Working Remotely with Legrand CRM

Over the past 9 months we have changed how we do everything from a technology perspective. The only two exceptions are Legrand CRM (http://legrandcrm.com/) and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions, which have remained constant. However, we did upgrade to Legrand CRM 6.0, primarily for the Constant Contact integration. In this posting we will share all the details.

 

Brief History

In the beginning we used ACT! then we switched to Salesforce to eliminate some of the sync issues we were experiencing. Finally, in 2005, we discovered Legrand CRM. The switch was painless (less than 1 day to get the data converted and operational) and the learning curve was very low. We have been loving it ever since.

 

How We Use Legrand CRM

Legrand CRM is the software that everyone uses for the complete view of what they need to do, and with whom they need to do it.

Company and Contact Information:  This includes everyone we have interaction with on a daily basis. The QuickBooks integration is at the Company level, so we make sure that every contact has a company (even if the name is the same) in the event that we do need to link that person with the QuickBooks customer or vendor. From the contact (or company) we can easily see all the related information, described below. The search box of “starts with” makes finding a contact quick and easy. We have also customized the field names for our business. Some examples include time zone, which QuickBooks product and version they use, the date and size last time we checked their file, a link to their tax accountant’s record, and many other tidbits of information that make working with them more efficient.

Tasks: The task tracking is critical to our operations. In addition to entering a task for ourselves, it is also possible to enter a task for someone else in the organization. As the task is saved, an email window appears automatically so they receive notification, along with the date, contact, notes, etc. This has made a huge difference so that details don’t fall through the cracks and there is a smooth hand off from one person to another.  The tasks can also be linked to a project (Customer Service Case) or opportunity.

Calendar: For those of you who work with me, you know I work almost exclusively from my calendar. It is not uncommon to hear me say, “I do whatever they have scheduled for me.” In addition to the data and time, there is a notes section which is used for a quick summary of what will be discussed, any open items from the previous call, the gotomeeting ID number, etc.  To make it easier to see what is happening for the week, we each have a different color (and I have several depending on if it is billable, non-phone, etc) and if there are multiple people involved with the appointment, an icon of a couple of heads will appear.

Opportunities: Gregory is the person in our organization who works with the Opportunities module the most to track the sales leads he is working on. He is able to progress, regress and close the opportunities as needed. There are also notes, influencers and document management features. New with version 6.0 is a quotes module. From the one single screen, he can also easily navigate to calendar events, activity notes, and tasks related to the specific opportunity.

Web Capture: This is one of my favorite automation aspects of Legrand CRM from the previous version. With web capture, when someone completes the Contact Us or Ask the Expert forms on our website, an email is generated. This email is retrieved within Legrand CRM and based on the rules that have been configured, it will, at a minimum, create an activity note. However, the power is in the fact that it can also issue an automated reply and/or schedule a follow up task.

The other aspect of web capture is as it relates to the newsletter. From the newsletter sign up box on our website, the key word “Newsletter” is added to the record; we then regularly sync this keyword list with Constant Contact. That synced list is then used for the email campaign when it is sent via Constant Contact and the results of the campaign are shown in Legrand CRM’s Campaigns module as illustrated below.

From the Targets/Respondents list, it is possible to see each person from the list and if they opened, clicked through, or forwarded the email.

Note about Constant Contact: While we are very excited about the Legrand CRM integration with Constant Contact, we did run into one little glitch: Our list has been growing over the past 10+ years and we had never really done any maintenance on it. As the result of an older, single opt in list, when we uploaded the 8,000+ addresses to Constant Contact, we had a problem. They pulled a sample of 10 email addresses for us to verify with either a business card or some other verification that they asked to be on the list or, for the web sign ups, they wanted the date and time log from the web host with the IP address from the time of the addition. Many of those they pulled were from 2002, 2005, etc. so three websites and four web hosts later, this was just not practical. The bad news is that we basically have decided to start from scratch and send out a couple of emails from our old system to let people know they will need to sign up again. In the meantime, we had a website issue where it was not providing the re-direct to Constant Contact from one of the sign up pages on our site. So, we are still working through a last few issues. But, overall it is all handled and we are excited because the list is growing again at a nice pace. And we are sure that the people on the list really want to be there. This is evidenced by the newsletter sent last week with more than a 60% open rate.  In discussing this topic with Alain Legrand, he had these comments, “I’m in the camp that believes it is better to have a more accurate list of people who will actually read what you have to say.  The mail out becomes pointless if they don’t open your email.  So I’m focusing on Open rates.  There are two main things that affect Open rates: a clean list and interesting news headings. The nice thing about CTCT is the feedback you get on who opened and who did not.  With large lists it takes some time to look at this data and do something useful with it but using Legrand CRM this process is now a lot quicker. “  We definitely agree and are focusing on that as well. We want to provide the information people find valuable, and we are looking forward to seeing how we do going forward as the list continues to grow.

