Dynamics CRM Online; a Bridge to Active Use

Many partners and customers are under the impression that gaining user adoption (a/k/a Active Use) is very hard to do. History supports this, at least based on the most commonly used approaches to this challenge. But I will tell you that it is actually very simple.

The Infamous [?] Step Plan

We are all familiar with the “12-Step Plan”; probably made most famous by Alcoholics Anonymous. I did a Bing search for “Step Plan” and found a great number of plans, for all kinds of things, ranging from 12 steps down to one step. I am not sure how much a One Step Plan for anything could accomplish, other than maybe skydiving, but they’re out there.  What they all seem to agree on, is that each step is required, in order to reach whatever their goal is. Skip a step and you will jeopardize your result. On this aspect, I find myself in full agreement. The secret, is knowing what the steps actually are, and in what order they must be followed.

Let’s take a Walk Shall we?

We are of the opinion, that there are certain steps that must be completed in order to achieve “Active Use” of Dynamics CRM Online by your SMB customer. If you disagree with this opinion, I will make fun of you behind your back at the next event I see you at.  I will describe these steps below, but first, I think it’s time for another confusing diagram:



Step #1 – De-Scareify

CRM is an intimidating monster; this becomes obvious immediately when you look at the options in the navigation (there are over 70 BTW). Part of our RapidStart CRM model is a solution file that streamlines this navigation for the SMB or new CRM user. We push all of the scary stuff into the background, and bring all of the simple stuff front and center. This is done in such a way, that when you are no longer terrified by all of those options, you can bring them back quickly and easily.

Step #2 – De- Entepriseify

As delivered by Microsoft, Dynamics CRM Online is a Big Business solution. This is clear looking at the record forms that Microsoft decided you would want. In deference to Microsoft, we think you want something simpler and less cluttered, without stuff you may never need. So we have cleaned all of those up for you.

Step #3 – Add some Instant Value

Microsoft has negotiated a wonderful deal with InsideView to provide your users with an awesome market research tool right inside of CRM. With this tool, your customers can get an incredible amount of information about their customers; saving hours of online searching, LinkedIn searching, copying and pasting, etc. in order to flesh out a record.  So, while we are under the hood, we will go ahead and pop that baby on Leads and Accounts. BTW, this is not available in every market.

Step #4 – Heavy Lifting Made Easy

The odds that Microsoft has provided the fields you need, to collect and record information about your business, that is meaningful to you, is exactly… zero. In typical deployments, this is where the partner costs start coming in; making CRM your own. There will be fields you don’t want, there will be options in lists that make no sense for you, and there will be fields that simply are not there, that you require. We have developed an ingenious way to make CRM “fit” a customer’s business, we call them Wizards, that are so easy to use that a monkey could do it. Okay, well a monkey might be challenged.

Step #5 – Process your Process

Microsoft has provided a wonderful feature called the Guided Business Process. Think of it as a checklist for a customer’s team to know what to do next, to move their customer from new Lead, through to Cash in the bank. This process is unique for every single business, and is often their competitive advantage. Microsoft has kindly provided some default steps; what do you think the chances are they they have any relation to any customer’s actual process? If you guessed “Zero”, it is because I am now controlling your mind. Guess what, we have a Wizard for that.

Step #6 – Add a Tablespoon of Users

Adding users to CRM is not rocket science, making sure you have given them the right roles so they are not snooping on the boss’s emails, is rather important however. We also have a Wizard for this.

Step #7 – Pour in a Bucket of Data to Start

Without data, CRM is all dressed up with no place to go. Your customer did not teleport here empty handed. They were doing something before you put CRM in front of them. They will have lists of customers, contacts and leads that they were already working on. Spreadsheets, whiteboards, post-it notes; we gotta get those into CRM for day one. [Play Recording]We have a Wizard for that.[Stop]

Step #8 – Hooray, we have CRM… how does it Work?

Your customer’s users will not be able to turn on a cassette tape and learn how to use CRM while they’re sleeping. Although that would be waaay cool. I’m also guessing that you don’t want to answer “How do I create a Lead?” 100 times a day either. But if this hole is not plugged, all the work up to now will grind to a screeching halt, with Active Use just out of reach. Not to worry, we also install an integrated video learning system with over 80 task-based and “Getting Started” videos. Users learn how to use CRM, right from within CRM. We have completely eliminated their excuses for slacking off.

SMB is Ready for CRM, are You?

So this is our list of steps; not just to deploy, but to get beyond that, to achieving Active Use. This is not based on theory, okay, it is based on an original theory, but now it is based on a ton of real-world deployments with satisfied customers and partners. For anyone who says they can get to Active Use for a SMB customer by skipping even one of these steps, we are prepared for a duel. Bring your churn stats and meet us a high noon, you can pick the place (within 3 blocks of my office)… actually noon is not great for me, let me check my calendar…

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


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