Stop all of that Typing and Start Connecting

Do you find that your sales and customer service people spend a ton of time typing? Typing contact names, typing notes, typing information. Typing, typing, typing. It’s just not the best use of your people’s time. But with all of the data included in your CRM, email, and team calendars, it can be difficult to keep your customer and prospect records up to date.

What if we told you that your sales and customer service teams no longer need to manually enter data and associated activities with contacts, leads, accounts, or opportunity records? Inbound and outbound interactions and meeting information can be intelligently searched and displayed in an intuitive dashboard.

SalesConnect 365 integrates with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Get Intelligent with SBS Group SalesConnect 365

SBS SalesConnect 365 for Dynamics 365 for Sales searches your company’s email and calendar system to retrieve relevant data about your customers and prospects, and presents that information as actionable insights. SalesConnect365 can create more opportunities, improve close ratios, and drive more revenue.

The SalesConnect 365 Cloud

All documents are searchable on Dynamics 365 records and stored in the SalesConnect Cloud, so you can stay connected from anywhere, at any time. Taking away the burden of (attempting) to enter all prospect and customer data into Dynamics 365 empowers your team to spend more time in front of your customers, actually selling—and with high-potential customers highlighted in your analytics, you can focus your resources on the opportunities most likely to close and create revenue. And servicing the customers who need help the most.

Improve Customer Interactions

SalesConnect 365 identifies customer buying behaviors and measures the strength of your customer relationships, allowing your team to better understand their preferences and create a more engaging experience—therefore improving your relationships and ultimately creating and converting more opportunities.

SalesConnect

Today’s customers are more informed and have higher expectations than ever before. Dynamics 365 for Sales enables you to better understand customer needs, engage more effectively, and win more deals. Dynamics 365 for Customer Service gives your team a  single, unified experience that delivers end-to-end service across every channel—earning customer loyalty and empowering agents. When combined with SalesConnect 365, your CRM experience is enhanced to drive more business.

Learn more about SalesConnect 365 or request a free evaluation today.

Sincerely,

Joe Gulino
Director of Corporate Account Sales, SBS Group

About Joe
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
joegulino
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Corporate Account Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-gulino-0a0ba72/

 

Dynamics 365 for Sales/CRM Announcements at Microsoft Summit User Group

At the Microsoft Dynamics 365 User Group Summit 2017 in Nashville, the Dynamics 365 product team walked customers through a range of updates within Dynamics 365 for Sales/CRM.

Connecting CRM data with Office, LinkedIn graphs

Within Dynamics 365 Sales, there is an emphasis on “social selling with context,” meaning more bi-directional flow of data between D365, Office and LinkedIn, to round out visibility of a lead or opportunity, and to make it all about relationship sales. Microsoft is using “fuzzy logic” technology to  surface LinkedIn data from Dynamics, and vice versa. Actions taken in Sales Navigator will also filter back to the field and activities of the Dynamics entity. Dynamics 365 leads can also be sent to LinkedIn if the sales rep believes he or she will be better engaged via communications on that platform. Those interactions will be fed back to Dynamics, too, as part of the integration.

Azure Advancements

Microsoft noted advances in the use of Azure-based analytical tools for the benefit of Dynamics 365 for Sales/CRM customers. The team is updating Customer Insights with segmentation, lead scoring, conflation analysis (duplicate matching), and other machine learning capabilities.

Customer Insights: Engage your customers with intelligent insights
Understand your customers to better engage them through intelligent insights. Using Dynamics 365 with Microsoft Azure, transform your data into timely and relevant information, inferences, and predictions that help your business succeed.

In Customer Insights, segmentation capabilities of the current release are “not just demographic, but psychographic,” said Dynamics 365 general manager, Param Kahlon, speaking at a Summit general session. So while segments can be created based on static attributes like postal code, they can also be created based on predictive logic about the likelihood that the people will respond to a particular message or offer.

Customer Insights is built to support two things, Kahlon explained. First, it can ingest large volumes of data from multiple sources about customers. Second, the system is designed to identify the same person or entity represented across systems and provide an accurate and cohesive profile for use in analysis.

Beyond out-of-the-box algorithms provided with Customer Insights, Microsoft also wants customers to create their own machine learning algorithms. For example, a customer churn score could be developed relatively easily, Kahlon told users, if the organization has lists of known customers that have and have not churned. The machine learning engine can analyze data around those lists and build a model that can be applied to new customers to provide a likelihood-to-churn score. A set of activities or alerts could then be implemented to manage those high-risk customers.

SBS Group SalesConnect 365 Connections that Drive BusinessSBS SalesConnect 365 crawls your company’s email and calendar system, intelligently searches and retrieves all useful data about your customers and prospects, organizes the information in Dynamics 365 for Sales, and presents that information as actionable knowledge you can use to improve close ratios, create more opportunities, and drive more revenue. Click here for more information, or to request a demo.

