MS Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations Business Ed – 1st EU implementation!

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in Dynamics CRM Online | 0 comments

Cloud2020 & Perfect Dynamics are proud to be the first Partners in Europe to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations Business Edition into Datalytics Technology.

Datalytics Technology are a fast-growing company that aims to be a leader in the application of truly advanced data science and analytics to solve a range of problems in healthcare, energy and beyond. Datalytics Technology are the first company in Europe to use the new Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform.

Implemented by Perfect Dynamics alongside Cloud2020, both leading Microsoft Partners in the UK, Dynamics 365 will improve Datalytics Technology’s sales, invoicing and reporting processes from a single platform.

Datalytics Technology have chosen Dynamics 365 because of its simplicity and intuitive user interface, as well as the power of the supporting applications within Office 365.

Chris Johnstone at Datalytics Technology said “Having already successfully implemented Microsoft Office 365 it made complete sense for us to adopt Dynamics 365 as our finance and CRM solution to continue driving our growth, allowing us to more deeply integrate structured processes across the company and to work towards our goals even more effectively.

Dynamics 365 can digitally transform businesses by connecting data in a single platform and creating personalised experiences, automating processes and predicting future trends.

 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations Business Edition gives businesses financial and inventory management, alongside the marketing, sales, and customer services workloads within Business Edition.

Ian Bourne, CEO at Cloud2020 said “As soon as we became aware that Microsoft was planning to release Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations Business Edition we knew it was a game-changer for the UK SMB market. Naturally we are extremely proud to have been involved in partnership with Perfect Dynamics and Microsoft to deliver the first Dynamics 365 Business Edition solution in the UK to Datalytics and to have our instincts proven correct.  Our well-established and longstanding partnership with Microsoft allows us to harness the full stack of technologies to deliver business change using Microsoft Dynamics 365; and coupled with the experience of finance and ERP solutions brought to the partnership by Perfect Dynamics means we can help many other SMBs take advantage of this end-to-end solution.”

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition will soon be available in the UK, to find out more about Microsoft Dynamics 365, please contact Wendy Clifford – wendy.clifford@cloud2020.co.uk – 01453 796182

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The Archaeology of Technology

Posted by on Jun 14, 2017 in Dynamics CRM Online | 0 comments

When Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft (@SatyaNadella) used this phrase in his recent Business Forward 2017 keynote (see video here) my ears pricked up and my mind engaged.  It sent me back to my first interactions with the new technological equipment that was transforming the world of administration and secretarial services that I found myself in after leaving school.  I had been trained as an audio typist on a manual typewriter with the keyboard deliberately created to slow us down whilst at the same time testing us on speed and accuracy.  Yes, it seemed a bit strange at the time too!  I worked alongside rows of other women all typing letters dictated almost entirely by men.  It seemed to be the way the world naturally was but things were changing.  We had no idea how fast though!

Electric typewriters were a badge of status then just as a super-fast, super-lightweight laptop or tablet is nowadays but in just a few years every office moved to having a word processing “work station” at which a specially trained operative (usually the same person who could use the telex machine) sat to produce specialist documents such as bills of lading or customs forms.  I trained in Locoscript, one of the many word processing languages around at the time, and in the following years Word Perfect emerged as the almost universal word processing language of choice.  This seemingly unassailable lead was to be lost to the emerging Microsoft Word for Windows heralding the beginning of the extraordinary globally successful project that Microsoft became under Bill Gates.

In that process the technology flattened the hierarchy, bosses began writing their own letters, emails did away with most of the need for them anyway, the typing pool pretty much disappeared.   Also in that process, bright people from all over the world began to head to Microsoft headquarters to bring their creativity and intelligence to bear on the creation of the new software that was changing the world.  It attracted people like the 24 year old Satya who was excited by the idea of forging connections between the various platforms and machines and using them to provide meaningful information.

The technological pathway of this equipment and the processes they brought with them, wound their, occasionally unexpected, pathways through all of our lives, leaving behind traces of business ways changed by their passing; evidence for future archaeologists and anthropologists of the seismic change they wrought on the way.

The digital transformation Satya comments upon in the attached video link continues on its way.  This year sees the launch of the latest suite of apps in the Dynamics 365 stable, their watchwords remain connectivity and meaningful data however. In this instance the functionality of NAV has been harnessed to the vital customer interaction data held in CRM.  This provides a way for small business owners to manage sales, purchasing, inventory, project management and sales using Outlook as the first port of call for information setting appointments, viewing contact and account information and of producing invoices.  All this is available on a mobile phone or tablet making it truly possible to run a business with accurate real-time information from anywhere in the world.

