Today’s business climate is extremely lean given the economy of the last few years. Organizations have cut back on people in an effort to reduce costs. For the people that remain, the amount of organizational work remains the same – there is pressure to get more done in what feels like less and less time.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have been known for improving sales and service productivity, but can these systems improve productivity in other departments? For many CRM systems, the answer is no – their only focus is sales force automation or call center management. While they support those processes well, they don’t have the flexibility to help an organization manage other departmental processes related their customers. One of the benefits of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is that organizations can extend their investment beyond just sales force automation.
Let’s take as an example for one of our foundation clients. This organization has both a fundraising department as well as a grant making department. Its fundraising group is like a sales team – they have responsibilities for making connections within the community and getting commitments for donations. Donors can be individuals or organizations. Information about these organizations and individuals is held in their Dynamics CRM system as accounts and contacts. Like for-profit organizations, the non-profit tracks opportunities related to donors to set goals and forecast how much funding will be raised to support current grants and proposed grants. Activities related to the donors are tracked in Dynamics CRM to have an understanding of the entire relationship with the donor. Connections in Dynamics CRM are used to relate the donor to other organizations to which they donate, or serve in a volunteer capacity, or other individuals with whom they have a personal relationship.
However, in the grant making department, the team needed to track compliance for the non-profit organizations to which they granted multi-year funding. These organizations had to provide documents on an annual basis to receive funding, examples of these documents include budgets, board of director information, and anti-terrorist financing agreements. The process to review compliance, communicate with organizations, and store the documents was done manually outside the Dynamics CRM system, though all the grantees existed within Dynamics CRM as accounts.
The Dynamics CRM system was configured to store the new compliance information and documents, and associated that data with their existing grantee account records. Workflows alerted staff to the organizations whose compliance was expiring so they could start the compliance renewal process. Requests for information are automated via personalized email templates, dropping in contact and organization information and the status of the documents needed. As documents are received they are related to the organization within Dynamics CRM and marked as received. When all documents are received, the organization’s compliance status is updated via workflow. If deadlines pass and there are outstanding requirements, reminder emails are sent to the grantee via workflow. The foundation staff monitors the compliance process via a dashboard within Dynamics CRM to understand the progress of each grantee.
Because the entire process is now contained and tracked within the Dynamics CRM system, the staff has gained efficiency during the process, as well as post-process: they are easily able to find the information and documents they need related to compliance.
This solution is exciting from a technology standpoint because no custom code was written. The tools that Dynamics CRM provides out the box: entity configuration, email templates, workflow, and dashboards were utilized to build out this functionality. From an organizational standpoint, a strong business analyst with a technology affinity can make these configurations to support your non-sales processes within Dynamics CRM. Microsoft has held true to its philosophy to place power into the hands of super users of the system, as a result the Dynamics CRM platform continues to provide ways for organizations and individuals to improve their productivity. From an ongoing management and maintenance perspective, organizations are able to achieve better long term ROI with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
If you are looking for technology solution that can improve productivity in your organization, we can help. We are specialists in tailoring the Microsoft Dynamics CRM software solution to fit your organization’s business processes. Call our professionals at 855.437.7202 to evaluate your options and identify a road map for your success.
By: Trupti Storlie, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner