Coolest Microsoft Dynamics CRM Thing At Convergence 2010? Hint, Tellme

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Last week, after four days of intense sessions and networking with solution providers, Microsoft staff and The TM Group clients, I finally headed back home to Michigan.  Before I forgot the details, I wrote a quick blog about one of the coolest things I saw in a CRM session on Sales Force Automation (SFA). This session featured several Microsoft speakers, and a client speaking about their SFA implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Driving profitable business growth by reducing time spent on administrative tasks and providing more time for building relationships with clients and prospects was explained to be the goal of SFA projects during the session introductions.  Then Rachel Lockett, Director of IT for IGH, was introduced.  She spoke about some of the cool things her company had done as part of their SFA CRM project.

The first thing she showed was how a lead form was filled out on their website which was then automatically entered in Dynamics CRM and utilizing a CRM workflow assigned to the proper rep according to the lead’s territory and expressed product line of interest. She also showed how they had setup global search (a common function in many implementations) so user searches would search all entities such as Account, Contact, and Leads.  She also showed a sales funnel report they created using Microsoft SharePoint which has improved their sales pipeline visibility and management.  (By the way,  Dynamics CRM integration with SharePoint is one of the most common customization requests for The TM Group development team.)

One unique thing that they did at IGH was to add some lead recycling capabilities to the lead disqualification process.  When disqualifying the lead, choose a reason during the disqualification process to recycle this lead which will then reactivate the lead at that time and assign a new activity to follow-up.

A of couple other unique modifications they made to Microsoft Dynamics CRM was to create a Roles Entity where users can associate themselves with accounts and assign themselves the appropriate roles.  This is then used in reporting, views, and generating workflows. They also created a Request for Quotes and Request for Production forms in SharePoint which were created and viewed from Dynamics CRM utilizing a CRM iframe which makes it easier for users to find things and use one single user interface.

She also showed a “bell ringer” workflow they had created. Before implementing CRM, one of their offices had a big brass bell that the rep would ring when a rep closed a new sale.  The issue was that not everyone was in the office during the ringing of the bell and that other offices couldn’t hear the bell.  Even if they did hear the bell, they didn’t know anything about the sale.  IGH’s bell ringer workflow will send everyone an email for deals over a certain threshold which includes both the name of the rep and the details of the deal. 

Everyone knows that user adoption is a big issue with any CRM implementation.  Microsoft Dynamics familiar Outlook interface helps ease this a lot, but users still need to use the system.  Some of the managers at IGH have adopted a “If it didn’t happen in CRM, it didn’t happen.”  Naturally this has helped ensure user adoption in their groups. (FYI - The TM Group classroom training for  Microsoft Dynamics CRM applications is one of our most popular courses and it includes user navigation for Outlook.)

Now IGH has done some impressive things with CRM and gotten some great results.  She explained that they have seen increased sales production, increased pipeline optimization, improved end-to-end visibility and a reduction of costs.  However, this was not the coolest thing I saw in this session.

 The coolest thing I saw was a demonstration from Microsoft of possible future functionality for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 5.0.  Awhile back Microsoft acquired a technology called Tellme.  This is for voice activated menuing. Microsoft showed a live example of how this could be used with CRM for a rep to call on his phone, navigate to an account and select an address and have the system read the address back to him.  You could tell it was live, because he did have some minor issues voice navigating through menus.  He then showed an example of a rep calling his Microsoft Dynamics CRM system after an appointment, voice navigating to the opportunity he just left, and adding an activity of the notes from his appointment to the opportunity.  How cool is that?  Talk about driving user adoption.  You could simply call with your phone instead of having to try to type on your mobile device, which still isn’t the easiest. And, I don’t know about you, but I talk allot faster than I type.  Of course this is future technology and there is no release date for it yet, but it was the coolest Dynamics CRM thing I saw at Convergence.

By Ken Jacobsen, Sales Director for The TM Group, a Michigan Microsoft Dynamics Partner for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL and Microsoft Dynamics NAV

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