Apr 17,2014 by nbunn

Over half of UK charities are looking to address their IT strategies this year: cloud-based CRM software should be considered when adapting to digital

Latest research from Eduserv reveals that 75% of charities in the UK have no IT strategy in place to support digital transformation and so are putting their ability to raise funds, manage members, deliver new services, improve efficiency and control costs at risk.

The survey also revealed that 71% of digital teams cannot do their job without a good relationship with IT; yet 57% described their relationship with IT as average or poor. This divide between IT and digital suggests that there is a failing of legacy server-based products such as Integra and Raiser’s Edge.

Thankfully, 56% of organisations are planning to address this IT divide in the upcoming year, but with 66% of UK charities lacking digital literacy, how realistic and easy is this transformation going to be?

Many Not-for-Profit (NFP) organisations are aware that the commercial sector is taking advantage of cloud-based solutions to replace in-house packages that are expensive and difficult to maintain, and are keen to migrate from traditional membership databases to CRM systems that can help to manage member, donor and partner relationships more efficiently and productively.

Having completed many successful migrations, our CRM experts have provided three top tips that every NFP and membership organisation should consider when adapting to digital:

1. Empower your people – increase their productivity so they are free to spend more time serving members or fund raising. With a mix of legacy applications, your colleagues are wasting time and energy trying to make sense of data that’s scattered over a variety of silos; and the ability of your management team to make informed decisions is severely compromised. A fully integrated cloud-based CRM system combines your data in a single secure solution, making it quicker and easier for everyone to find the information they need.

2. Find a partner that has experience of integrating its cloud-based CRM system with your website. In order for you to fully embrace digital, it is vital that your CRM can easily integrate with your website, creating a portal where your members can take advantage of all of the services you offer, update details, renew subscriptions, book events, make a donation and request information directly from your website. The details of every interaction can be stored in your CRM, empowering staff to improve the members’ experience by tailoring the content they receive.

3. Find the right CRM system for you. It is vital to find the right combination of CRM, membership and event management features for your needs. Legacy server-based membership systems allow you to manage basic contact details, but they lack the additional features you need to successfully embrace digital. A cloud-based CRM system will not only give you the tools to manage all your data and track all your communications in one place, but also the ability to significantly improve the effectiveness of communications through personalisation and new channels, automate processes such as membership renewal, and improve retention and donation rates.

For more information and top tips on membership and event management for NFPs, download our eBook here:

 


[1] http://www.computerweekly.com/news/2240216207/Three-quarters-of-UK-chari...

 

Mar 27,2014 by JohnCheney

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Workbooks.com honoured at Network Computing Awards for second consecutive year

We recently attended the 2014 Network Computing Awards at Hotel Russell in London and were honoured to be awarded with ‘CRM Product of the Year’ for a second year running.

The Network Computing Awards, run by Network Computing Magazine, recognise IT solutions and companies that are helping organisations to function better by getting the most out of their networks and systems and understand that managing a network is a challenging job. Nominations for the awards were open to customers and the general public and then these votes were tallied to present a winner.

We are very proud to have won this category for the second year in a row. We were up against some large names including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics and a range of other CRM vendors, and so were delighted when we were named as the winner. This award reflects our continued commitment to deliver first-class software and high customer satisfaction.

We’ve enjoyed a lot of very positive feedback from our customers recently, especially in the latest G2Crowd Report on CRM in which we were rated number one for customer satisfaction.

We would also like to congratulate our very own Ian Moyse, Sales Director at Workbooks, who was the runner up in the Contribution to IT award category.

For more information about the Network Computing Awards, please click here.

 

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Mar 18,2014 by JohnCheney

Improving Business Efficiency

If you’re not embracing the benefits of business automation, then you’re missing out.

Have you ever considered how much time it takes your marketing team to collect and allocate leads? Or how long your sales reps spend creating bespoke customer quotes? Can you currently automatically capture customer support enquiries via your website and instantly allocate the case to the correct person or user group within your CRM? What’s more could your month end invoicing run be reduced from a 7 day process to a half an hour job?

