Finding Preferred Auto Providers

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La. top court upholds lower DUI limits for drivers under 21

NEW ORLEANS — A 1997 Louisiana law that sets a lower legal intoxication limit for drivers under the age of 21 is constitutional, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The high court, by a 6-1 vote, reversed state District Judge Preston Aucoin of Ville Platte, who had ruled that the law illegally discriminates against 18-, 19- and 20-year-olds.

The underage driving under the influence law, La. Revised Statute 14:98.1, dropped the legal level of intoxication to 0.02 percent blood-alcohol concentration for people younger than 21. The limit for people 21 and older is 0.10 percent.

“The Supreme Court has spoken clearly and strongly,” state Attorney General Richard Ieyoub said of the court’s decision.

The Attorney General’s Office had argued to the justices during a hearing in November that the underage DUI law justifiably discriminates against 18- to 20-year-olds to promote highway safety and protect underage drinkers who drive. The state argued that 18-, 19- and 20-year-old drivers are “overrepresented” in alcohol-related wrecks in Louisiana.

“In this case, the proposition is that lowering the BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) limit for drivers under twenty-one to a ‘zero tolerance’ level of 0.02 percent is substantially related to improving overall highway safety by reducing alcohol-related accidents,” Justice Harry Lemmon wrote for the majority.

“We conclude that the State has met its burden of establishing that the classification in La. Rev. Stat. 14:98.1 substantially, and not just incidentally, furthers the admittedly appropriate governmental purpose,” he said.

Aucoin also struck down a prior Louisiana law that raised the minimum drinking age from 18 to 21. The state Supreme Court originally sided with Aucoin, but later reversed itself after the makeup of the court changed.

“We discern no constitutional violation in the Legislature’s providing a criminal penalty for operating a motor vehicle by a person who is drinking in small amounts and cannot drink legally at all,”

Lemmon added. Lemmon was joined by Chief Justice Pascal Calogero Jr. and Justices Jeffrey Victory, Chet Traylor, Bernette Johnson and Jeannette Theriot Knoll. Justice Walter Marcus Jr. cast the lone dissenting vote. Justice Catherine “Kitty” Kimball did not sit on the panel that decided the case.

“The ‘zero tolerance’ law at issue here would be acceptable if it applied to all persons and did not discriminate against a group based on age,” Marcus wrote.

The Supreme Court’s ruling came in the case of Joseph D. Ferris, a Ville Platte man who challenged the legality of the underage DUI law after he was ticketed for speeding and DUI in 1998. Ferris was arrested on his high school graduation night with a blood-alcohol level of 0.07. Because Ferris was only 18, he was charged with underage DUI. Ferris had consumed alcohol legally at a private residence, his attorney said.

The ’97 law has remained in effect, but prosecutions of those arrested under the law have been on hold while the Supreme Court decided the case, the Attorney General’s Office said.

Aucoin twice struck down the underage DUI law. After holding a hearing in March 1999 on Aucoin’s first ruling, the state Supreme Court threw out the judge’s decision and sent the case back to him last May, saying he improperly excluded evidence that 18- to 21-year-old drivers are overrepresented in alcohol-related accidents. The justices did not rule on the legality of the law at that time. Aucoin held another hearing and again ruled last June that the law is unconstitutional because it violates a constitutional provision that prohibits discrimination based on age.

Penalties for underage DUI aren’t as severe as for adult DWI. A first-offense DUI carries a maximum fine of $250, loss of driver’s license for up to 90 days and no jail time. A first DWI conviction can mean six months in prison and a $500 fine.

A provision of the underage DUI law permits a violation of the law to remain on a person’s record and therefore, according to Ferris, potentially serve as an enhancement of a later DWI conviction.

Lemmon said such is not the case.

“We conclude that a violation of Section 98.1 may not be used to enhance a subsequent DWI conviction, regardless of how long it is retained in a person’s records,” he wrote.

State Rep. Reggie Dupre Jr. of Houma, the lead author of the underage DUI legislation, has said Louisiana faced the loss of $24 million a year in federal highway funds — beginning this year — if it did not respond to a federal mandate for “zero tolerance” of underage drinking and driving.

Wisconsin Sees Sudden Rise in Traffic Deaths

Teen fatalities increased speeds on rural roads, alcohol use cited reflect trend;

More people are dying on Wisconsin roads this year than at any time in the last 20 years, state officials warned Tuesday.

