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Business Reasons for Upgrading Your CRM System

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 – Business Reasons for Upgrading  

Dynamics CRM 2011 has a long list of added features that make it a desirable upgrade for a company currently on a previous version of Dynamics CRM. While these features are meaningful and easily digested by technology professionals that work with CRM, it can be more difficult to communicate the advantages of an upgrade to C-Suite executives so that budgets are approved.

The following list represents core benefits that can be communicated to executive level staff in a way that will resonate with them.

Sales Goal Management

Sales leaders and individual sales professionals now have the ability to set and track sales activity metrics.

Dashboards & Charts

Default dashboard views for each user can be defined at an organization level. Each user has the ability to configure unique dashboards for their use. Charts can be added throughout the application to provide a graphical representation of data.








Tracking changes on company, contact, prospect and other data in CRM is native. This contributes to user adoption and advances the reality of a “one view” of all corporate client data.

Simplified System Ehancements

The forms in CRM are now easier to enhance and the time to implement needed functionality is reduced. This is an improvement on existing functionality so that the system can be configured as business needs change.


The Processes “Dialog” feature provides interactive guidance to each professional as they use the CRM system. This guides users through the completion of tasks in CRM.

Client Record Ownership

Multiple professionals across multiple divisions can be assigned as account owners to a single client. This will better define what business divisions have ownership related to a client relationship.

SharePoint Integration (Document Management)

SharePoint 2007/2010 integration is a standard feature that can be used to share documents that need to be accessible both SharePoint and CRM.

Field Level Security

Individual records through the system can be displayed or hidden based on business division, group or individual permissions.

– Tim Thorpe

A special thanks to guest blogger Tim Thorpe who is the Director, Global Marketing & Communications at Black & Veatch Corporation based in Overland Park, KS.  You can reach Tim at + 1 913-458-8415 or via email at ThorpeTN@BV.com.  More about Tim can also be found at his About.Me site!

Note.  Special thanks to Jon Strand for the original comprehensive list that these topics were drawn from. You can visit John Strand’s blog here.

CRM system end-user givebacks?

Don’t assume that a trip to the barber shop will produce a predictable outcome!  The end result for the individual can actually create more work like the need to apply hair gels, mousse & hair spray with no givebacks for the effort.  I survived this experience but can tell you I received nothing for my investment outside of a great conversation piece many years later.

That brings me to this week’s blog topic of “What do users get in exchange for buying into a CRM platform?”  My 26+ years’ experience working directly with customers has generated a common theme.  That theme or promises is that the users will see productivity gains and process improvement, but the facts point to a high percentage of post implementation let downs. 

The root cause behind most of the lets downs starts with the selection and implementation committee.  This team is driving the CRM platform decision and many times  is out of touch with the day-to-day needs of the user community they are trying to service.  Yes the committee usually does departmental use case interviews which produce a standard collection of requirements.  Then comes the challenge of balancing what the users need out of a CRM system vs. what senior leadership wants to justify system costs.  Below are my thoughts on this topic.

Kinsey’s stab at defining what user’s really need out of CRM  –

  1. Should be able to access the CRM systems through companies existing message and calendaring standard to remove additional authentication or log in time.
  2. Must eliminate need for user driven reporting – my favorite!
  3. Goals & performance should be surfaced at the user level through dashboards.
  4. CRM system interfaces should have some level of personalization.
  5. Entry of data has to be simple and fast.
  6. Each way to access CRM should demonstrate some level of consistency (fat, thin & mobile client)
  7. Performance must be well-tested.
  8. Data should be filtered so I am only working with “my” relevant information and not sifting through yours!
  9. Duplication of data should be addressed prior to system go live…I do not have time to figure out which T, Tom, Timmy and or Timothy is the right record to record my activities against.
  10. Should not be asking users for their list of prospects or important customers that should be added to the holiday card mailing list.  Marketing lists should be dynamic and maintain by the systems.
  11. Sales stage and or probability of a deal pursuit should not require an update by me.  If a sales process has been implemented the CRM system should update automatically when I complete required steps.
  12. Every department that interacts with the customer in any way should be using same CRM platform.
  13. Modification of data fields and forms should be easy to do at the administration level or forget it.
  14. Users had better be able to go offline because we all know that on any given day the janitor just might kicked the plug out of the wall and your internet connection will go down.

I believe that if your organization keeps the mentality of user experience and productivity as a priority you will generate strong user adoption and the gains promised which in turn will drive ultimate return on your investment.

Watch for my next blog on “CRM system training” – why do companies always get low user adoption?

– Tracy