Social Listening

Social Listening

Imagine you’re standing at the front of a conference room giving a presentation to a few dozen attendees.  Some may think this is one-way communication, but you know it isn’t.  As you speak you’re watching the faces.  Looking for reactions.  Gauging response.

At some point you may ask questions of the audience about their response to what you’re saying.  As you answer their questions you’re scanning the audience even more closely.  Is everyone nodding agreement?  Is anyone nodding out?  Are people shaking their heads and scowling?  So many paralinguistic cues to try to catch.

Now imagine trying to do the same thing with a room of a few hundred attendees, or a few thousand!

To the Cloud!!!

Now take this exercise to the cloud.  You’re no longer speaking live in front of a number of people that you can observe.  Your presentation is posted on a website, or in a blog, or perhaps a mass email or other social networking mode.  Your potential audience is in the millions!  How do you get any feedback about the audience reaction to your message, or your brand?

Social Listening

Have you ever done a Bing or Google search on your own company, or your own name?  That’s a very good small example of social listening on a very limited basis.  You’re looking to see what other people are saying about you or your brand to analyze what the popular sentiment is about you.

One very effective use of Twitter to spread your message wider is to find a few very influential people with large followings who will want to retweet your message to their audience.  Social listening can help you find those people who like your content so much they mention or favorite it.

You can use Social Listening strategically to see how your brand or specific messaging is trending.  You can also go tactical, identifying negative comments about you and responding immediately.  Or you can modify your messaging in response to cogent concerns you find out there.

Perhaps most important, you can use Social Listening to drive engagement and foster new conversations to create new opportunities.  According to Microsoft, in 2012, salespeople using social media outperformed those who were not 78.6% of the time.  They even offer an e-book about it!

Develop Your Listening Cloud Strategy

This year, Microsoft added Social Listening to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM family.  Talk to your CloudStrategies Advisor today about how Social Listening can help you “Listen everywhere.  Analyze Sentiment.  Drive Engagement!”

Learning More About Your Customer: Leveraging Social Tools in Microsoft CRM

Learning More About Your Customer: Leveraging Social Tools in Microsoft CRM

Ever since the introduction of the “personal computer” in the early 1980’s, every new technology related to them has been a great “equalizer.”

The personal computer or PC itself gave the small to medium business many of the capabilities previously reserved only for large corporations with extensive investments in mainframe computers.  The first software products, like “VisiCalc” the first spreadsheet, and WordStar, the first popular word processor, gave individuals and small businesses the ability to do things that only large companies could afford previously.

Then Came the Internet

In the mid-1990’s, when the world discovered the Internet, this “equalization” was taken to a whole new level.  Now everybody could “broadcast” like only the media networks could previously.  Everyone could publish information that people all over the world could consume, if they could only find it.  Because finding information became so important, the sites that become most successful in that first wave of the Internet “bubble” were those that provided search capabilities, like Google and Yahoo.

In the new century, the second wave of the Internet, what many called “Web 2.0” arrived with a whole new top priority – information about the “self.”  Everyone was captivated by “social networks” like,, and the emergent winner,  Internet relay chat capability spawned the “chat room” which, in turn, spun around and spawned Instant Messaging.  Texting and “tweeting” became more popular than phoning.  Everyone began connecting with everyone from every phase of their lives.

The Social Media World Today

Today everyone tracks everything and everyone else using social media networks like for personal interactions, though many drive business through it.  For the business world there’s LinkedIn, though many share personal messages through it.  Many gauge how popular they are by how many Twitter “followers” they have.  Others share photographs on Instagram, some check in everywhere they go on FourSquare while others vote their preferences on a wide variety of sites including Pinterest, Tumblr, StumbleUpon and others.

Social – The Business Reality

Plainly stated, just about every business uses social media to advertise, to notify, to keep in touch with customers, to share information between personnel.  Most large companies maintain their own social media networks using tools like Yammer to keep it private.  In many ways this private social networking has completely replaced the internal company newsletter, and improved upon it making it far more immediate and far more responsive.

Interactive social communication services like Skype have even made videoconferencing available to anyone who has any kind of device from computer to tablet to camera-equipped smartphone.


Turning Social Media Into Business Advantage

Customers are using social media to help make buying decisions in record numbers.  Not only do they find and comparatively price products, they write and read product reviews from other customers to get themselves as much as three-quarters of the way to a buying decision before they ever contact you or your competitors.  What people are saying about you in social media has become a critical issue for all businesses.