By utilising business automation, your sales, marketing, customer support and finance teams could be enjoying 20% improved efficiency.

The development and advancement of digital technologies has brought business automation to the forefront; delivering more efficiencies for less cost. Companies that are automating their processes are realising multiple benefits including:

  • improved customer relations
  • shorter sales cycles
  • time and cost savings
  • easier cashflow management

A successful CRM implementation brings the marketing, sales, finance and customer service functions of a business together onto one highly automated platform. Having all the business information stored in one central location completely changes the nature of the game. Imagine having a holistic view of each and every one of your customers with detailed information within just a few clicks of a mouse, showing:

  • Every communication and interaction that has taken place
  • All financial information including invoicing and how promptly they pay
  • Opportunities for up-sell & cross-sell

As Forbes said, “CRM’s real value is in unifying an entire enterprise based on its ability to sell, serve and retain customers better than before.” Add in the value of anytime, anywhere access delivered by cloud based CRM solutions and the opportunities to transform performance through business automation are clear.

As a result Gartner estimates that the number of CRM implementations that use SaaS will grow to over 50% by 2020 – that’s only 6 years away!

To find out more about how your business can automate its way to profitability, download our guide here.

SaaS CRM is growing for a reason. Make sure your business doesn’t get left behind.

Mar 07,2014 by JohnCheney

describe the imageHow web based CRM from Workbooks helped three financial services firms overcome specific business challenges to better meet customer expectations.

When it comes to financial services firms we understand that your business model is different to other types of organisations, with needs and requirements as individual as the services you provide.

In a challenging marketplace, you need the right tools – such as web based CRM - at your disposal to keep ahead of the competition and keep up with the expectations of your clients.

Can you easily access all your client data from one central location? Do you have problems with duplicate data stored in multiple locations? Can you easily segment your data for marketing purposes or is this a time consuming, manual process?

By joining up sales, marketing and client services, businesses can enjoy one, consistent view of all their client engagement. Workbooks’ web based CRM for Financial Services has been specifically designed to provide detailed client insight whilst also enabling firms to keep up with financial reporting standards and gain access to real-time management and business information through the Workbooks reporting engine.

With access to a breadth of real-time information and data, Workbooks users are able to make better business decisions, more quickly.

But, we would say that wouldn’t we?

So we’ve created a case study collection with the help of three of our financial services customers to explain how the Workbooks solution has enabled them to overcome a range of business challenges and benefit from:           

  • Anticipating the needs of clients        
  • Increasing client retention
  • Streamlining reporting processes
  • Gaining access to the audit tools needed to manage regulatory compliance

 Case studies included are:

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To find out how web based CRM from Workbooks can assist your financial services business download our latest case study collection HERE.

 

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Feb 25,2014 by JohnCheney

describe the imageWhen deploying a CRM system, many organisations enter into the project with unrealistic expectations. In a world of plug and play technology, businesses appear to have forgotten that CRM is simply not a system that you can just switch on. It requires planning, change management and the investment of energy, time and money.

CRM is a critical business system: it can transform performance – increasing conversions, reducing costs and enabling exceptional customer engagement. Given its strategic importance, why would any business assume CRM can be achieved without serious consideration and management?

To get the desired corporate rewards, it is essential to invest time into putting a CRM system in place, efficiently and effectively. A CRM deployment involves not just the technology, but also consideration of the business processes and  people – it is the successful management of all of these elements that is key to making a CRM system a success.

So what are the essential considerations?

Set Realistic Timescales:

Deploying a CRM system just does not happen overnight. CRM is a journey. Businesses implementing a CRM system cannot do everything at once because the project itself is too big. Trying to do too much too quickly results in the system becoming too complex for its users. There’s no point hurrying everything at the beginning, because the end result will be disappointing.