A dangerous mixture of speed, alcohol, youth, testosterone and low seat belt use appears to be fueling the deadly crashes, the state Department of Transportation said.

And the three recent crashes that killed 12 teenagers in five weeks could be just the beginning of a bloody year to come, authorities say.

“If the current trends continue, we will kill 1,000 people on the roads of this state” in 2000, said John Evans, state director of transportation safety.

Transportation Secretary Terry Mulcahy has summoned law enforcement and transportation officials to a statewide traffic safety summit to discuss the problem todayin Green Bay.

During the first 4 1/2 months of this year, 272 people died in traffic crashes, up more than 33% from the same period last year, state figures show. At that rate, traffic deaths this year could approximate the 998 fatalities of 1979 – up by more than 250 from last year’s 745, said Dennis Hughes, DOT chief of safety policy analysis.

“Two decades of highway progress may get wiped out this year if we can’t stem the tide,” Hughes said.

Because crashes typically rise in warmer months, when driving increases, the worst could still be ahead, Hughes warned.

Nearby states aren’t seeing similar increases. Traffic deaths in Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota are about equal to or lower than totals for this time last year, according to authorities in those states. Iowa figures weren’t available Tuesday evening.

“We’re setting records, and frankly, it’s not the type of notoriety we want,” Mulcahy said in a prepared statement.

Perplexed by the mounting death toll, authorities are studying some of the factors that could be contributing to the trend. Among them:


For the first four months of this year, speed was a factor in 37% of all fatal crashes, continuing a trend that saw speed-related crashes rise 11% last year. The average for the last five years is 35%.

And traffic speeds themselves are increasing: On rural four-lane highways, including interstates, 15% of all drivers were traveling 75 mph or more during March and April. At the same time last year, 15% were driving 74.5 mph or more, while for 1998 the figure was 73.5 mph, Hughes said.

That’s particularly distressing because traffic speeds – and crashes – usually drop in colder months, Evans and Hughes said. But this winter, traffic speeds actually increased in January, boosting the risk on icy and snowy roads, they said.

Fatal crashes are most common on rural highways, where speeds are higher than on city streets, Hughes said. The three crashes that each killed four teens this year were all on rural roads. Also, 21% of this year’s crashes have been on rural town roads, up from 14% last year.


Drivers had been drinking in 36% of all fatal crashes in the first four months of this year, up from 32% last year – but not much different from the 37% average for the past five years.

The four teens who died near Neillsville May 7 collided with a repeat drunk driver’s vehicle, authorities said. Tough new penalties on repeat drunk drivers don’t take effect until next year.


As of Monday, 54 of this year’s crash victims were between the ages of 15 and 19, compared with 93 for all of 1999.

A 16-year-old was at the wheel of the car that went out of control near Rhinelander on April 4, killing her and three teen passengers. And a 17-year-old driver apparently ran a stop sign in the crash that killed him and three other teens near Kaukauna May 9, authorities said.

New restrictions on teen drivers are starting this year, but most of the rules don’t take effect until Sept. 1.

Seat belts

Among this year’s traffic victims, 67% were not wearing seat belts, up from 65% last year and 63% in 1998.

Authorities say not wearing a seat belt increases the risk of being thrown from a vehicle and killed in a crash. Doctors and law enforcement officers say that was a major reason why seven magazine sales agents died in a 1999 van crash near Janesville.


Men constitute 70% of this year’s traffic victims, DOT spokeswoman Christi Powers said. That figure is usually closer to 65%, Hughes said.

DOT officials have not tried to cross-tabulate the figures to find out if the factors are overlapping and if, for example, reckless male teenagers are getting drunk, driving too fast and causing fatal crashes. Such an analysis may not be statistically valid, Hughes warned.

Still, authorities hope today’s summit will craft a strategy that targets the key ingredients in the traffic death increase, Evans said.

“It’s almost a death wish to get in a vehicle without a seat belt, exceed the speed limit or to drink and drive,” Mulcahy said. “Motorists are taking tremendous risks, and it’s showing up in the number of lives lost on Wisconsin roads.”

Appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on May 17, 2000.

Teen-age drinking parties appear to be on the decline in Vermont

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) With prom season in full swing and high school graduations looming, police and liquor enforcement officials across Vermont say high school students are drinking less.

But students say the parties are still taking place. They’re just smaller and young people have learned how to hide their parties.

