Outlook CRM and the Small Business Landscape

CRM started out to address the business processes of the Sales Cycle for large organizations. The Sales Cycle was not always defined and if you were to get 10 people in the office to sit down you would get 10 different Sales Cycles. CRM was to address this and help with the training of new sales reps and to gather information from the best sales people to create a sales methodology or to adopt a methodology from established sales training companies. This was fine for large organizations since they had the money to spend on defining and automating the Sales Cycle. The return on investment (ROI) was hard to measure but understanding your business was paramount.

Smaller businesses could not afford the cost and time to create a sales methodology. CRM became a shareable contact management system with opportunity pipeline information. This was acceptable for many years but now smaller businesses want to automate like the larger businesses but they are unaware of the process and cost associated with understanding their business.

This article is designed to outline the steps and stages in performing a comprehensive CRM Process Modeling Workshop that represents the critical beginning for any Outlook CRM Initiative. Upper management buy in is a critical factor in selecting an Outlook CRM system.  Outlook integration is often overlooked but highly important for the end user.

  1. Up front interviews with various stakeholder representatives as determined by the Outlook CRM Project Team.
    1. This is to obtain an inside look at each group, and what their issues and concerns are prior to the workshop.
    2. It is to provide background information for their specific job functions and how they currently fit into the company picture.
      1. In addition we can look into the future with them to see how their positions may evolve down the road when using Outlook as a CRM.
    3. We will perform interviews with Sr. Management in determining the company direction and focus to a focus on implementing Microsoft Outlook CRM Software.  This will provide insight into how the company perceives itself in the marketplace, and how they see their ability to service their customers currently and on into the future.
  2. Business Process Modeling Workshop:
    1. As configured for Client Organization this will consist of a kick off meeting with representatives from the various stakeholder groups.  The next day following the meeting, is a full day of workshop participation.  This is continued on the second day with a workshop wrap up scheduled to finish around noon.
      1. At the Meeting:
        1. A representative from Management will provide a “mini-keynote” address describing the workshop and its objectives.  Where the company currently sees itself, and plans for the future.
          1. These remarks are general comments and need not be of a product development, or strategic nature where there may be some sensitivity in outlining these thoughts for those in attendance.  They are to be geared more towards how we perceive ourselves in the market, what we hope to gain by concentrating on the way we do business, and how this is the precursor for an enterprise wide initiative to follow.
        2. These participants will need to understand their role during the workshop and the facilitator will explain in detail what their mission is.
        3. There are some introductory exercises to get them ready for the hard work ahead. Exchange CRM.
      2. Day One of the workshop:
        1. Day one is full of process building and examination.  During this day there are exercises designed to get everyone involved and engaged.  There are group presentations, and feedback given to produce consensus on each of the examined core business processes.
          1. The environment is one of community and egos are left at the door. Microsoft Sales Software.
          2. The facilitators will guide the discussion to make sure there is no “dominate” influence over the group.
        2. White boards are used extensively and each exercise yields key insight into the business model, and these are referenced for further discussion as the day unfolds.
  • Each stakeholder group gains understanding and insight into the other business areas of the company and comes away with a clearer sense of their groups’ role in the company and how each part must work together to achieve the companies’ business goals with Outlook CRM Software.
    1. We find that the participants start off by defending their own group, but soon they find themselves looking for the best solutions to business issues, and move across function department lines in an effort to develop the best solution.
      1. The Best CRM to use with office 365 consensus building is the foundation and the key to a successful workshop.  Our charge is to make sure we help the group reach this point with Outlook CRM.
    2. The result of these exercises is the development of the business model with a slant toward a “best practices” approach for each of the sub-processes that make up each stage of the model.
    3. The day ends with everyone feeling they contributed a full day of effort, and as they look around the room they can see on the wall charts and white boards the fruits of their labor.  Also they can see the elements are there but still may not see how all the pieces come together to make a cohesive business model.
  1. Day Two:
    1. The second day finds the Sr. Management sponsor recapping yesterday’s events and setting the stage for the completion of the second half-day.
      1. The Sr. Management sponsor is encouraged to communicate their feelings regarding the progress made up to this point.  Also they are free to share some insight into how this process may have changed some of their own assumptions of the business model, and their level of excitement regarding the impact they feel the company will gain from this experience.
    2. The facilitators begin the process of finalizing the first draft of the groups’ findings.  Each stage that has been developed is sanity checked by the group to make sure we have heard everyone correctly.  With a CRM that works with Outlook, each sub-process is re-examined to make sure the “best practice” element has been achieved.
  • Any open issue from any of the findings is explored and examined.
  1. The participants are charged with their next responsibility of taking the “soon to be delivered” document detailing the business model, and sharing that with their particular stakeholder group.  This is another sanity check to gather any further insight that the workshop participants may have missed.  It also is a chance for each of the functional stakeholder groups to see Outlook Customer Manager what the workshop participants have been working on, and provide “any” feedback that they wish to put forward to improve the consensus business model.
    1. This has the dual role of communicating the finding to the group, but also gives them a chance to provide their own feedback in they even we have not address any specific concerns they may have.  In addition it begins the “buy-in” of each of the groups because they have now played a role in the design of the business model.  Outlook Customer Manager Download 2010.
  2. Any feedback from the workshop participants is accumulated by the project leader and forwarded to the facilitators.  Once gathered a newer version of the Outlook Based CRM Software is produced and delivered at an Executive Briefing Session.  How to use outlook as a CRM.
  3. The deliverable is as follows:
    1. A Project Charter Document:
      1. The Project Charter Document is a high level description of the project.  It contains the objectives of the company and what they are looking to accomplish.
    2. A Functional Specification:
      1. This document is designed to detail those elements a system must have in order to meet the stated objectives of the project.  Outlook work CRM.  This will also provide the basis for helping to determine who will and who will not be recommended for the vendor selection process.
    3. Vendor Selection Matrix:
      1. The CRM Software must be integrated with Outlook Vendor Selection Matrix document has the functional specifications along the left side of the document, and the recommended vendors in columns along the top.  The purpose of this document is to help with the interview and demonstrations of each vendor and how they are using Outlook as a CRM.
  • Once the deliverable is accepted including the Vendor Selection Matrix, the prospective Vendors are contacted and are given insight into the Client Organization Business Model to help them fashion their demonstrations to the “Project Team”.  These demonstrations are focused on how their product can meet the particular needs of Client Organization.  SalesOutlook will help facilitate these sessions and can help keep the interviews focused and on track.  Using the Vendor Selection Matrix the Project Team scores each Vendor using outlook as a CRM based on their impressions regarding how they met the Functional Requirements as outlined in the Functional Specifications Document.  Once the Outlook as CRM Vendor Selection Process is completed and the project team has made its choice, there is a final “Executive Briefing where the project is evaluated and any outstanding issues or concerns are addressed.  The conclusion of the briefing and the resolution of any outstanding “action items” on the part of SalesOutlook, will bring this particular engagement between Client Organization and SalesOutlook to a close.


Prospective Time Lines  
Initial Interviews: 3 Days
Workshop – 2 Days
Document Preparation 4 Days
Feedback and additions to Doc(s). 2 Day
Executive Briefing ½ Day
Organizing Vendor Interviews – Including Briefing 2 Days
Conducting Demos – Outlook Integration 2 Days

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