarter of change management initiatives succeed long term, according to a 2013 survey by consultancy Willis Towers Watson.

Digital transformation isn’t going much better. Worldwide spending on digital transformation technologies will grow to US$ 1.2 trillion in 2017, up 17.8% over 2016, according to IDC. But fewer than 2 in 10 respondents to a recent survey by the SAP Center for Business Insight and Oxford Economics have seen substantial or transformational value from their technology investments so far. And just 12% say that digitalization has affected their organizational structure in a meaningful way.

Furthermore, even though 84% of the C-level executives surveyed ranked digital transformation as “critically important” to the survival of their businesses, just 3% have completed transformation efforts that span the entire organization.

For digital transformation to deliver value, an entire organization needs to buy into new ways not just of working, but also of thinking. “It’s not about bringing consultants in. It’s about really designing systems that enable an organization to adapt innately,” says Pravir Malik, founder of organizational change development firm Deep Order Technologies and author of Connecting Inner Power with Global Change: The Fractal Ladder and The Fractal Organization: Creating Enterprises of Tomorrow.

Companies are experimenting with new approaches that encourage and support the flexibility required to embrace continuous transformation. Some are rethinking how they operate. Others are investing in helping employees become more adaptable. Still others are clarifying their mission in a way that makes room for individuals to drive change themselves.

Ultimately, gaining the ability to change constantly will help both organizations and employees over the long term. Change becomes less episodic, less massive, and less jarring; there is no end state, no go-live. Instead, the organization is always moving, but at a step-by-step pace that makes it easier for employees to adapt.

However, evolving into this state of constant, fluid change isn’t easy. It only works if you have the right approach and methodologies.

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Changing Mindsets

Indeed, as companies tackle digital transformation, traditional highly structured change management programs can actually do more harm than good, says Tom Weeks, senior consultant with The Arbinger Institute, a consultancy that works with organizations to encourage change from within. “The change program becomes the change rather than the results you’re trying to achieve,” he says.

Such change efforts can create a short-term view. As a result, says Weeks, “they drive short-term change, but they don’t change people’s minds. You can force the issues and try to make change happen for change’s sake. But eventually the effort loses energy.”

“Everyone is surprised by that,” adds Weeks. “But it’s just nature at play. We’re hardwired to resist change. If you’re not shifting fundamental mindsets, it doesn’t matter how much money or how many resources you put behind it.”

In her behavioral research, Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck has focused on two types of mindsets that she sees in most organizations: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. People with fixed mindsets believe that their basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, are static.

Those with a growth mindset think that talents and capabilities develop over time through effort—a way of thinking that Dweck says creates more individual resilience and adaptability. People in the latter group tend to be better at collaboration, problem solving, and, naturally, continuing change.

The good news, according to Dweck, is that the growth mindset can be a learned behavior. She points to Microsoft as a company attempting to do just that. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has publicly stated that the corporate mission “starts with a belief that everyone can grow and develop; that potential is nurtured, not predetermined; and that anyone can change their mindset.”

SAP Q317 DigitalDoubles Feature2 Image4 GDPR Compliant Data Protection: For Consumers, It’s PersonalMicrosoft’s leaders are emphasizing learning and creativity with programs like hackathons in which the best projects are funded and their originators rewarded. The company is more explicitly rewarding risk-taking and the pursuit of stretch goals. When Microsoft’s foray into artificial intelligence, the chatbot Tay, was hacked, the CEO sent the team an e-mail of encouragement rather than rebuke.

Rather than limiting leadership development programs to those easily identified as having innate management potential, Microsoft says it is moving a broader swath of employees up and across teams, augmenting their skills, and expanding their work experiences. The most valuable employees are not necessarily the smartest people in the room, as in the past, but those who are the most adaptable—and capable of bringing that out in others.

While Dweck’s mindset work focuses on peoples’ ability to learn and grow, at The Arbinger Institute, consultants focus on an individual’s ability to work productively and with others. Arbinger’s methodology differentiates between an inward mindset, which causes people to be self-centered—seeing other people as objects or tools to either help or hurt them—and an outward mindset, which engenders more connection with and understanding of others as human beings.

Those with an outward mindset can work more collaboratively and productively. That’s incredibly important in an environment of change, such as when Raytheon Missile Systems was trying to integrate a series of mergers that were rife with infighting.

The company overcame the battles by working with all 12,000 employees on shifting their mindsets. Employees worked to uncover their part in company problems and devised ways to work collaboratively with others to solve them and hold themselves accountable for results. When tasked by company leaders to cut $ 100 million in expenses in two months or face layoffs, employees worked together to uncover alternatives.

