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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Drip Marketing for Microsoft CRM

We just finished the beta testing phase of our upcoming drip marketing bundle for Dynamics CRM. This has been quite a pet project for us, as we believe strongly in nurture marketing concepts and have practiced these for ourselves for the past 5 or so years. We've been using a tool other than Microsoft CRM for this up to now, and can now fully marry our CRM tools with nurture marketing!

What is nurture marketing? It's a marketing philosophy and selling process made popular by Jim Cecil and his Nurture Institute. At the core, it recognizes that customers will buy on their timeline, and by making "deposits" over time, (not junk mail, mind you) you will be ahead of your competition when your prospect is ready to buy.

A residential real estate agent in my neighborhood understands this concept well. Several times per year I get letters and mailings from her with truly valuable information: local event schedules (Go Cowboys!), neighborhood demographic trends, crime watch information, then occasionally a postcard of a recent sale. Four out of every five things I get from her have nothing to do with her or her services; just a "deposit" of useful information that keeps her top of mind. When we eventually get ready to sell our house, why wouldn't we contact her?

Keeping your company top of mind with prospects is pretty hard work without a technology tool. We look forward to making this module available to our own clients and partners. We strongly believe that using this tool, paired with Microsoft CRM, will impact your business in more ways than you can imagine!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

It looks like it is now official -- Microsoft CRM 4.0 has been released to manufacturing and should be available for download soon (any day now).  There many great new features of the new release of Microsoft CRM, but when you look past the new duplicate detection, multi-tenancy, data imports, etc., what we are most excited about are the following:

Business Modeling

With Microsoft CRM 3.0 it was often difficult to truly model a business due to the limitations of the types of relationships available.  Microsoft CRM 5.0 introduces two new relationships, which eliminate the barriers that existed before:

  • Many-to-Many
  • One-to-Many (System-to-System)
  • Self referential
  • Multiple relationships between entities

By being able to more closely model a business the user experience is greatly enhanced through easier navigation, a more intelligent data model, and the flexibility to customize the system on an individual basis.  No longer do we need to explain to our clients why it is not possible to have two contacts linked to a single record :-)

CRM Live

The introduction of CRM Live opens the world of Microsoft CRM to a new subset of businesses.  As opposed to an on-premise deployment, there are no hardware costs associated with CRM Live and the licensing model allows smaller businesses to enjoy the same functionality larger ones have traditionally been able to implement.

Of course an on-premise deployment allows for greater flexibility and customization, and for larger businesses it is still the right choice -- especially where their business processes necessitate customizations beyond what can be achieved "out of the box".  However, CRM Live also supports much of the same configuration options allowing ISV's to offer compelling vertical solutions in a true SaaS model.

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