Dynamics 365 – Unpacking a recent post


As an experiment, back in February, I thought I would try using the LinkedIn “Create an Article” feature, to see how it compared to just posting to LinkedIn from my own blog. I can confidently report that the test was a huge failure. Anyone thinking of using LinkedIn’s “Create an Article” feature… don’t, it gets almost no traffic at all. But I did like the Article, and hardly anybody saw it, so I thought I would re-post it here on the good ole reliable blog.

A while back I wrote a post called “Dynamics 365 – Are you Reporting or Engaging?

In that post I suggested some “Signs” that indicate you may not be using Dynamics 365 for its intended purpose, and therefore not benefiting from its full potential. A few people reached out and asked me to “unpack” why the “Signs” I mentioned would indicate this. So here is the list, with some comments added:

  • A Large Number of fields have been set as required. Certainly there are reasons why certain information may be necessary, but I often see many fields set as required. In actual use, a Seller is in a discovery process with a customer, it may take a few touches to gather data, if you have made a field required on a Lead for example, and your seller is not able to obtain that information yet, a record cannot be saved. This often leads to the creation of dummy data just to be able to save a record. Dummy data is for dummies. Some data may indeed be necessary for an Opportunity for your business, critical information that must be captured before an Opportunity can be “Won”, but as a required field, you are expecting the Seller to have collected this information before they can even save a new Opportunity record. Forcing your sellers to collect required information from the jump is not realistic and just leads to poor adoption. A better way might be to build a simple workflow triggered on “Qualify” for a Lead, or “Won” for an Opportunity, that checks certain fields for data, and prevents the action if those fields do not contain data. This way your Sellers are not blocked from “working” on deals as they move them towards a conclusion.
  • Your sales team, “Checks in” periodically to update records. If your Sellers are checking into Dynamics 365 every now and then, you have obviously failed to provide an experience that helps them do their job.
  • The effort is overloaded on Analytics. Most Analytics efforts we see are for managers. Even when a Seller dashboard is created, too often it is overloaded with where the Seller is failing against their peers or some KPI. Rarely do I see anything built to actually help the Seller. Bad sellers might be motivated by fear, good sellers are motivated by success. Give them the analytics they want to succeed.
  • You have a deployed a large number of email “Alerts. This is related to a point above, and is a clear indication that your Sellers are not using Dynamics 365. This led to your deploying a system of alerts to email them when things are happening in Dynamics 365, so they can go and “Check in”. If you had done this right in the first place, they would already be using Dynamics 365, and would not need all of these alert emails.
  • Underestimating the intelligence of the Sales Team. One thing I hear often from customers is that they think their sellers are not smart enough to use Dynamics 365. This often leads to trying to build a platform that a child could use. Of course these same sellers have no challenges using other software platforms, like LinkedIn for example, to look for an employer who does not assume they are morons.
  • Highest priority was Management Reporting. Too many deployments put the “cart before the horse”, and the Phase One is building all of the components necessary to report on everything. For Phase Two, they attempt to layer seller capabilities on top of this big reporting foundation. This is the number one cause of failure to adopt any Customer Engagement platform from any vendor.

I know there are also many more “Signs”, these were just ones that popped into my mind immediately when I wrote that post, I would love to hear more “Signs” that a Dynamics 365 deployment is heading down a path to failure. Please share in the comments!

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