- Make a Facebook Fan Page (obvious)
- Website (complement Facebook, risk management, rich media)
- Review copies (go for the pros and for social "nobodies")
- E-mail marketing (still relevant)
- Pay Per Click (not a big fan of this "traditional approach" but it's always on the table)
- Photo contest (make it fun, engage with audience, there are apps for that... Really: http://www.strutta.com/)
- Infographic (I really believe in this one because I like to explain the value/change in a simple and clean way)
- Badges, Banners, Buttons and Stickers (I have don something similar and will do more often)
- Wallpapers (Why not?)
- PowerPoint (Sure! Yes! Make an effective and rich PPT and put in SlideShare. Reuse it!)
- Thank you slideshow (promote your team... When you have one!)
- "The Trainer/Teacher - Being a great teacher is a gift, and not many people truly have it. If you are a natural trainer or teacher, you have the ability to make complex ideas that are part of social media easy to understand. After listening to your direction, someone new to using the tools and thinking about social media will feel dramatically more comfortable using the tools and (most importantly) why they should even bother."
- "The Evangelist [Added 03/24] - Often in the role of speaking for a brand and putting a human face on an organization, the Evangelist is the person who uses social media to promote a belief, product or organization. For this individual, social media is a way to share content and engage in conversations about something they are passionate about. As some readers pointed out, this could also be someone who preaches the use of social media internally within an organization."
The videos don't work properly. Please head on to http://www.slideshare.net/SergioLegrant/crm-hands-on if you'd like to see some Salesforce.com, Zoho and SAP CRM interesting videos.
I specially welcome these two new features:
- "Team Ownership - Entities in CRM 4.0 were either User Owned or Organisation Owned. Now Team Owned entities are added in CRM5, and integrated into the role-based security model.
- Unstructured Relationships - The next generation of "set regarding" and "relationship roles" functionality, allowing you to define ad-hoc relationships between any two entities."
Team Ownership is a feature that mimics the reality of sales/service teams. Teams should be able to own objects because that's how it works in real life. With CRM3 and CRM4 I would have to create an extra "fake" Business Unit to mimic this scenario.
Unstructered relationships are also welcomed because for me "set regarding" and "relationship roles" should be an unique flexible multiple-input field! Enabling multiple "regarding to" references would really make a big difference towards a better CRM usability experience! Go CRM5!
- HTML free campaign (no need to edit or copy/paste HTML code);
- Automatic e-mail sending from Queue;
- Automatic handling of bounced e-mails.
- HTML free campaign
After a big fight between me, MS Dynamics CRM 4.0 and Microsoft Word I guess I finally figured out how I can actually use the Mail Merge feature.
This is my own “How to create a working Word mail merge template for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0”:
Open up your Outlook CRM enabled client (Very important! Mail merge over the web won’t work!) ;
Go to Microsoft Dynamics CRM > Settings > Templates > Mail Merge Templates > New;
Type a Name, Select an Associated Entity (like Opportunity) and a Template Language (like Portuguese);
Hit [Save] and you will be warned that you need to attach a Word XML file;
Create and save a blank Word XML file where you will list and test the selected associated entity’s fields (attributes) you wish to use in your Mail Merge;
Attach this dummy Word XML file to your new Mail Merge template;
Now you have to [Edit Template in Word];
When prompted by word hit [Ok] (we don’t need data for building the template so you do not need to worry about it being blank);
Hit the button under the mouse (Insert fields for… something in English);
Choose the field(s) you need (I chose “Tópico” for this example);
Add your text (I added some text before and some text after);
Save the document (XML word document) and close Word. If prompted choose to [Stop] current mail merge activity;
Go to the new Mail Merge Document windows and [Remove] the Word dummy file you had already attached (…v00.xml);
Attach the new XML Word document (…v01.xml) and [Save] your new Mail Merge Document;
Go to Microsoft Dynamics CRM > Sales > Opportunities, select one of your opportunities and hit the Mail Merge Icon (highlighted);
Choose the Template Language, the Mail Merge type and your personal mail merge template (the one you have created before) before you hit the [OK] button;
As soon as Word opens you will be prompted to confirm the displayed data and you should hit [OK] (You can add or remove fields using the [Data fields] button. However, if you wish to do it permanently you should change the Data Fields settings for your Mail Merge Template under Settings > Mail Merge Templates.);
You will be shown your word template with no data. It’s ok!
Choose the Next Step (down right corner) which should state something like View Your Letter...