The implications for this in terms of, the ability to respond quickly and accurately to customer requirements or queries and thus steal a watch on your competitors and opportunity for good effects in our work life balance makes Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business for Financials a compelling opportunity for anyone involved in the business world.

As always we will be bringing more news to you about this as it comes in. Why not consider joining us for our inaugural podcast on June 15th at 11am?

Grab a coffee and take 20 minutes to catch up on our reasons to be cheerful, information about the benefits of partnering with us and why our CEO Ian Bourne thinks you should be buying a last minute ticket to Washington and meeting him for coffee at Inspire 2017.  Register here

We’d love feedback on this blog post, send us your stories about the Archaeology of Technology to hello@cloud2020.co.uk or tweet us at @Cloud2020

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Wendy Clifford is a writer with a longstanding interest in Technology and its impact on our lives both from a business and social sense.  She can be found listening to music (analogue, digital and in a field with a Gin and Tonic), writing and reading, or scavenging for free food from the hedgerows which she turns into jellies and jams.  Contact her via Twitter @wendyjoy1

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Microsoft Cloud CRM Partner of the Year 2016 – Finalist

Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Behind The Scenes, Cloud Solutions for Business, Dynamics CRM Online | 0 comments

We’re incredibly proud to announce that we have been named as finalists for the Microsoft Cloud CRM Partner of the Year 2016 award.

The annual awards celebrate top Microsoft partners that demonstrate excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology – and we’re proud to be selected from the selection of global partners that specialists in this area.

Click Here to download the full press release and hear what it really means…

Cloud2020 Customer Relationship Management Partner of the year 2016

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Sales skills you need to master

Posted by on Oct 5, 2015 in Behind The Scenes, Cloud Solutions for Business, Cloud Tutorials, Dynamics CRM Online | 0 comments

Springboard your sales metrics

Worried about sales? Not confident in getting your product or service out there? Our Account Manager, Lucy Bourne explores the range of sales skills you need to master to start reaching your target.

So sit back, grab a coffee and learn how to start boosting your monthly figures.

At Cloud2020, we’re always looking at ways that technology can boost the productivity of sales people: whether it be by something as simple as reminding them to call that hot lead or providing them with rich and valuable information on how their prospects have interacted with the business. The technology is all very well, but what about the actual skills that every sales person needs?

We look to the experts to arm us with this knowledge: Todd Cohen has coached and led sales teams to deliver over 500 million USDs worth ofrevenue for leading companies such as: Xerox, Gartner, Thomson–Reuters and Pensare. Cohen identifies the sales skills can be split into four different areas:

  • personal
  • relational
  • professional
  • return on investment

In this post, we’ll take a look at all o these areas:

PERSONAL SKILLS

Innate desire to sell

This one’s an easy one: it’s just like looking in the mirror. The attitude you give out to a customer reflects what you’ll get back: If you love to sell your customers will love you back. They’ll be far more less likely to buy from you if they can see you don’t like what you do. Positive attitudes are easily reflected in the sales scores.

Passion

Even if you’re already lucky enough to have the inbuilt desire to sell, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re passionate about it. Passion is tangible and your customers and your colleagues will be able to feel it when they’re around you. It also demonstrates that you’re engaged and interested, which shows you can bring value to your customers.

Energy

Having high energy levels won’t guarantee you reach your target, but it’s proven low energy won’t help you. Emotions are contagious and bringing the right energy to work affects your team’s morale. So, bring it!

Self – motivation

Just like you need a daily dose of coffee to start off your day, you need a daily dose of motivation to keep you going in the long term. Successful salespeople are able to overcome obstacles that happen when trying to close deals. If you want to do the same – it’s simple, just work out what drives you to sell, and visualise it. Why are you in this business?

Integrity

It takes years to build trust and only seconds to break it. Credibility is the basis of doing business. The best salespeople are honest. They build trust, and do their best not to breach it. It also includes acknowledging mistakes and not blaming others.

RELATIONAL SKILLS

Humility

Genuine humility is a strength that leads to success. People are more likely to buy from real, modest people who put a heart into their job. Arrogance doesn’t sell, confidence does.

Confidence

Confident salespeople possess a natural comfort in dealing with others. Customers like to work with confident people, because they place a higher level of trust in them. The key to boosting your confidence level is to be comfortable with yourself, be engaged in the company you work for and believe in the product you sell.

Control your ego!

An oversized ego alienates you from your customers and colleagues, making it hard to create a collaborative environment. So don’t be too impressed with your own results and never let your ego be bigger than your skill set.

