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CRM metrics mean success for Microsoft user

A CRM user attending Microsoft Convergence brought service and marketing metrics from his old job to ensure CRM success at his new one.

SAN DIEGO -- Bob McMahon is no stranger to CRM deployments. The senior business systems manager with Roland DBA has deployed Siebel Systems, Onyx,, and now Microsoft CRM.

Through it all, McMahon has kept an eye turned toward metrics.

"I'm one of those people who counts things because I can," said McMahon, who is attending Microsoft's Convergence conference.

In October 2005, Roland, an Irvine, Calif.-based manufacturer of large-format printers for such items as signs and kiosks, rolled out Microsoft CRM 1.2. It was part of a major overhaul of the IT infrastructure at the company, with CRM as the centerpiece. Roland had been running Siebel with a Great Plains ERP application. McMahon came aboard after the company selected Microsoft CRM, but before the deployment.

"Great Plains was a success from the start," McMahon said. "[Siebel] was a bit much of an application for them to tackle. We gutted the network."

Along with Microsoft CRM, Roland added Microsoft SharePoint. In April of last year, the company added lead and opportunity management for its dealer channel and, last September, migrated to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0.


Not everything is perfect with Microsoft CRM, however. McMahon would like to see a change in the way service queues are handled. For example, if a case is escalated to a more senior rep and taken care of, the original rep still gets credit for the work. Onyx had similar problems with its structure, he said, but has done the best with queue management.

"No one builds software that works exactly the way you do," McMahon said, echoing Microsoft's popular Dynamics tag line.

But on top of the systems, McMahon and Roland took a close look at the data to improve CRM practices.

"When I came to Roland, one of the big drawbacks was we couldn't get any data," he said. "They had a whole boatload of data they couldn't access."

In addition to information it now pulls from the CRM system for customer service performance, the company collects survey information from Zoomerang. Results from those reports are distributed, McMahon said, and the service organization goes over it, along with anyone from senior management who's interested -- and many often are.

Roland has a giant spreadsheet of customer service metrics but pays particular attention to open and closed incidents, backlog, aging (whether a case was resolved in an hour, four hours, eight hours, a week, etc.), whether the case was reported by a dealer or an end user, and what kind of machine it involved. Those metrics show trends with particular dealers of behavioral problems with specific reps, for example. However, Roland isn't committed to one set of data.

"Metrics shine a spotlight on the issue," McMahon said. "In one case, we cut off all support for certain machines."

In one case, when they were discussing metrics regarding serving customers no longer under loyalty, a sales exec at the meeting immediately noticed that was a sales opportunity.

"That's one of the niceties of coming to Roland," he said. "Cases are cases are cases."

McMahon runs a similar exercise with marketing, once a month gathering metrics, taking leads from trade shows and visits to the corporate site, scrubbing them and turning leads into contacts and opportunities. They track lead data, opportunity data, and quality and assurance data and pass leads on to their dealers for literature fulfillment -- brochures and materials sent via mail to interested companies. Roland's goal is to ship literature to 80% of its leads within 24 hours.

"Leads are like fish," McMahon said. "The longer they sit on the shelf, the more they stink."

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