Check the document (letter) and notice that the dynamic field was replaced by the opportunity’s data (<<Tópico>> became “Teste”);
Move on to Next something like Finish Mail Merge;
And then choose the Print option (Imprimir in portuguese). ;
You will be prompted to Create or Not a related (letter) activity in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. You if want to keep a copy of your document as an activity (letter) note you should choose to create the (letter) activity. You can also check the [Activity Details].
If you chose to create the activity you should take a look at it. Don’t forget to check the notes for the mail merge file.
And you’re finally done!
Bonus: after you create this Mail Merge Template using on your CRM Outlook Client you will be able to use the template outside the Outlook Client (web).
And that’s how you actually create a working Microsoft Word Mail Merge Template for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.
TDS08: My notes about "Where to invest – and on what? Which travel products will be making the money next year and how will you be selling them?"
•[My own comments in brackets]
•Glenn Fogel, Priceline.com
–[I took the following notes while I was absorbed by Glenn’s fantastic presentation. He really caught everybody’s attention with a presentation “a la Tom Peters”: powerful and straight to the point slides, relevant examples, personal insights, honesty and passion! For me he delivered the best presentation of the event! It didn’t matter that it wasn’t the most relevant presentation for me.]
–How to maximize the chance of success for Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A):
•Trust deal-maker [The guy with whom you shake hands];
•Trust partner [Not only the guy with whom you shake hands. Salesmen come and go…];
•Know/Predict/Anticipate your partner’s future [Just don’t forget to think about it because you don’t want to waste time and money partnering up with a “sinking ship”]
–[These are only the basics about M&A…]
–Regarding future trends I believe Glenn mentioned something about being alert, that is, pay attention to opportunities/competitors and to new/niche markets. [And act fast!] You should drive your actions/efforts/investments towards your strategy. If you don’t have one you should! [And you should also spread your strategy across your organization in order to keep everybody tuned and in order to act fast! The world is changing really fast!]
Gregor Vogel, Globekey
What to consider when choosing a booking engine [in a nutshell]:
-Fixed fee vs. commissioned;
-Support for flexible/dynamic rates;
-Look and feel; [I would prefer calling it integration as I prefer an integrated booking engine rather than an externally branded one.]
-Distribution options (GDS, IDS, OTA…). [Very important! Spread your rates and availability across multiple channels with one click while maintaining rate parity.]
Gregor talked about a very important concept: RATE PARITY! The same offer (product) should have the same rate (price) across different distribution channels/partners. The customer/looker will look for the best deal until he finds the cheapest channel/distributor/reseller and he will buy from it! Ultimately the best deal should be offered by hotels’ own websites! [I believe the jargon for this is something like “Best price guaranteed”.]
The hotel website should drive the biggest part of the revenues/bookings. [I have to agree that this is really desirable but not easy to accomplish for weaker brands.]
Invest in your website as much as you can. [I would add that you should pay attention to measuring the return of your investments through a couple of metrics and remember the number of page views isn’t everything…]
Brad states that "Interactive online marketing is here to stay and will only grow larger in the foreseeable future. Getting the marriage between IT and marketing to meet the needs of online interactivity will be a key ingredient for many organizations. And at the heart of this marriage exists the need to integrate the IT resources into the marketing creativity process.". I couldn't agree more with him! When I was flying back from TDS08 in London I was thinking about that while reading Kotler's Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism.
You can read the full article here.
TDS08: My notes about "Discover How to Manage Your eCRM Initiatives In the World Of Internet-Based Loyalty"
[My own comments in brackets]
Steve O’Keefe, Rightnow Technologies
–Three elements drive loyalty [I agree]:
•Superior product/service; [Superior as quality/expectations, as differentiation/personalization…]
•Low cost product/service; [It’s so cheap you won’t mind a few glitches/limitations]
•High quality interactions. [Interesting point there! Specially if you’re talking about complex/long/informed buying decisions such as booking expensive/dream holidays or buying an expensive/dream car…]
TDS08: My notes about "Discover How to Manage Your eCRM Initiatives In the World Of Internet-Based Loyalty" III
[My own comments in brackets]
•Michael Rhodes, Leger Holidays
–More than features USABILITY drives conversion and captures attention.
–[USABILITY is a key driver to make branding interaction a positive experience for every online user]
As we are testing and developing our CRM 4.0 we are spending nearly 80% of our time trying to understand and overcome some limitations regarding this marketing process. We even developed a specific workflow to send newsletters from Queues and another one just to handle errors (Mail Delivery Failed, Undeliverable...). These workarounds are not perfect but they are very useful for us. I will also tell you how the unsubscribe works (dynamic, hardcoded...).
