Tips from Townsend: Using the BPA Quote Generator

This month I’d like to share with you some of the features and functionality inside of the BPA Quote Generator. The BPA Quote Generator is a tool for creating library of your products and their details and then using that product list to create customer quotes that can be associated to all of your existing CRM data for reporting and metrics. There are many ways to customize the BPA Quote Generator to meet your business needs and processes. I would like to walk you through the process of creating a quote and then viewing the details of that quote inside of its CRM relationships.

The BPA Quote Generator does not come installed with our CRM application template by default. We prefer to let you decide if this bit of functionality is something you’ll use and then create the lists that support the BPA Quote Generator if so. To install the Quote Generator on your site, it’s a simple process of accessing your Site Settings and clicking on the BPA Quote Generator link. A very quick few step process will check to see if the lists already exist and if not prompt you to allow the system to create the necessary lists and columns. Very simple. For any additional information required about the installation of the BPA Quote Generator you can check out the BPA Community site I’ll focus mainly on the features and functionality within the BPA Quote Generator today.

Step 1 – Account and Contact for Relationship

AccountContact CRM BPA

Next we’ll need to ensure that we have an Account and a Contact to associate a quote to.  In this example we’ll be using a company called Aero Space Ltd and a contact from that company by the name of John Gamble.  As seen in screenshot 1, there currently is not a quotes tab included and we will need to add one so that we can see all related quotes to this account.

Step 2 – Adding Products and Pricing to our Quote System

Adding Products CRM BPA

You can create as many columns as you wish to tie in all the meta-data you may currently track in relation to your products.  For instance, some companies may sell minerals and need additional columns to track the mineral composition and formulas for those products.  Whatever product you’re selling, physical or virtual, you can adjust the BPA Quote Generator to include your specific data.

adding prices to our quote system

The pricing list provides us with the ability to setup price breakpoints based on quantities ordered.  Within the system there are 5 breakpoints you can set for an item.  So you’ll specify that Product A has the price of $20 for less than 20 items ordered.  But as you buy more, let’s say 50 items, you can then set the price to $18.  This allows the system to automate some of your calculations and keep your focus on the bigger picture.  Not shown here, but there are also some lists included in the BPA Quote Generator setup to configure VAT tax rates so that you can include those values in your final quote if applicable to your geographic location.

Step 3 – Creating a Quote

New Quote BPA CRM

Step 4 – Adding items to a quote

We’ll create a new quote and fill in some of the applicable information that relates to this quote.  You’ll notice I’ve given the quote a title to recognize it by, I’ve related it to the Aero Space Ltd company and to John Gamble from that company as well as to an opportunity in the system that we’re tracking.  You can standardize

how some of this information looks and acts in your system by writing SharePoint Designer workflows.  For instance, the title field is very open to individuals input and you could standardize the format of that by doing a simple workflow to concatenate some data about this quote and overwrite the title field.  i.e.  Title = [Product Name]  [Quantity]

Also, you’ll notice there is a “Total Amount” field that we’ll leave blank for now.  By using our BPA Custom Column that comes with the xRM platform, you can calculate all items we’ll be adding to this quote and have this field updated as items are added.

Add Items to a quote CRM

After we’ve added a quote to our system we can now go into the details of that quote and click on the “New Quote Line” button to add products from our site to this quote.  In this example I’ve added the BPA Quality ENT SRV product to my quote.  When I selected that from the drop down, our form automatically populated the rest of the product description data from our products list.  Next I can enter a VAT rate if applicable and then finally the quantity of items this quote is for.  Once you enter the quantity of items, the quote system refers back to the pricing list and the break points we setup earlier to determine the price for this product based on quantities.  Once we’ve got the information in our new line item form we’ll click “Save”.