Build relationships

It’s much easier to buy from people we trust. To build trust, a salesperson needs to invest time in building a relationship with a customer. Closing a sale based on trust and a good relationship opens new opportunities and successful future sales.

Selling is becoming more and more about the relationships and trust that have been established than about products and solutions. You must create success through solid relationships and trust. These elements become your support system for tomorrow’s sales.

Collaborative

Building great relationships allows you to communicate easily with other teams in your company in order to close the deal. Once your product becomes more complex you may want to use their expertise.

Listening

Many of us love to hear ourselves talk. Other people? Not so much. If you’re willing to achieve success, don’t be a salesperson who talks without a break. You’re only repeating what you already know. When you listen, you can learn more about customers, their problems and their pain points that need to be solved.

Remember:  It’s easier to listen if you have planned a list of questions to ask before you go to the meeting or into the sales call. This way you can concentrate on listening to the customer, rather than thinking about the next question to ask.

Patience

Sometimes deals take time. And patience is not about just waiting, it’s about being able to keep a good attitude while waiting. One push too much and a customer can resign. With too much pressure, you’re not only killing your deal but your relationship as well. So don’t rush it. Let your deal develop, mature and only then close it.

Take responsibility

Personal responsibility is a component of all the skills we’ve talked about so far. You are the only person responsible for your success: not your boss, not your other half, just you. Your image, power, energy, the desire to sell and listening bring you closer to success.

PROFESSIONAL SELLING SKILLS

Business acumen

When you lose your cool and emotions take over, sometime you can’t see the situation clearly. It’s never bee more important to maintain a professional demeanor and have the ability to assess a situation from all angles: is it a valuable deal for you? Is the prospect’s company in a good shape?

Work on your state of mind in order to keep your cool. A clear view allows you to asses the sales opportunity objectively.

Build your business plan and map exactly what you need to do

Whatever goals you have, you need to put a plan in place to achieve them. Successful salespeople know that even the best persuasion techniques work better with some planning behind them.

Your plan should include calls, emails, demos – whatever is needed to get the job done? How many of them do you need? When exactly in the sales cycle should they happen? Put a lot of effort on preparing that – consider using sales productivity tools like Springboard to automate this process to prevent making errors – we’re all human.

Hone your competitive streak

Competitive sales people know exactly their industry, the competition and exactly what they offer. What’s more, they are aware of customers specific needs (both visible and underlying) and use this knowledge to know which products and/or services are the best choice for the customer.

Ask for the order

You’ve worked hard to get the customer to the point where a buying decision can be made, but you haven’t closed the deal. Review each step you took:  does the customer know your product enough? If so, have you asked for the order?

Asking for the order is a natural part of the sales conversation. It’s all to easy to avoid asking the question due to fear of a refusal. Customer refusal can actually lead you to a better understanding of their needs. Follow Todd Cohen’s advice and ask yourself a question: “What is motivating your customer to back away from a commitment? Can you address those needs?”

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

Intelligence

Intelligence is a vital combination of common sense with a healthy quantity of knowledge that leads to make solid business decisions.

Intelligent salespeople understand the components of a sales cycle and are able to read all the signs during a sales process. They also understand the competition, industry and economy.

Ability to see the bigger picture

If you focus on making a sale you will make a sale and then you’ll be done. But if you focus on the customer and their pain points and needs, chances are you’ll keep them for life. Make sure you keep the bigger picture in mind and look beyond one deal into the years after.

Become a thought leader

Lack of knowledge is your weak point, while in fact it should be your power, be sure to have information on your customer’s industry at your fingertips to ensure that you become the “go-to” contact for advice. Be hungry for sector-specific information and ensure that you’re up-to-date and familiar with key trends. This way you’ll become the person that others come to for advice. According to Cohen:

You must sell with a perspective of your industry. Be able to talk intelligently about where your customer’s industry is going, about internet developments and chances that are likely to occur.

Desire to educate your customers

Compared to you, your customers probably know very little about your product – they usually don’t know even  half of the features that are available. As a result, you may find you need to explain everything to them like they were 12. And sometimes like they were 6 – which is totally fine and what’s better way to do it if not through a compelling story?

Commitment to career learning

It’s pretty easy to feel you’re the best at what you do when you have no understanding  of the mistakes you might be making.  The more we learn, the more we understand how much more is left to learn. We never know everything – the key is to appreciate we need to constantly learn new things and develop new skills. Learning is the key to growth in the IT industry.

Practice your craft until you master it

It’s not enough to simply just know these sales skills – we need to constantly consider them. Successful salespeople have practiced for years to  get to where they are, and the best bit? Many now use these skills without even thinking about it. You can get to this point too.

Practice your craft until you master it. Just like they did.

