How to Choose the Right Microsoft Dynamics CRM Business Partner

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Deployed correctly, Microsoft Dynamics CRM delivers a wide variety of benefits and each year more and more organisations are implementing the product to improve their business processes.  But to make sure you get the very best from your investment you need to spend some time choosing the right Microsoft Dynamics CRM business partner.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM will deliver benefits in both the short and the long term, so choosing the right business partner is not just about making sure the deployment proces iss as smooth as possible, it’s also the first step in setting up a productive working relationship that will last well into the future.  And you need to get it right.  Having to change business partners once your CRM software project is underway is can take up time and resources and add to the total costs of the project.

So, first you need to make some basic checks on the business partner. These typically include looking at their credit rating, length of time in business, how many staff they have, technical qualifications, accreditations, making sure you’ve followed up references and run their terms and conditions past your legal or financial department. Once you’ve done these, here are a few more things you can do to help you choose the right Microsoft Dynamics CRM business partner:

Do they really understand your business?

CRM and xRM, are all about improving business processes. A business partner will not be able to do this fully unless they really understand your organisation. So a good CRM business partner will ask insightful, sensible and sometimes difficult questions about your business, your processes and what you’re trying to achieve.  They will also be able to clearly relate this back to you to demonstrate their understanding.

Technical skills are of course important, but just as, if not more important, are CRM consultancy services, understanding business processes and translating these into effective workflow within Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Are they good communicators?

Good communication, both written and verbal, is one of the key factors in ensuring the success of your CRM project. So make sure the business partner you choose is good at communicating with you and your staff. They need to keep in touch frequently and regularly, formally and informally, and be good at explaining concepts, what they are doing, what they’ve done and why.

Do they work to a formal methodology?

Working to a project methodology makes the Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation process transparent and goes a long way towards ensuring the success of your project. It will minimise the costs associated with the project, reduce the chances of things going wrong, and help you achieve maximum user adoption.

Good CRM business partners will use a defined, detailed CRM project methodology and will be able to show you how they’ll apply this to your deployment.

Do they have knowledge of your business sector

Working with a business partner that has a solid, proven knowledge of your sector, or similar sectors, is more likely to get you a well deployed, rapidly implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution that meets your business requirements. As well as asking for references, it’s also worth asking your business partner for CRM Case Studies. These should provide examples of your prospective business partner’s successful CRM implementations and deployments. The case studies should also provide an insight into how the business partner used Microsoft Dynamics CRM to solve problems within organisations and the benefits they delivered.

As well as CRM case studies, experience and references, don’t forget accreditations. For example if you’re an educational establishment, it’s obviously best to work with a Microsoft Authorised Education Reseller

Do they have enough resources and flexibility?

The right business partner for your Microsoft Dynamics CRM project will not only need to have adequate resources dedicated to your project during implementation, but also be able to respond to your needs in the future. Whether you’ve chosen hosted Microsoft CRM or an on-premise deployment, once it’s up and running, your CRM system needs to continue to meet the needs of your business as it grows, develops and evolves. Most modern business environments are extremely dynamic and your requirements can change quite rapidly. So you need to choose a Microsoft Dynamics CRM business partner with flexibility and a broad range of skills and resources so that they can adapt your system as required, and ensure that it continues to meet your requirements.

What support options do they provide?

Once the product has been deployed, a good business partner should offer a variety of Microsoft Dynamics CRM support options to suit your operation, in-house skills and budget.

If you need telephone support, you need to make sure they’re available the hours as your business needs them to be (it may seem obvious but this point is sometimes overlooked). Also check the support structure, the number of dedicated support staff they have, types of support available (e.g. telephone, self-service CRM support, on-site, remote intervention) and what the support agreements cover. Make sure you check the minimum or guaranteed service levels, response and resolution times, and that they have options so you can choose the right support level for your business.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a great piece of software, built from the ground up to provide flexibility and a rich set of functionality for Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Resource Scheduling and much more. But to get the best from it, make sure you choose the right business partner to get it working for you and your business – now and in the future.

By Concentrix Ltd: a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner in the UK

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