They began to look beyond their own individual roles and needs, and focused instead on the needs of their colleagues and of the organization as a whole, says Weeks. That resulted in some big, organization-wide changes that went far beyond cost savings and helped increase sales dramatically.

Typically, companies like Raytheon come to Arbinger for help changing mindsets after they’ve struggled with failed change for a while. But that’s beginning to change, says Weeks, and that’s the ideal.

One company is offering employees training on the outward mindset approach before the launch of its six-year transformation effort. “If employees don’t have the right mindset, you can push change as much as you want, but eventually there will be a snap back. What’s required is people who want to hold themselves accountable at a higher level.”

Flexibility by Design

Neuroscientists are not surprised by the shift toward employee-centric rather than top-down change. They have proven that a brain’s “plasticity”—its ability to restructure and learn new things—is enduring. An old dog can learn new tricks. But when change is forced upon people, they quickly become overwhelmed, which activates the fight-or-flight response in the primitive emotional center of the brain, the amygdala.

They bottle up that instinctive response and it reemerges as anxiety, depression, and poor health if not managed. And not only are those potentially toxic emotions harmful to the individual, they are contagious in the organization.

The secret is to create conditions in which people direct more of the change themselves. When individuals solve a problem on their own, for example, their brain releases a rush of neurotransmitters that can create good feelings associated with the change.

One way to create this kind of personal change ownership is by taking a design thinking approach. The iterative, human-centric design concept that was first developed in the early 1970s has become a popular approach to developing products and services for customers. But design thinking principles can also bring new systems and processes to an organization.

SAP Q317 DigitalDoubles Feature2 Image5 GDPR Compliant Data Protection: For Consumers, It’s PersonalThat was the case when furniture maker Herman Miller began exploring the potential of an office chair connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) three years ago. Instead of designing a new chair, Herman Miller came away with the foundation for an organizational transformation from hard goods maker to service provider. This is the latest fundamental shift in a company that has evolved from traditional Queen Anne-style furniture maker in the 1930s to office designer in the 1970s to ergonomics innovator in the 1980s and 1990s, says Chris Hoyt, design exploration leader at Herman Miller.

Taking a design thinking approach meant interviewing a wide cross section of stakeholders. The interviews revealed that simply putting a sensor into a desk chair did not make business sense, but putting one into the company’s sit-to-stand desk—and creating a series of IoT-enabled services around it—did. The exercise turned out to be an entry point into an entirely new business model.

“Design thinking wasn’t new to Herman Miller, but there was a lot of skepticism about whether integrating technology into its furniture made business sense,” explains Kurt Dykema, co-founder and director of technology at product innovation and business strategy consultancy Twisthink, which worked with Herman Miller. “This process guided them through a transformation where they have to think about selling a digital experience and monetizing that instead of just selling a capital good and then being done with it.”

For example, none of Herman Miller’s back office operations was built to support the IoT subscription models it planned to offer with the desk. But the design thinking approach created consensus around IoT business value and helped to clarify the organizational changes required to capitalize on the new opportunity.

“It forced them through the process of retooling the business to sell and maintain digital experiences,” Dykema says. Herman Miller launched its Live OS furniture line in June, with the smart desk as the first product, and plans for more to follow.

Getting Agile

Like many companies that incorporate a design thinking approach to organizational change, the performance car division of Daimler AG, Mercedes-AMG, married its process with agile development methods.

Agile turns conventional change management on its head. Rather than making big changes all at once, agile uses an incremental approach to creating software that gives users a chance to use and react to new functionality as it is developed and to validate its value (as opposed to the more traditional waterfall approach where users don’t experience a solution until it is finished).

With agile, there is no predetermined end state. Instead, change is constant, but never so rapid that it becomes overwhelming.

At Mercedes-AMG, clickable prototypes were produced and tested with users weekly and their feedback was funneled back into development streams, continuously improving the resulting system. Based on early success at Mercedes-AMG, Daimler’s enterprise IT organization launched a similar program to develop new digital services for the enterprise.

SAP Q317 DigitalDoubles Feature2 Image6 GDPR Compliant Data Protection: For Consumers, It’s PersonalAt BNY Mellon, the adoption of agile development methods has enabled the company to introduce an incredible amount of systems change—but two weeks at a time.

The product of years of mergers and acquisitions, BNY Mellon had operated in product silos, each with their own systems and processes. The company wanted to develop a digital platform from which it could orchestrate a more unified and innovative customer experience. The goal was to put one of America’s oldest financial institutions on equal footing with some of the newest and most nimble newcomers in fintech.

