Friday, 29 November 2002

Newsletter Issue 53, November 2002


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 53, November 2002
Hi guys,
Thinking about getting a new CRM system? Then check out CRM Project Management below.
I have the last of the short series on Tips for Websites. Hopefully this has been useful for those of you who are taking the web plunge.
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

CRM Project Management

With managing customers, particularly B2B CRM, many organisations make the mistake of confusing customer intelligence with customer data
Organisations have to focus on their customer data to support CRM initiatives, but the problem with focusing on the data that it is backward looking; like steering a boat by watching the wake. Organisations fail to capture their customer's motivations, intentions, and attitudes - the predictors of organisational cultural shift. 
So, how do you capture your customers' motivations, intentions and attitudes? Easy. You manage your CRM project using simple project management principles. 
  1. Find out where you are;
    • Find out how many customers your company currently has, what their spread is over your vertical/horizontal markets, what their usage of your flagship product(s)?
    • How many of those customers do you use as sales/marketing references? 
    • Evaluate what structures you currently have to gather customer "intelligence" - eg notes in Outlook, spreadsheet trend analyses of sales data, financial packages, overdues, notes in diaries, emails etc 
    • Review both quantity and quality of your current customer intelligence - how much is accurate, how much is out of date?
    • Gather stakeholder expectations and opinions - what does your board expect?

  2. Find out where do you want to go; 
    • What customer intelligence do you need to meet your business objectives? What information will help you increase your stock turn by 2 this year?
    • What internal roles & responsibilities must you have to meet your goals? Who has to carry the can for updating information? Managing the software purchase? Driving the whole project? Do you need to hire someone? 
    • What milestones do you need to set to achieve the goals? What needs to happen by when? What is your critical path? What financial issues are there? 
    • NB: Customer intelligence goals are unique to each organisations; many set goals as percentages; eg a B2B company with 800 customers wants to get 100% intelligence on the top 10% of customers by sales value

  3. How are you going to get there? 
    • Get a technology solution/application to trap and manage customer intelligence. Consult a range of organisations and get them to demonstrate. Ask your customers who they use - maybe you can get closer ties via a common system
    • If you have a sales force out in the market, make sure your solution can go on the web for easy access (web-based XML or similar)
    • Make sure your technology solution can be ramped up if it proves its worth in returns over time

  4.  Do it;
    • Roll out the customer intelligence system internally. Train your internal users well and support the transition
    • Explain the program to your key customers, and let them know how they will benefit by you having better information so that you can better meet their needs
    • Make it EASY for everyone to participate. Hire extra staff if you need it to make the transition as simple and hassle-free as possible

  5. Staying on track; 
    • Call your customer at pre-determined times to check on progress
    • Audit your customer information 
    • Have standard customer surveys & analyse them
    • Migrate existing historical customer data from other applications to the new system
    • Constantly check and modify the system to make sure you take in new ideas and evolve your system to keep meeting your customers' needs 
Nothing is ever easy, and that certainly applies to CRM . But a good plan and quality of thought in the early stages of a project certainly helps! Good luck.

Still More Tips for Websites

These tips are more technical than the - mostly - content and structure tips that we have discussed in the previous two newsletters. But here goes;
  • Write for the search engines - Be sure to include your keywords in your text - and make sure to include them higher up the page, rather than further down so that people can find them quickly when searching. Have text, not pictures, and lots of Java Script at the top of the page
  • Page size - really think hard about making your page size 600 x 800 only so that your surfers don't have to scroll down all the time. Surfers are pretty lazy about clicking and scrolling. If you are wanting to make communication as effective as possible, make things easy for the web surfers, not hard
  • Use Title and Heading Tags - These tags have much heavier search engine "weights" than others so by putting keywords in them, you'll have a shot at better ranking
  • Unique pages - Try to structure each page as it's own unique website, with it's own title, description and keywords. This will multiply the number of times your site itself can be picked up by search engines
  • Use Alt-Image Tags - Remember that some people will have graphics turned off. Did you know you can also give the (shall I call it) image placeholder on your webpage a name too? These tags can help increase your search engine ranking and help to describe what's being shown to people who view text only
  • Dynamic Content - Many large database driven sites don't have actual webpages, but rather the page is created on demand from a database. While dynamic content pages are cost effective, it is dangerous to use in terms of search engines. The resulting "ASP webpage" created will normally have a lot of numbers and question marks in it - something that search engines will steer clear of, as they're "afraid" of being caught in a loop. So if you are using dynamic content, ensure your it can be created without the use of numbers and similar symbols

