Dynamics 365 – Are you Reporting or Engaging?

Having worked on a bunch of customer deployments, I know that most customers are still struggling with the whole idea of “Customer Engagement.”. As a result, too many deployments end up as just Reporting tools. I have resisted the urge, but I may have to give in and just start slapping customers upside their heads.

The Signs

The current customer understanding of the purpose of Customer Engagement seems to be at a right angle to the actual purpose. At least the purpose that Microsoft, and some of us Partners, would like to beat into your heads. Some of the signs that you have missed the entire point:

  • A large number of fields have been set as required.
  • Your sales team, “Checks in” periodically to update records.
  • The effort is overloaded on Analytics
  • You have a deployed a large number of email “Alerts”
  • Underestimating the intelligence of the Sales Team
  • Highest priority was Management Reporting

You Missed the Point

If you recognize one or more of the items above in your deployment effort, you probably missed the point of Customer Engagement. This does not mean that you are not getting any value out of your investment, you just marginalized the actual potential value. There is no question that Dynamics 365 can provide a deep understanding of how your Sales Team is performing, and that is obviously important to any business, what is usually missed is the potential for Dynamics 365 to vastly increase your Sales Team’s effectiveness. I wish I had a nickel for every time I presented a capability that could potentially multiply their sales team’s performance and the customer said: “I don’t think we need that”. Nothing frustrates me more than a customer who takes a pass on these items, and then calls back a few months later to say Dynamics 365 is not working for them.

Legacy Brains

“Digital Transformation” is a cool sounding word, that unfortunately is lost on most of today’s analog Customers. We have a had a few “Digital” Customers, usually start-ups run by young people, who actually “get it”. Even though I am a boomer myself, I am actually looking forward to the transition of power from the boomers over to the millennials. But in the meantime, we’re mostly stuck with the boomers, the same people who could never get their VCRs to stop flashing “12:00”, are currently at the helm of Digital Transformation. It is almost as exasperating as trying to explain anything computer related to you mom over the phone. It’s not that they come in thinking they know everything, though that happens frequently too, it’s that they cannot wrap their head around what you are talking about. The concepts cannot be reconciled in their brains against their known methodologies. They are risk-averse, and so they see nothing but risk… pre-wired to spend most of their efforts protecting, instead of expanding.

The Stupidest Sales Person will Find a Way

I think that about 25% of humanity is born with the Sales gene. Not all of them use it, and many that don’t have it, are in sales positions. For those that don’t have the Sales gene, no tool will make them successful. Those who do have the Sales gene share some traits, on the outside they can appear lazy, but I think this is more about not suffering fools gladly who put things in their way. People with the Sales gene see your business through an entirely different viewport that you don’t even know exists. The fact that your business is a “Means to an End” for them, is what makes them so potentially valuable to you.

People with the Sales gene are short-cut takers, and rule breakers who live to create an advantage for themselves personally. They will explore anything they have access to, if they think it will create an advantage for them. Customer Engagement deployments performed for Millennials are primarily focused on creating tools specifically around creating advantages for the Sales team. Where boomers see risk, millennials do not, and head-to-head, millennials crush boomers all day long. “But Steve, you said you are a boomer?” Yes, but I am a boomer who was born with a big old honking sales gene.

Poor Adoption is Your Fault

Well no shit! No reporting tool will ever be adopted by a sales team. Their engagement will be limited to the minimum effort required to not get fired. Which, by the way, means your reports are shit also. Because of your maniacal focus on reporting, you built a tool that does nothing for the sales team. You just put something in their way. All CRM systems have a bad rap for poor adoption, and they all suffer for the same reason. They were not deployed with a goal of creating personal advantages for the Sales Team.

How to Know if you Got it Right

Let’s say you convinced yourself to buy into everything I said above, or you are a millennial who is thinking “duh”. If you took this mindset into your deployment, fighting your instincts the whole way, how would you know if you succeeded? For one thing, you will immediately recognize your sellers who have the Sales gene. They will be the ones using Dynamics 365 all day, and the mobile app will be open on their devices all night. Why, because it was deployed in such a way as to create advantages for them, and they live for advantages. You will also spot your sellers who don’t have the Sales gene, they will be the ones who are not using Dynamics 365. In a short period of time, the sales performance of these two groups will diverge significantly.

But what about Reporting?

Here is the ingenious part of this approach, by focusing 100% on creating advantages for the sales team, and I mean things they perceive as personal advantages, management reporting suddenly is automatic, and as an added bonus, the reporting is not “feel-good’ bullshit anymore.

Some of you may be thinking I have written this before, and you would be right. In past posts, I have made similar arguments, but frankly, not enough of you were paying attention… obviously.

Add your thoughts below, just don’t pimp your stuff on my blog 🙂

1 Comment

  1. Stig Højmark Jensen

    I Have been meaning to write this exact post for the past two years without getting it finished. Now You did it for me. Thanks.


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