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Lead v Opportunity – What’s in a word? March 20, 2017

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Change Management, CRM, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft CRM 2016, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Sales Management.
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Lead v Opportunity

Recently we have been having some interesting discussions about the difference between a Lead and an Opportunity. We also have customers who use the word Prospect as part of their sales cycle and others use the term Deal. Getting this right is terms of how it is applied in your CRM system is very important, as is ensuring that everyone actually knows exactly what each term actually means and how they are used.

I will be discussing these in terms of their general interpretation as well as how the Microsoft CRM system views these records.

For many companies a Lead constitutes potential business with someone who they have not done any previous business with over the years, so for example a list of auto electricians in the local area could be purchased and this would be a list of Leads if you had not sold to them before.

Therefore in a typical sales cycle, you would market to the business, and eventually qualify or disqualify the lead, and a qualified lead becomes an Opportunity, which in turn can be won or lost.

So when does a Lead actually become an Opportunity?

This is normally based on qualification. So what constitutes qualification? It is generally accepted that at that stage in the process where it becomes evident that there is a chance whatever the % of winning the business, so the Lead is qualified when you believe that you “could” get an order.

A Lead is disqualified when there is no chance of doing business, however if there is a longer term possibility for example 12 months, should the Lead be disqualified? Should a follow up be created or should a long term Opportunity be raised?

There are advantages and disadvantages for both of these scenarios, and primarily this relates to reporting, and the real possibility that long term potential is actually forgotten, with staff moving on, and day to day activities getting in the way.

The one vexing question is what about potential for new products to existing customers, good old Marketing 101, states “That it is easier and less expensive to sell to existing customers than generate new ones” therefore if you sell yellow widgets, and introduce a new range of lime widgets, should you be creating Leads or Opportunities for each of your existing customers?

The moment you split this up you are also more than likely going to be looking at two sets of reporting metrics across your new range.

So the big question, can you have a Lead for an existing customer?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales is set up to accommodate this capability, the question is more, does this actually meet your business requirements?

There is no right or wrong way to do this, however the within the capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 365 both options are available. Therefore I believe it is important to get in place a process and then stick to it. If the rule is Leads are only ever companies that you never deal with, then during the configuration the Existing Customer and Existing Contact fields could be removed from the Sales process so that users do not link these to existing customers

However the Lead functionality in CRM is very powerful, and if you elect to use this, when you create a lead for an existing customer, and then qualify this lead, the Opportunity inherits the “originating lead” field and this will allow for deep analysis on campaigns and the leads created.

A newly created Customer in CRM when a Lead is converted to an Opportunity also carries this data of the originating lead and therefore the source campaign. Over time you will be able to view the value of these customers based on the source campaigns. This can be valuable marketing material.

If you don’t set up a Lead and start the sales process at Opportunity, you potentially lose some of the reporting metrics that are related to the lead.

The term Prospect is also used by many organisations, if this is the case, it is possible to modify the naming conventions in your new system to reflect this, just as one could change Customer to Client if this is the terminology that you use.

Using a nurture marketing approach can also be quite helpful, where long term Leads or Opportunities are placed on a back-burner and the system will come up with a number of reminders in 8, 12 or whatever planned months time.

Over the years I have changed the term Opportunity to Deal for a few customers, where they felt they were chasing a deal and not an opportunity.

As mentioned above, there is no right or wrong, but take a minute, pause for a while and consider what is best for your organisation, and whether, if you change, will this change be easily accepted across the business. If you have been calling something “Prospects and Suspects” for many years and this in inculcated into the corporate culture, then it may well be a small price to pay to keep it this way.

 

 

Service Scheduling April 28, 2016

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Change Management, CRM, FieldOne Sky, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft CRM 2016, service management.
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Schedule

Service Scheduling with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Field Service

Continuing with my theme of field service, today I want to concentrate on the subject of scheduling, which I find very interesting as there are a number of complex factors involved.

Imagine for a moment that you had 20 service vehicles, and your average service call lasted 1 hour. That is an incredible 3,520 one hour slots available in a month based on an 8 hour day. When you just factor into this equation travel time this 3,520 could be halved if travel time is thirty minutes each side of every call.

Add another level of complexity to this model where not all service technicians are qualified to work on all jobs, and where spare parts are not uniformly distributed to all vehicles and it is unlikely that all 20 vehicles will be on the road and staffed each and every day.

This is then the starting point for scheduling. As a business owner or manager, your primary role is to keep these technicians busy for as many hours as possible in the day, as well as maintaining a level of customer service that is within your service level agreements (SLA’s).