”It seems to be that people are getting the message,” said State Liquor Inspector John D’Esposito. ”It is becoming de-normalized to have a party with alcohol.”

But some Rutland County high school students don’t believe it.

”It still goes on,” said Jared Cote, a senior at Mill River Union High School.

D’Esposito has devoted a lot of time educating students and parents about the dangers, risks and liabilities of including alcohol at teen parties. He has given seminars, talks and answered many people’s questions on the subject of underage drinking.

The education campaign, coupled with party alternatives like Project Graduation, has resulted in fewer parties involving alcohol and teen-agers, he said.

”Parents are initiating some of it, the kids are doing some of it,” he said. ”But Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

To be sure, the parties still happen and teen-agers are still going to get drunk.

”As far as parties go, they still happen,” one high school senior who asked to remain anonymous told the Rutland Herald. ”I would say that more kids do (drink alcohol) than don’t. People have more respect for cops now because they know they can get busted. People are just more secretive about it.”

He said parties occur at houses where a student’s parents have gone away, or out in the woods at a remote camping spot.

Police have received fewer reports of underage drinking parties this year compared to last year, according to Rutland City Police Lt. Kevin Geno.

Geno is one of the leaders of the Rutland County Stop Teen Alcohol Risk Team – a combined law enforcement effort that targets underage drinking. Nevertheless, he said, extra patrols will be out looking for parties and underage drinkers – in particular underage drinkers who are driving.

”It’s tough this time of year because you don’t want any tragedies,” he said. ”It’s a time of year for them to celebrate, but it is also a time of year for them to be careful.”

Microsoft CRM

Offer superior customer service and increase capacity to handle requests, without adding employees. Microsoft CRM Customer Service helps your service representatives track customer requests, manage support issues from initial contact through successful resolution, and provide customers with the consistent, efficient service that ensures satisfaction.

Help ensure efficient customer service processes
Assign, manage, and resolve support incidents successfully with automated routing, queuing, and escalation of service requests, along with case management, communications tracking, and auto-response e-mail.

Understand customer needs
Microsoft CRM includes reports that let you identify common support issues, evaluate customer needs, track processes, and measure service performance.

Share information more easily
Identify top customers and prioritize service needs with a complete view of accounts, including sales and order information as well as support information.

Create a shared knowledge base of support information
Resolve support issues accurately and efficiently using a searchable, shared knowledge base of KB articles.

Customize and scale
Configure user interfaces and workflow processes, customize the solution to fit your business, and scale the installation to meet changing needs.

Integrate with Microsoft Business Solutions
Eliminate redundant data entry and streamline business processes through integration with Microsoft Business Solutions Financial Management.

Microsoft CRM Customer Service

  • Case management: Create, assign, and manage customer service requests from initial contact through resolution, as well as manage communications and other activities.
  • Service requests: Automatically associate incoming support inquiries with the appropriate case.
  • Queuing: Send cases to a waiting area—the queue—where they can be easily accessed by individuals and teams.
  • Routing and workflow: Route service requests automatically to the appropriate representative or teams for resolution, escalation, or reassignment.
  • Searchable knowledge base: Resolve common support issues quickly by using a searchable knowledge base that contains relevant articles. Built-in review processes help ensure that published information is complete, correct, and properly tagged for search.
  • Contract management:Create and maintain service contracts within Microsoft CRM to help ensure accurate billing for support incidents. Each time a support case is resolved, relevant contract information is updated automatically.
  • E-mail management (includes auto-response e-mail): Maintain accurate customer-related communications records with automated tracking of customer e-mail messages. Generate and send auto-response e-mail to customer requests.
  • Product catalog: Work with a full-featured product catalog that includes support for complex pricing levels, units of measure, discounts, and pricing options. 
    Reports: Use comprehensive reporting tools to help identify common support issues, evaluate customer needs, track service processes, and measure service performance.
  • Integration with Microsoft Business Solutions Financials: Microsoft CRM integrates easily with Microsoft Business Solutions Financial Management. Key data mapping includes accounts, contacts, product catalog, orders, and price lists.

Microsoft CRM from Business Microvar is designed to meet budget and support needs for mid-market businesses. Delivery and implementation through certified Microsoft Business Solutions partners include hands-on assistance with setup and maintenance processes, along with comprehensive training and support resources.