But you'll have to wait a couple of days because I'll be on holidays during next week.
TDS08: My notes about "Discover How to Manage Your eCRM Initiatives In the World Of Internet-Based Loyalty" II
Francesca Ecsery, Cheapflights
–Cheapflights learned by doing that it’s very important (and rewarding) to:
•Be relevant when communicating to customers; [Relevancy drives clicks!]
•Research/ask customers about their preferences in order to be relevant (including frequency of communication); [Don’t send e-mails without being asked to do it…]
•Develop triggered communications (triggered upon customer selected events such as price drops…) [Very interesting and dynamic approach!]
–For Cheapflights relevancy proved to be a successful strategy because it:
•Improved response rate, click rate, open rate and unsubscribe rate (e-mail communication); [RELEVANCY!]
•Saved time (and money). The saved time can be used to research and deliver even more relevant communications which support the results above. [RELEVANCY!]
–[RELEVANCY also applies direclty to webpages (personalized content). Google should know a thing or two about relevance due to their ad placement technology]
TDS08: My notes about "Discover How to Manage Your eCRM Initiatives In the World Of Internet-Based Loyalty" I
Xavier Vallée, AVIS UK
–Through research AVIS found out that usually online customers
• Read peer reviews (1/3) and 1/3 of those change their opinion upon reading (which translates roughly into 1/9 of online customers changing their opinion after reading reviews); [Pay attention to reviews!]
•Trust 2 times more in reviews than in official pieces of communication (marketing pieces, website…); [Interesting and disturbing for traditional marketing!]
–AVIS embraced this User Generated Content (UGC)/Social Media “opportunity” by seting up their own corporate blog called We Try Harder.
•Xavier stated they “listen to the customer” and reply when needed and that AVIS uses the feedback from this blog between others (other blogs they monitor and other sources of information) when they make decisions such as renewing their fleet and buy model A or B. [This is an example of how customer feedback can be used as an affordable source for innovation][EMBRACE!].
–[UGC/Social Media shouldn’t be ignored but embraced as an opportunity to develop online conversations with customers].
–[Click here for AVIS case study by market sentinel]
TDS08: My notes about "Monetising Web 2.0 – Who now controls your customer’s online buying behavior?"
[My own comments in brackets]
- Blake Chandlee, Facebook
–People use Facebook to connect with friends and family. Connecting means sharing (news, reviews, photos…). [And influencing…]
–People are spending more time in social media websites than e-mail; [Perhaps that’s why Gmail is becoming more and more social…]
–Number of Facebook users is larger than many countries.
- Daniel Robb, Google UK
–10% of queries are travel related and of these 16% are hotel related;
–Google queries [or Hot Trends] can be used to predict demand; [Interesting idea since you can easily get this data.]
–On average before booking people perform 12 queries and visit 22 websites during 29 days; [Interesting numbers…]
- Ian McCaig, lastminute.com
–Selling implies someone is willing to buy (be careful when/who you send your marketing message). [I couldn’t agree more.. It’s called relevancy!]
•Tom Griffiths, gapyear.com
–Passionate people make web 2.0; [and they influence others]
–Passion sells products; Web 2.0 elevates “amazing”; [Passionate people tend emphasize extreme feelings like love or hate.]
- Richard Lewis, Dutco Group
–Customers who wish to share their own comments/suggestions/reviews will post them anywhere. For instance Tripadvisor is just a click away…]
–If your website enables your customers to post them there perhaps you can manage them better/easily.
TDS08: My notes about "Find Out Which Loyalty Marketing Trends and Innovations Are Fuelling Increased Customer Retention"
[My own comments in brackets]
- Rob McDonald, Hilton Hotels Corporation
–Customers expect rewards and/or recognition from loyalty programs;
–Loyalty programs should be seen not as a cost but as investment [towards customer retention. On average it’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one].
–Clear metrics should be defined to measure ROI for loyalty programs;
–Partnerships help bring new customers.
- David Oliver, Hertz Europe
–Trends: User Generated Content (UGC)/Social Media/Word of Mouth (WOM)/Viral Marketing/Viral games;
–Important online social media/networks/websites to watch/engage: Bebo (UK), Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Wikipedia, Tripadvidor, Blagger, Flicker.
- Peter Wray, CM4P
–Trends: customers empowerment = customers in control;
–Challenges: Card = Community? Customer = Fan?
–Facts: Coalition loyalty programs enhance rewards and program adoption.