Agile was a new way of working for the IT organization, which was accustomed to introducing releases a couple of times a year rather than a couple of times a month. So IT leaders invested significant time and money helping employees adopt new skills and adapt to the changes.

Eventually, agile enabled the bank to introduce new systems to its 52,000 employees in phases for their ongoing input, fine-tuning the systems over time to best meet employees’ needs and better ensure their adoption. It’s led to the creation—and ongoing enhancement—of an open-source, cloud-based platform that serves as a portal for both internal employees and customers. This app store will provide access to all BNY Mellon’s products and services as well as capabilities from select fintech and established financial services partners.

Increasing Autonomy

Though making change constant relies heavily on individual employees, leaders still have an important role to play. They need to provide the alignment with organizational principles that, when combined with individual autonomy, can create the kind of fluid and adaptive organization required for digital transformation, according to Mark Bonchek, CEO of Shift Thinking, a consultancy that works with leaders and organizations to update their thinking for a digital age.

The U.S. military takes this kind of approach on the battlefield, putting in place a doctrine that authoritatively guides soldiers but gives them autonomy and requires judgment in action to respond to rapidly changing conditions.

In business, organizations are adapting this principle by giving employees guidance on how to take action without requiring them to first seek approval. For example, when Suresh Kumar took over as CIO of BNY Mellon, he reorganized IT around end-to-end IT and business services. IT leaders subdivided each service into smaller components, each with its own leader. These hundreds of services leaders maintain their own service strategy document that covers the current state as well as a one- to three-year improvement plan.

Each service leader is measured on user experience. And because the services are highly interdependent, leaders are also judged on the experience of other service leaders who depend on their service.

As a result, BNY Mellon’s top IT leadership no longer directs team members, but coaches them. Early on, only about a third of the service leaders were successful. The IT group ultimately developed a maturity model for the approach to foster leader development.

Leading a service is as much a mindset as it is a job, says Kumar. The goal of the new approaches—agile software development, physical reorganization, increased autonomy and responsibility—is to create a digital foundation of services linking the bank to its customers and external partners and fostering ongoing digital transformation. The shift began in the IT organization, but the plan is to expand it enterprise-wide and to bring partners and customers into the loop as well.

The Power of Language

In the digital transformation era, companies need a new strategic narrative to help drive a mindset of constant change. A strategic narrative describes the shared purpose that all stakeholders are working toward, says Bonchek. That creates a shared purpose that everyone can wrap their minds—and ultimately their behaviors—around.

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For example, BNY Mellon’s working narrative is that “we believe each of us has the power to improve lives through investing.” And that applies not only to the investment of capital, but investing in people, in ideas, and in the future. At a high level, the theme helps reorient employees’ thinking and behaviors as they consider new ways the bank might differentiate itself.

The Importance of Being Resilient

If an organization is going to adapt itself to constant change, employees need tools to manage the psychological stress that comes with it.

Luckily, personal adaptability is something that you can teach. That’s just what Wendy Quan, a former in-house change management professional, does. As the founder of The Calm Monkey, she’s working with organizations from Google to the government of Dubai, helping them implement self-sustaining mindfulness meditation programs.

Quan used mindfulness and meditation practices to increase her own resilience during cancer treatment. “It alters your experience of a change,” she explains, “even when things around you aren’t changing the way you want them to.”

In 2011, she began conducting mindfulness training for a handful of executives working on a seven-year business and technology transformation project at Pacific Blue Cross. The leaders found the training so valuable that they made it available to the entire workforce.

Quan used the sessions to help employees experience the change on their own terms rather than feeling victimized. She focused change-specific meditations on becoming aware of one’s own perceptions about change, recognizing emotions and their impact on behaviors, learning how to mindfully choose reactions, and cultivating calm and clarity.

Quan surveyed employees after the training. The percentage of employees who rated their personal resiliency as low at the beginning decreased from 40% to just 2% while those who characterized themselves as highly resilient increased by a factor of 600% to 72%. And 83% said that meditation has moderately to significantly helped them through a significant transition.

“Change management methodologies favor the corporate perspective,” says Quan. “But it’s really important to focus on helping people be more self-aware of how they’re journeying through the change.”

Deep Order Technologies’ Malik also focuses his approach to resiliency training on self-awareness. He built a mobile app that enables employees to register what they’re feeling throughout the day. Recording emotional states gives employees a better understanding of what drives their own behaviors and how to cope with their feelings.

Leaders can then look at the aggregated, anonymized readings to identify patterns across the organization. Those patterns give leaders a good idea of the overall orientation of employees going through a change at a given point in time and whether they are poised to go along with it or resist.

