CRM Synchronicity

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“I am interested in purchasing a new CRM system for my sales staff. Do we need off-line capability?”

To answer this question you might ask yourself:  How often should my sales people be in front of customers?  How much of their activities should they document? If your answers are:  “as often as possible” and “everything possible”, you may want your people to have off-line access to the CRM data.

Take as an example a sales representative who is on the road and has two important sales calls in one day.  He goes to the first call and gathers a lot of good information.  Being a professional, he has built in some buffer time before his next call to make sure he won’t be late.  How might he best utilize this ‘downtime’?

How about documenting the first call while it is still fresh?  The sooner the better rather than later that night after he finishes his day, has dinner, gets back to his room, calls his family, and it’s late and he is tired and maybe he will put off entering his meeting notes.

Or would it be helpful to him to review account information to prepare for the next sales call?  Does he really want to drive around a strange city looking for a hotspot?

So how does Microsoft Dynamics CRM on the server synch up with Dynamics CRM on the laptop?

There are two types of synchronization that occur with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook/CRM Client.

  •  Outlook Synchronization - which allows you to view CRM contacts, CRM tasks, CRM appointments, and CRM e-mails in Outlook.
  • Full CRM Synchronization - which allows any or all Microsoft Dynamics CRM records to be synchronized to your local data source.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Outlook updates your local data every time that you go offline and every time that you go back online.  When you go back online, changes you made to your local data are updated to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM database.

After you manually synchronize the first time, when you are online, your business' Dynamics CRM data updates your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Outlook local data on a regular schedule - typically every 15 minutes - or on a schedule your system administrator sets up.

To go online and offline more quickly, you have some options.  You can select which record types you want to synchronize – for example, select only Appointments, Tasks and Contacts.  You can set how often you automatically synchronize in minutes.   You can also use filters to create subsets of the data your want to synchronize - for example, all accounts in Illinois.

And you can also update linked data manually.  And yes, it is easy.  In Outlook, on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM menu bar, just click ‘Synchronize with CRM.’

By John Fischer, Account Executive at your Chicago Area Microsoft Gold Certified Dynamics GP Partner, Crestwood Associates.

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