Step 5 – Creating a Quote Document

Tips from Townsend: Using the BPA Community Site

BPA Community Site Home


The BPA Community site is your one stop for everything related to your BPA Application. It provides you with Get Started instructions, documentation, training, downloads, FAQs and support. This blog post will walk you through the six major parts of the Community site and its resources. Your first step is to register an account with our BPA Community site by clicking on the “Register to BPA Community” link in the left navigation.

Get Started

BPA Community Site Get Started


The “Get Started” section lets you access our Getting Started for Administrators guide. This guide outlines step by step the system requirements and prerequisites for installation, as well as the installation/update procedures. Within the guide you’ll find “First Steps” instructions for creating your new xRM Application and activating licenses to allow your users access. Additionally, our Getting Started for Administrators guide covers topics including User Management, Data Migration, Basic Configuration and Customize the Content of Your BPA xRM Application.

Documentation

BPA Community Site Documentation


The documentation in the BPA Community site explains settings and configurations for each of the BPA xRM and WebPart/Component pieces. Within each page we describe the various options in configuration and provide examples of use. We continually update the Documentation section to ensure up-to-the-minute information at your fingertips.

Training

The new Training section is currently a work in progress that we’ll be releasing in the near term. This section of the BPA Community site will deliver content and videos that provide actual walkthroughs of configurations, as well as sample use cases for various BPA xRM pieces.

Downloads

BPA Community Site Downloads


Once you’ve been issued a license for any BPA Application, you can access your license files any time through the BPA Community site. Within the Downloads section of the Community site you can also download your application installer and any other software included with your purchase. This includes the xRM installer, Web Connector, Office Connector and the Data Migrator.

Find Answers

BPA Community Site Find Answers


This is the BPA Solutions Knowledge Base, your source for answers to common questions and issues. We take note of frequently asked questions and document them for your convenience. We continually add items to our FAQs and we welcome the submission of new topics to our FAQ section.

HelpDesk

BPA Community Site Help Desk


The HelpDesk is your communication link to BPA. It provides six options for submitting a request:

  • Bug & License Issue Reporting: If you have a functional error or bug related to any of BPA’s products (but not to an associated product like MS Office or SharePoint), or if you have a license issue.
  • License Request: If you have a BPA license request or BPA software assurance request.
  • System Issue: If you have a cloud/hosting issue, an installation/upgrade issue or a system issue.
  • Training & Services Request: you need training or professional services.
  • New Feature Request: If you would like to propose a new feature or enhancement for our products.
  • Other: If you have a request not related to any other category.

The BPA Community site is your resource for help, training, information, important downloads, and much more. It’s part of BPA’s proactive approach to answering your questions and anticipating our customers’ needs. Still have questions after browsing the various sections of the Community site? Please submit a request to the HelpDesk and someone will assist you right away. We look forward to any input you may have.

Tips From Townsend: Quickly and Easily Import Data Into Your CRM

import data into Your CRM

One of the most common requests we receive from new customers during implementation is “How do I get my data into my BPA CRM Application?” We love this question because it allows us to demonstrate BPA’s powerful, easy to use framework, seamlessly integrated with your out-of-the-box SharePoint features and functionality. By using the datasheet view, we can easily import your information into your CRM application. I will demonstrate the process by walking through the basic steps of importing your information.

Usually, the first step in any implementation is to gather all of your business critical information and prepare it for import into your new CRM tool. Data you may want to import could include accounts, contacts, products, or any other spreadsheet of information important to your business. Once the data has been collected and cleaned, it is time to import!

The first step is to take advantage of our intuitive, carefully designed templates. You can now begin to match up columns from your spreadsheet to the columns currently in our SharePoint list. Let’s say you’re going to import your Accounts first. You can compare the columns to the BPA CRM applications Account list. Many of the fields you need will be ready to go. You may need to create a custom field to fit your business. That is easy to do. And, reviewing the SharePoint fields may flag information for you that you would like to begin collecting. Once all of the columns are aligned between your spreadsheet and SharePoint, your Excel data is mapped and ready.

