CRM Advanced Calendar Integration
Organizations large and small are deploying Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions. The common considerations and requirements outlined here are fueling organizations’ CRM investments – investments that are projected to surpass ERP spending and achieve $36 Billion in sales by 2017.
Companies deploying a CRM solution typically consider whether the solution will help them:
- Deal with increasing competition;
- Improve internal and external process efficiencies;
- Provide staff and customers access to applications and tools that are intuitive to use;
- Deliver a 360-degree view of customers.
In most cases, the first requirement that customers identify to achieve their CRM integration and deployment objectives is to synchronize and track user and contact calendar activities between their CRM and email calendaring systems. All current CRMs provide a basic client-side option to sync calendars. However, there are many use cases that cannot be satisfied by the default CRM-provided, client-side calendar sync options.
Riva helps customers go beyond the default CRM client calendar sync options and provides customers with the ability to meet their advanced calendar sync needs. Riva’s server-side, always-on advanced calendar sync options include:
- Automated category mapping between CRM and email calendars;
- Synchronization of CRM resources and public calendars;
- Improving CRM calendar invitation management;
- Synchronization of custom calendar objects;
- Synchronization of CRM related information to appointment body or subject;
- Riva Insight advanced calendar side panel.
For more information on Riva’s Advanced Calendar Sync options, I recommend you view the recent Riva Tech Talk: Advanced calendar integration for CRM and email systems.
1. Automated category mapping between CRM and email calendars
Sales and service organizations face relentless and increasing competition and pressure to deliver improved business outcomes related to increased revenue and customer satisfaction – against the reality of constrained and limited resources. Many organizations seek to improve the effectiveness of their selling and service teams by measuring and coaching on performance and frequency of key activities which correlate to business outcomes such as opportunity closure. Riva helps companies satisfy these requirements by automating processes thereby leading to reduced clicks for users and improved CRM adoption and end-user satisfaction.
Riva provides the ability to track CRM activities directly in your email client. This is achieved by automatically synchronizing CRM activity “types” as categories in the email client. CRM category types can include any number of activity types against which reporting, metrics or workflows are required. Examples of assignable CRM types include: on-site meeting, phone call, billable meeting, discovery meeting, visit follow-up, webinar session, and others. When a user creates a new appointment in their email calendaring system, they can assign the email category and have that be automatically tracked against the appropriate activity type in CRM.
A new advanced option allows Riva to sync and track email system calendar activities against opportunities, cases, projects, and custom objects. View this blog article to learn more about automated tracking of calendar events against opportunities, cases, projects, and custom objects.
CRM meeting types to calendar category mapping is fully supported for Exchange, Office 365, IBM Notes, and Groupwise.
2. Synchronization of CRM resources and email system public calendars
Many organizations seek to improve the efficiency of staff by publishing the availability of CRM or email system resources such as meeting rooms, conference facilities, physical objects (video data projectors, planes, laptops) to their CRM or email calendaring system. Many users find booking these resources is more intuitive and better achieved through their email client. Unfortunately CRMs do not provide the ability to synchronize CRM resources or public calendars.
Riva’s advanced calendar sync provides the ability to synchronize CRM resources to your email calendaring system as resources or as public calendars and the ability to sync your email calendaring system resources/public calendars to your CRM. This means you can reserve a CRM meeting room resource or email calendaring system resource for your meeting whether the meeting is scheduled in your CRM calendar or your Outlook, IBM Notes or GroupWise calendar! Customers really appreciate how Riva delivers improved efficiency by allowing users to see and book CRM resources directly from their email calendaring system.
Synchronizing resource and public calendars is supported with Riva for all supported CRMs. Salesforce (resources & public calendars) and Microsoft Dynamics (facilities & equipment calendars) have default support for resource objects which do not require a separate CRM license. For CRMs that do not have native resource objects, an additional CRM license needs to be purchased for each CRM resource that you want to be mapped to an equivalent email calendaring system resource.
3. Improving CRM calendar invitation management
Most organizations seek to provide user-friendly, intuitive tools and applications to their staff. Similarly, most organizations seek to make interactions between their customers and sales, marketing and service teams as simple, convenient, and easy as possible. The majority of customer interactions are related to CRM calendar invitation management.
Many organizations find CRM-generated appointment invitations to be inadequate and non-user friendly. This is caused by the fact that meeting requests sent from the CRM system are not sent as standard calendar meeting requests that use the iCal protocol. CRM meeting requests are sent as emails advising recipients that they have an appointment. The emails includes a link that allows the user to accept or delete the appointment. This link confirms the meeting in the sending CRM but does not automatically add the appointment to the recipients’ calendars. Any changes to the original CRM appointment will not be tracked against an existing email calendaring appointment. This has caused many CRM-originating meetings to be missed by users thereby causing significant frustration and inconvenience.
One of Riva’s advanced calendar sync options is to have CRM meeting requests be sent on behalf of the CRM user directly from the email calendaring system. This means that meeting invitations can be prepared in CRM (and therefore respect all CRM object relationship requirements) but are no longer sent and managed from the CRM system. By sending CRM originating appointments from your email calendaring system, the full calendar invitation and response lifecycle is carried out by your email calendaring system. This means that all calendaring events are managed through your email system thereby enabling full audit trail, flexibility, automating, reporting and relational integrity to all meeting invitation processes. By allowing meeting invitations to be prepared in CRM, they can be properly related to opportunities, cases, quotes and other CRM objects to satisfy CRM requirements and still benefit from the default meeting management processes implemented by your email calendaring system. Meeting responses, reschedule requests and declines are all tracked in your email calendaring system and synchronized to your CRM meeting for full meeting metric and reporting processes.
4. Synchronization of Salesforce custom calendar objects
Many CRM customers implement custom calendar objects to the specific demands of their industry vertical. Custom calendar objects are not able to be transparently synchronized by the default CRM calendar sync process. This is caused by:
- Restrictive security;
- Limitations with custom fields and custom field types;
- Restricted text length for custom fields;
- No lookup for custom fields.
Riva can be customized to sync custom CRM objects with your email calendaring system.
5. Synchronization of CRM related information to appointment body or subject
Riva allows for information related to CRM contacts, opportunities, projects, cases or other related information to be extracted from the CRM and included in the subject of the body of a meeting appointment. This allows users to see information related to the appointment in all calendar clients including all mobile devices. Examples of related information could include attendee phone numbers, email addresses, physical address, links to the CRM related account, related opportunities, etc.
6. Riva Insight advanced calendar side panel
Riva’s server-side, advanced calendar sync options provide significantly enhanced calendaring options. Riva’s latest addition, Riva Insight Side Panel, provides additional insight into recent and upcoming calendar interactions. Imagine the immediate value of being able to select a contact and view all of the recent interactions and upcoming interactions related to all meetings held with that contact. Now imagine being able to see this information directly from your email client, without having to login to CRM. That’s the power, ease-of-user and efficiency that are provided by Riva Insight’s advanced calendar side panel.
Join the 1000+ companies and tens of thousands of users who benefit from the Riva’s Advanced Calendar Synchronization to achieve their CRM integration requirements and deliver full ROI for their CRM investment.