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Showing posts from March, 2016

Getting Started with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online offers so many features, the challenge for many businesses is where to begin.  That's why I put together the InfoStrat webinar on Getting Started with Dynamics CRM Online.

For the full presentation, you can watch the video:



Here are some highlights from the discussion:

Check out the InfoStrat CRM cost calculatorMicrosoft provides an excellent set of Getting Started LinksVisit the Dynamics YouTube channel for learning videos 
The best way to learn even more is to go ahead and subscribe to Dynamics CRM Online.  Free trials are available.




Researching GovCon Competitors

The more you know about a federal government opportunity you are pursuing, the better your chances.  You can use your CRM (perhaps InfoStrat's Dynamics CRM for GovCon solution) to track all the details of a federal government contract opportunity that you are bidding, including information on your competitors. Where do you get this information?

A good place to start is the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) on www.fpds.gov.


FPDS is free, government website which tracks procurement activities of more than 60 fedeal departments.  It is especially valuable for information on contract awards.  You can search by the name of the competitor and also by the target agency.

Looking up a contract award gives you detailed information such as the award date, award amount, contracting office name and address and much more.  Below is a cropped image from an award record.


The award information can be a jumping off point to related records.  You can follow links in many of the fields such as …

Burn the Boats -- Software Replacement Imperatives

Replacing a software system can be traumatic for all the people involved, but at some a decision must be made to move ashore and create a new settlement.

In my experience, the commitment of leadership to embrace the new software and work through any remaining issues must be visible to users before they share this commitment.

Like Hernán Cortés burned his boats to prevent even the idea of returning to Spain, corporate management can flip the OFF switch and show iron willpower for a software migration.

A bold migration is often less expensive then operating systems in parallel for a long period, or switching back and forth.  Shortening the time for transition can also reduce the human cost, like pulling a Band-Aid off quickly rather than slowly.

4 Scenarios for Public Sector Customer Service

Government agencies at federal, state and local levels are trying to improve their performance and increase customer satisfaction even as resources are shrinking, and skilled workers are retiring from government service and taking their experience and knowledge with them.

Innovative government agencies are taking advantage of the latest technology to achieve better responsiveness and help people find answers more quickly 24 hours a day.  The following are four scenarios for government customer service, along with current tools and techniques.

1. Citizen Services

Many government agencies deliver services to citizens, such as social services, building inspections, public safety and many more.  These agencies make themselves available through many channels, such as office hours and call centers.

A growing technique is to enhance the agency website to include a detailed knowledge base which helps customers find answers on their own without making or phone call or waiting until office hou…

Leads v Opportunities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

When my company InfoStrat implements Dynamics CRM for a client, one of the first questions we are likely to hear is when to use the Leads entity and when to use Opportunities.

Leads is a smaller entity whose fields include topic, name, job title, email, company name, phone numbers and address.

Opportunities has topic and name information along with more fields such as the estimated close date, estimated revenue, and win probability.  It is related to Accounts and Contacts, and has lookups into each of these related entities.

The following are my thoughts on when to use each:

Leads are for prospecting.  This is where you would put a mailing list from business cards that you gather at a trade show, or website visitors who register for an event or white paper.I don't mind having a large number of leads even knowing that most will never convert to opportunities.  In general, I do not want to clutter up my Accounts and Contacts with those low probability customers.Opportunities are won…