Next you can begin the import of data. This standard SharePoint functionality is accomplished by editing your list in datasheet view. By navigating to your Accounts list in datasheet view, we see that we are, in essence, going to be copy and pasting between two spreadsheets. As long as your columns match up between the excel spreadsheet and SharePoint, copying and pasting 100 records at a time will allow you to import the data in chunks and manage any errors with data type conflicts and so forth. When complete, you can navigate to the Accounts link on your BPA CRM application and view all of your imported data in action.

By using standard tools like Microsoft Excel to get your data into the CRM application, you are afforded a familiar way to compile, manage and prepare data for import into your system. Whether you’re a seasoned SharePoint developer or a savvy front end user, using the BPA CRM

Tips From Townsend: Implementing Three State Workflow in CRM

I’d like to tell you about how SharePoint workflows can add another layer of enhancement to your BPA applications. By using the out of the box Three-state workflow, you can add a simple, automated approval process. Automating the creation and assignment of tasks is vital to reducing administrative tasks and optimizing the use of your employees’ time.

The SharePoint Foundation Three-state workflow, which is completely configurable from the front end of SharePoint, provides you with an easy configuration wizard to get started. As an example, Three-state workflow can contain your corporate documents library (which may house your internal standardized document templates and so forth), and then require approval from your different departments prior to publishing for use throughout the rest of your BPA application.

Let’s say that you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) document that is required to be included with all quotes sent to customers. This SLA document is a template for your sales staff to modify with customer-centric data prior to dissemination, but updates to the template must go through approval prior to publishing new versions. This is where the Three-state workflow comes in, to ensure that the appropriate personnel take a look at the revisions to your template and give their sign-off on the changes. SharePoint automatically collects any information/comments they may have on the changes and records the necessary info for auditing activity and historical data for all actions taken during the workflow process.

Settings for the Three-state workflow are fairly straightforward and prompt you for some general information in the first step of configuration. You’ll be prompted to enter:

  1. Name of workflow
  2. Task List that the workflow should use to create associated tasking
  3. History List for workflow historical data tracking
  4. Start Options:
    a. Allow workflow to be manually started
    b. Start the workflow to approve publishing a major version of an item
    c. Start workflow when new items are created/added
    d. Start workflow when an item has been modified

After providing this initial configuration, you’ll establish the details of your workflow. You’ll select three states for your workflow to use, e.g. Pending Approval, Approved, Published. The final configuration settings prompt you to choose what you want to happen when a workflow is initiated and when the workflow reaches its middle state. Details such as:

  1. Task Title
  2. Task Description
  3. Task Due Date
  4. Task Assigned To
  5. Email Messaging Details:
    a. Who to send notification to
    b. Subject of Email
    c. Body Text

Automating the routing of documents, requiring approval of quotes sent to customers, or stepping through the lifecycle of a solution are all great examples of how the simple Three-state workflow engine can provide efficiency and power to your BPA Applications. The potential of your BPA application suite, extended by using many of the great features inherent in Microsoft SharePoint, are limitless.  Use your SharePoint knowledge to build solutions like out-of-the-box workflows and custom designer workflows, and you’ll see that by going with BPA applications you’ve not only acquired a great tool, but also a framework that you can extend to meet your specific needs.

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crm-tips

Why Empathy Matters to Your Bottom Line, and How CRM Can Close the Gap

Why is empathy valued more highly today when it comes to CRM? Here’s a clue from the Temkin Group’s 2014 Experience Ratings report: companies across the board struggle with their customer’s emotional experience.

  • Across 19 industries studied, scores for emotional experience lagged behind the functionality or accessibility customer experience scores.
  • The highest-rated companies have a rate only in the 70% range (“Okay”).
  • Many companies (especially health care, wireless, and Internet providers) rate no higher than the 30%-40% range.

