Todd Zedak is the CRM Practice Director at Jibe365. Todd is a broad-based IT professional who is deeply passionate about technology and how it improves business practises and performance. We’ve asked him a few questions so you can get to know him better.
Why are you so interested in CRM and business tools?
I’ve always been interested in CRM from a cultural, social, and philosophical perspective.
The idea of creating a system by which you can record and capture human interactions from a business perspective was always interesting to me
I’m an evangelist for knowing your customer and for connecting to your market.
Why is this perspective important in your role?
I end up being very creative in developing how this tool is applied. Frequently CRM is viewed as a sales tool – providing sales automation, which it certainly can do. When you think about it, there are many, many areas the supplier is engaged by the customer and it’s not all in the invoicing, billing or purchasing relationship.
There are instances like credit applications, warranties, returns, tech support to help desk and supply chain management.
So give me some scenarios of extended customer contact that wouldn’t necessarily be front of mind?
Let’s say the supplier ships you the wrong product. That starts off an entire stream of conversation and interaction. Say you ordered 10 boxes of black bolts. You get nine of black and one of red. Now what happens, you call engineering, manufacturing, determine if it’s a wrong product, perhaps throw them away, determine credit, invoicing, shipping.
If you don’t have a good customer relationship system how do you track and manage that conversation? Probably the general answer is email. But no one else can see an email and all the discussions going on.
So when the question is asked “How are we doing with this vendor” if you have no knowledge of all the other issues or can’t look up billing, returns, etc. you can’t really answer that question well.
Dynamics CRM has a flexibility of ad-ins bringing greater functionality and diversity. Is this an advantage over out of the box products and implementation?
Other out of the box solutions don’t lend themselves to this kind of flexibility. They’re not as easily manipulated and coaxed into performing this way. Dynamics CRM is designed to be easily modified and updated and connected. The interface is very fresh and friendly.
It’s a wonderful platform to enable tracking management.
What are the flexibility advantages of Microsoft Dynamics CRM?
Dynamics integrates with Outlook, Word, Excel. If you buy other products, they’re not part of the Microsoft family. As an IT strategist whose wagon are you going to hitch yourself with? If I were betting would go with a big horses. If you’re working in the Microsoft world, Sharepoint integrates right into it. Lots of cross functionality leveraged in there. That certainly makes a case that it’s foolish not to consider Dynamics CRM.
So where will Dynamics365 fit in?
It’s indicative of a further blending and licencing and functional blending of all of those Microsoft products. If you are working in the cloud and working Office 365, you can access these apps in a panel. You simply flip a switch to get there. You’re not running around desk to desk putting in a code. It all centralizes from one central place. Whatever happens to hook Outlook into your CRM that all happens in the background.
It’s Microsoft saying if you’re part of our world we’re going to make it as easy as possible for you.
It’s more than just keeping track of customers then, isn’t it?
People have been fixation with customer relationship management. But you might implement this product to simply handle warranty returns or credit management or a relatively small component of your operation – and it pays dividends.
You can buy software for individual components but then you have another licence, another product. Do you really need all that?
So what do you bring to the table in promoting a Dynamics product?
I’m the one who creates and envisions solutions. Customers don’t come to me and saying ‘boy I wish there a way to do better.’ They have bigger fish to fry.
I am the one to see these practical uses and bring them to the fore. For instance, call reports. Lots of us use them often on a word document or in an email. Who sees that? Let’s make a means by which each contact activity has a separate record and then we create a means for marketing and tech support to be able to scan the content for any instance or mention that provides valuable insight for them.
I leverage the tool to supply everyone with salient info – not complicated – to do and maintain.
If a company is considering implementing a CRM system what are three things they need to consider heading into the exercise?
- They need to think about how many places and ways to their customers and suppliers touch them that doesn’t have to do with billing and invoices.
- They need to think about management’s level of commitment to the success of implementation of the process.
- The company needs to be committed to training. If you don’t train users, they won’t use it. Have to have to have management buying in.
What is the importance of good data?
Data is king and data is usually crap. CRM is good because it surfaces the data and actually is a platform where you can correct it.
A solution of this sort it requires you are a thoughtful player in the enterprise. You are engaging so many online tools if you get company name right it’ll pull in other data.
You’ve no doubt had some rewarding experience implementing CRM and technology business tools. What are some of the more unique experiences you’ve had?
Working with a global manufacturing firm, we ended up not only providing sales force automation but supply change management, root cause analysis, engineering, testing problems, used it to handle i9 hazardous material, no child labour forms, and even a tech support hotline.
I implemented it for a medical services company who worked with people with epilepsy. It’s about people helping people. We established a unified tool process with all the information, people they were seeing, their family doctors, priest services to be all at their fingertips – and all invoices for the state able to be processed in four hours.
In nursing homes it’s the same situation. The people have specific needs. We captured all that relevant information about a resident and had it available at their fingertips.
These experiences must be rewarding.
I am personally a creative, enthusiastic evangelist. The idea that I can evangelize about this tool and use it in unconventional ways is very exciting to me.
Jibe Cloud Services (Jibe365) is a Microsoft Partner and a Cynergies Solutions Group company focused on helping our customers achieve a world-class business solution that can help reduce costs and increase profitability by organizing and automating business processes that nurture customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention. For more on Jibe365 or Microsoft Dynamics CRM please email info@Jibe365.com