You’ve Got Dynamics CRM; Where Do You Go From Here?

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Whether you run a medium-size organization or small business, I always recommend the “implement as you go” approach to CRM. You first learn and understand the functionality and features offered in the out of the box CRM and customize, add workflows and ISV solutions step by step, while still exploring CRM functionality. Implementing CRM is a never ending and dynamic process, which you should constantly update to adapt to the way your organization works.

You cannot evaluate CRM features and understand its functionality, if you are the only user in the organization. You must get others to join you in this process. CRM is designed for teamwork and must be evaluated as such. There are two more steps you need to complete before you start using CRM:

  1. You must have real data in CRM otherwise none will seriously use it. Start with importing contacts and accounts records, populated with fields like names, phone numbers, email and business addresses, at bare minimum. Tip: make sure you import Contacts in the correct way that links them to the Accounts they belong to.
  2. Install Outlook Client for Dynamics CRM. Not only does it provide integration and synchronization with CRM (emails, contacts, tasks and appointments) it also provides access to CRM within Outlook, and avoids the need to swap between applications, an important feature that encourages users to use CRM.

Next step is online training. I recommend training which is conducted online as it saves time and provides one to one hands-on training on the subjects you wish to explore and learn, using your CRM server (or online). Dynamics CRM is geared for non-technical users, like you. No need to call in CRM experts for most customizations and workflows (processes). I dare to say that even adding JavaScript to a form can be performed by most of  theCRM users I worked with. When selecting a CRM online training provider, consider a company that also provides Email support (paid per incident).  A hands on training is most effective when it’s done on your CRM and your CRM customization. The complementary email support saves you time when you hit a wall and you need directions. Most people will find that 2-3 training hours are enough to provide you the knowledge to customize CRM and similar time is required to learn workflows (processes).

Following the above recommendations will be sufficient for many businesses to make CRM  work the way you work, at least for the first year after implementing CRM in the organization. The main advantage of this approach to CRM implementation is that you now know what you don’t know and when you need a CRM expert to perform what you cannot do yourself.

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