This handmade cloud represents the words/concepts that I best remember from the Travel Distribution Summit 08 (TDS08).
The TDS 08 comprised three parallel travel and hospitality conferences ( CRM & Loyalty Strategies Conference, Online Travel Strategies and Revenue & Pricing Strategies) and a couple of other events such as the Hotel Technology Forum and the Innovation Initiative. Although I picked CRM & Loyalty Strategies as my primary focus conference I also attended a couple of sessions from the other two conferences and events.
As this was the first time I attended a major travel and hospitality conference such as this one I found it very interesting, useful and... fun! For instance the speed networking event although a bit chaotic was fun!
I expect to share a few thoughts about key TDS08 topics quite soon.
Regarding my holidays I must say that I had a wonderful time at Albufeira (Algarve, Portugal) and stayed at the five star CS Sao Rafael Suite Hotel from CS Hotels. CS Hotels is a brand of the Grupo CS. Tripadvisor reviews for the CS Sao Rafael Suite Hotel can be found here.
"This utility is used to change the DeletionService and Re-Indexing service jobs in CRM 4.0. You can set the next run date/time of a job as well as change the schedule at which the job will continue to run automatically. " as you can red here.
This utility works but it didn't solve our issues... And the search for a solution continues as we also try to better frame the issue.
- Export the Campaign Activity entity;
- Edit the "customization.xml" file (look for attribute/field "objective" and change length to up 100.000 characters);
- Import the "customization.xml" to your CRM;
- Publish your customization (just to make sure!).
This workaround may be unsupported but according to Jim Wang it's pretty safe. I hope Microsoft reviews this 2000 characters limitation and/or the ability to change it.
This is great because I'm actually deploying my MS CRM Dynamics 4.0 development environment on a Virtual Server 2005 and I want to follow this approach for my production environment.
However be aware of the following "Microsoft does not test or support Microsoft software on a computer that is running non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software. ".
If your HTML exceeds 2000 characters it will be truncated!
It isn't very difficult to write HTML pages with more than 2000 characters, specially if you have to include a lot of long links as I have to.
Suggestions how to hack this 2000 characters limit?
It's official: I'm going to the Travel Distribution Summit Europe'08! I finally got the green light and I already booked hotel and flight. I will be attending mainly the CRM and Loyalty Strategies Conference. The conference/summit will take place at London's Business Design Centre between May 20-21 2008. If you are also attending this conference drop me a line.
I wanted to hide a button only if a specific field was filled. And how did I pull this one off? Simple! Just added the piece of code to the field's onChange event! It's important to keep the code in the onLoad event if you want to keep the button hidden when you save and close your entity and then reopen it.
If you feel comfortable with HTML you can write your HTML code directly into the OFFER field as I did. If you want to include images don't forget to make them available through a public web folder. In this example I used the Google logo.
As you may also have noticed I hard coded the UNSUBSCRIBE e-mail address link. There is an explanation for that. Normally one would simply write a regular unsubscribe text and then select that text and hit the UNSUBSCRIBE button available when seting up the new e-mail activity. However if you set the FROM field to a Queue (as I did) your unsubscribe e-mail link will be broken to "mailto:[Run_Time_Address]?subject=[Run_Time_Subject]". After a lot of testing I gave up of this feature and decided to hard code the unsubscribe text/link. Doing this I'm also sure to include the unsubscribe text/link. I should warn you that the unsubscribe e-mail To should be the Queue's e-mail and the subject should be "UNSUBSCRIBE: E-mail Activity Subject". It's very important to match the UNSUBSCRIBE subject with the e-mail activity subject or the CRM won't be able to connect the unsubscribe request with the campaign in order to automatically create a campaign response and set sender's Send Marketing Materials = NO.
I will write a specific post about How to send e-mail campaigns from queues because I have some useful tips and tricks for you.
After some investigation I realized that there was a previously deleted record (2 days ago) with the same e-mail. The deleted record exists only in the MS CRM DB and its DeletionStateCode equals 2! However my duplicate detection rule still sees him. I believe it shouldn't!
By the way if you wish to enable tracing for MS Dynamics CRM 4.0 you should check the following KB article: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/907490.
The missing column/attribute name is Calendar and the Reason states the following: "Error: unmapped mandatory column" (imagem below).
The "Calendar" attribute (image below) is a system required attribute of the Facility/Equipment entity and its description is the following: "Fiscal calendar associated with the facility/equipment.".
