Conferences – why bother?

Posted by on Jul 13, 2018 in Behind The Scenes, Dynamics 365 CRM, Dynamics CRM Online, Events | 0 comments

You know the drill, the annual industry conference comes around and you look at the prices of flights and accommodation and before you know it you have talked yourself out of going this year.  The costs add up, the travelling eats into our personal time and we wonder, just what is the benefit both to the company and to us personally of this activity, if any?

Before you delete that entry in your calendar though, you might want to consider the following three reasons why you should spend the money and the time to attend one.

For yourself

First and foremost you should make going to this event about yourself – for example do you want to learn something new, then attend the sessions where you will learn the most.  Conferences are where the experts go to hang out and you get to hear their genius first hand, make the most of the opportunity.

Networking is not just for your business, it is also for yourself and your future career or business .  Making connections at conferences can reap rewards later so make sure you arrange to have coffee or a drink with people you find interesting or who are a step or two ahead of you in your field.  This is an opportunity to grow your circle of influence and deepen those relationships you already have.

For your business

Bringing back new information, particularly with regard to spotting trends or new opportunities is one of the best reasons for going.  And will potentially bring the about the biggest ROI if it gives you a head start over your competitors.  Speaking of competitors where else do you get to see them all in the same room, at the same time?  The chances are that you will hear useful conversations and this could gain access to the kind of business collaterol it could take months to gather in the normal course of your day.

Meeting new suppliers and gaining insight into new products coming into the marketplace can also turn out to be invaluable business information.  Not to mention the possibilities of meeting new partners and third party suppliers of supporting products and services to enable you to grow you business.

Let’s not forget that your might be faced with your ideal clients here too.  This is particularly true for those of us engaged in vertical markets.  You can use the opportunity to set up meetings for when you return and your expertise and passion for your business is much easier to convey face-to-face than via an email or a phone call.

For the fun

Yes, really, for the fun.  Bigger conferences have social events and parties built around them to enable their attendees to relax and enjoy themselves and there is absolutely no reason not to do so. Smaller conferences will at the very least offer the opportunity for an informal meal with new friends and contacts at the end of the day.  You will be working hard, meeting new people and setting up appointments in the day and all work and no play makes Jill a dull girl.

Bear in mind however  that many report their biggest deals and most useful new connections were made in the queue for the coffee  at breaktime or in the bar after the day is done so don’t discount this as wasted time.

Finally – make a point of enjoying yourself, we are most successful when we do so in whatever activity we engaged with, and your career and your business will reap the rewards in the future.

Cloud2020 will be attending the Microsoft Inspire conference in Las Vegas this year.  If you would like to grab a coffee or a drink with Ian or Lucy there let us know via twitter  or  Instagram


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.  Connect with her via Twitter @wendyjclifford


 

 

 

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Marketing campaign? What’s a marketing campaign?

Posted by on Oct 23, 2017 in Click Dimensions, Cloud Solutions for Business, Dynamics 365 CRM, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing | 0 comments

I vividly remember the day that Microsoft Dynamics 4.0 CRM was deployed in the business I was working in at the time.  In those early days of cloud this was an on-premise version, out of the box with no customisation and was a strange looking beast with peculiar habits that we needed to bring into our company culture with very little external or expert help.

Once we had taught it our language (english, UK) we then had to get to grips with the functionality, For a home-grown IT services company more used to discussing bits and bytes than to considering the ins and outs of customer nurture programmes this was no small task.  We had so many questions, starting with the basic “What was a marketing campaign?” to “How did subscription lists differ from marketing lists?”, and once we had identified what these actually were, “How could we generate good looking and well written content to woo our potential clients with?”  I suppose we were faced ultimately with asking what it was we wanted to say before we worked out how to say it.

Our answer at that time was to engage the services of a marketing company to help us come up with the answers to these problems but, as is the way with new territory we soon hit another one.  We discovered that no one understood our services and our customers as we did, not only that, not everyone was sufficiently enthused by IT services to put in the effort to do so – imagine that! They also didn’t really understand how to use our new CRM system to make sure that we were gathering the information we needed to make informed decisions about what worked and what didn’t.  It all fizzled out like a damp squib, a poor show at the end of what looked like a promising start, with all the frustration that comes with such unrealised potential.

What we needed then, and arguably most SMBs still do today, was access to a technically literate creative source of campaign and content input, someone that was comfortable with our systems, understood our business and would help us to generate informative and engaging content that we could then use and monitor its effectiveness, at a price that we could afford.

Life has moved on since then, Dynamics 365 CRM which is now available in the cloud with all the benefits associated with that: of security of information, ease of access, and its simple and affordable licensing programme, seamless integration with the Dynamics 365 stack and now a range of exciting additional apps that allow it to be rolled out across a business providing one point of access to a range of business functionality.

To complement our CRM development services here at Cloud2020 we have also rolled out a range of services via the Microsoft Appsource portal that answer the issue that businesses are still faced with – namely creation of marketing content and developing it into a coherent set of campaigns and programmes, all monitored and managed from with the Marketing module of Dynamics 365.  These well priced and focussed services are due to come online and to be available in November 2017.

We will be discussing these exciting services on our podcast on 26/10/17 at 11 am – check out our previous podcasts here – this  month we will be talking about at our event “Full Steam Ahead – marketing in the modern world” on November 15th 2017 at the Swindon Steam Museum –  to sign up for this click here

You can also email me at wendy.clifford@cloud2020.co.uk for an invitation – we look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

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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 in a social sense.  She can be found listening to music (analogue, digital and generally 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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What we did on our holidays

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in Cloud Solutions for Business, Dynamics 365 Business Edition, Dynamics 365 CRM, Dynamics CRM Online | 0 comments

It's all fun and games here

It’s all fun and games here

 

Well, we didn’t enter the knobbly knees competition at our local Pontins but we did take a break from marketing activity to focus on our own systems and to migrate our financial systems across to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Edition Financials.  As most business owners know this can be a fraught process at the best of times – information about your business’s financial situation is vital and you need to know it is correct for your own peace of mind and the VAT man’s too!  Once the data had been migrated we found the system to be richly featured and, once the initial steep learning curve was completed, comparatively straight forward to engage with on a day to day basis.  It is provides truly valuable financial information that can be easily accessed and enables us to manage our accounts from anywhere and on anything including mobile phones and tablets.  The integration with Dynamics 365 CRM and Outlook is really very good, we love billing and account management as we are out and about.

Plus-ca change though as in the mean-time, there has been news from Microsoft that there are changes coming regarding this edition and its planned launch in the UK. There is still flux in the messages coming from Microsoft  but we will be bringing further information after we have been to Directions in Madrid in October

What financial systems are you using?  Is migration to a new system a job you are putting off?  Are you planning to go to Directions too?

Let us know – hello@cloud2020.co.uk  or comment below


 

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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