Retain Core Focus:

Businesses must concentrate on the core benefits and objectives of deploying CRM. By all means, look at other things you want to achieve such as integrating Google maps and social media channels; but decide how you are going to phase them in steadily and not rush them all at once.

Companies need to break the CRM process down to get the right foundations in place. Just like building a house – trying to build it, decorate it and put the pictures up all in one day is not realistic if you want to get the job done correctly. The same applies with CRM - you need get the essentials right first; and deploy CRM in stages.

Look for Measurable Benefits:

Organisations must determine what can be achieved effectively in the first phase to deliver not only measurable benefits to the business and directors, but also the user. Users are far more likely to embrace a system that delivers genuine value on a day to day basis than a system that provides no obvious benefit at all.

Implementing CRM effectively is a journey and having a clear understanding of what you want to achieve from the outset will determine the route. In real-life nobody jumps in the car and programs their Sat-Nav without knowing where the destination/end-point is – and the same methodology can be applied to a CRM implementation. Taking a single step at a time is essential to delivering successful CRM that works effectively and has the support and buy-in of both users and the business as a whole.

 

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Feb 20,2014 by JohnCheney

Despite the hopes, excitement and expectatiebook 2on, a mixture of naivety and youthful exuberance means the first foray into CRM is unlikely to stand the test of time. Just like your first love. According to a 2013 survey by Merkle Group Inc[i], a business’s first CRM deployment is more likely to fail than succeed - with 63% of CRM initiatives failing.

The reality is that first time around mistakes will be made, and the results may be less satisfying than expected. Let’s be honest, with the first CRM deployment, no business knows exactly what to expect or where it will go in the future. Those organisations that have been burnt by their first CRM implementation often struggle to pluck up the courage to try again. But does that mean businesses should turn their back on CRM for life? No! Learning from the good and bad aspects of that first experience is the key to getting it right next time.

No relationship is perfect. It takes work, commitment and dedication to get the best from both sides. There is no excuse for letting an old CRM system constrain the business or allowing the fear of trying again to hold you back. Businesses should take a step back and look at what actually worked well; learn from their mistakes; and make sure it is better second time around. Always remember: retain focus on the objectives and the reason for the original CRM investment; and gain advice as to how best to achieve that goal.

Not all relationships - or CRM solutions - can be saved. Just like your first love, the first system you buy may not stand the test of time. Organisations may struggle to walk away from that first CRM solution, but they must realise that the business has changed and grown. Like an older, more experienced lover you must learn from your mistakes and make sure it works second time around - there are plenty of other solutions to fall in love with.

To find out more about why organisations should consider a new CRM system even if their first CRM project failed, download our latest eBook by clicking on the button below.

Download

 

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Feb 06,2014 by JohnCheney

Once a CRM system is implemented, the adoption of the system can quickly become a concern and the most common challenge is to overcome initial resistance people may have towards the system, and then to educate and encourage employees to use it. User adoption is important because a CRM system without the user buy-in will have significantly less value to the business. What is the point of investing in a system that nobody uses? Think of all the reasons you spent time and money implementing a CRM system in the first place:

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  • You want to give benefit to your business and make your employees more efficient
  • You want to monitor the market more effectively and improve sales
  • You want to be able to measure and report on performance

Having the correct implementation of a CRM system, but without user adoption won't help deliver these objectives because the data which goes into the system is only as good as the people using it - so it is critical that you have the willing participation of the end users. There are various reasons behind poor adoption, some of the more popular one’s we hear are:

  • The system is not intuitive and I don’t know how to use it
  • It’s just baneful because it’s not giving me the user experience
  • The system has too many processes – it takes five more steps than it did before the system
  • The system doesn’t do what we want and that’s why we are not using it

These excuses lead to a resentment of the system and what ends up happening is a lot of users will get other people such as an admin or a secretary to enter data into the system for them. Either they won’t use it at all or they will use it the day before the monthly sales meeting and painfully update the data, resulting in a day’s worth of admin. The net result is that once a quarter it’s suddenly up to date and accurate, for a day or two, then it slowly starts creeping out of date again as little or no data is updated until the next sales meeting. That is not the point of a CRM system – an effective and high performing CRM system needs to be a living system.