Tiling Application Windows

For many versions of Office, in the same program, you could place documents or worksheets either side-by-side or on top of each other (eg two Word docs, two ppt presentations). It is simple enough to do - just open the files and go to the Window menu | Arrange All. 
In Word 2002 that selection will put the documents horizontally across the screen, on top of each other. Ahh - Microsoft product glitch. Microsoft's MDI reduces the amount of visible document to a ridiculously small gap even on high resolution screens. And you get no choice about how the documents are arranged - horizontal or nothing. So making using multiple windows much harder than it should be.
 But. there is a way to arrange ANY window in Windows ME, 98, 2000 and XP. Read on.
If I wanted a Word document open next to a browser window, the answer is as easy as right mouse clicking on the Taskbar;
  •  Right mouse click on the taskbar in an 'unused' piece of taskbar, not on a button. On a crowded taskbar that means the sliver between the open application buttons and the system icons on the right
  • Cascade Windows - Gives you all your open application windows stacked across the page (the same as your reminders stack up from Outlook) showing only the title bar for each (works on visible windows only. Any minimised windows will be ignored)
  • Tile Horizontally - Fill the screen with windows, each one stretched across the desktop (works on visible windows only. Any minimised windows will be ignored)
  • Tile Vertically - Fill the screen with windows, each one going from top to bottom -- ie side-by-side (works on visible windows only. Any minimised windows will be ignored)
  • Show Desktop - A fancy name for minimizing all open windows leaving the desktop and icons visible plus any error messages or other 'modal' windows or dialog boxes (you should also have a shortcut to this beside your Start button (the icon looks like a deskpad with a pencil and notepad on it)

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • MDI, Multiple Document Interface.  Office 2000 and Office XP ability to treat each open document as a separate version of software with its own set of menus, toolbars, status bar etc 
  • B2B, Business to Business (in case you have forgotten)
  • CRM, Customer Relationship Management (also in case you have forgotten)

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
All the Function keys for you again, but this time we are shifting as well - all you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl & F4;
  • PowerPoint, Publisher, Word, Excel, Outlook, Access "Repeat Find" SHIFT & F4
  • Windows, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Word "Close the active window" CTRL & F4 
  • Windows "Close the current window or quit a program " ALT & F4 
    • Outlook "Close the selected Outlook window; if this is the only open window, close Outlook." ALT & F4 
    • Access, Publisher "Exit Access, close a dialog box, or close a property sheet or Close the active Help window" ALT & F4 
    • Word "Close or Exit" ALT & F4
  • PowerPoint "Quit PowerPoint" ALT & F4 or ALT & SHIFT & F4 
Hot Linx
If you are wanting rules and tools to filter junk mail in Outlook (from Outlook 98 onwards) check out http://www.slipstick.com/rules/junkmail.htm 
For any of you who have mad friends who are doing - or have just done - the Southern Traverse, you can check out the live action at http://www.southerntraverse.com/2002/index.cfm 
Who does the cooking at your place? Need a hand? Then check out this site - it's a laugh @ http://www.cookingbynumbers.com/ 
Need a new lamp? Need new ideas for picture frames? For cheap DIY accessories for the home, you can't go past http://www.thriftdeluxe.com/

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here