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November 10, 2009

Hosted Exchange Feature: Blending the Top Five 'To Do' Criterion with Hosted Dynamics CRM

By Amy Tierney, TMCnet Web Editor

When it comes to managing customer relationships, the challenges can be overwhelming. There’s an ongoing struggle to find the right balance between a client’s needs and a company’s desire to provide them with the best possible service but increase the company’s bottom line at the same time. Do you know from which of your customers the most revenue comes? Can you develop an accurate sales forecast for the next few months? Is it the appropriate time to upsell additional products and services to existing customers? 
It becomes inefficient, unproductive and costly to have to weed through a stack of business cards, an Excel file, or a poorly-managed database to try and find answers that may or may not be accurate. So what should organizations do?, a leading provider of hosted business services including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, has some answers.
To ensure companies boost profits by better understanding their customers’ history and buying habits, the Burlington-Mass-based company has outlined five key points that companies should consider when attempting to improve their customer relationship management. They are:
* Enforce naming conventions in the database: It’s important to develop some ownership rules when inputting information into your contact database. Companies can avoid inputting duplicate contact information with periodic data cleansing. A clean database also gives the marketing team a clear idea as to which clients should be contacted about new products and services. Microsoft (News - Alert) Dynamics CRM, for example, will reduce the amount of manual editing by informing users of duplicate data found in different accounts.
* Track customer satisfaction levels: Keeping tabs on customer satisfaction will not only help employees set expectations, but it will also help identify potential problems for sales representatives. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, businesses can boost their efficiency and productivity by tracking and converting sales more quickly. The solution helps users manage critical information for each opportunity from one location.
* Collaborate with the team: The key to building good CRM systems is for the sales, marketing and customer support team to devise a system to work together. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help employees develop such a collaborative effort. The software uses a central system to store customer-related information and communications, which users can access around the clock.
* Keep records of customer communications: Maintaining an accurate log of conversations with the sales team, as well as all of the marketing e-mails sent and the support requests placed helps individual teams and senior management better understand a customers’ history and potential future buying habits. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help enterprises monitor activities, communication and correspondence for every individual customer or contact. Keeping a history will help employees resolve potential issues earlier in the process, which will lead to increased customer satisfaction and retention.
*Back up data: It’s always a good idea to have a back-up plan. Customer information stored on a laptop could be lost if the laptop were stolen or misplaced. And if data is kept on a central server, the server should be backed up daily and data recovery processes should be available in the event of a disaster.
Employees company-wide can benefit from Microsoft Dynamics CRM as it gives businesses a complete view of their customers from first contact to purchase and post-sales follow up. And, because it’s a Microsoft application, little training is required. Its familiar user interface enables sales, marketing and customer service teams to adopt this powerful customer relationship tool immediately, ensuring greater acceptance and use of the technology, (News - Alert) officials said. 
What’s more, users of Microsoft Dynamics CRM will benefit from its seamless integration with other Microsoft applications such as Microsoft Outlook and Exchange. The integration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Microsoft Outlook makes CRM even more powerful. For example, employees in a marketing department can directly upload contacts or leads from a tradeshow and assign tasks for specific sales people based on their geographic assignments. With the CRM system, the assigned tasks will appear in the sales person’s Outlook task list automatically.
In addition, e-mails sent by each sales person to a prospect or customer in the CRM system will be viewable by all departments as it will appear as part of the history for that specific contact. This way, employees will better understand the communication between the sales person and the contact and can determine, if and when, it is appropriate to market to or attempt to upsell to the contact. 
This customer relationship management solution, which is available from as a hosted service, is an affordable tool for businesses of all sizes and budgets, company officials said.’s hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM service now enables even the smallest businesses to benefit from the leading customer relationship management tool which was previously only accessible by the largest multi-national corporation due to its traditionally high cost. The small monthly pay-as-you-go fee enables both companies just starting out and larger companies who wish to improve their customer relationships to gain a competitive advantage.  

Companies can try’s hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM service with no obligation trial for 30 days. Additional information on hosted CRM can also be found at the Web site at

Amy Tierney is a Web editor for TMCnet, covering business communications Her areas of focus include conferencing, SIP, Fax over IP, unified communications and telepresence. Amy also writes about education and healthcare technology, overseeing production of e-Newsletters on those topics as well as communications solutions and UC. To read more of Amy's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Amy Tierney

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