ACT! (formerly Sage ACT!) is widely used by many small and medium sized businesses and generally does what it does very well. However, we receive  many enquiries from ACT! users who, for one reason or another, have reached the limits of what the application can offer. These include:

  • Restricted screen customisation and data controls.
  • Basic Company / Contact data management options with inability to add new entities.
  • Poor reporting and dashboard functionality.
  • Lack of functionality for marketing, customer services and project management.
  • Limited integration options for Sage 50 and other back-office systems.

We have carried out many ACT! to Sage CRM migrations and are able to transfer:

  • All contact and company data with notes and history.
  • Scheduled Tasks and Alerts
  • Opportunities
  • Linked documents and templates.

Standard migration tools and many 'free' migration services offered by other resellers do not generally include all of this data.

Whilst Sage CRM can seem quite a step up from ACT!, it is our experience that users find the Sage CRM interface much more intuitive than ACT! and quickly get up to speed with the new application. The company also benefits from better functionality and more efficient and effective use of the CRM.

Data Migrations to Sage CRM

In addition to ACT!, we have also carried out migrations to Sage CRM from many other CRM applications, including Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, GoldMine and bespoke systems.

Please contact us to discuss migrating your existing system to Sage CRM.

We are often asked to rescue CRM systems that are no longer working for the business. Whilst the reasons presented are wide ranging, they normally break down into 4 main areas:

  • The users don’t use the system effectively
  • The users want to use the CRM system, but the technology is failing them
  • The original driving force for the project has moved on
  • The CRM system does not deliver the functionality required.

If you are unsure whether your CRM is staring to suffer from any of these issues, there are some common tell-tale signs:

  • Frequent requests to export data to Excel for analysis or mail-merging
  • Users maintaining their own spreadsheets of information, creating 'silos' of data which could be lost if that employee leaves the business.
  • Reverting to Outlook or (even worse) handwritten diaries to keep track of appointments and other tasks.
  • Lots of Post-It notes or scraps of paper with reminders on people's desks
  • Incomplete data when running reports.
  • No clear visibility of sales team activity.

Any one of these is a sign that the CRM is not working for the business. This creates additional work, resulting in inefficiencies that erode the benefit of having a CRM. When addressing these challenges we take a structured consultative approach evaluating the system against the following core functions whilst being guided by the need to demonstrate a return on any investment.

  • Process: Does the way that the CRM is configured support or hinder the task? Are process efficiency tools such as automation being used to reduce administration tasks?
  • Physical: Does the CRM system have the features and functions to be configured or support developments that will meet the business needs?
  • Technical: Does the technical architecture suit the method of working? Does it run at a reasonable speed? Can users access what they need remotely?
  • Cultural: Does the CRM have senior management support? Have users simply lost faith that CRM is no more than a barrier to efficient working?

For a company that has lived with a failing CRM for a while, getting the system back on track can seem like a daunting task. There is often the instinct to throw it out and start again. However, this should only be done as a last resort after carrying out a thorough business analysis. In many cases it is not the CRM software that is at fault. Unless a full requirements exercise is completed and the system is installed by people who know what they are doing, there is a real danger that the new system will go the same way as the old.

The key is not to do this analysis in-house, as you will already be starting with the preconceptions that led to the CRM problems in the first place. Use an external consultant with knowledge of the installed CRM. A fresh pair of eyes will quickly see where the issues are and will be able to address any cultural issues much more easily than in-house staff. More often than not, big gains can be made for small changes in the system and at much less cost than anticipated; certainly less than it will cost to start again.

Never was the phrase 'rubbish in, rubbish out', more true than in the context of CRM data. Unreliable information destroys user confidence and significantly reduces the value of CRM to the business. Ultimately, if nothing is done to correct it, the CRM will fall out of use completely and be deemed a 'failure'.

We've seen many instances of this over the years, with some businesses even looking to replace the whole CRM when, in fact, sorting the data out and getting CRM back on track is a much simpler job than many think.

Prevention is better than cure as they say, so if you are the owner of a shiny new Sage CRM system, (or one that has recently been cleaned), there are many things that you can do to prevent the data getting into a mess. These include:

  • Establishing deduplication rules to check that new data being entered does not repeat what is already there.
  • Defining mandatory fields so that users have to enter a minimum amount of required information.
  • Controlling the content type and format of data entered with field level scripts
  • Using Address validation tools to auto populate records.

