"Microsoft Dynamics CRM turned out to be the most flexible solution. Our holding company had already worked together with COSMO CONSULT very well, so it was obvious that we would also take this partner. Moreover, the experts of COSMO CONSULT showed us a way of customizing in order to completely adapt our special wishes like the event management".
Jörg Streb, Head of Marketing & Communication at Management Forum of the Handelsblatt Publishing Group
German Trade Congress, NEOCOM, German Marketing Day or summit of the world market leaders; many renowned events are in the proven hands of the Management Forum of the Handelsblatt publishing group from Frankfurt. True to the motto "Excellence in Business Information", the leading provider of events for the retail and consumer goods industries relies on close cooperation with partners and a constantly expanding and adapted range of trade fairs and congresses.
In order to identify market needs and trends on the one hand and to be able to offer high-quality services on the other, a powerful CRM system is necessary for the management of customer relationships. Since the so-called seminar administration database, in which the Management Forum stored the customer data, was technically obsolete, had no CRM functions and could not meet the requirements of the sales department for a customer history, a future-proof CRM solution was to be selected. Jörg Streb, responsible for the project, defined further requirements, such as the automatic connection to SAP for billing and to the web shop where participants book their events. Due to the lack of interfaces, both systems required a lot of manual input, which also entailed the risk of errors.
Various solutions were evaluated and the experiences of the parent company, the Handelsblatt Group, were also included. In the end, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online best met the requirements for improved customer communication and mobile working at events.
Jörg Streb, Head of Marketing and Communication at Management Forum, reasons the decision for Microsoft with the partner COSMO CONSULT: "Microsoft Dynamics CRM turned out to be the most flexible solution. Our holding company had already worked very well together with COSMO CONSULT, so it was obvious that we would also take this partner. Moreover, the experts of COSMO CONSULT showed us a way of customizing to completely adapt our special wishes like the event management".
The conception, implementation of the processes, adaptation programming and commissioning took only 4 months. Here the expertise of COSMO CONSULT came to bear, both as an experienced Microsoft partner and as a competent supplier of specially developed industry solutions for CRM.
The event administration was completely customized and now offers the employees of the Management Forum every desired function for the administration of the events: The entire life cycle of every event is mapped in Microsoft Dynamics CRM with automatic workflows, participants are automatically booked in via the webshop, the invoicing is done directly from the CRM via the SAP integration, cancellations or rebooking to substitute participants are easily done and also important additional functions such as the administration of speakers, moderators, VIPs or module bookings are done in the same system.
The acceptance on the part of the approximately 20 employees from the specialist departments was high right from the start, reports Streb: "Of course the new system was a conversion, but it is very intuitive and easy to use, thanks to the similarity with Office interfaces. The training effort was manageable, we did half-day sessions and then we started right away".
The new CRM system improves communication with customers for key account managers in sales and for project teams, because the history clearly shows who spoke to whom about which event and when. For example, sponsors who have already booked a stand at a congress can be actively approached for further events of interest to them. Even if the customer history has to grow in the course of time, the 360 degree view of each participant or sponsor is already appreciated. Useful data is also drawn from the campaign management, because it clearly shows from which mailings the most registrations were received - thus learning from best practices for future events.
Many members of the Management Forum see the time savings as a big advantage, as they can now work directly at the events and enter data. Mobility was an important requirement criterion in day-to-day business, which is realized with the cloud function of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. The decision for the cloud variant was also made due to exploding IT costs due to the increasing server demand.
The integration of SAP also saves time, while at the same time significantly improving data quality. The invoice is generated in the CRM system and then goes into the financial accounting of SAP. The automated processes also ensure fast processing, which benefits customers.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is running successfully and Jörg Streb is already thinking ahead: "This year we are tackling the subject of reporting so that we can better look into the future with our existing data. Because we want to offer our customers events tailored to their objectives. With the support of COSMO CONSULT, we are also considering connecting other third-party systems such as an e-mail marketing tool or our admission management system. With the practical handling, the CRM system has become the central tool for our services and products".
This is a reference of COSMO CONSULT SI GmbH (formerly FWI Deutschland GmbH).