User experience to be updated to a unified interface

The v9 launch also opens the next chapter in the Dynamics 365 team’s work to optimize the user experience. It is a journey that began over six years ago, Kahlon said, and has now been through several iterations. The new interface, known as the Unified Client Interface (UCI), will be used to update all the existing customer experience apps, as well as the as-yet unreleased lower-tier sales app and marketing app.

The updated look and feel is subtle in some places, but the technology change is significant, and Microsoft representatives say they have tried to find a balance between improving visual borders, information density, and layout. Some seemingly small improvements will make a big impact on customers, like the ability of a long field value to dynamically wrap to a new line rather than being cut off – a feature that drew applause from users.

Let us know if you have any questions about these or other announcements at Microsoft Summit.

Sincerely,

Joe Gulino
Director, Enterprise Sales, SBS Group

About Joe
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
joegulino
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Corporate Account Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-gulino-0a0ba72/

 

Heads Up Salespeople! Microsoft Takes LinkedIn Integration to the Next Level

As usual, there were a lot of announcements at Microsoft’s Ignite customer conference this week. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s keynote exemplified the broad swath of innovation Microsoft is targeting, touching on how everything from AI and mixed reality to quantum computing and data-ready cloud infrastructure are changing the way we do business.

Microsoft had several announcements around its LinkedIn integration, which is great news for salespeople. You may recall, Microsoft announced its LinkedIn Acquisition last June. Many of us wondered how this would play out in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 space.

Microsoft is updating the Dynamics 365 user experience (UX) from a standard LinkedIn widget to a fully configurable integration. LinkedIn InMails and messages will be able to be sent directly from within Dynamics 365 for Sales, and added directly to Relationship Insights as with any other sales interaction. As a result, Dynamics 365 relationship analytics will be expanded to include InMail and PointDrive interactions.

There will also be Relationship Assistant cards triggered with LinkedIn data, so salespeople will be able to natively render profile photos from contact records in LinkedIn. You will also be able to search across Office 365, SharePoint at Microsoft, and OneDrive at Microsoft for LinkedIn and Microsoft Dynamics 365 sales profile cards if all of the services are connected and integrated. What a timesaver this will be! And salespeople can now visit a prospect knowing all of the LinkedIn connections they have in common, all integrated on their mobile device with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM).

linkedin-dynamics-crm

The goal at Microsoft is to help salespeople create warm leads and relationship sales. With over 500 million members, LinkedIn is a gold mine of information.

You can identify the best way to reach and connect with prospects, including introductions from colleagues that they know and trust and:

  • Focus on the right people with predictive lead scoring
  • Find every member of the buying committee
  • Discover the best path to reach each buyer for a stronger response

Let us know if we can answer any questions about the integration, or Microsoft Dynamics 365 Relationship Sales.

Sincerely,

Joe Gulino
Director, Enterprise Sales, SBS Group

About Joe
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
joegulino
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Corporate Account Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-gulino-0a0ba72/

10 Questions Companies Forget to Ask During an ERP Sales Cycle: Part 2

Welcome back! Last week, we talked about the first five questions that companies forget to ask during an ERP sales cycle. This week, we will talk about questions 6-10.

6. How will you, as the ERP provider, help support and foster the change the new software will bring to my organization?

A successful ERP implementation can help your organization streamline workflow and cut costs, but a poorly planned and implemented ERP rollout can severely cost your organization, in terms of lost productivity and delays. Make sure that you properly vet your ERP vendors, and talk to their service people who will be executing the rollout. Conference room pilots and service plans are important.

7. Is every cloud solution the same thing?

The answer to this question is no. There is private cloud, public cloud, hybrid, single tenant, multi-tenant, etc. Microsoft offers a huge amount of services, far richer than any other cloud services vendor. SBS Group works with our customers to customize cloud solutions for your particular needs and wants: private, public or a hybrid approach integrating existing clouds and on-prem.

Is your application suddenly trending on Twitter? Microsoft Azure has a free autoscale feature that can help you during unexpected traffic spikes, by automatically scaling up or down to meet demand, while simultaneously minimizing costs.

cloud-service-typesTop benefits of cloud computing

Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. What is it about cloud computing? Why is cloud computing so popular? Here are 6 common reasons organizations are turning to cloud computing services:

1. Cost
Cloud computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site datacenters—the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It adds up fast.

2. Speed
Most cloud computing services are provided self service and on demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.

3. Global scale
The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources—for example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth—right when its needed, and from the right geographic location.

4. Productivity
On-site datacenters typically require a lot of “racking and stacking”—hardware set up, software patching, and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.

5. Performance
The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure datacenters, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate datacenter, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.