Need a tool to help you master these skills? Consider Springboard, a CRM solution for SMEs that encourages best practice, and drives sales. Chat on our site to find out how Springboard could work for your business.

Lucy @ Cloud2020

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The 2015 CRM Market Leaders: Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

Posted by on Aug 24, 2015 in Behind The Scenes, Cloud Solutions for Business, Cloud Solutions for NonProfit, Dynamics CRM Online | 0 comments

At Cloud2020, we’re always keen to keep on top of the latest news and updates around CRM solutions and how Microsoft Dynamics CRM compares to other Enterprise CRM products available. Here’s our update:

What’s the CRM market like?

According to a Gartner report, the CRM software market grew from 20.4 billion USD in 2013 to 23.2 billion in 2014 – a massive 13.3% growth. It seems An ongoing trend among enterprise is still the movement from on-premises solutions to cloud-based. More and more, larger companies are seeking easy deployments and quick ways to improve legacy systems with complementary functionality. In the report, Joanne Correia, research vice president at Gartner, noted that the demand for software-as-a-service continues: “with SaaS accounting for almost 47% of total CRM software revenue in 2014.”

Who are the big dogs?

NetSuite is going in the right direction – its high score in company direction demonstrates this. Jim Dickie, managing director at CSO Insights, a division of MHI Global, notes that though the solution is “not seen often for large enterprises,” the company has its sights set on larger organisations.

“We’ve been moving upmarket ever since we’ve gone public in 2007,”

CEO Zach Nelson said at SuiteWorld, the company’s annual user conference, in May this year. The company also got a really rather respectable customer satisfaction score  of 3.8. Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of Nucleus Research, says:

“the strength of NetSuite still lies in its single database and ability for sales and other users to see not just CRM but order and other data.”

Like last year, Oracle scored the second highest in depth of functionality with 4.1. The company’s offerings, which include the Sales Cloud, Eloqua, CPQ, analytics, and mobile functionality:

“are…solid capabilities enterprises need,” but that Oracle “still needs some improvement in setup.”

She suggests changes are on the way, however, as the company “has made significant advances in usability.” Cost still do continue to be an issue for Oracle; the company had its lowest score in that area with 3.3.

Salesforce.com  still stands out for its company direction and customer satisfaction, two areas where it scored a 4.2.

Analysts put this largely down to the to the company’s focus on an improved user interface. Wettemann says:

“the investments it is making in UI and in-app analytics will really pay off and make Salesforce’s offerings even more attractive to customers in the near term.”

John Ragsdale, vice president of technology and social research for the Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), agrees, saying that the solutions are becoming more usable and that the company’s focus on its Customer Success platform “is paying off with strong adoption and consumption by customers.”

SAP scored lowest in cost 3.4 and highest in depth of functionality with nearly 4.0. Ragsdale suggests that SAP’s embedded analytics:

“offer tremendous value” to buyers, who are “increasingly demanding sophisticated analytics and dashboards.”

Leslie Ament, senior vice president and principal analyst at Hypatia Research Group, noted that the company has improved its customer engagement and journey tracking capabilities.

“Encompassing sales, marketing, customer service, and commerce, SAP has delivered an enterprise-class CRM solution,” she told CRM magazine via email.

Despite this praise, it is notable that of the leaders, SAP ranked the lowest in company direction 3.6. Wettemann says that “SAP seems to have lost its way in CRM and doesn’t have a clear story on how it delivers value or how it can catch up on product road maps.”

And the winner is…!

Microsoft takes the title this year from longtime defending champion Salesforce.com.

the company was given high marks in company direction 4.5. Ragsdale said:

“Microsoft is heavily investing in its CRM platform, adding sophistication across sales, marketing, and service, and as a result is seeing increased adoption by large enterprises.”

Wettemann singles out as strengths the “Parature service capabilities and knowledge base” as well as “integration with Office 365 and PowerBI,” and Ament lauded the company’s improved suite of integrated customer engagement products. Its software enables companies to reach customers “via multiple touch points and to do so with enterprise-wide intelligence, supported by Microsoft’s Business Analytics platform (PowerBI and Azure Data Services),” Ament said via email. 

And finally… the ‘one to watch’:

Infor stepped up as One to Watch this year and very nearly made it onto the leader board. The company’s acquisition of SalesLogix in August has bolstered its sales functionality, the category in which it scored the highest (3.8). “Infor has long had strong marketing capabilities with Epiphany and continues to build out its CRM offering with…SalesLogix,” Wettemann says.

As a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online partner, we’re proud we’ve invested in the leading CRM solution globally. Please get in touch if you’d like to hear how it can improve your businesses’ bottom line.

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