Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Spring ’14 Overview

September 17th, 2014

This high-level video overview of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing by Tony Schmidt shows marketers how to manage all their marketing in one place, from developing marketing plans and budgets to managing projects and assets to supporting effective marketing communications across traditional and digital channels.

Watch the video below to learn more.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Spring 14 Overview from TopLine Strategies on Vimeo.

eBook: ABC’s of Sales in the Modern Era

September 10th, 2014

“The alphabet is a foundational lesson we learn early on and internalize to the point where we hardly even notice it as we move through our days, no matter how ubiquitous it is on our lives. When we think of the abc’s, perhaps even more so than the popular sales mantra ‘always be closing,’ we think of getting back to the basics,” said Fred Studer, GM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

In the eBook, Always be Closing - ABC’s of Sales in the Modern Era from Microsoft, they explain how you can find your way back to the heart of sales with technology that is helpful without getting in the way. We need technology that doesn’t waste a salesperson’s time —that actually helps salespeople do their jobs better, improving their productivity while enabling them to meet today’s customer expectations and the dramatically different buying process.

In this eBook, Microsoft tackles the issues facing sales today head on, incorporating changes and developments in the market that your teams need to understand.



Marketing’s New Role—Marketing Technology Officer (MTO

September 3rd, 2014

As a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), are you prepared to understand all the technologies you’ll need in order to survive and thrive? As we move into 2015, one thing has become very clear – technology is playing a key role in the transformation of marketing into a revenue center. Savvy heads of marketing should be working both to understand the key role of technology, and to learn how to optimize this stack of technology.377ad8ae-4850-40ba-ba47-7b016a54c2fb

A recent report from Gartner tells us that marketing automation will be the fastest growing category in CRM over the next four years and that by 2017, CMO’s will have a bigger IT budget than Chief Information Officers (CIOs). With this news comes the idea that marketing departments should add a new position to the team—Marketing Technology Officer (MTO).

What is an MTO you ask? Well, this position leads technology strategy, develops marketing technologies and evangelizes innovations throughout the marketing department.

One company that recently added an MTO is Rubbermaid. They have used this position to help their brands think about how they share product information in different stages. Because of this, there has been a value shift from thinking about how their customers could fit into product lines to putting the customer at the center of operations and thinking about what products they could design to suit their customer base.

Who does this person report to? The MTO at Rubbermaid reports directly to the CMO, not the CIO. The relationship that exists between the MTO and CIO is that the marketing department is complying with the company’s defined IT standards and process. CIOs and IT departments look after the infrastructure and back-end systems, while the MTO’s and CMO’s look after the front-end technology.

Has your company recently added an MTO?  We would love to hear your feedback.


CRM: Why your company needs one!

August 26th, 2014

Why do you need a CRM system within your organization? Well, to start, CRM first stands for Customer Relationship Management, which is exactly what it does. A CRM tool is intended to help track interactions with current and future customers for the entire company.

Customer relationship management

What value can a CRM system bring and how do you know what to look for? Here is a list below:

Maintain Institutional Knowledge

One of the most valuable aspects of a good CRM is to have a repository of information about your company’s opportunities and customers. This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of a good CRM. Using a shared spreadsheet on a network drive just doesn’t cut it. A disgruntled employee might delete the file. Invest in a platform with role-based security.

Coordinate Across Departments

It’s about more than just sales and salespeople. Have you ever called a customer to talk about your new offering only to find out that they are having a major problem right now?  Most of us have had that happen. Ensure that your entire organization uses the platform to document customer interactions. Of course, your salespeople need the discipline to check the system before contacting the customer.

Tight Email Integration

Most of your communication is likely via email. Don’t make your team jump through hoops to capture email conversations in the CRM. If you don’t have seamless integration with your email system, you are either using an antiquated email platform, or a soon-to-be-outdated CRM platform. Once you type the client or prospect’s name the system should forever link that email to their CRM record.

Native Mobile Support

I don’t need to convince you that mobile is essential. If your team can’t access what they need from tablets and smartphones, then you’ve made a bad investment. When the customer calls while you are on the road, you should have easy access to everything about their account.

Effective Follow-up and Automation

The greatest value in an effective CRM platform is the ability to remind sales reps to follow-up with opportunities at the right time.

Know the Three Things You Need

Focus on the most important elements that tell you “which opportunities are real.” For my money, you should be tracking 1) What problem is the customer trying to solve; 2) Why is it important for them to solve that issue with urgency; and 3) How will they measure success of the solution. If you have that information, you are 90% of the way toward successful, same-side selling.

To view the original article, click here.

Tableau: Building the Next Generation of Data Analysis

August 20th, 2014

Helping people see and understand their data drives everything Tableau does. Put together an Academy Award-winning professor, a brilliant computer scientist at the world’s most prestigious university and a savvy business leader with a passion for data. Add in one of the most challenging problems in software – making databases and spreadsheets understandable to ordinary people, and what are the results? You have just recreated the fundamental ingredients for Tableau’s products. At Tableau, they are continually growing and building their technologies for the future.

What are some new features that they just unleashed?

Story Points
Create compelling, interactive, data-driven stories. Assemble sheets and dashboards into a narrative arc that tells the story in your data. Capture key insights with annotations, highlights and filters. Add descriptions to emphasize findings. Make your story interactive to encourage further exploration.