With many services charging exorbitant sums to help companies protect their online “reputations” it becomes apparent that listening to what’s going on in the social media regarding your company can be a very useful tool in gauging customer’s opinions of your company and your business strategies.  Response to campaigns and promotions can be obtained and analyzed far more quickly than ever before.  Dangerous trends can be addressed before they become business nightmares.

Microsoft Social Listening

With the recent acquisition of NetBreeze, Microsoft has dramatically accelerated its entry into the social media universe, offering Microsoft Social Listening as a component of their flagship customer relationship management (CRM) system, Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft Social Listening is a powerful new service that your organization can use to monitor social media channels like Twitter and Facebook. Use Microsoft Social Listening to track products, brands, competitors, and campaigns globally and in real time to gain a true understanding of your customers and your business across the social web.

Listen & Analyze

Global sentiment analysis: Gain a true understanding of your customers and your business on a global scale across the social web. Native language sentiment analysis means you won’t miss cultural cues.

Share of voice: Track your brand, products, and influencers in 28 languages across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, news channels, blogs, and forums.

Competitive intelligence: See how you stack up against the competition.

Campaign management: Measure social impact on marketing, sales, and service campaigns. Gain insight into what’s working and what isn’t.

Monitor & Respond

  • Top influencers: Identify and connect with the most influential voices in your community.
  • Early warning system: Gain early insight on problematic issues; stay on top of hot topics.
  • Post alerts: Notifications on custom key words, competitive conversations, industry info.
  • Trend alerts: Get notified when posts and publications differ from statistical expectations.

Social Insights in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Insights, a new service made available through a strategic partnership with InsideView at no additional cost to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online customers, puts real-time company and contact information from 30,000 sources into your hands, helping marketing, sales and account management professionals engage more effectively with prospects to win more deals as a result of less time spent researching and more time selling.

Bring the benefits of social listening to your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online experience with Social Insights. Microsoft Social Listening visuals can be added your CRM dashboards and forms. These Social Insights charts and graphs help you identify buzz, trends and sentiment related to things like your customers, campaigns and competitors.

Learn More About Your Customers

If you’re already a client of CloudStrategies you can bet we’ve used these tools to learn a lot more about you.  Let us show you how we did that and how you can learn much more about your customers using cloud-delivered social media tools and services.  Call today to learn more!

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) from the Cloud

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) from the Cloud

Solutions from Cloud Strategies

It’s not too big anymore!

One of the challenges many companies considering CRM faced in the past was that the project was “just too big.” If you were going to the expense you’d have to do it for everyone. Between installing the servers and configuring the software, training all the users and migrating data it was just too much of a project to undertake.

Then Microsoft introduced

Now CloudStrategies can show you how to properly plan to gradually introduce CRM to a department or small group within your company. Subscribe for only the number of users you want in the test group. You can unsubscribe any of them at any time

Take it slow and easy

We’ll work together and take the time to get to know Dynamics CRM and gain a complete understanding of all the ways it can benefit Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service within your company. The broad scope of things you can do with Dynamics CRM includes:

· Carefully tracking all of your selling activities with all of your customers

· Focusing on the right opportunities to help close deals faster and exceed your goals

· Planning and executing highly effective breakthrough marketing campaigns

· Turning proposals into orders

· Building your funnel and filling your pipeline

· Delivering timely, relevant and personal service to all customers

· How and when to take CRM mobile to better serve your sales “road warriors”

A Failure to Plan is a Plan for Failure

The key to any successful CRM deployment is to start with careful planning. CloudStrategies’ experts both in cloud computing and in CRM join forces with your management team to make sure we’ve taken a thorough and careful inventory of all of your requirements. We then develop the roadmap to your successful CRM deployment.

Step-by-step we provide the insight, the experience, and the skills required to produce a comprehensive plan that gradually moves your entire operation into CRM with all the training and support you’ll need to get the most value out of it.

Now May Be The Best Time to Buy Office 365

Now May Be The Best Time Ever to Buy!

Windows Intune

Microsoft Office 365

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online


Now May Be The Best Time Ever to Buy!

