A few weeks ago, Microsoft company bought Skype for over $8 billion. And many people are puzzled about what they intend to do using this type of new technology.
Marketer Jeff Valentines is hoping that they work with Skype’s Voice over IP technology that will put them ahead in video games. Gigaom’s Om Malik thinks that the biggest reason for package “is Windows Phone 7 (Mobile OS) and Nokia. The software massive needs a competitive offering to help Google Voice and Apple’s emerging communication platform, Facetime. ” The company puts the item this way: “Skype is a exceptional service that is loved by many people around the world, ” said Microsoft company CEO Steve Ballmer. “Together we will create the future of timely communications so people can readily stay connected to family, good friends, clients and colleagues wherever. ”
Me? I think Skype IP telephony could be Microsoft’s best acquisition ever made. That is, if the technological know-how is put in the right hands and fingers: small and medium-sized businesses. The secret is CRM.
And I’m besides saying this because most of us sell Microsoft’s Dynamics CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT product. I’m saying that because, when implemented properly, any good CRM system will trail all the communications between a corporation and anyone who touches that company. So almost nothing falls through the cracks. And everybody knows what’s going on with shoppers, prospects, suppliers and lovers. The clients I know who experience succeeded with CRM not only realize these benefits currently but are also building something that will significantly contribute to their very own future valuation.
But there is certainly one thing missing in Microsoft’s CRM application, like many of the CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT applications today. And that’s mobile phone integration. Easy integration. For decades my clients have expected help making their CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT systems “talk” to their mobile phone systems. They want a speak-to-screen to “pop” upwards when someone calls in the company (or gets placed inside a sales or assistance rep). They want to be able to help make outgoing calls immediately any time clicking a contact brand. They want to be able to record names and link them to someone’s account in the system, not just to keep a historical track record of the call but also for you to sometimes cover their butts when people are trying to remember the fact that was said.
For years the popular CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT vendors have claimed to accomplish this. And it can be done. But it often involves third parties. And it usually takes more resources than almost all my clients are willing to expend.
The perfect example is Andrew d Koso, Vice President of Operations at educational computer software maker Lexia Learning. Previous this year, Koso typically undertook the replacement of his company’s active CRM system from an older version involving Sage’s SalesLogix to the famous cloud-based application Salesforce. com. According to Koso, the corporation had “outgrown” the elderly product and needed a method that could handle order running, marketing campaigns, and customer service and be open up enough to integrate into their existing financial system. To accomplish this, the actual seventy-person company discovered itself paying $125 per month per user for your Salesforce application and up to $50 000 in talking to fees to integrate and customize the software. And that does not include the time and resources invested by the company’s internal task management team and workers.
This is no small investment decision, particularly for a relatively small company. Most companies I work with that are of a similar size might choke on these figures. But Koso gets this. He understands the long-term price a system like this can bring. Plus, the management of Lexia Mastering understands that investing in a wonderful CRM system will make it possible for the company to be much quicker and better in the many years.
This brings us to the telephones. Koso also wanted to use their phone to assimilate his new CRM system. And here is usually where timing is everything. Since Koso was also buying a new phone system concurrently. Perfect! He made integration important.
Koso bought his brand-new communications systems from Contemplating Phone Networks, a company of unified communications technology. Great a company as Thinking Telephones is, they’re operating in an extremely competitive environment. And a few face it: today’s cell phone systems generally have the majority of the same features. But Koso found that Thinking Cell phones offered a few unique benefits: they used the best equipment around (Polycom phones), these people operated entirely as a fog-up-based communications provider, and they connected to his CRM package.
“I wanted my workers to connect from anywhere, actually their homes. ” Koso told me. “And for that, I Required both my phone and CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT systems to be cloud-dependent and integrated. inch
And that they did. Thinking of Phones’ connector to Salesforce. Com did two things he required right out of the box.
First of all, all voice mails documented by the new system had been converted. Wav files as well as were able to be easily linked to the contact record. That way, any individual in the company who planned to hear the voice deliver (particularly the ones who wanted to handle their butts) could do just by accessing the good track record in the CRM system.
More importantly, the wedding of the two systems built their calls quicker. Any time is working within Salesforce. Com, a customer support rep, for instance, can click on a button close to the customer’s mobile or office phone number, and the call-up is immediately placed outside the phone system. As the call-up is connected, the customer assist rep’s phone rings. Typically the rep can then pick up their unique phone and wait for their very own party to answer on the other range. Huge time savings.
And a compliment made in heaven. Koso acquired his new CRM system. As well as got his new mobile phone system. And they talked together. Almost out of the box way too. Almost.
Because there is still far more to be done. Koso desires the same screen pop performance that I mentioned earlier. And wants the CRM system to automatically populate more information from those “quick calls”, like time of contact, duration, and even the type of contact (cold call, return call) so that his reps can perform even less data access. At this particular moment, Koso and the guys in Thinking Phones are putting this news into place.
There are plenty of 3rd party applications that integrate cell phone systems with CRM techniques. Thinking Phones, for example, features a connector for Dynamics CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT.
But is anybody from Microsoft reading this?
Are you able to see how fragmented this market is actually? For Koso to incorporate his phone system into his CRM system, he obtained luck: he could substitute his entire phone program with a new one with this particular capability while purchasing a CRM system. Most of the clients We work with don’t have this luxury. And Koso had to find the correct communications partner with the right software to do the job. And even which product, as good as it is, must be improved. And one other point: Koso admits he’s the technology guy. And an indoor technology guy was necessary for getting this integration to operate. Not everyone I use is fortunate enough to find great partners (like Thinking Phones) using good hardware (like Polycom’s) and who have the inner where-with-all to connect their techniques to their CRM software.
Over a hundred million people are utilizing Outlook. Microsoft claims you will find 22 000 customers and 1 . 1 million customers of its Dynamics CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT product (built inside Outlook and has an internet interface). And it’s growing. Why don’t you enjoy making Skype integration with the two mentioned here products a priority? You own the program now. Making a call through Outlook by clicking on some control? Recording the call and connecting to the contact? Linking inbound calls to contact records? Integrating Skype’s video into the image? This seems pretty simple. And the big advantage is that you can accomplish this, so your customers don’t have to include a third-party middleman. And that can make companies like Considering Phones happier because truly, do you think those guys wish to be spending their limited resources on supporting a bunch of fittings to CRM systems?
‘Microsoft’, I’m sure, has its ideas for Skype. And I will know that tying this technology into games and mobile software is fun for the world. But what about the business group? What’s going to keep us applying Outlook over the next decade? Why should we choose Microsoft’s enterprise applications, like Mechanics CRM, over competing for merchandise like Salesforce? Com?
I will tell you why: Skype’s engineering, if it’s part of Outlook along with Dynamics CRM out of the field, will make it quicker and easier for us to get in touch with our customers. And that raises our sales. And that’s can be fun for me. And this client too. Buying Skype IP telephony could be Microsoft’s best buy ever.
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