Change the Ways of Changing

There is no simple solution to making change easier. A combination of new approaches at the organizational and individual level will be required to adapt to the constant change demanded by the digital future.

These approaches are all in the early adoption phases in most companies. Ironically, they are, in and of themselves, significant changes that must be absorbed. But the speed of digital change is relentless. “It’s just getting faster and faster,” says Quan. “And what companies are seeing is that stress and the inability to adapt to change cause reduced performance and increased absenteeism and disability rates. Leaders who see these trends know they need to pay attention,” says Quan.

Those that don’t? “They’ll go away. They’ll be history,” says Ross. “I don’t think this is an issue they can ignore.” D!


About the Authors

Andreas Hauser is Senior Vice President, Strategic Design Services and AppHaus Network, at SAP.

Paul Kurchina is a community builder with the Americas’ SAP Users’ Group (ASUG) who focuses on digital transformation and change.

Stephanie Overby is a Boston-based business and technology journalist.


Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

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Whether it’s a Garage Start up or 100-year manufacturer, NetSuite Fuels Business Growth

Posted by David Turner, Senior Marketing Director, EMEA, Oracle NetSuite

There are exciting opportunities for organisations today to grow and innovate. That could mean going into new markets, launching new products and services, or coming up with new business models. There are always ways to expand your business.

NRBT024 Whether it’s a Garage Start up or 100 year manufacturer, NetSuite Fuels Business Growth

There are also challenges to that growth, however. Data is locked away in siloes in the organisation. It’s not real-time, it’s not accessible, you can’t always analyse it. Compliance and regulation is growing ever more complex, country by country. Systems don’t talk to each other. Attracting and retaining talent is tough and on top of all that there are always new competitors entering the market.

This ‘hairball’ of disconnected systems hinders visibility across the organisation. As operations become ever more complex many companies are forced to resort to spreadsheets and manual processes to paper over the cracks between disparate systems, making it hard to see what’s really going on. With half of start-ups failing within five years, it’s more vital than ever to monitor the health of the business and identify the drivers of growth.

Having a unified cloud business system is absolutely key to tackling these challenges. At our NetSuite Next Ready Business Tour in London this week, NetSuite customers detailed the real-world challenges they’re facing and how NetSuite is helping to overcome them.

NRBT023 Whether it’s a Garage Start up or 100 year manufacturer, NetSuite Fuels Business Growth

London-based home fashion label Buster + Punch has grown rapidly over the four years. Founded in a London garage, the company has since grown to include an ecommerce website, showroom in London and retail store in Stockholm. It now has more than 71 stockists selling products across 27 countries.

Buster + Punch CEO Martin Preen explained to the audience at the event: “We were growing very fast in lots of different markets, different languages, an omnichannel business and lots of different siloes everywhere – and quite frankly getting one picture of the organisation was impossible.”

That drove Buster + Punch to standardize, streamline and scale its operations on NetSuite OneWorld. With one unified cloud solution, Buster + Punch can extend its global growth, including a move to build a presence in the US.

At the other end of the scale is Sheffield-based OSL Cutting Technologies, a manufacturing business that has been around since 1865. OSL Cutting Technologies manufactures and imports magnetic drilling machines and cutting tools. Matthew Grey, managing director at OSL Cutting Technologies, told the Next Ready Business Tour attendees that his business has seen a lot of change and transition in the last few years.

“We have a distribution hub in the US and China and supply chain all over the world. That offers some interesting challenges in terms of building systems to support it. We acquired a business in 2015 and that left us with four systems in one business,” he said.

The company implemented NetSuite OneWorld in May 2017 to manage financials, multi-currency accounting and financial consolidation, CRM, email marketing and advanced manufacturing processes and it has already improved its on-time delivery, reporting and streamlined its financial operations.

These organisations are using NetSuite to regain control of their data and systems and extract clear actionable insights. Since our acquisition by Oracle, and the increased resources that gives us, that’s something we are going to be better placed than ever to help businesses do, as we expand our cloud platform capabilities to cater for any industry, country, language and currency. Ultimately our mission remains same as ever – to help you grow your business.

Posted on Fri, October 20, 2017
by NetSuite filed under

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Productivity platform? It’s not enough!

CRM Blog Productivity platform? It’s not enough!

Simply put, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a business productivity platform where everything crucial to developing, improving, and retaining your customer relationships is stored.*  That is why Microsoft offers tailored solutions for sales, marketing, and customer service.