These are alarming stats if you feel that customer experience has a direct impact on the bottom line, whether you are focusing on B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer) CRM. Improving customer experience means improving customer retention – which has a much better ROI than expensive efforts to acquire new customers.
But how does a customer’s emotional experience relate to empathy, and how does all this messy emotional stuff affect your CRM anyway?

Merriam-Webster defines empathy as “the feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.” Empathy is the building block of relationships, and CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management after all. CRM must help build those relationships, with empathy for both customers and front-line employees built in from the ground floor, not stuck in later.

Today we build relationships quickly with the use of technology, especially mobile technology. Forrester Research’s Top Trends of CRM in 2014 notes that “The Mobile Mind Shift Will Force CRM To Evolve Quickly.” It goes on to say that implementing mobile solutions “requires navigating a complex set of technology, process, and people decisions.”

In that list, the people decisions have to come first. Your CRM solution must allow you to use your technology as tools to build your relationships. This means thinking about people’s experiences and emotions early on in the process of adopting a CRM strategy and technology. Your CRM should be the structure with which you develop important relationships.

BPA is a leader in providing tools that mean better relationships, better collaboration and more effective CRM. BPA mobile solutions offer flexibility, convenience, and ease of use so you can focus on the important thing: building relationships.

Tips From Townsend: BPA’s Incredibly Flexible Mobile Administration Console

Are you frustrated with “one size fits none” user templates? BPA’s Mobile Administration Console allows your user setups to be as unique as your employees. You can configure each user to access the platform on the device of your choosing. You can specify what access each user has, including what sites they can visit and what permissions they will have.

control over your users - crm

The BPA mobile administration site gives you control over your users’ experience on iOS and Android.  The Mobile Administration site enables an organization’s appointed administrator to configure the sites, users, and permissions that its staff will have access to.  Through our administration site, you’ll be able to connect to ANY SharePoint site, whether a BPA Hosted application, an Office 365 cloud solution, or even an on-premise SharePoint environment.  You can also send invitations to your users to connect to your selected sites and assign them the permissions to access all or some of the sites you choose.


The BPA Mobile solution is a very powerful tool to take your SharePoint CRM, Risk, Quality, Recruiting or other custom application on the go to meet your mobile demands and on-site business needs.  Ensure that your team is communicating without any hindrances associated with remote or mobile limitations.
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Tips From Townsend: BPA Web Connector Tool

Did you know that you can collect information via forms on your public website, and then submit that data into your SharePoint site?  The BPA Web Connector provides an easy-to-configure tool to do this.  No complicated coding.  No advanced connection strings.  Just design your form and copy and paste the resulting code into your website page.  The BPA Web Connecter has some really unique abilities, such as being able to include fields from multiple SharePoint lists.  Select any columns from your SharePoint site and have them collect information from your users on your website.  This simple tool has been used in many cases, such as a contact form to:

  • Collect contact details for following up with a potential customer
  • Complete a recruiting form for job applicants that includes the ability to select from a list of job positions
  • Upload a resume with your online application
Web Connector Tool - CRM SharePoint -Tip

There are many uses for forms and the BPA Web Connector makes the creation process as simple as it can be. Collect business critical statistics and customer data with the click of a few buttons!
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Tips From Townsend: BPA Reminder Tool

There’s no way to remember to touch base with every client, every week. Right? Wrong! BPA’s CRM solution includes a custom tool that allows you to make sure you reach out to every prospect, every client, at the right interval. Introducing the BPA Reminder Tool, our secret weapon to build better relationships. This intuitive, wizard-like tool configures everything about your reminders:

  • Scheduling periodic emails,
  • Specifying lists/views to watch,
  • Setting specific conditions to trigger emails,
  • Changing the sender address to customize your communication strategy,
  • Setting prescribed recipients, and
  • Customizing the content contained in the subject and body of your email to include variables from your list data.

Every customer receives royal treatment with the push of a few buttons!

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