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Event Review of eXtremeCRM 2016 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM/365 Partners

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As a Microsoft Dynamics Partner, which events will you attend next year? There are events that you can attend with your customers and others that are just for you. The key is determining what makes each event unique, and how this aligns with your goals.

Since 2010, eXtremeCRM has been the only event exclusively for Microsoft Dynamics CRM (now Dynamics 365) Partners. This year eXtremeCRM 2016 in Newport Beach, CA, hosted close to 400 attendees, a 25% increase over last year. 80% were VAR and SI Partners, and 20% were ISV Partners. The audience was roughly 50% technical, 25% executive and 25% sales/marketing.

eXtremeCRM is about the Partner experience with a focus on content and presence.

Content

eXtremeCRM 2016 offered 93 breakout sessions plus keynotes and pre and post training. These were separated into three tracks; Sales/Marketing, Operations and Technical, with an emphasis on the technical content. (2016 Session List)

A unique opportunity available at this event was called the Executive Exchange, a private VIP experience for a select group. This year it sold out early and the 40 attendees included several international Partners from Germany, Netherlands and India.  The invited executives met together for roundtable discussions on Monday, joined the larger event Tuesday and then separated again for moderated sessions on Wednesday. They were also invited to private meals and events with Microsoft executives.

One Executive Exchange attendee commented: “I feel the Executive Exchange helped us rise up to be a noticeable player. We met with Microsoft executives right at the top. The Keynote speakers gave us one on one time and answered as many questions as we could throw at them.”

Presence

Microsoft heavily supports this event and the Microsoft presence was surely felt. There were sessions for R&D leadership, Partner sales leadership, business group leadership and field leadership.

The speakers list shows 37 speakers from Microsoft including executives such as:

  • Jujhar Singh, GM of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft
  • Param Kahlon, General Manager, Dynamics 365 Cloud & Enterprise, Microsoft
  • Ron Huddleston, Corporate Vice President, Ecosystem, Microsoft
  • Stephen Boyle, Vice President, US Partner Group, Microsoft

Joseph Corigliano, Business Development for eXtreme CRM said “eXtremeCRM wants to create a community for Partners to be with other Partners and a place for Microsoft to be in touch with Partners. We get this group in touch with the people who develop and live and breathe the product.”

A first time eXtremeCRM attendee said: “Getting a definitive answer to that one question, from someone at Microsoft, has made the trip worth it to me.”

Partner Experience

The fact that this is Partner only event means that the tone of the sessions can be different. You hear things, often still under NDA, that are for partner ears only.  This is the type of information that cannot be offered at user group events. User group events focus on the functional user. Partners attend because customers are there. But it is a different “feel”.

Corigliano added: “You can watch something on Youtube but it is different to be here and see it in person, talk to people about it.  You learn faster when you experience it.”

Another attendee said: “Being in the room with other Partner execs has made such a difference.”

What’s Coming Next

This year, on their 13th anniversary, the organizers of eXtremeCRM announced that the event will continue with a new name, eXtreme365. It will continue to be held in the Spring (Europe) and Fall (US) to coordinate with product release cycles.

Traditionally the event has centered around Microsoft Dynamics CRM, with a strong emphasis on technical content (for developers and consultants). Going forward the expanded focus on Dynamics 365 means the event will also include ERP content as well as BI, Azure, Cortana and the other technology included in the Dynamics 365 stack. According to Corigliano, “the content will be pushed out and up for the next event, starting at eXtreme365 2017 in Lisbon, Portugal”.

The coordinators will continue to expand the sales/marketing tracks and hope that more companies will send their sales and marketing professionals. With all of the current branding and messaging changes with Dynamics 365, this type of training and interaction in the sales and marketing community becomes even more valuable.

Another change debuting in Lisbon will be the invitation for prospective customers to join the event. The first two days will be for Partners only, followed by 2 days of content open to Dynamics 365 customers and prospective customers.

eXtreme365 2017

If you are wondering where the top Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partners will be in 2017, it is eXtreme365. Watch www.extremecrm.com to find out the date and location of the next US event.

By Anya Ciecierski, CRM Software Blog Manager, www.crmsoftwareblog.com

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