Microsoft CRM Customization

Designed for maximum flexibility and low total cost of ownership, Microsoft CRM adapts easily and affordably to meet business and industry-specific needs for mid-market companies.

Get maximum flexibility and low costs of ownership
Mold Microsoft CRM to meet specific organizational and industry needs—but do it easily and affordably, with efficient customization processes that reduce costs and ensure high return on investment.

Automate existing business processes
Easily configurable workflow rules free employees from time-consuming administrative tasks and increase efficiency and accuracy for sales and service processes.

Capture and view the exact data you need
Quickly tailor forms to capture the data you need to close sales and offer consistent customer service, and provide employees the right view of critical customer information.

Customize without limits
Working with flexible .NET technologies and comprehensive tools, developers can enhance existing functionality, build customized vertical solutions, create integrations with third-party applications, and extend the solution to Web services platforms.

Implement customizations easily and rapidly 
Because Microsoft CRM is browser-based, customizations can be published to the entire system in a single upload, with no need to reconfigure individual desktops or laptops.

Upgrade customizations smoothly
Microsoft CRM customizations carry forward with upgrades, reducing the burden on IT resources, minimizing maintenance costs, and ensuring uninterrupted productivity.

Microsoft CRM Customization
Without touching database code, your administrator or channel partner can quickly and easily modify Microsoft CRM to meet needs specific to your organization and industry.

Tailor forms and views

  • Easily add new fields to the Microsoft CRM database schema to fit the data needs of a specific industry or business.
  • Quickly customize virtually any form within Microsoft CRM—accounts, contacts, opportunities, cases, orders, and more—so that you capture and manage the exact data you need to increase sales and service effectiveness.
  • Modify information views across the solution so that users can see critical information at a glance and sort data across records according to specific business needs.
  • Create custom templates for mail merge, e-mail, knowledge base articles, and quotes, helping ensure systematic content management and consistent customer messaging.

Modify business management settings

  • Use flexible default settings to mirror your business model by mapping organizational structures, including departmental, management, and team structures.
  • Ensure information is protected, yet accessible, by selecting from a wide range of user roles and access rights, or modify or create roles that fit unique needs.

Automate business processes

  • Set up and modify rules that automate business processes, including leads routing and notifications, opportunity and pipeline management, case management, and data transfer to other applications.
  • Use workflow rules or build sales methodologies to automate stages in the selling process and establish milestones for assessing sales activity.
  • Create customized e-mails and set up specific rules for automatic order fulfillment notification, leads and opportunity follow-ups, service requests follow-ups, and more.

Advanced customizations
Microsoft CRM offers a rich environment for advanced customizations, including open application programming interfaces (APIs), a comprehensive Software Development Kit (SDK), and Microsoft BizTalk Server 2002 Partners Edition.

  • Build customized integrations with third-party business solutions, using BizTalk Server technologies.
  • Extend the solution to Web services—for example, automatically perform credit checks whenever new opportunities are created in Microsoft CRM.
  • Enhance Microsoft CRM functionality to fit specific verticals and industries, or build new applications on top of the Microsoft CRM platform.

Microsoft CRM is designed to meet budget and support needs for mid-market businesses. Delivery and implementation through certified Microsoft Business Solutions partners include hands-on assistance with setup and maintenance processes, along with comprehensive training and support resources.

Microsoft CRM Integration

Ensure consistency of data across teams and departments, streamline processes, and empower employees with a complete, accurate view of customer information. Built using Microsoft® .NET technologies, Microsoft CRM ensures low total cost of ownership and high return on investment through powerful, customizable integration functionality.

View complete customer information
Integrated Sales and Customer Service modules let employees view, update and share information across teams and departments.

Streamline processes
Free employees from time-consuming data entry and increase efficiency for sales and customer service processes.

Integrate business systems
Connect customer information and streamline business processes across the organization: Microsoft CRM integrates easily with Microsoft Business Solutions ERM applications.

Work on location
Powerful Microsoft Outlook® integration lets salespeople work with sales functionality both online and offline.

Create customized integrations
Working with flexible .NET technologies and powerful integration tools, developers can integrate Microsoft CRM functionality with third-party applications and Web services.

Increase productivity, reduce cost of ownership

Sales and Customer Service modules

  • Sales and Customer Service modules are completely integrated, empowering employees to work collaboratively, and ensuring that customer information updates automatically across sales and service departments.
  • Salespeople can view customer service information that might affect sales processes for an opportunity or customer.
  • Customer service representatives can view complete account information, including sales and orders, to help them identify top customers and evaluate specific customer needs.
  • Sales and service employees can view, share, and update information with individuals and across team departments.

