Microsoft CRM Buying Checklist

Crestwood has been implementing Microsoft CRM since its first release almost 7 years ago.  We are committed to learning about your industry and studying your specific business practices before clicking into the customization screens.  A lot of times we find during our discovery sessions that just talking about the best practices we have uncovered opens up a big gaping hole in a specific business process.   We all assumed there was a process, but no one can define it.  We decide to stop and help create business processes before moving forward.  Planning for growth is very important.  Maybe clients want to start with Sales and add on Marketing later.  We need to make sure that all the groups that will use Sales, Service, and Marketing functionality are involved from the beginning so that when we design a pivotal form such as the Account form, it works for all users.  Training all users in a classroom or web environment, providing access to eLearning, and setting up some users as gurus works best.  It enables customers to maintain the flexibility to their system themselves and makes them more nimble when new fields are required on a form or a section is added to a report.

CRM software and services are not cheap.  (But you can try it free for 30 days).  You want to make sure you can show return on your investment.  Identify key bottlenecks and benchmark the current processes so you can document the improvement after the project.  Look at your total cost of ownership over a three or four year period.  What will you be investing in upfront and what will come later?  Plan for software assurance and upgrades.  Taking a fresh look at the CRM system in two-three years is not uncommon.  Your business changes and CRM should be designed with the flexibility to change with you.

We have a full time support team that will assist you with any questions that come up after go live.  We are dedicated to being with you for the long-term.  We use Microsoft CRM internally in all aspects, so we can understand your users’ real life situations.

We want to be your trusted advisor, not just a vendor.  We only hire experienced solution consultants who have worked with Microsoft CRM and other CRM products.  Almost anyone can sell Microsoft CRM, but we have the experience of implementing CRM many times and uncovering industry specific and business process specific tips.  CRM isn’t just any software purchase.  Following our implementation methodology shines light on those dark hallways that users sometimes stumble down.  Why not walk down with someone who can guide you?  Contact us for more information.

By Mary Lenehan, Client Education Manager at Crestwood Associates, your Chicago area Microsoft CRM Gold Certified Partner.

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