Managing leave, repairs to the vehicles, urgent issues requiring instant responses, on-boarding new staff, time overruns, unexpected technical difficulties on site, problems with site access and catering for rush hour traffic are some of the additional elements that can contribute to the complexity of scheduling. Couple all of this with the necessity to create invoices or take payments from customers which is commonplace in certain industries and you have quite a lot on your hands.

So how does this all work in practice?

It all starts with a case in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, where a record is created based on an incoming call, e-mail or other communication and where a decision is made to create a Work Order to send out a field service technician. The case will identify the “Who”, “What” and “Where”. Who are we dealing with? What is the problem? And where will someone have to go to undertake the necessary service?

Once the Work Order is created the system is able to schedule a field service technician and vehicle, based on the “who, what and where” associated with some rules and parameters. The rules engine needs to determine what skills, equipment and spare parts are required, which vehicles and technicians are available based on thier current or future location, urgency or status of job, the SLA agreed with the specific customer, distance from previous calls and how long the call is expected to take etc.

The Customer Service Representative should then be presented with a range of this information with different date and time options which may be suitable for the customer. Once a date and time is agreed the CSR can schedule the call, which then becomes fixed data to be used in further scheduling.

It’s all very well having a system that automatically can create scheduled calls, however the call time still needs to be convenient for the customer. For example if you have booked Bob from 08h00 to 09h00 in the city centre he will probably be available from 09h30 if there is another call from the same area, this can be used in the dialog with the customer at that time. “We have someone available from 09h30, would that be suitable?”

Emergencies and urgent calls are a fact of life for anyone in the service industry and “Things Happen” which just have to be dealt with, which means that flexibility is key in the world of scheduling. Often for example, when the technician arrives on site, the customer is not there, has had to go out and has not let you know. To all intents and purposes that call is dead time, especially if the technician is booked for a follow up call an hour or so later.

When a call is cancelled or there is a no-show, the system needs to allow you to reschedule that call and reschedule the whole day if necessary. If this can be done effectively, then there is the opportunity to win back the lost time.

These broken appointments can be mitigated once the booking is made by judicious use of automated text messaging from the system, one message sent the day before “Our technician is due to see you at 08h00 tomorrow” and one on the day, confirming that the technician is on their way.

And then there is the whole subject of time recording, billing for time and materials, invoicing etc. which are often additional work items that the service technician is meant to undertake at the conclusion of the call, good mobile systems are required to ensure that this does not become an onerous task.

There are still companies out there who undertake this form of scheduling using a large whiteboards in the office, Microsoft Excel workbooks and manual desk planning sheets.

The return on investment in a scheduling system is relatively easy to calculate, if the system can win back even a small percentage of the travel time by effective route planning this will be visible on the bottom line immediately.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Field Service certainly goes a long way toward automating these processes and it is evident, that having accurate and up to date data is a vital component for scheduling.

In my next post, I will go into some detail about how these rules actually work in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Field Service and discuss some of the practicalities of setting up the system to cater for different scenarios.

 

 

Rapid Growth Syndrome February 12, 2016

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Change Management, Management, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Training.
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Who moved my Cheese

Many of us have experienced this, working for a small innovative business where the sum of all the energy is transformed into great products or exceptional services. This requires the organisation to grow, hiring even more innovative and creative people and the cycle continues.

The business is growing, and then suddenly some of the processes seem to no longer work, and one solution is to throw people and resources at it, employ a HR person to handle all the interviews, Employ project managers to manage all the projects implement a CRM system etc. and before you know it the business is transforming from the small clique of initial staff members into a company structured organisation.

Very often this is happening in an industry where there are a number of other companies in the same market all facing the same issues and all growing simultaneously, (like the dotcom boom) so why do some succeed and other fail to gain the traction needed to progress?

One has to look at how well they managed the “Rapid Growth Syndrome” and there are a number of key aspects to evaluate.

Among other things this syndrome affects People, Process and Technology.

People

Are the management hires suitable, qualified and flexible enough to work within a rapidly changing environment?

One needs to ask the following hard questions if you are promoting one or some of the original staff members into these newly created management positions. Are they capable to hold these positions? Will this stifle their creativity? And more importantly do they have the experience and temperament to manage staff? Sometimes the really creative people just don’t want to do those roles, however as the business is growing they are compelled to take on these responsibilities rather than have an outsider come in and suddenly become their manager.

Process

Suddenly with a large influx of staff, some at a junior level, will come the implementation of rules, where in the early days the core group might go out for long lunches or take some time out to be very creative now this process and activity is frowned upon and sometimes actively discouraged as it is setting an incorrect precedent for new staff.

