As the working year draws to a close it is time to reflect on what has happened here at OpenCRM over the past twelve months. If we can determine this in terms of work, rest and play – it’s been a lot of work, a lot of play, and as for rest, well maybe next year!
We have taken on a significant number of new clients, and at this point we would like to say thanks to each and every one. Every new client brings their unique needs and ideas to the table, and these ideas often provide the impetus to develop new features and push ourselves to make OpenCRM work for them. In doing so we have built up a huge portfolio of features and enhancements over the twelve months, as we saw at a show and tell session we held mid-December. We printed out a huge list of some fantastic new features that have rolled out over the past twelve months, and they included some that we are very proud of. These include our tools for google sync, the ability to edit PDF templates, a massive increase in storage space we offer, the assigning of records on a round-robin basis, management of bounced emails, and so much more.
Our developers have worked at times literally day and night on these new features, powered by a combination of coffee, energy drinks, sausage rolls, curries and biscuits. This would have been even more varied had it not been for the pizza delivery service that took two hours attempting to find our offices before giving up – times can be tough up in Silicon Dale! As well as the developers, our QA, sales, marketing, accounts and support teams have added their questions, feedback and ideas to the mix and so we look back on 2011 as a hardworking, fun year. We have grown and added new faces to the business and look forward to carrying this attitude and ambition into 2012, so we look forward to seeing you all (and more) there!
Here’s wishing a Happy Christmas from all at OpenCRM.
After having spent some time evaluating various CRM solutions including Salesforce, business event organisers and networking group The Mussel Club have chosen to use OpenCRM for their hosted CRM needs.
The Mussel Club is an informal networking event that meets once a month to facilitate local business opportunities without the need to pay annual fees, as well as sharing business opinion, a list of members and a full schedule of networking events.
A subject that is always close to hand is that of security and the cloud. This is a broad issue that cannot be easily answered in a media-friendly snapshot. Ask yourself how safe is your office? You may have brand new locks on the doors, but haven’t got round to securing the windows. And those locks seem a lot less safe when you think about the spare key you leave at the often unattended reception desk. If you take a look around, you might see old water pipes, overloaded power points and wiring that could do with an overhaul. The more you think about security, the more complex an issue it becomes.
A cloud-based CRM solution too comes with its own set of questions that address security. You need to think about how to access the system, how to set permission levels and how to prevent the destruction or theft of data. Setting up your system requires careful consideration to achieve the right balance of security without compromising on user-friendliness.
We have been carrying out plenty of checks to make sure the OpenCRM office is as secure and safe as can be. Here are a few security measures we have or are currently putting into place:
Log-In Details are not saved. This is to prevent a “key under the mat” scenario. When you log out, your details are not saved, so anyone attempting to access your log-in will have to know your full username and password, these won’t be automatically filled in when someone start to type.
Profiles and Roles. You can decide on a number of levels which information and which records are accessible to which group of users. An example of this is to set fields on a record such as User Name that can only be edited by users that have access to that role. This is a measure that can be used to safeguard certain information against tampering.
User Restrictions. As well as setting limitations of access at profile and role level, you can also restrict accessibility on a user level. These measures allow you to control viewing and editing of information just how you and your organisation need to.
Audit Trailing. If you are under the impression that there is suspicious activity happening in your CRM solution, using the audit functions can show you details of when a record has been edited, what has been edited and who was responsible.
IP address restrictions and permissions. You can control which accounts can be accessed from which IP addresses. This protects that user’s account from being accessed from addresses other than those specified, if this setting is enabled.
Password Policy settings. Within OpenCRM there are a number of rules at your disposition to set a password policy for your organisation. These include enforcing minimum password length, use of mixed letters, numbers, symbols, upper and lower case and not being able to use dictionary words.
Of course the more complex a password becomes it also gets harder to remember. With this in mind, we have made it easier for your admin users to unlock accounts if they have been locked by accident.
For more information about you and your CRM security do not hesitate to give us a call or drop us a line.
A lot of our customers are keen users of the Leads module in their CRM solution. Leads are where you store details of possible business opportunities. CRM offers you great tools to capitalise on these and ensure that the lead follow-up process is managed in an effective way.
There are many different ways in which leads can be generated – whether at a conference, through a form on your website, email enquiries, word of mouth connections, the list goes on. Inputting these names and details into your CRM solution is the first step towards making lead management easy. The lead record will typically hold all the data that you have captured such as name, email address, industry, interests and the source of that lead.
This source can provide an indicator as to how someone prefers to be contacted and gives you the opportunity to avoid making an unwanted cold call, or sending an email that won’t get read, this can be managed simply by using the preferred contact method on the lead record.
Your CRM solution adds a date stamp to the lead record, which is a good tool for your follow-up process. It means you can view lists of records as they have come in, enabling a fast follow-up action, or at least ensuring that leads are reacted to within a certain response time.
Your response can also be determined by the means and data you have captured. A submitted response to an web form or email questionnaire provides information that allows you can make very targeted offers, whereas more tentative leads such as addresses collected at a conference or trade show mean you might want to start the lead management process with some more general information.
Again with the date stamps and documentation of follow-up activity giving you information on the different stages of the lead management process (did the lead respond to your enquiry? Have you since contacted the lead, etc.), you can use this information in a marketing campaign to enhance the possibility of turning the lead into a customer.
Maybe you find you are losing potential business due to not capturing lead data correctly, or not using this information effectively. Or perhaps you are losing track of where each lead is in the nurturing process, then it might be time you looked into how using a hosted CRM solution can be a massive help to your business lead management.
Leading sponsorship and communications agency Generate have chosen to work with OpenCRM for their ondemand CRM needs. As you might expect an agency that works with sporting and non-sporting events and is passionate about sponsorship and the results they deliver needs a solid CRM solution that offers powerful Campaign Management tools and we are happy to welcome them to our team.
Marketing Manchester is the agency charged with promoting the City on a national and international stage. The have chosen to use OpenCRM as their cloud CRM solution for their membership and contact management purposes. Our common goals are to provide development and growth in both the common project and our respective fields and we are excited to have them on board. As well as providing information about what they do the website also provides an online guide to the city.
One of the many things a cloud-based CRM solution can do for you is assist with your document management. As well as the important task of providing virtual space for you to store that documentation, you can associate those documents in all the right places.
This offers you a great way of reducing the need to keep duplicate or even multiple copies of a document. For example a quote can be sent out and linked to companies, contacts or leads, without having to create those documents individually. With a link to all those documents getting set up and kept on all the relevant records, you can soon build up a rich network of data in your CRM solution. Instead of being filed away in one cabinet with one copy in each company folder, the documents are filed alongside each of the records giving you speedy access to them and a clear overview of your customer records and histories.
Another advantage is that your entire team have access to a centralised documents library and this means avoiding the danger of people creating their own documents and perhaps not capturing the image or tone of the company that you wish to see portrayed. More importantly it reduces the potential for error or misunderstanding by enabling everyone to send out the standard approved documents.
Keeping your data in a cloud-based CRM solution is a real world solution to the question of file and document storage and management. It provides the virtual storage space necessary, as well as giving the tools you need to find and associate documents to other entities in your system.
Sales Pitch: At OpenCRM we are only too aware of how quickly data can build up. If you thought data storage implied a hefty bill then you might be pleasantly surprised when you look at our plans and pricing in relation to storage costs: http://opencrm.co.uk/storage-costs.html