New Map Designs
Maps are critical to geographic analysis and have received a major overhaul in Tableau 8.2. This includes new map designs produced in collaboration with Stamen, worldwide detailed levels of zoom, an improved mapping server and support for high DPI displays.

Later in the road map, icons may be used instead of position marks making it easier to read.


Visual Data Windows
Tableau redesigned the data connection experience from the ground up. Connect to multiple tables, add joins with one click, and preview your data to make sure you’ve got what you need. You can also modify field properties, add data source filters and extract your data.


To read more visit:

Video Overview: Microsoft Social Listening for Marketing, Sales and Customer Service

August 13th, 2014

Microsoft Social Listening is a powerful new service that your organization can use to monitor social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Whether integrated into your customer relationship management (CRM) solution or into a stand-alone one, Microsoft makes it easy to make social part of everything you do.

Watch the video below to learn how your marketing, sales and customer service teams can use Microsoft Social Listening to track products, brands, competitors and campaigns globally and in real time to gain a true understanding of your customers and your business across the social web.

Social for Everyone

August 6th, 2014

Social has changed the way people engage and communicate. Today’s customers are more informed and getting their information in new ways and from new sources. 2Decisions are influenced by discussions online and user reviews. In fact, 75% of B2B customers are likely to use social media to influence their purchase decisions, and customers are over 60% of the way through the sales cycle before they contact you.

Most of today’s social listening tools, however, are so complex and expensive that they’re only available to an elite few —which means relevant information rarely gets to the front lines who need it. How can you get this valuable information?

Microsoft Social Listening is a powerful new service that your organization can use to monitor social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Use Microsoft Social Listening to track products, brands, competitors and campaigns globally and in real time to gain a true understanding of your customers and your business across the social web.

Who can benefit from Microsoft Social Listening? Here is the breakdown below:

Social for Marketing

  • Campaign monitoring: understand what people think of your marketing messages on social media in real time.
  • Brand and product sentiment: learn what people really feel about your business.
  • Top influencer tracking: Identify who is most actively talking about your brand, products and services and how influential they are.

Social for Sales

  • Target account tracking: Monitor key developments at your top accounts.
  • Competitive intelligence: Gain important insights about your competitors.
  • Social buying signals: Spot purchasing signals and generate leads from the social web.

Social for Service

  • Real time alerts: quickly identify customer issues and trends.
  • Social customer service: engage with customers and resolve issues across the social web.
  • Display social charts and posts within Dynamics CRM dashboards or accounts.

Social insights can facilitate amazing customer experiences, ensuring that messages resonate while highlighting trends that impact your brand. Whether integrated into your customer relationship management (CRM) solution or into a stand-alone one, we make it easy to make social part of everything you do.

Video: Quick Tips for CRM for Tablets

July 30th, 2014

Watch this video and learn some quick tips about maximizing your CRM on a tablet.

30 Tips from Microsoft for Moving Your Data into a CRM

July 23rd, 2014

Microsoft Dynamics has spent the last 17 years working on integration of CRM, marketing automation and ERP. In those years, they’ve collaborated with thousands of different customers’ integration projects and all the data that comes with it.

Read these great tips provided from them that will help you move your data into a CRM:

1. Define the word ‘integration” so everyone in your company understands it
2. Assume that people don’t understand and need more explanation
3. Have a common goal and stick to it
4. Aggregate your data in stages, not all at once
5. Have milestones along the way with metrics to monitor the results
6. Know that your budget may not include 100 percent of the costs (there are always hidden surprises)
7. Be open about the possibility of outsourcing certain functions
8. Clearly understand each of the systems involved in your integration project
9. Reality often varies from the documentation
10. Anticipate inconsistencies
11. Many integration tasks are one-time events
12. It may be more cost-effective to bring in an experienced installer
13. You can’t get where you’re going unless you’ve carefully mapped your way there
14. Involve stakeholders every step of the way
15. Bad data discourages user adoption
16. “Good” data is good in the context of the system currently using it
17. Cleaning data properly requires multiple passes, processes and vigilance
18. You’ll be more efficient if your processes can serve you again and again
19. Break the project down into manageable tasks and prioritize
20. Be careful to only make changes that will survive the next vendor upgrade
21. Use APIs wherever and whenever possible (this creates flexibility)
22. Resist achieving performance increases by going “directly to the data”
23. Exercise caution when deciding to replicate data instead of integrating it
24. When you must replicate, include an intermediary quality assurance step so you don’t transfer bad data
25. Manage your user’s response to your system first and foremost (it’s valueless unless they use it)
26. Find champions within the user base to help promote your cause
27. Commitment to specific results is critical, but remember that preserving some agility always helps
28. The real measures of success are the results users get from using your integrated solution
29. The best way to prevent users’ fears is to keep them involved and hands-on as much as possible
30. Your project is only successful when your users are successful

To read the original article, click here.


White Paper: CRM in the World of Buyer 2.0

July 16th, 2014

In a rapidly changing business world, sales organizations are under intense pressure to differentiate both their offerings as well as the customer experience. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides an exceptional platform for companies to raise their game by supporting three key drivers of competitive advantage for sales in today’s world of informed buyers.

In the white paper, CRM in the World of Buyer 2.0 you learn more about:99

Sales Process Enablement

The ability to implement and evolve the sales “playbook” for better execution.

Sales Agility

The ability “serve up” just in time customer intelligence and provide context-based methodology guidance in real time.

Sales Mobility

The ability to provide anytime, anywhere access to vital CRM information for “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) workforce.

Click here to read the white paper.