If you have an established system that is in need of data cleaning this can be a straightforward job. Sage CRM has a number of built-in tools that can both clean the data and, if run on a regular basis, help to maintain the quality of the information. These can, however, only go so far and if a CRM has a long history of poor data management then some more radical surgery may be required.

Loria has an excellent track record of carrying out data cleaning exercises on large and small databases. Whilst there will always be some input required from the owner of the data to oversee the process and rule on deletions and merges, we have many established routines that will minimise the manual effort required.

So, before you throw in the towel completely, please give us a call on 0845 434 8977.


“CRM alone will not resolve all organisational ills. However, the organisations that implement CRM have shown improved results in key metrics impacting both customer and organisational profitability.”

These were the finding from a study commissioned by the Aberdeen Group who looked at customer care levels when a CRM system was installed (versus no system). They found that Customer Care agents benefit from having a CRM tool at their disposal.
As seen in the chart below, agent utilisation more than doubles when they have a CRM system in use compared to when they do not (56% vs. 23%). Similarly, agent productivity is drastically higher when they are able to utilise a CRM platform as opposed to when one is not available (48% vs. 32%). Additionally, using CRM leads to much higher client retention rates compared to not using CRM at all (47% vs. 37%).


Customer Care in CRM

Customer Care in CRM

Source: Aberdeen Group

 

A CRM system transforms the client service agent into a more productive, proactive, and knowledgeable agent. Therefore, the agent’s response times, quality of advice, and overall delivery and demeanour improve to transform and enhance the customer experience. Likewise, the agent finds it easier and more convenient to do his job with the help of CRM because data is centralised, readily available, and real-time. Thus, the client contacting the Customer Care division finds it quicker, easier, and more convenient to contact the firm. Since it is no longer a hassle, and surprisingly pleasant, the client becomes more satisfied and loyal. In the end, the client is less likely to leave and the use of CRM helps client retention shoot through the roof.

Aberdeen is not done there, though. They go on to highlight in the following chart how using CRM leads to positive returns on a year over year basis for the metrics of average margin per client, cross-sell and up-sell revenue, and first contact resolution. On the other hand, firms not using CRM experience negative or flat results for the same year over year KPIs.

Organisations who are either slowly struggling or refusing to use CRM are definitely lagging top performers that already are successfully using CRM.

Customer Care in CRM

Customer Care in CRM
Source: Aberdeen Group

If your organisation is clamouring to provide your customer service agents and field sales executives with more insight and visibility into your client, prospect, and partner relationships take a look at CRM. As a leading Sage CRM Developer, Loria Consulting can assist you in syncing your CRM system with your sales and operational processes to better align your products and services with your customers’ needs and differentiate yourselves from the competition.

We have recently completed yet another SalesForce.com to Sage CRM migration project and as a result we now have a vast library of routines which can be reused on future migrations.

Whilst we are not offering a packaged product, we can provide a reliable and cost-effective solution for those wishing to migrate their data from SalesForce.com to Sage CRM.

Our routines are already built to handle all of the standard SalesForce.com objects such as Accounts, Contacts, Leads, Opportunities, Cases and Activities/History.  With some simple additions we can also include any custom objects which may have been created in a customised SalesForce.com system.  Documents and attachments are also covered - our routines push these straight into the standard Sage CRM document library with links to the appropriate record.

If you are planning or considering migrating from SalesForce.com to Sage CRM, we can help - contact us to discuss your requirements in more detail.

 

CRM is often misunderstood as an application or a tool, but in the real sense of the term it is a way of doing business.

There can be innumerable reasons for businesses to implement CRM. However, let's take a look at few of the most apparent benefits of using CRM.

  • 360 degree view of business
  • Organisational-level data sharing
  • Reduce cost on customer acquisition
  • Centralised customer interaction
  • Improved customer support
  • Increase customer satisfaction
  • High rate of customer retention
  • Boost new business
  • Increase revenue at low cost

Thus CRM is becoming increasingly important among businesses. With an ever increasing customer expectation there is a need for organizations to adopt new business services and strategies - CRM provides this versatility in enhancing sales, customer support and success in business.

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