While the technology is great, it does not guarantee success. Having a solid team of contributors, and streamlined internal business processes are important to complement and support the technology, enabling it to perform as expected. People – Process – Technology. It sounds trite, but it bears repeating, because of its wisdom and worth.

Let’s focus on sales, because that it how the vast majority of CRM systems are used.

People

Having the right team members goes a long way toward reaching your potential and meeting or beating your sales objectives. According to Gino Wickman, author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business (BenBella Books, Inc., 2007), key players should have GWC. That means they Get it, Want it, and have the Capacity to do it. Solving your sales challenges will be easier when you have GWC players on your commercial team!

Process

Sales process is often confused with sales strategy or sales methodology. Sales strategy is a thoughtful plan about which accounts to target and prioritize. Sales methodology is your approach to selling, such as consultative selling, solution selling or the challenger sale (as documented in the book, The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson of CEB). Sales strategies and methodologies – along with excellent sales training – are important, but they are not the same as a sales process.

“In simple terms, a sales process is a systematic approach involving a series of steps that enables a sales force to close more deals …” according to the National Association of Sales Professionals.** A sales process provides the structure that guides a team of diverse sales people to accomplish similar steps and record consistent data, so that results are more predictable. It does not take away their ability to express their individuality. What it does provide is structure, so that key requirements are met in a systematic manner and in an order that advances the sale with increasing confidence.

Before launching into a new or upgraded CRM to support sales, it is important to thoughtfully consider your sales process. Perhaps your process needs an upgrade as well! Once the sales process is optimized, then committing that to a sales automation tool, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 makes a ton of sense. Unfortunately, too often businesses simply digitize a broken process, which consumes resources and ultimately doesn’t advance the business or relationships with customers.

In Summary

While focusing on your customers and implementing robust technology are two keys to your success, optimizing your internal processes and ensuring the right members are on the team are equally as important. People – Process – Technology. Trite, but true!

TopLine Results is pleased to offer support for outlining and optimizing sales processes for you and your customers. For more information, visit our website, www.toplineresults.com/tools/process-consulting/.

About the Author

Melanie R. Varin is Chief Operating Officer and consultant for TopLine Results Corporation.  Melanie specializes in business process consulting for organizations across many industries. With more than 30 years of business expertise, Melanie focuses on providing clients with winning strategies for improving their sales, marketing and overall business processes from assessment to implementation.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/what-is-crm

** https://www.nasp.com/article/D6BC485A-B705/how-to-define-a-sales-process-for-sales-success.html

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“It’s Almost Like A Conspiracy”

girlgunflag “It’s Almost Like A Conspiracy”It’s crazy out there in America right now. I mean, it’s always been crazy out there in America, but there’s never been a time, not even during the Civil War, when we’ve had so many ways to blow the whole thing up, the virtual means now joining the physical ones. It’s a mad mix of traitors, colluders, enablers, conspiracists, cranks, bots, anti-government zealots and guns, guns, guns. For a few in possession of weapons, even Timothy McVeigh has reached hero status.

Trump’s ultimate tumble into utter disgrace may rip the seams off the whole ball, or the unpleasantness may proceed in that direction regardless. Perhaps there’s no Civil War 2.0, but there will be repercussions, large-scale shocks, especially since the Trump Administration has turned Homeland Security away from domestic threats posed by militias. That storm will only gather more easily.

Two excerpts follow, the first about a left-wing, gun-loving militia and the second about the Nevada town where it’s illegal to not own a firearm.


From Cecilia Saixue Watt’s Guardian article “Redneck Revolt“:

A 31-year-old activist with long hair and a full bushy beard, [Max] Neely had a full day of political activism ahead of him: Donald Trump was in Harrisburg to mark his 100th day in office with a speech at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex. In other parts of the city, the liberal opposition were also readying themselves: organizations such as Keystone Progress, Dauphin County Democrats and the local Indivisible group planned to march in protest.

Neely’s group were not among them. Instead, they had set up a picnic site in a small park, offering a barbecue and leftist pamphlets. Someone had planted a bright red hammer-and-sickle flag in the grass. On a nearby table hung a black banner that bore the words “Redneck Revolt: anti-racist, pro-gun, pro-labor”.

“If you haven’t noticed, we aren’t liberals,” said Jeremy Beck, one of Neely’s cookout friends. “You know, if you keep going further left, eventually, you go left enough to get your guns back.”

Wooly liberals, they’re not. Redneck Revolt is a nationwide organization of armed political activists from rural, working-class backgrounds who strive to reclaim the term “redneck” and promote active anti-racism. It is not an exclusively white group, though it does take a special interest in the particular travails of the white poor. The organization’s principles are distinctly left-wing: against white supremacy, against capitalism and the nation-state, in support of the marginalized.