Microsoft CRM Sales for Outlook

  • Salespeople can access Microsoft CRM from Microsoft Outlook, and work online or offline with access to sales functionality.
  • Microsoft CRM e-mail, contacts, appointments, and tasks are integrated with Outlook.
  • With offline access to sales functionality, salespeople can work on the road with up-to-date information for Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities, Leads, Activities, Sales Literature, Competitors, Quotes, Products, and more.
  • If a salesperson makes changes to data while working offline in Outlookfor example, updating a quote for a customerthe new information will synchronize with the Microsoft CRM server the next time they go online.

Other Microsoft Office Integration

  • Integration with Microsoft Word Mail Merge lets users import Microsoft CRM data into Word and easily create and print communications to prospects, customers, employees, and partners.
  • Microsoft CRM data and reports can be exported to Microsoft Excel for sorting and analysis.

Microsoft Business Solutions

  • Microsoft CRM integrates easily with Microsoft Business Solutions ERM applications.
  • Integration functionality includes key data mapping for accounts, contacts, product catalog, orders, and prices.
  • Customer information integrates bi-directionally, with account and contact information in Microsoft CRM mapping to customer fields in Microsoft Business Solutions applications.

Third-Party Applications and Web Services

  • The first business solution built from the ground up using Microsoft .NET technologies, Microsoft CRM can be integrated with business and financial systems regardless of platform or programming language.
  • Microsoft CRM ships with Microsoft BizTalk® Server 2002 Partner Edition, including tools and documentation for creating customized integrations with third-party applications and Web services.
  • Working with open application programming interfaces (APIs) and a comprehensive Software Developer Kit (SDK), developers can incorporate Microsoft CRM functionality into custom solutions developed in Microsoft Visual Studio® .NET.

What sort of customer service functionality does Microsoft CRM offer?

The Customer Service Module helps customer service representatives deliver stronger, more consistent and efficient support, with the following features:

  • Case management: Create and assign cases for customer service requests and manage those cases from creation to resolution.
  • Activity management: View and update calendar, workload, and records.
  • Routing and queuing: Use workflow rules to automatically route service requests and cases to appropriate resources for resolution or reassignment.
  • Searchable knowledgebase: Easily create and update a library of articles and FAQs.
  • Contracts: Create, update, and manage contracts.
  • E-Mail auto-response: Use customizable templates and send automated responses to customer requests.

How does Microsoft CRM integrate with Microsoft Office? 
The Sales and Customer Service Modules are integrated with Microsoft Office 2000 and Office XP applications, supporting full sales functionality both online and offline from Microsoft Outlook, e-mail templates and Mail Merge with Microsoft Word, and data export to Microsoft Excel.

Does Microsoft CRM integrate with Microsoft Business Solutions?
Microsoft CRM integrates with Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains 7.0 and Microsoft Business Solutions Solomon IV 5.0. Integration of key data includes: Contacts, accounts, contracts, products, price lists, orders, contracts, and more. Data mapping can be customized using Microsoft BizTalk Server tools and services that ship with Microsoft CRM.

Does Microsoft CRM integrate with non-Microsoft applications?
Yes. Your Microsoft Business Solutions partner can help you customize your Microsoft CRM solution for integration with third-party applications, using open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and Microsoft BizTalk Server tools and services.

How is Microsoft CRM implemented and supported? 
Microsoft CRM is designed for rapid implementation, with centralized server-side installation that ensures faster deployment, easier maintenance, and more straightforward upgrades.

Because Microsoft CRM is delivered, implemented and supported through highly trained Microsoft Business Solutions partners, youll have hands-on assistance with the setup and maintenance process.

We need a solution that salespeople can use with Microsoft Outlook and that they can also access from the Web.
Microsoft CRM offers both a rich client (accessible through Microsoft Outlook) and a thin client (accessible from anywhere through a Web browser). Users can work either online or offline to access sales functionality from Outlook. This means that they can pull up accounts, contacts, products, sales literature, activities, and opportunities, as well as synchronize Microsoft CRM contacts, appointments, tasks, and e-mails with Outlook.