It’s very much a snowball effect that once users do not put data into the system, the business will not receive any of the objectives originally sought after and in due course, will end up with a wasted investment and a failed CRM project.

Getting user adoption is a journey that has to start right from the beginning and continue all steps of the way. First and foremost choose a system that makes life easier for the users. Unless your CRM system is easy to use, end user adoption will fail. Select a CRM system that is built for adoption. Users today use the Web and Windows; they are used to a certain interface that works for them, so perhaps don’t give them an interface that’s very proprietary. Businesses need to make sure implementation of their chosen CRM is aligned with users’ day-to-day practices. If the deployment of the CRM system changes these processes, be careful to ensure that it supports the most efficient and time-saving workflow.

Another way of improving user adoption is tying adoption to user payback; assert the message of user payback right from the start. This is often missing because the user takes the pain and the effort while the managers want the payback, but there is no payback the other way. Give the end users answers to questions of “what is in it for me?” Get managers to buy into this message, endorse it and work it within their teams.

Finally set up a feedback process where end users can submit their feedback, so that you can continuously measure and work through any adoption issues. Feedback from the end users will help the organisation fine-tune the CRM system, getting it matured and adjusted to work the way that the business works. This will get user adoption going upwards and will continue to build because users have seen their feedback being taken into consideration and used to guide the progress of the project. This will provide end users with adopted value in the system and in return you and the business will achieve your objectives.

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Jan 31,2014 by JohnCheney

Palette of boxesGoogle the term ‘CRM failure’ and a stack of articles appear: 10 reasons your CRM fails; Why is my CRM implementation not delivering; CRM from hell…the list continues, but in reality: around 63% of CRM systems do fail[i].

A Nucleus Research survey recently found that 38% of Salesforce customers are planning to move or would consider moving to another product[ii]. Yet how many of these ‘considerations’ actually result in a move?

The majority of companies are put-off from moving because they perceive that it will be too hard, too painful and too expensive. But assumption and perception can be very restrictive in a business context – just how much research has truly been done into moving systems and what facts and evidence is this perception based on?

A lot of people perceive that moving CRM systems is simply too difficult and that instead the business will just live with what it’s got. Yet in reality this is a step backwards. Why did the organisation invest in CRM in the first place? There was a belief at the outset that it would benefit the business and make a difference; bringing more sales, increased productivity, increased customer loyalty and many other benefits. So, the fact that the current system isn’t delivering, doesn’t mean that these needs have disappeared - the reasons and needs behind the initial implementation still exist, so why live with a system that isn’t bringing these benefits to the business?

Modifying and tweaking the existing system is one way to try and improve the situation. However, if this is going to be complicated and expensive, and require on-going changes and modifications, then this may not be the most cost-effective remedy. For example, I have recently been working with a business that is paying an external supplier around £1000 per month for minor system tweaks because the existing system doesn’t let in-house staff make changes themselves. The system has simply become a money pit, swallowing good money after bad.

Whilst for this example company a complete system change will involve more than a £1000 up-front cost for implementation, over the long-term that £1000 monthly cost will add up to a far more significant figure and is also hindering staff and company progress. Therefore, by making the switch to a new system the business will, over time, be financially better off each month, not to mention the business benefits that will result from having a CRM solution that works properly and effectively, increasing profits and revenue.

User-adoption is another key consideration when thinking about sticking with the current system. Whilst the business may be spending money and effort trying to fix the problematic areas, if your users have written the system off as no-good, or don’t like the way it performs and operates then they are unlikely to engage with it once the modifications have been made. User attitude is a difficult one to fix and often a clean break can be the best route, with the benefits outweighing the cost and challenges of moving.