I haven't set my Fiscal Calendar yet because I read at the Implementation Guide that one can do it only once and in order to work with Sales Quota. I'm guessing I don't need to set it for now because when I mannually create a Facility/Equipment I don't get any kind of Fiscal calendar related error. I'm guessing I have to bypass this issue some how... I will post this at Dynamics Forums, perhaps someone already has been over this.
c360 has a more interesting products for MS CRM 4.0 such as c360 Event Management, c360 Field Level Security or even c360 Customer Portal but I haven't had the chance to test them.
So if you're writing a contact's birthdate/birthday like "24-07-1980 00:00:00" CRM will throw an exception because he's using "24" as MM and "07" as DD when he shouldn't. You need a workaround such as your own fixDate() method. The following fixDate() method was created by Marco Silva, member of my MS CRM Dynamics 4.0 project team of two (me and him). This method gets something like "24-07-1980 00:00:00" and returns it in a CRM friendly format "07-24-1980 21:00:00". If you check your MS CRM db you will see the correct date but perhaps not the correct time "24-07-1980 20:00:00".
private static string fixDate(String date)
string day = data.Substring(0, 2);
string month = data.Substring(3, 2);
string year = data.Substring(6, 4);
string hour = "21";
string min = "00";
string sec = "00";
return month + "-" + day + "-" + year + " " + hour + ":" + min + ":" + sec;
You may notice that we're forcing the hour, minutes and seconds and there's a pretty good explanation for that. The explanation is related with Time Zone handling issues that affect MS CRM 4 (and 3). My time zone settings (MS CRM server, SQL server, desktop) are all GMT (...Lisbon). Some specific datetimes (not all) are written to MS CRM DB with less an hour and that makes them go back one day.
If you send "24-07-1980 00:00:00" or "07-24-1980 00:00:00" to be more accurate to your CrmService it will write "23-07-1990 23:00:00" to MS CRM db! Ooops! Wrong birthdate! However if you check your contact's file you will see "24-07-1980". However the MS CRM db birthdate datetime is wrong ("23-07-1990 23:00:00") and you can't export it to an external db such as a datawarehouse. The workaround for this one requires two different approaches: a CrmService approach and an onSave approach (to fix typed birthdates).
Both of these workarounds require you to change birthdate's time to something bigger than "01:00:00" because if the CrmService "steals" you one hour it won't "steal" you a whole day! I chose to set "21:00:00" as my "fake" time. So, if I send this CrmService friendly "fake" date "07-24-1980 21:00:00" to CrmService he will write "24-07-1980 20:00:00" to MS CRM db! And that works for me as the birthdate time isn't important (or visible). So my first workaround also is solved by the fixDate() method above. The second workaround has to be properly included inside the onSave event which you have to enable.
This workaround was provided by Pedro Pereira who helped me fix this issue for MS CRM 3.0 but it works fine with MS CRM 4.0.
My advice for now is to forget about Google Apps/Gmail IMAP and MS CRM Dynamics 4.0 Outlook Client integration.
I myself conducted a similar test and I will write about it soon. I used a regular Gmail account as the user's mailbox.
Scenario: I want to upload some data to my CRM but I want to map the address fields in my file to the Adress 2 fields in CRM. I can change the name of the fields in the file or I can create a specific data map. I will choose this last option.
So I have a regular *.xls file with my data called "data map dummy.xls" with the fields Account Name, Street 1, Street 2, ZIP, State and Country. (image below)
I will save this file choosing CSV (comma separated values) format and I will call it "data map dummy.csv". What happens now is that due to my regional settings (guess!) the CSV file is actually a semicomma (;) separated values file. I used good old notepad to check that (image below).
Then you go to the New Data page option and press "Load Sample Data" button. You pick the file, in my case "data map dummy.csv".
After the file is loaded you need to check the Column Headings in order to see if everything went well and... it didn't! Why? The "Load sample data" action doesn't recognize semicomma (;) separated values. Boring! Boring! (image below)
The solution as I found out by myself is to replace the semicommas (;) by commas (,) using the find and replace feature of notepad. Be careful using this feature because if you have data like street addresses separated by commas or semicommas you can get yourself in big trouble. (image below).
The best thing to do is NEVER use a data file to create a data map but a dummy file with simple data (no commas or semicommas data). Using the modified "data map dummy.csv" the Load Sample Data works fine and then you'll only need to map the Column Headings to the Mapped Target Attributes. (image below)
Don't forget to Save your data map. All of this could be avoided if one had the option to choose the field delimeters ("," or ";") just like it's possible to do during a regular data import process when you get to choose the data and field delimeters (image below).
Good luck for your imports!