Big Easy 8 SquareCiting greater efficiencies achieved in running the service as the number of subscribers continues to increase, pricing on Microsoft Office 365 has recently been reduced by as much as 20% for new and renewing customers.  With this added to the return of The Big Easy Offer 8 from Microsoft, now may be the best time ever to subscribe to Microsoft Online Services including Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Online!

The Big Easy Offer is back, and it includes online services. For every qualifying software license you purchase between March 5 and June 30, 2012, Microsoft pays you qualifying partner subsidy funds for additional purchases of Microsoft software licenses or associated services of your choice.

Earn money back on your purchase in the form of partner subsidy checks to help make your solutions more complete. Microsoft’s Big Easy Offer 8 rewards you for upgrading and refreshing your desktop, server and management solutions, helping you to simplify your IT infrastructure and focus on what matters most – your business.

What is a subsidy? A subsidy is a check made payable to your Microsoft partner, CloudStrategies. This subsidy can be used to enrich and implement your Microsoft solution. The subsidy allows you to purchase additional software licenses or associated services from us using Microsoft subsidy funds thus lowering your return on investment.

This subsidy reward can help you:

  • Defray the costs of solution implementation, management, and scaling.
  • Lower the upfront costs of upgrading to the latest software versions.
  • And now, signing up for Software Assurance (Open Value, Open Value Subscription) increases the subsidy amount you can earn.

Microsoft “Cloud CRM for Less”




Microsoft “Cloud CRM for Less”

Makes it easy for Oracle, SAP & customers to make the switch to Microsoft CRM

REDMOND, Wash. – Aug. 29, 2011 – Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) today announced a new “Cloud CRM for Less” offer thatCs Ms Crm 2011 helps customers of Oracle, Inc. and SAP switch to the familiar, intelligent and connected experiences delivered by Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Building on the momentum of the global launch of Microsoft’s online CRM service in the first half of 2011, Microsoft is extending $150 (U.S.) cash per user seat (minimum of 50 seats per organization) to up to 500 user seats for each eligible customer.  This offer provides an opportunity for dramatic cost savings and helps customers realize the benefits from using software and online services that work the way people and organizations work.

Cs Mscrm Sample PageIndeed, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online continues to be at the forefront of cloud computing and is attracting some of the largest businesses in the world, including General Mills, Konica Minolta and Yamaha.

“Customers choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online over solutions from Oracle, and SAP to get compelling increases in productivity and user adoption, as well as significant reductions in ongoing costs,” said Brad Wilson, general manager, Microsoft Dynamics CRM product management group. “We feel that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online delivers the best CRM service in the market – and at an extremely compelling price point.”
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online helps people be more productive while giving them the insight necessary to gain a competitive edge in an ever-changing world of business. This promotion is available between now and March 31, 2012. For more information, contact CloudStrategies at 973-630-5020 or email

To Cloud or Not to Cloud: Do You Know Where Your Customers Are?

To Cloud or Not to Cloud

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 may be the first key business application to release its newest version ONLINE before releasing it for traditional on-premises use. According to Bill Patterson, Director of Product Management for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, this signals a whole new set of priorities, and a whole new pattern for the future. “It’s around velocity and rapid delivery of ongoing innovation!” explains Patterson.

Microsoft Dynamics CRMMicrosoft Dynamics CRM 2011 provides customers and partners with a wide range of benefits, including point-and-click configurability, enterprise scalability, and easy interoperability to existing applications and databases. It delivers the Power of Productivity for users in organizations of all sizes through its focus on the following:

  • Familiar experiences through a next-generation native Microsoft Outlook client, browser-based and mobile access, RoleTailored design, and advanced user personalization, improving user adoption and giving users easy access to the information they need to be successful.
  • Intelligent experiences through guided process dialogs, inline business intelligence for performance and goal management, and real-time dashboards, providing the most up-to-date information critical to enabling sales, service and marketing professionals to do their jobs effectively.
  • Connected experiences through flexible cloud development, Windows Azure interoperability, contextual Microsoft SharePoint capabilities and the new Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace, making it easy for customers and partners to configure and customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM to meet specific business needs.

The “Instant-On” value of CRM Online has allowed companies to deploy CRM where it’s needed when it’s needed without having to wait for enterprise-wide adoption. This increased speed and agility brings value to the customer sooner. Since there’s no investment in infrastructure required, customers can move nimbly to implement and deploy the solution with incredible granularity. For more information, contact CloudStrategies at 973.630.5020 or

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