(Written by Robert Cathlina)
CRM systems handle a number of different functions within an organization. Some of the most important functions of a CRM are: Contact Management, Activity History, Task Assignment, Templates for ease of use and Sales Pipeline Management and Dashboard Reporting on these features.
Off the shelf CRM tools such as a Salesforce can be extremely expensive and require constant maintenance. Infowise UltimateForms offers many of these services out of the box so you can save time and money.
Contact Management in SharePoint can be as simple as adding the Contact content type to a list.
The Contact content type comes out of the box with many fields to help us keep track of our Customers such as: Name, Job Title, Company name and Business Phone. The more information we can capture about our Customer the better!
Sure, keeping details about Customers is useful, but just housing information is not a CRM system’s main function. One critical component of any CRM system is Activity History. It is imperative that at any time our users can check to see the last action taken and the current Status of any Customer. We can successfully implement an Activity History Tracking System by adding a Status and a History column and combining it with an Infowise UltimateForms Action that logs any changes when the Status column changes.
The History column can be used to keep track of changes made to the Status column with a simple Action.
If we set the column to append changes, we have a complete History of all changes made to our Status column on a per record basis.
Another main function of a CRM system is that it helps to move Customers through the Sales Pipeline and one major way they accomplish this feat is through Task Assignment. By utilizing the Infowise UltimateForms Associated Tasks feature we can create a child relationship and thus keep track of tasks specific to each Customer. We can utilize the Associated Tasks features to remind and enable our sales team to continue pushing Customer through the Sales Pipeline.
We can even utilize some additional features in the Infowise Suite to have tasks auto-generated.
Another important aspect of any CRM system is the templates it provides for Customer interactions. Templates for ease of use mean that your team isn’t having to recreate the wheel with every new engagement.
The Infowise UltimateForms Associated Document content type makes templating a no brainer. We can also combine the Infowise Associated Document content type with the Copy item/ document Action to move existing templates into our Associated Document library.
Just add the Infowise Associated Document to your Document Library along with a look column pointing to your Customer list to keep track of which documents belong to each Customer.
Next you need to add the Document Library as an Associated Item. Once this is done you can see we have created a child relationship and can store templates associated with our Customers in a separate Document Library. We can also combine the Infowise Associated Document with the Copy item/ document Action to add existing templates to our new library.
CRM systems work to bring all these features together, but one of the most important aspects of any CRM system is that it provides transparency into the sales process.
We can utilize Infowise Smart Chart Pro features to Sales Pipeline Management and Dashboard Reporting over and above what you would get out of the box with SharePoint.
Infowise Smart Chart Pro allows us to choose from over 30 different graph types, build 3D graphs, include a legend and other things such as show values or percentages for our underlying records.
CRM systems are a critical part of any Sales team. Luckily, Infowise UltimateForms for SharePoint gives us features that can easily replace larger and harder to manage CRM systems to drive sales forward. In this article we built a simple, but robust CRM tool using out of the box Infowise features.
Recently we published a PDF explaining a great practice exercise to integrate Microsoft Azure functionality with Infowise Ultimate Forms. If you haven't had the opportunity to go through this exercise, I hope you will soon do this. Note that you do need a Microsoft Azure account which I strongly encourage you to set up even if just for learning purposes. Here is the article – there is a PDF link to the exercise at the bottom.
Azure Logic Apps allow you to connect your SharePoint tools to other tools on the web. The general concept is that within Azure you can define a Trigger listening for a specific event in many popular web applications integrated with Azure and then define Actions that happen as a result of the trigger.
(Note that if you are using an on premise SharePoint environment, it is required to use an on premise data gateway to connect to your local data. This extra layer isn't necessary with O365 / SharePoint Online.)
Think of this as a way to further strengthen the already versatile and powerful Infowise Actions in a way that communicates outside of your SharePoint Environment.
It is possible to integrate your custom SharePoint solutions with many popular web based applications including:
Azure AD, Basecamp, Dropbox, CRM, Facebook, FTP, Gmail, Outlook, Google Calendar, Google Sheets, Gotomeeting, JIRA, SQL Server, ZenDesk and many more.
Infowise provides email import capabilities, but you can also accomplish email interactivity using Azure Logic Apps with SharePoint.
One potential application that you could create with these tools is your own built-from-scratch help desk system. Here is the general process to create this type of system:
- Set up a trigger listening to a custom email address you create e.g. email@example.com
- Using Azure Logic Apps, trigger creation of a new SharePoint list record.
- Capture email data including Subject, Body, and From email address.
- Set up your Help Desk List in SharePoint to capture the email information and auto-generate a Ticket ID.
- Use Infowise Email Rules to auto-generate an email to the user that the ticket is being worked on and an email to the relevant manager.
- Set up an additional Azure Logic Apps trigger which responds when a user sends an email that is a follow up including the help desk Ticket ID.
- Set the corresponding action to capture the Ticket ID from the email and Update the corresponding SharePoint list record instead of creating a new ticket.
You can set up branching logic to handle all the different conditions based on user response. I especially like the visual design surface that shows branching logic and conditions. Do you have ideas on what to build with these tools? We love to hear about your innovative solutions!