QuickBooks Integration: In addition to the ease of use, this is probably the close second when we originally made the switch to Legrand CRM. The customers and vendors can be linked to a company in QuickBooks which means that when a call comes in, it is easy to see the notes, the amount of business that has been done, any outstanding balance or remaining retainer, as well as a direct link to the QuickBooks transactions. With version 6.0, this has been expanded to not only include a link to create a new Estimate, Sales Order, or Invoice, but to also include a Quotes module which does not require real time access to QuickBooks.

 

Summary

An important part of all of us working efficiently is to have a readily accessible solution that everyone can easily use, and will use consistently. Last year, we had a server crash while I was traveling. It was a problem for many reasons, not the least of which was that everyone was unable to access Legrand CRM, Outlook, everything until I could travel clear across the country to see what was going wrong. Long story short, we were up and running on RightNetworks within a day of my return complete with our Legrand database, QuickBooks data file, etc. We will provide all the details about that in a future post.

Everything goes through Legrand CRM from linking all of the email messages that are coming and going from Outlook to a link to the consulting notes stored in SmartVault (watch for this information next week). Bottom line, Legrand CRM is a critical piece of how we stay connected across 4 states and 3,500+ miles.

6 years ago by in Integrated Applications , Working Remotely | You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
4 Comments to Working Remotely with Legrand CRM
    • Mark
    • Hi Bonnie,

      What other CRM providers have you considered using? What features about Legrand made you go with them vs. their competition?

      Mark
      San Diego

      • bonnie
      • At the time we made the switch from ACT! to salesforce we did so based on a complete frustration with the inconsistent sync capability and it seemed that an online solution would be more appropriate given our diverse work force. However, salesforce proved to be quite expense and cumbersome: It seemed that the answer to everything was that you could access that data via the API (translate to mean that you need a programming background to create even the simplest reports) so the lack of ease of use as well as the high price for the QuickBooks integration sent us on a path of investigating other alternatives, even before our annual contract had expired. We were much smarter about what we required at that point, so our two biggest decision criteria, ease of use and QuickBooks integration met our needs. We also liked the fact that it has a SQL database so, at the time we wanted our website information to feed directly into Legrand (basically our home grown alternative to the web capture that is now included in the software) so that type of data base made it an even bigger win. We did a “test” conversion and since it took less than a day, the data was in a format we could use, and the learning curve was so low, we never did a “real” conversion. At the time there were not alot of other alternatives like there are now, especially not web based, and none with QuickBooks integration, so we decided we would keep a server in house and have everyone access it via terminal services. This worked quite well for us for years while everyone else was catching up on the concept of any time, any where access. About a year ago we did look at other alternatives when we were deciding to move away from our server and Results CRM (If you want more information about this alternative, we have a great relationship with them too.) and it really came down to the fact that we were comfortable with Legrand CRM and found the work flow we were used to a little easier. The QuickBooks integration and integration with other third parties such as SmartVault almost made it worth the switch. One thing that Results does have that Legrand CRM does not is time sheet integration. This would have been nice to have a more automated solution than we have currently, but was not a requirement based on our limited professional services staff at the time. With either solution we were going to move to a hosted environment so they were even from that perspective since most hosting companies offer both. Bottom line, we, like so many of our clients, decided to stay with the known that was working rather than making the investment in something new which was more of an unknown.

    • Liza
    • Great article, thank you for writing about this topic. I recently upgraded to Legrand 6.0 specifically to use the integration with Constant Contact. I am having a heck of a time getting it actually connected, and Legrand is not being very helpful. Question for you- how was your setup of the Constant Contact Integration? Did Legrand help you, or did you figure it out on your own? I have been told that the knowledge base articles will not be updates with the Constant Contact integration info until 2013…

      • bonnie
      • Thanks for the post. Are you getting an error message when you try to connect? The only issue I had was from Constant Contact itself, not Legrand CRM. When I uploaded my large list, it had to go through a CC review. They picked 10 email addresses and wanted documentation that these subscribers had actually requested to be on the email list via business card, email request, or web site log which captured the IP address for the person. Since we had been sending the email for years as well as changing website hosts a few times, and most of the names they picked were from 2007 and 2008, I could not provide the required documentation. As a result, they unsubscribed my entire list and I had to start from zero and have everyone sign up again. It was a bit of a pain, but the good news is that the list is now cleaner and my open rate has increased as a result.

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