6. Reliability
Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity easier and less expensive, because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.

8. Can you help me understand that a little better?

This question is so important. Make sure that you don’t leave a sales cycle without all of your questions answered. This will help you make the best decision for your organization. Your ERP system is only as good as the data that is in it. So, if you want your ERP implementation to succeed, it is imperative that proper programming and procedural parameters are put in place right from the start to minimize the likelihood of errors. We can help you with this, and we want to make sure that all of your questions are answered.

9. Is it important to decommission my legacy applications?

The answer is a resounding yes. If you do not actively work to decommission applications during the implementation, the result is an ERP system with all of the original legacy applications hanging off of it. Another piece of software that you are paying maintenance and support on, paying for hardware and upgrades, and paying for interfaces back into the core ERP. The point of implementing a new ERP system is to streamline workflow and reduce costs and waste, not increase fees.

10. What does a digital transformation really mean?

There’s a lot of talk about digital transformations these days. According to a recent CIO article, what many CIOs describe as a digital transformation actually isn’t. Mobile apps, AI-based chatbots, analytics and other digital services are often used to augment existing services. Gartner analyst Hung LeHong, whose job includes sussing out whether companies are conducting a “digital business transformation” or a “digital business optimization,” said “In a nutshell, we reserve digital business transformation for companies pursuing net new revenue streams, products and services and business models.” “This can include the creation of new digital business units or digital acquisitions. Sometimes the new business models can lead to ventures in adjacent markets or new industries.”

Microsoft defines a digital transformation as: to grow, evolve, and transform every part of your business to better meet the changing market and needs of your customers. We like to think that’s it.

Let us help you with answering these 10 important questions today. Let me know if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Joe Gulino
Director, Enterprise Sales, SBS Group

About Joe
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
joegulino
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Enterprise Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-gulino-0a0ba72/

10 Questions Companies Forget to Ask During an ERP Sales Cycle: Part 1

I think author Warren Berger got it right in his book, “A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas.” Berger argues that while we’re all hungry for better answers, we must first learn to ask the right questions. Through a number of well-researched stories, Berger demonstrates that the most creative, successful people in the world tend to be expert questioners. They’ve mastered the art of inquiry, raising questions no one else is asking—and finding the answers everyone else is seeking.

With so many different—and in some cases, overlapping—approaches to selecting a software system, how do you know if you are asking the right questions during an ERP (and/or a CRM) sales cycle? I have been involved in many sales cycles, and these are the questions that I see companies most often don’t ask, but should.

1. Is it a mistake to push Analytics and Reporting (BI) out to Phase II of the implementation?

Yes. Many customers make the mistake of pushing BI out to Phase II, but the problem is, Phase II may never happen, or it will happen too late. It’s better to access analytics and reporting sooner rather than later. In some cases, this access to timely BI information alone can pay for the new system, helping you gain ROI now rather than later.

2. What other supporting applications or technology can use a refresh at our company?

You are making a significant change to your ERP system, and it’s a good time to look at other systems too. If your ERP vendor can’t help with it, chances are they can recommend someone who can.Old-Way-New-Way

3. Does our decision-making team consist of all the right players?

In today’s world of consensus buying, 6.8 people are involved in the ERP buying decision on average. While it’s difficult to free up your brightest resources from their full-time jobs, ERP implementations are not simple and they can be costly. It’s important to put your best people on the job. Not just your best IT people, your best people, period. You’ll need a project champion, and don’t forget the executives too – you’ll need their support.

4. Do we truly know why we are looking for new software? What is the value expected?

An ERP solution is critical because of its ability to increase information consistency and accuracy. Many companies still suffer from “multiple versions of the truth” – incorrect and inconsistent information across the business. Sit down with your team and make a list of reasons why you need a new system, and goals for the project. Focus on specific business processes and system requirements. The more specific you can be upfront, the more detailed your vendors can be in their proposals.

5. Do you know our industry? Do you have best practices and implementation tools that focus on companies that do what we do?

The answer to this question is critical. If your ERP provider doesn’t know your industry, the project may fail. Ask for references. Too often, people select an ERP system based on factors such as price, current technology buzz or the system that is the flashiest. But without a good fit, companies are left with expensive customization and bolted together solutions. The solution: Find an ERP system that is industry-specific, with tools and features designed to solve your business requirements. The ROI and long-term benefits of a good fitting system are extensive.

Don’t miss next week’s post, where I’ll cover questions 5-10 that companies frequently forget to ask. Meanwhile, let me know if you have any questions about 1-5.

Sincerely,

Joe Gulino
Director, Enterprise Sales, SBS Group

About Joe
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
joegulino
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Enterprise Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.
https://www.linkedin.com/in/joe-gulino-0a0ba72/

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