Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 has a lot of very cool new features; I could probably write a ten-page blog post on all of them, but I am way too lazy for that. Plus I can probably milk this angle for a good ten posts so here’s the first one.
If you have the last, and as of the date of this writing, current version of Dynamics CRM, you were introduced to the “Guided Process”. The “Guided Process” is a simple concept that falls into the category of “why hasn’t this existed all along”. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2103, this concept is being enhanced, and made available across all entities. In my opinion, speaking from the front lines, this thing is huge. Before I jump into what it is, let me tell you some of the things I think it will do for an organization. This feature alone is going to significantly shorten your new-hire training time, reduce information errors, minimize confusion, standardize your processes, speed up your sales process, speed up all of your other processes and give you personally, an extra two hours a day on the golf course. It is simply digital sliced bread.
Now that I have you on the edge of your seat, what the hell am I talking about? To get a better understanding of this, I want to share with you a typical opportunity screen from the old days below:
This is pretty much the same boring form we have all used for a decade and is similar on any CRM platform. Looking it over, it seems to make some sense, but there are a lot of links and boxes and ribbon commands. Clearly, there needs to be significant training in how to use this to meet the company objectives. What is clearly missing is any indication of what you are supposed to do… both right now, and after that. Where is this opportunity at in the process? Is it new, is it old, what has been done, what needs to be done still? Do we have all of the information we are supposed have at whatever stage this is at? Granted, after your rigorous training, you should know how to get that information from this starting point (assuming you were not playing video poker on your phone during training). Let’s face it, training sucks. I do a lot of training and I can see in your faces that you are only absorbing about 20% of the material while you are thinking “man this sucks, I just want it to end”. News flash: I feel the same way standing there in front of you.
So what has Microsoft done to alleviate this deep training requirement? Tada! The golden Guided Process. Take a look at the new opportunity screen below from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013:
I am aware that everything about this page looks very different, and I will explain some of the other features in future posts, but for now concentrate on the “Progress Bar”. This is the guided process feature. As you can see on this one, the process is divided into Qualify, Develop, Propose and Close. At a glance I can see exactly where this opportunity is in my process, it has been qualified and is missing information in the develop phase. I know exactly what I need to do to move this opportunity forward.
This is a pretty simple out-of-the-box Guided Process. It has four phases, and a few steps for each phase. However this, like everything else, can be customized to meet your specific process with as many phases and steps as you need. You can even use pre-built processes that are industry specific. Below is the tool for building a custom process, which you should be able to do yourself:
You create and name the phases you want, add the steps you feel are necessary, make certain steps required if you want so a user can’t move on to the next phase until they have addressed them. It really is pretty easy. You can create multiple processes also which are displayed to people with different roles. If you have for example a cold-caller who generates opportunities, they would see a Cold-Call Process, which when completed, hands off to a technical salesperson, who sees a different process for their part, on the same opportunity.
With Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, this Guided Process is also available to be applied to any entity, not just opportunities. So case management, campaign management, anything really can have its own set of instructions and a clear path for all of your users to follow.
Pretty cool huh.
Feel free to let me know what you think of this feature, or how you might use it, in the comments. If you want help figuring this stuff out contact us.