Enterprise-level technology software often claims to be ‘flexible’, but how true is this exactly? Platforms made for holistic use across large organisations are often packed with features and functionality to improve business processes, offering users this high level of ‘flexibility’ through variety and choice. There are some drawbacks to this method, however. No matter how much flexibility a platform claims to offer, products that deliver to businesses en masse are less capable of catering for the specifics and niches of smaller companies. Additionally, such variety in terms of features often comes with extremely high costs.
Flexibility should really be about adapting to fit the business as closely as possible, and that doesn’t equate to throwing numerous features at users. Larger organisations may invest in one of these high-end, high expense platforms believing it will sufficiently manage their needs. This may be the case, but SMEs don’t need to accommodate for something quite so all-encompassing. Often, there will be certain areas of the software that aren’t being used… so why would you pay for them?
Microsoft’s Office 365 combines the functionality of a large platform, while integration capabilities allow smaller business to benefit. The platform has rightly earned the title of Microsoft’s fastest ever growing commercial product, with 70% of Fortune 500 companies purchasing Office 365 between 2014 and 2015. So is that success apparent when it comes to customer relationship management (CRM)?
At ISAAC, we believe in four key pillars that form a successful CRM, each supporting an integrated, user-centric approach built through Office 365. Offering fully integrated, collaborative working, Office 365 CRM can make the process of building and maintaining customer relationships a far easier task.
Four pillars to a successful Office 365 CRM
One of the most important things with any instance of technology is that everything is in one place. Multiple users can access any information from a single source wherever they are.
Engagement is core to CRM, making a people-centric focus critical. The ability to contact customers and colleagues at a moment’s notice, and tracking the progress of your relationship with them, is crucial to nurturing a healthy relationship throughout the customer lifecycle. When all that information is in a single space, that process is made easier.
The majority of CRM tools will associate with email – but for many businesses, that means adapting to the language of the tool, which becomes limiting. For those built within Microsoft’s Office 365, that language is instead adapted to the business. With its intuitive and extremely popular interface, the familiarity of Office 365 creates a natural, flowing user experience. Processes quickly become second nature, removing the disjointed manner of other CRM platforms. This familiarity further enhances and promotes user adoption, which is key to any CRM success story.
CRM is built on opportunities for potential customer relationships, making the order-to-cash cycle as smooth as possible. Being able to track and developing the system to automatically classify your work in a way that’s the most appropriate to your business, therefore, is highly important.
This is where process automation plays its most significant role. By automating as many processes and workflows as you can—from follow-up emails to scheduling calls and meetings to automatically assigning tasks to other teams and individuals—you can improve user productivity and remove that ‘extra step of the process’ that can quickly become a burden for employees.
A CRM platform has to be easy to use, and a lot of that stems from what we call ‘shared logic’ – this describes the feeling you get when logging into a new or different system that feels intuitive to the way you operate, and using terminology and language to suit your business and operating style. As mentioned, the Office 365 interface is widely recognised. This familiarity, along with the adaptation of system language to suit the users, can dramatically improve adoption rates of CRM software.
You need to aim for multiple avenues for employees to access their contacts or opportunities as easy as possible—and mobile apps are a prime example.
Before CRM ‘moved’ to the cloud, there was a distinct lack of unity between sales people and CRM software. This often resulted in data silos and lost potential sales. By joining communication and connectivity, you can ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
It’s easy to think of Office 365 as simply a cloud email provider, but it’s actually a fully featured cloud infrastructure for your company. Businesses are able to run their entire enterprise stack within Office 365 and Microsoft Azure—from email and instant messaging to an enterprise social network, note taking and business analytics. A single platform ensures a level of consistency across the board, improving productivity, communication and engagement.
Supporting strong customer relationship
Oxygen CRM, from ISAAC, is specifically developed for small businesses to compete with the ‘big’ competitors on a level playing field. Offering functionality typically only found in enterprise-level CRM software without the high costs, Oxygen is developed and moulded to the needs of of your company for true flexibility.
- ‘Part of your email’ – other CRM tools will more often than not link to your email, but ultimately you’re still dealing with disparate systems. Oxygen is the same system. Integrated with Microsoft Outlook, you’re left with a faster and truly unified user experience.
- Integrated document library – other CRM tools will integrate with external document storage platforms, such as Dropbox or a traditional file server, opened in separate windows. In Oxygen, your documents library is part of your CRM record and displayed as another tab in the primary company record. This enables total alignment and faster, less frustrating working.
- Terminology and language suited to the customer – alongside the familiarity of the Office 365 user interface, you’re able to customise the look and feel of your CRM to not only fit your company branding, but to align to your terminology and language as well. This unique approach transforms user adoption.
- Mobile accessibility – an Oxygen mobile apps allows employees to maintain customer relationships regardless of their location. Keep connected at all times as mobile working becomes more prevalent than ever.
The goal of cloud-based technology is to provide continuity and flexibility, but that becomes lost when you’re working across a number of disparate systems. With a CRM tool built in Office 365 and SharePoint Online it not only provides huge additional ROI on your new email infrastructure, but it also costs significantly less to deploy and develop. A win for your business, and for your wallet.
For more information on the benefits of Oxygen CRM and how to get started with deployment, contact ISAAC today.