Business processes need to be put in place and followed, some of the start-up entrepreneurs that I have known over the years are dreadfully poor at paperwork and are happy to admit this openly. They cannot be seen to flaunt the new processes which are being implemented generally to streamline and keep the business efficient, so they leave and create another startup.

Technology

With growth comes the realisation that data needs to be captured, processes need to be in place to use and manage systems. Therefore there is often a requirement for some new systems, be they CRM, ERP, Manufacturing, Time Keeping or whatever. The implementation of any system needs to be well thought out (even if delivered in an agile manner) and if the new system is going to be that important, it is vital that its implementation does not impose constraints on the business.

In my solution consulting role I visit many organisations and therefore have first-hand experience of this syndrome at work. It’s a balancing act and there is no silver bullet. A deep understanding of change management is probably the most important element. Remember this is not new, this has been going on for years and there are plenty of case studies of organisations that experienced this, therefore is still amazes me to see organisations falling into these traps and making the same mistakes all over again.

See this very good article on how slack time can aid innovation https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/why-slack-time-so-important-innovation-phil-mckinney?trk=hp-feed-article-title-like )

But back to the central point, why do some succeed and others fail? I believe that adaptability is probably the major key along with the propensity to continually innovate, this still needs to be deeply inculcated into the culture of the business even as it grows.

In one organisation where I worked we provided all staff with a copy of the book “Who moved my cheese” by Spencer Johnson which is a really good business parable on change management and adaptability. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Moved_My_Cheese%3F we were able to see a marked improvement in the acceptance of some of the changes we were implementing as the business grew.

And to quote Haw from the book, “If you do not change, you can become extinct”.

 

Change Management for CRM Implementations November 20, 2015

Posted by Ivor's Window to the IT and CRM World in Change Management, Management, Microsoft CRM, Microsoft CRM 2016, Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
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Water14blog

In the last few weeks I have again been reminded that as CRM 2016 nears there is a huge amount of technical and application related tweets, blogs and other postings filling the airwaves, the list of the new features in Microsoft Dynamics 2016 is staggering.

And meanwhile back on the front line some companies may be struggling with the reality that the introduction of any new system, technology or process involves change. It is evident that some of the new functionality if embraced, will require a level of change.

In order to illustrate the impact of change I will just highlight one feature out of the current Microsoft Dynamics CRM offering and outline what change means just for this single context.

Consider for a moments the “Goals” functionality, this is a very powerful and sophisticated toolset that sells easily to higher management, where the reality for the implementers and users is that the introduction of this functionality is likely to involve some considerable change in the day to day operation of the business.

For example once the functionality has been implemented there will be the capability to showcase total visibility as to the Target and Actual, for any number of metrics that can now be measured. And as we all well know from management 101, “If you can’t measure it, it is hard to manage it”.

However to implement this functionality encapsulates a lot more than just this measurement. For example In order to have targets for phone calls and appointments set in goals, it would also mean that the users have to create, complete and then close those appointments and phone calls in the application. This could be another change to the current process, accompanied by a very real possibility that there may be a little resistance from the ranks at this change.

There are therefore many steps and logical machinations that require change management just for this one small single aspect of the system, and if as is the usual case the implementation is using many more of the wonderful elements of functionality within the Microsoft CRM system there is scope for change management for each and every one of these, there is a ripple effect right across the business.

You really can’t address this with a blanket statement “There will be change” and expect that everyone will rally around on day one and gladly embrace all of the changes.

So what can be done? There is no magic wand, however when organisations are undergoing rapid and considerable change either by the introduction of new systems and processes or even as the result of takeovers and acquisitions some form of change management fundamentals need to be implemented, these can range from the appointment of a Change Management Officer, through to some adequate training for the project managers and administrators who will be implementing the new systems or processes. The overarching element is communication, something you need to be really good at, if you are driving any form of change.

This is a training issue, a management issue and ultimately a corporate responsibility issue, as the introduction of a new system may involve some considerable capital outlay the effect of which needs to be maximised and not wasted.

I think another look at the aviation industry is in order, an Airline introducing a new airliner will need to train the pilots to accept the changes in technology, however the cabin staff need to be trained on the emergency procedures for this aircraft, the ground staff, fuelling and loading cargo specialists need to be trained on the changes that are needed, the list just goes on and on. Everyone has to accept the changes, adapt and ensure that the new processes and procedures are in place. This program of change will be thought about, planned and executed, there is no time or place for non-compliance.

Unfortunately far too often I hear of systems being implemented without the requisite change management planning and even more disturbingly a lack of training. Both of these activities take time and have a cost, an investment that just needs to be made. So when I am on your project, expect to hear my change management chant regularly.

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