Pennsylvania is an open-carry state, where gun owners can legally carry firearms in public without concealment. Redneck Revolt members often see the practice of openly carrying a gun as a political statement: the presence of a visible weapon serves to intimidate opponents and affirm gun rights. Many of the cookout attendees owned guns, and had considered bringing them today – but ultimately they had decided to come unarmed, in the interest of keeping the event family-friendly.•


From “Under Siege by Liberals,” Lois Beckett’s Guardian reportage about a Nevada town with a name that sounds post-apocalyptic:

Nucla became nationally famous when it passed an ordinance requiring every household to own a gun five years ago – a move that is still wildly popular among residents. But past Nucla’s one minute of fame, locals worry about their beloved home becoming a ghost town.

In September, in the wake of a lawsuit from an environmental group, Nucla’s major employer, the local coal-fired power plant, announced that it would be shutting down in 2022. The coal mine that supplied the plant would be shutting down as well. In total, about 80 jobs were at risk – a huge number in a town whose population boasted, according to the 2010 census, only 711 people.

For locals, this decision was a death knell brought on by liberals who live in big cities. Nucla residents bristle at the warnings about the risk of exposure to radiation, and roll their eyes at A-listers like Darryl Hannah, the Hollywood actress known for Splash and Kill Bill, who joined the activism against the local uranium industry.

Liberals fighting against the mining industry are good at telling them no, residents say, but don’t present them with any alternatives – not ones that come with real salaries. Richard Craig, a former Nucla town board member, recalled a comment by a member of an environmental group saying during one of the contentious hearings: “Well, I don’t see why they don’t want to go live in the city.”

“It’s almost like – I hate using this word, it’s being used so often – it’s almost like a conspiracy: ‘We need to move everybody out of rural areas and go live in the cities and suburbs,’” Craig said.•

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The CRM Minute Finale: It’s Harder Than It Looks . . . [VIDEO]

CRM Min Outtakes 800x600 300x225 The CRM Minute Finale: It’s Harder Than It Looks . . . [VIDEO]

Well loyal PO TV viewers, we’ve reached the season two finale of The CRM Minute! We would like to give a huge thank you to YOU, our viewers, for making The CRM Minute a can’t-miss part of your week! While the team here are all Dynamics 365 experts, talking about it on camera is a another story! So, to thank you all for watching, and to our amazing PowerObjects team that made The CRM Minute possible, enjoy this special edition blooper reel of all the juicy tidbits that didn’t quite make the cut . . .

Thank you for watching, The CRM Minute!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

It’s Not You, It’s Me: 5 Signs Things Aren’t Working with Your Marketing Automation Platform

It’s Not You It’s Me 5 Signs Things Aren’t Working with Your Marketing Automation Platform 351x200 It’s Not You, It’s Me: 5 Signs Things Aren’t Working with Your Marketing Automation Platform

Entering into any relationship making that big or not so big commitment can be fraught with anxiety whether this is the right choice. No one wants to be in a relationship that  isn’t working. And the same is true when evaluating your marketing automation platform.

You could be wasting valuable time with the wrong tech partner. But how do you know when it’s time to pull the plug? Like many of us, it’s hard when you’re in the relationship to see the signs and red flags. Often, we benefit from an outside perspective. Let’s look at some clues that your relationship with your marketing automation (MA) platform might not be working out.

1. Too High-Maintenance

It’s 10 a.m. and a last minute email needs to go out in the next 30 minutes, but your high- maintenance MA system mockingly stares back at you: offering limited email templates, requiring  HTML expertise to customize. Plus, it doesn’t maintain a dynamic email list, which means you’ll need to go in and manually update it yourself.

Don’t let a high maintenance system hold you back. Here are a few ways marketing automation tools should make your marketing life easier:

  • Building your emails and landing pages should be simple and not require help from IT or outside consultants
  • Templates should have responsive design built in. Your MA tool should make viewing content on all sizes of devices foolproof for you
  • Easily design your own custom templates  the way you want and not be limited to just the stock ones provided
  • And when it comes to the complicated stuff, like creating nurturing programs, your platform should be easy like Sunday Morning – such as the ability to build workflows with a drop-and-drag tool.

If you are feeling saddled with a very high-maintenance marketing automation software platform; if you miss simplicity and want to have the freedom to choose your own path, it might be a sign that it’s just not working out.