My salespeople hate being controlled by complex, time-consuming data entry requirements of our current contact management software. Is Microsoft CRM easier for them to use?
Using Microsoft CRM virtually eliminates redundant data entry. Centralized information storage and viewing let users easily share, manage and update information across the Sales and Customer Service modules and across other business applications and systems.

Can Microsoft CRM help me with turnover among my customer service representatives?
Microsoft CRM makes it easy for your business to provide consistent, effective service and increase volume capacity without adding headcount. Service employees can easily view, share, and update customer and product information, ensuring efficient, up-to-date sales and service. Automated routing and queuing of support requests ensures that customer service representatives can assist customers efficiently from initial contact through resolution.

We need a solution that not only helps us acquire customers, but also keep them. Can Microsoft CRM help?
Microsoft CRM helps your business improve customer acquisition and retention. With a complete view of customer information, your sales team can track customers and new leads through the sales cycle and easily update records, while service representatives will find it easy to track and manage support incidents from initial contact to resolution. Microsoft CRM also ensures more efficient and consistent sales and service processes, with customizable workflow rules that let you create and automate processes for sales, support, routing, and notificationsso responses are always timely, and customer requests never fall through the cracks.”

We need to accurately forecast business activity. What reporting capabilities does Microsoft CRM offer?
Microsoft CRM includes a comprehensive set of reporting tools for measuring business activity and forecasting sales. You can run and view reports for sales activity and quotas, closed and pending orders, support incident management and resolution, closed and pending orders, financial summaries, and more.

The robust reporting capability of Microsoft CRM will help you identify the opportunities, trends, and problems that guide your business decision making processes. You also can easily export Microsoft CRM report data to other applications, such as Microsoft Excel.

Where will Microsoft CRM be available?
Microsoft CRM is available through Business Microvar. Contact us for more information.

What are the system requirements?
Microsoft CRM requires Microsoft Windows 2000 or Windows XP Operating Systems running Microsoft Office 2000 or Office XP, Microsoft SQL 2000 server, and Microsoft Exchange 2000 server. For Web access, users need Internet Explorer 6.0 on their desktop computer.

Is Microsoft CRM hosted or on-premises? 
Microsoft CRM will be available on-premises or through hosted offerings provided by our channel partners.

How is Microsoft CRM different from Microsoft bCentral Customer Manager?
Microsoft CRM is designed for mid-market businesses, offers full sales and customer service functionality both offline, through Outlook, and online, and integrates richly with other financial and business systems. Microsoft bCentral Customer Manager is designed for small businesses with fewer than 25 employees and offers leads management available only through the Web.

What if we’re not in a position to invest time and money training our sales team to use a new solution?
Microsoft CRM offers the same logical user interface and intuitive work tools that your sales and support staff is already familiar with for Microsoft Office and Microsoft Outlook. Implementation includes online tutorials and 24-hour Web-based support from Microsoft, so training costs associated with upgrading to Microsoft CRM are minimal.

Can we customize Microsoft CRM to suit our specific needs? 
Microsoft CRM can be tailored to meet your business needs, processes, and environment. Youll be able to import existing data from multiple sources, integrate with new or existing solutions, and scale the installation as your business changes and grows.

When will Microsoft CRM be available and will you be releasing any international versions?
Microsoft CRM is scheduled for release in English in the United States and Canada by the end of 2004 and scheduled to be released during the third quarter of 2004 in additional languages, including International English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Danish.

What are the implications of Microsoft CRM being a .NET business application?
The first business application built from the ground up on Microsoft. Net technologies, Microsoft CRM delivers tremendous business value through easy integration with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Business Solutions applications, third party applications, and Web services. In addition, the flexible .NET architecture gives users the choice of working online or offline in Microsoft Outlook or directly through a Web browser.

Microsoft CRM Q&A

What is Microsoft CRM?
Microsoft CRM is a comprehensive CRM solution that helps mid-market businesses increase sales success, provide superior customer service, accurately forecast sales, and analyze business performance.

Accessible from both Microsoft Outlook and the Web, Microsoft CRM offers a flexible, scaleable architecture that integrates easily with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Business Solutions, third-party applications, and your businesss customer-facing Web site.