When looking at alternative vendors, be sure to find out if they have moved at least one organisation from your current platform before. How did they do it? How easy was it and what proof points does the sales man have to back-up his promises? What references can be provided? Moving CRM system is far easier when the new vendor has previous experience and expertise in moving organisations from your current platform onto theirs.

Risk mitigation is also a key discussion point. A consideration that many people don’t make is how they can move away from the system if it does fail. How can you get your data out? Getting items such as attachments, notes, and emails out of a system can be tricky if the vendor imposes a strict cut-off point when your licence expires and you have to extract all your data before this point into a useable format.

Don’t boil the ocean – you don’t necessarily have to move all your data. Use the move as a data cleansing exercise. The likelihood of prospect data from ten years ago being relevant and useful today is often low. How much of your existing information is real, live data as opposed to just noise and dirt? Consider storing the old data elsewhere and only bringing across the information you think is useful and needed into the new CRM. If, once the system is operating, you find that you did need that particular year’s data, you can still import it – but don’t try and do everything at once if it is not required.

Be realistic – do you really need to have a full whiz, bang, flashing CRM system that works with every social media network, integrates with three other business systems and has amazing mobile app capabilities all at once? No. Get the basics right first. Ensure that the system is delivering the business benefits and requirements you need at the start and that there is strong user adoption within the business. The flashy parts can come further down the line, but make sure that the new system is working effectively, is being used properly and that your staff and users like it first; then you can build in the ‘nice to haves’.

Moving CRM systems need not be as difficult as first perceived. Selecting a new, more effective solution will take time and requires diligent research and detailed, technical discussions with a number of vendors. But the right system will bring the benefits that were originally envisaged for the business, along with stronger finances, happier staff and loyal, cared for customers. Too many are living with poor or sub optimal benefits from CRM and the step up really isn’t that hard.

 

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Dec 18,2013 by JohnCheney

Learn how CRM systems can help raise sales team performance and customer satisfaction.

5 reasons why your sales team is underperforming

Why is your sales team underperforming? Here are five common reasons:

Not following up on leads

Without follow-up, sales leads won’t convert. If your sales team is not following up leads, your business is losing sales. It is essential that your team has a CRM system that allows them to record leads and progress each opportunity through the sales pipeline to its conclusion, and also allows you to effectively monitor lead follow-up and and address any unfollowed-up leads before it’s too late.

‘On average 70% of the leads marketers sent to sales were never contacted at all. And of those abandoned 70%, 43% ended up buying something from a competitor over the next 13 months.’ 

Cahners CARR Research

Poor use of email

Email is, for many customers, the communication method of choice. It is therefore essential that:

  • Sales staff use email to contact customers where appropriate.
  • File email against customer records for future reference.
  • Automate email and use email templates as far as possible to increase efficiency and reduce manual intervention.
  • Use email for new marketing efforts.

Keeping email stored against customer records in CRM systems ensures a full audit trail for communications and a better understanding of each customer.

‘77% of people prefer to receive permission-based promotional messaging via email.’

ExactTarget survey 2012

‘Personalised emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%.”

Aberdeen Group

Poor organisational understanding

Your team needs to identify and understand each client so they target the correct person with each sales effort:

  • Who are the deal influencers?
  • Who are the decision makers?
  • Who are the gatekeepers?

CRM systems that capture the organisational structure of client companies will save time and get deals in front of the right person.

Poor relationship building

Relationships are built on trust, which is why your sales team needs to deliver on promises. If a client requests a call back, they must receive that call when they ask. CRM systems provide the ability to record call notes and set reminders for follow-up.

‘Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.’

Forrester Research

Missed opportunities

Well-established customer relationships provide opportunities to upsell and cross-sell. But there are two key factors to make this happen:

  1. A solid, trusting relationship between customer and account manager.
  2. A good understanding of the client’s needs, preferences and company culture.