42% of Marketers say complexity of the system is the most significant barrier to marketing automation success. – Ascend2, “Marketing Automation Trends Survey” (2016)

2. Language Barriers

Unless you have the technical language proficiency to read and/or write HTML, JavaScript and/or CSS (and more), you’d better not pick a marketing automation platform that requires programming knowledge. That is, of course, unless you have  time dedicated to learning those languages or have a team of IT techies at your service to serve as your interpreter.

If the language barrier is already an issue and you’re about to experience a literal “communication breakdown,”it might be a sign that it’s just not working out.

Marketers list “complexity of the system” as one of the most significant barriers to marketing automation success. – Ascend2 “Marketing Automation Trends Survey (2016)

3. The Frustration Factor

The clock is ticking, and in the middle of setting up your email something goes terribly wrong. You submit an online support ticket, wait patiently for what seems to be days, and never hear back. You then decide to call tech support for help and when they finally pick up, they take down your information, and then explain that a technician will call you back when they become available (usually when you are away from your desk). You can’t save the screen you are working on due to faulty HTML programming and you’ll lose your work if you exit. It worked before and you only changed a few words! ARRRG…why is this so difficult to use?

If you feel like you’re always playing a frustrating waiting game because you need significant tech support, it might be a sign that it’s just not working out.

86% marketers consider “ease of use” as the most important criterion when evaluating automation tools. – Regalix “The State of Marketing Automation” (2014)

4. Money:  Hidden Surprises

We’re talking about those unforeseen, but actually-seeable-if-you-look-really-closely things that can be avoided. These little surprises might show up as financial charges for things you thought were free, or built into the price. Or your total cost of ownership might be a lot higher than you expected once you add in the cost of consultants to help in system design, architecture and maintenance.

Also: Pay attention to your database. As a growing company, you should be excited about new contacts, not dreading the new cost associated with storing them. Are you charged for how many people you have in your database or only for your active contacts? Are you warned if you are about to go over your threshold or are you just charged? Surprise!

If you are getting too many ongoing unpleasant surprises – it might be a sign that it’s just not working out.

44% of marketers are not fully satisfied with their marketing automation systems, the top 3 reasons being that the software takes too long to implement, is difficult to learn and is too expensive. – Autopilot, 2015

5. Everyone Needs Support (He’s just not that into you.)

Last but not least, do you feel supported? In a healthy and positive relationship, you should feel nurtured and supported:

  • You don’t want to have a vendor who comes only when called to fix something broken. Instead, you should have a vendor who proactively notices and reaches out when things are looking off.
  • Did your vendor’s customer support help you get thoroughly trained on the product’s capabilities?
  • Did they ensure everything functioned correctly from the get-go, setting you up for quick success?
  • Does your vendor really understand your organization’s needs and goals? Are they committed to helping you be successful and see ROI on your MA investment?
  • Do they stay in touch and ensure you are using all the features of your marketing automation platform?

If your customer support makes you feel like you’re skydiving without a parachute, it’s probably a sign that it’s just not working out.

Act-On’s onboarding process and their university taught more about marketing and marketing automation than I ever could have imagined. – Kevin Rice, Technology Coordinator, Quantum Learning Network

Moral of the story

It’s simple: If your current marketing automation platform is causing you or your marketing team stress in any of these ways (or ways we didn’t mention) it might be time to start looking at other solutions. And, yes, there are other solutions that are right for you.

Don’t settle. You deserve better. Want to learn more about how marketing automation vendors stack up when it comes to customer service and ease of use? Read the latest reviews from G2 Crowd.

In fact, we know just the perfect match for you…Even your mom would approve!

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Act-On Blog

It’s Time To Start Catering To The Omnichannel Shopper

If your brand isn’t among those planning a significant spend on mobile marketing in 2016, you need to stop treating it like a fad and step up to meet your competition. Usage statistics show that today people live and work while on the move, and the astronomical rise of mobile ad spending proves it.

According to eMarketer, ad spending experienced triple-digit growth in 2013 and 2014. While it’s slowed in 2015, don’t let that fool you: Mobile ad spending was $ 19.2 billion in 2013, and eMarketer’s forecast for next year is $ 101.37 billion—51 percent of the digital market.

  1. Marketers follow consumer behavior, and consumers rely on their mobile devices. The latest findings from show that two-third of Americans are now smartphone owners. Around the world, there are two billion smartphone users and, particularly in developing regions, eMarketer notes “many consumers are accessing the internet mobile-first and mobile-only.”
  2. The number of mobile users has already surpassed the number of desktop users, as has the number of hours people spend on mobile Internet use, and business practices are changing as a result. Even Google has taken notice; earlier this year the search giant rolled out what many referred to as “Mobilegeddon”—an algorithm update that prioritizes mobile-optimized sites.