What sort of sales management functionality does Microsoft CRM offer?
The Sales Module supports your sales team at every stage of the sales cycle, from leads and opportunities management to fulfillment and invoicing:

  • Complete customer view and activity management: View and manage account activity, customer history, calendar, and communications including phone, fax, and e-mail.
  • Outlook synchronization: Access full sales functionality either online and offline from Outlook.
  • Reports: Use or customize a wide range of reports to forecast sales, measure business activity, and identify trends.
  • Opportunity management: Qualify leads and track opportunities separately from customers through the sales cycle.
  • Workflow rules: Use or customize automated business processes for leads routing, opportunity tracking, and pipeline management.
  • Information sharing: Centralized data storage and integration capabilities make it easy to access, update, and share consistent, current information across teams and departments.
  • Order management: Automatically update orders with product catalogues, quotes, and invoices.
  • Quotas: Measure sales against individual employee goals. 
    Direct e-mail: Customize templates and use Mail Merge from Microsoft Word to send e-mail to targeted groups.
  • Sales library: Create and maintain a searchable library of sales and marketing literature.

Microsoft CRM Sales Force Automation

Accessible from Microsoft Outlook and the Web, Microsoft CRM Sales helps sales people manage leads and opportunities, measure and forecast sales activity, efficiently track customer communications, and automate stages in the sales process—helping ensure a shorter cycle, higher close rates, and improved customer retention.

Increase Sales Success
Shorten the sales cycle and improve close rates with leads and opportunity management, customizable workflow rules for automated sales processes, quote creation, and order management.

Understand Customer Needs
Comprehensive reports let you forecast sales, measure business activity and performance, track sales and service success, and identify trends, problems, and opportunities.

View Complete Customer Information
Microsoft CRM offers a centralized, customizable view of sales and support activity and customer history.

Work From Microsoft Outlook or the Web
Access full sales functionality online or offline with Microsoft Outlook, or work from any location using a Web browser.

Share Information
View, update, and share sales and customer service information across teams and departments.

Integrate Powerfully
Integrate with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Business Solutions Financial Management and other business systems.

Microsoft CRM Sales

  • Microsoft Outlook Integration: Work online or offline using Microsoft Outlook, with access to accounts, opportunities, products, quotes, orders, sales literature, and more. Microsoft CRM contacts, appointments, tasks and e-mail capabilities are integrated with Outlook.
  • Complete Customer View: View and manage customer account activity and history, including: contact information, communications, open quotes, pending orders, invoices, credit limits, and payment history.
  • Lead Routing and Management: Track information on prospective customers, then qualify and assign inquiries. Leads can be automatically routed to the correct salespeople or teams.
  • Opportunity Management: Convert qualified leads easily to opportunities without data re-entry and then track opportunities throughout the sales cycle.
  • Sales Process Management: Initiate, track, and close sales consistently and efficiently with workflow rules that automate stages in the selling process.
  • Product Catalog: Work with a full-featured product catalog that includes support for complex pricing levels, units of measure, discounts, and pricing options.
  • Order Management: Quotas, Orders and Invoices: Create and convert quotes to orders, then modify and save orders until they are ready to be submitted. If a financial application is integrated, invoices for orders are published automatically into Microsoft CRM from that system.
  • Quotas: Use customizable quotas to measure employee sales performance against goals. As opportunities are closed in Microsoft CRM, they are credited against the assigned quota.
  • Territory Management: Create territories for salespeople, enabling them to manage and evaluate territory-based sales processes with workflow rules and reports.
  • Reports: View, sort, and filter a wide range of reports to identify trends, measure and forecast sales activity, track sales processes, and evaluate business performance.
  • Sales Literature: Create, manage, and distribute a searchable library of sales and marketing materials, including brochures, white papers, and competitor information.
  • Competitor Tracking: Maintain detailed information on competitors in a library and associate that information with opportunities and sales literature. Reporting functionality tracks competitor activity by product, region, or other criteria.
  • Workflow: Automate leads routing, notifications, and escalations. Workflow rules also make it easy to generate and send auto-response e-mail to customer requests.
  • Correspondence and Mail Merge: Use customizable templates to create and send e-mail to targeted prospects and customers. Print communication materials can be created and sent using Microsoft Word Mail Merge.
  • Integration with Microsoft Business Solutions: Microsoft CRM integrates easily with Microsoft Business Financial Management, including key data mapping for accounts, contacts, product catalog, orders, and price lists.

Microsoft CRM is designed to meet budget and support needs for mid-market businesses. Delivery and implementation through certified Microsoft Business Solutions partners include hands-on assistance with setup and maintenance processes, along with comprehensive training and support resources.