CRM systems can store:

  • The personal information required to maintain a relationship with each client stakeholder.
  • Data that allows account managers to match products to customer preferences for upsell opportunities.

‘Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.’

The Annuitas Group

Remember…

  • A CRM system offers many ways for sales teams to improve performance.
  • A CRM system will increase customer satisfaction, ensuring ROI.
Up\u002Dselling and Cross\u002Dselling \u002D CRM Strategies That Really Work

 

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Dec 11,2013 by JohnCheney

When implemented properly, CRM software should improve your sales funnel and conversion rates.

Managing your sales funnel   how does CRM help

CRM software is well-known for helping manage the sales funnel. But how exactly does it help your sales team?

Records all customer interactions

With CRM software in place, you immediately have a definitive repository for all customer contact data. A single CRM software solution can replace:

  • Individual contact lists and address books maintained by sales staff.
  • Separate marketing databases of contacts.
  • A support database for dealing with customer service queries and issues.

Instead, one platform becomes the single point for recording all customer contact so that you can get a complete view of their purchase history, needs and upcoming opportunities. The same data can then be subdivided for targeted marketing efforts, or to follow long-term relational data, such as support calls.

In this way, every user of the CRM software is helping to maintain the relationship, paving the way for future sales.

‘80% of business leaders believe they do a good job in building customer relationships, while only 8% of their customers agree, according to research from The Whetstone Edge.  If your organisation uses more than one system to record and manage your customer touch points, centralised access to customer information will help your employees see the full relationship.’

CRM Software Blog

Provides a logical pipeline to follow

Depending on how your business works, your ideal CRM software solution will be configurable to match your sales pipeline. By keeping accurate records of each customer interaction, particularly upcoming opportunities, it becomes possible to see where any account is in terms of the sales funnel. You can set ‘Stages’ to track progress, enabling your sales reps to identify where a prospect is in the buying cycle and whether there are any risks. Your sales team will know what they need to do to move each account towards a final sale. Over time it even becomes possible to ‘template’ the process, making it even easier for sales staff to close deals. Having data displayed in this way ensures a consistent workflow for every sales opportunity.

‘The companies that do excel in SPM [sales pipeline management] have seen significant improvement in turning sales-qualified leads into customers in a predictable, well-disciplined manner and achieving revenue generation goals.’

Best Practices in Sales Pipeline Management, Michael Gerard, vice president at IDC

Automates common tasks

The logical extension of template procedures is to automate them. Using the built-in CRM software functions it becomes possible to send automated emails when certain pipeline conditions are met, such as order confirmation or acknowledgements of service requests.

Your marketing department can also take advantage of the marketing automation features to manage email campaigns designed to turn leads into opportunities, and to collect the data generated by such an activity. CRM software can automatically:

  • Deliver the emails.
  • Collect responses.
  • Monitor click-throughs, message opens and other important statistics.

And insert new leads into the start of the sales funnel for progression to sale.

‘47% of sales’ forecasted pipeline is first generated by marketing in the Best-in-Class companies that use sales and marketing automation.’

Sales and Marketing Alignment, Aberdeen Group

Reporting and forecasting

By carefully monitoring sales activities, it becomes possible to ensure that leads and opportunities are being followed up adequately, and to report on the activities of individual sales team members or the team in general. It then becomes easier for the sales manager to allocate workloads or direct efforts to move more opportunities along the sales funnel.

The CRM software also provides accurate sales and revenue forecasting which can be used by the accounts department to calculate future company income accurately. The more data collected in the CRM software, the more flexible and granular your reports can be.

Remember – CRM software helps with your sales funnel by:

  • Making all customer-related data available in one place.
  • Helping your sales team see where any opportunity is in the pipeline at any given moment.
  • Providing automation capabilities to increase efficiency and speed of business.
  • Create reports on any aspect of customer-related activity or data.

Up\u002Dselling and Cross\u002Dselling \u002D CRM Strategies That Really Work

 

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