The implications are crystal clear: To ignore mobile is to ignore your customers. If your customers can’t connect with you via mobile—whether through an ad, social, or an optimized web experience—they’ll move to a competitor they can connect with.

Consumers prefer mobile — and so should you

Some people think mobile marketing has made things harder for marketers. In some ways, it has: It’s easy to make missteps in a constantly changing landscape.

At the same time, however, modern brands can now reach customers at any time of the day, wherever they are, as more than 90 percent of users now have a mobile device within arm’s reach 24/7. This has changed marketing, allowing brands to build better and more personalized connections with their fans.

  • With that extra nudge from Google, beating your competition and showing up in search by having a website optimized for devices of any size is essential.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) helps people find you online; SEO integration for mobile is even more personalized, hyper local, and targeted to an individual searcher.
  • In-app advertisements put your brand in front of an engaged audience.
  • Push messages keep customers “in the know” about offers, discounts, opportunities for loyalty points, and so much more.

And don’t forget about the power of apps, whose usage takes up 85 percent of the total time consumers spend on their smartphones. Brands like Nike and Starbucks are excellent examples of how to leverage the power of being carried around in someone’s pocket.

Personal computers have never been able to offer such a targeted level of reach. We’ve come to a point where marketing without mobile isn’t really marketing at all.

Mobile marketing tools are on the upswing too

As more mobile-empowered consumers themselves from their desks to the street, the rapid rise of mobile shows no signs of slowing down. This is driving more investment into mobile marketing solutions and programs.

According to VentureBeat’s Mobile Success Landscape, mobile engagement—which includes mobile marketing automation—is second only to app analytics in terms of investment. Mobile marketing has become a universe unto itself, one that businesses are eager to measure more effectively.

Every day, mobile marketing is becoming ever more critical for businesses. Brands that fail to incorporate mobile into their ad, content, and social campaigns will be left wondering where their customers have gone.

For more content like this, follow Samsung Business on InsightsTwitterLinkedIn , YouTube and SlideShare

The post Mobile Marketing Continues to Explode appeared first on Millennial CEO.

 It’s Time To Start Catering To The Omnichannel Shopperphoto credit: Samsung Galaxy S3 via photopin(license)

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Digitalist Magazine

Nick Cannon To Open A Restaurant And It’s Going to Be Titled ‘Wild N’ Out’!

Nick Cannon1 Nick Cannon To Open A Restaurant And It’s Going to Be Titled ‘Wild N’ Out’!

According to our sources, we hear that comedian, producer, actor and Host Nick Cannon is about to make a move into the restaurant business, and we hear that he’s even going to put it under the name of his hit MTV series Wild N’ Out.

Sources say that Nick has been looking in and around Los Angeles and may kick off the business in North Hollywood as he has been looking at several locations. Some media outlets are reporting that he will open up the shop on Sunset Strip, but we have been unable to confirm that.

The new restaurant will feature comedy, music, spoken word, games, and more. As you already can expect, it will be the new hot spot where celebs will visit.

More on this story as it develops.

Alycia Cooper First Comedian To Have Entire New Album Featured On Clean Comedy Channel In The History Of Satelite Radio

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The Humor Mill

The ABFF Comedy Wings Competition Announces It’s Finalists In Atlanta!

Rodney Perry The ABFF Comedy Wings Competition Announces It’s Finalists In Atlanta!
As we reported 2 days ago, its that time of the year where The American Black Film Festival starts to ramp up The Comedy Wings Competiton in preparation for their upcoming festival.
Anyway, as we stated the competition’s finalist were to be chosen on Thursday and they were in Atlanta, at The Uptown Comedy Corner.
The finalists chosen to move on to Miami for the ABFF Comedy Wings Competition were comedians Brandon Cole (B- Cole), Shereen Kassam, TuRae Gordon, Jason Weems, and Cyrus Steele II.

Tonight’s show was hosted by comedian Rodney Perry, and we hear that he may also make the trip to Miami to possibly co-host. The Comedy Wings Competition is set to kick off in Miami June 14-18th.

If you are not familiar, The Comedy Wings Competition is a national search for the new stars of comedy. The goal of the competition is to provide a platform for talented yet undiscovered comedians to break into film and television. Semifinalists are selected from around the country to participate in the live audition, and the finalists are hand picked by the judges to proceed to the event at the 2017 ABFF in Miami.

More details soon!

Soul Singer Cuba Gooding Sr. Found Dead In His Car

John Witherspoon Confirms Another ‘Friday’ Movie Is On The Way!

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The Humor Mill