Ten Tips To Ensure The Success Of Your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Project - Right From The Very Start (Part 1)

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Properly implemented, Microsoft CRM will deliver major benefits to your organisation.  It will help you manage your marketing campaigns and lead management, help prevent losing customers to your competition, and help you identify new opportunities.  It will make it easier for your sales people to sell, improve your customer service and case management, and generally improve a whole range of other business processes.

And that’s just with the ‘standard’ CRM functionality.  With the flexibility of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and its ‘xRM’ (anything relationship management) capabilities, Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be customised to suit highly complex business processes.  In fact, the right Microsoft Dynamics CRM Business Partner will get the software to do just about anything your business needs it to do. 

Successful deployment of Microsoft Dynamics CRM will have a positive impact throughout your business.  So, you need to get it right.  Like any project, a bit of ground work right at the very beginning will help smooth the implementation process and save work later on.

Here are the first five of ten tips to help you right at the very beginning of your Microsoft Dynamics CRM project.  These tips will help you ensure that the software gets deployed efficiently and effectively, and that it starts working for your business as soon as possible.


Tip 1 - Decide what you want Microsoft Dynamics CRM to do

It may seem  obvious – you want CRM software to do CRM!  But  think about the needs of your business;  what’s most important?

Right at the very start of the project, take some time to document and prioritise the specific problems in each area of your business which you are looking to address through implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  For example, you may want your customer service department to solve issues more quickly, or to improve the way you manage customer communications, or for your sales department to increase the accuracy of their forecasting.  Talk to the people who will be using Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  How many users are there?  What problems or issues do they have that they think the system should address?


Tip 2 - Get user buy in: things are gonna change!

It’s really important that people are aware of, and fully understand, the benefits that Microsoft Dynamics CRM will deliver.  There are the overall improvements in efficiency and effectiveness it will deliver to the organisation.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows extensive workflow automation which saves a lot of time and effort for all levels of user.  And  don’t forget the granular, day to day benefits it will bring each member of staff.  For example, make it clear to the person in Sales that he won’t need to keep cross-checking spreadsheets when producing a weekly report, or the Marketing Assistant that will only have to key in new lead data once (if at all), or the Customer Service Rep that will have all the information he needs right in front of him, just when he needs it.

Getting user buy-in and getting started with Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a lot easier than with other CRM systems.  That’s because it works the way other Microsoft products do – so it looks familiar, and users quickly feel comfortable with the product.  In many cases it feels like using a (powerful) extension of Outlook, which nearly everyone knows.  But everyone needs to buy-in to the changes and benefits which Microsoft Dynamics CRM will deliver.


Tip 3 - Don’t try this alone!

It may have the look and feel of other Microsoft products, but there is one seriously big difference between Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Office products like Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and so on:  Microsoft Dynamics CRM is not a product which you can just install and let your users get on with it.  It needs implementing, configuring and sometimes customizing by a qualified Microsoft Business Partner and Microsoft Dynamics CRM specialist

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is an outstanding product.  But thinking that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is ‘plug and play’ is an extremely dangerous misconception. You will not achieve the CRM functionality you require or deploy the product correctly unless you work with a qualified, experienced business partner who knows what they’re doing.


Tip 4 - Choose the right business partner

Just like choosing a new employee, agency or any other business relationship, it’s important that you carefully consider which Microsoft Dynamics CRM business partner you’re going to work with. Make sure they understand your business, your needs, the issues you have, and that they ask the right questions.

Just like employing anyone, when choosing a business partner check their references, technical accreditations and ask for CRM case studies and examples of previous work.  Make sure they provide a full support and maintenance structure and will put it in place early on in the project, and for at least three months after the system has gone live.  On a personal level, you need to feel that staff at both organisations will work well together. 

A good business partner will use a defined CRM project methodology, certainly for larger projects. Your Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation is far more likely to succeed quickly if your provider offers a range of services such as business process analysis, project management, and different levels of training - not just software supply and installation.  


Tip 5 - Appoint a project manager

Whatever the size of your Microsoft Dynamics CRM project, it’s worth appointing a project manager.  If it’s a large project and you’ve chosen a CRM specialist as a business partner, they will probably include project planning and management as part of the package.  But you’ll also need one of your own staff to take a lead on the project.  Make sure he has the influence and authority to make things happen when they need to happen.

Part 2 of this article, with five more tips will be published in the next couple of weeks.  If you need any further help in the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact Concentrix or your local Microsoft Dynamics CRM business partner.

By Concentrix Ltd – UK CRM, Accounting and ERP Software Specialists

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