RapidStart CRM generally available to Microsoft Partners
Announced at WPC in limited beta, RapidStart CRM is a methodology available exclusively to Microsoft Partners that has been designed to provide for a risk free, simple deployment of Dynamics CRM Online via web-based wizards utilized by partners, or their customers, that provides for the rapid deployment of a usable solution for SMB customers at a low cost, and enabling additional cloud revenue streams for any partner.
Our company, Forceworks, a former Salesforce.com consultant turned leading Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Partner, recognized a problem. Dynamics CRM Online, as delivered, was simply too much for the typical SMB customer. So we developed a "packaged deployment" model, providing only what the typical SMB customer needed, with minimal customization. The model, that we coined "RapidStart", was developed as a way to get the SMB customer on-boarded quickly at a fixed cost, with the idea that Forceworks would follow up later with more advanced customizations. The approach was hugely successful and caught the attention of Microsoft.
We have worked closely with Microsoft on CRM strategies for SMB for several years, so they were aware of our "RapidStart" initiative. In one of our conversations, a Microsoft CRM leader asked whether we would entertain the idea of taking the "RapidStart" part of our practice to the broad Partner channel as a "partner enablement solution". I thought long and hard about that, (about 14 seconds) and RapidStart CRM was born.
We have been supportive and actively involved in Microsoft's efforts to motivate partners to start a CRM practice as well as the Partner to Partner efforts around Dynamics CRM Online specifically. This effort has proven to be a significant challenge, but one that Microsoft must continue to pursue. However, key people with responsibility for CRM in SMB particularly, were looking at RapidStart CRM as an alternative track for partners. While RapidStart CRM could certainly assist partners in the early stages of developing a CRM practice, the real opportunity was to give any partner the ability to engage with CRM, even if they had no intention of starting a CRM practice.
From our ongoing work with Microsoft, we not only developed a keen understanding of the typical SMB customer's challenges with CRM, but we also gained a clear view of the challenges partners were facing as well. We agreed with Microsoft that our approach might be able to solve for both sides of the equation. "Not so Fast", Microsoft said, "if we are going to back this effort, then we need some commitments from you also". These were the commitments:
- Evolve our model so that any partner, regardless of CRM knowledge, could successfully deploy CRM for their SMB customer.
- Build the model in such a way that it could scale rapidly, and globally.
- Provide the model in every language and country where CRM is available.
Okay, that's a pretty tall order; but we were uniquely positioned to fulfill it. Suddenly, our finished successful Forceworks model became a "Proof of Concept" for several reasons. First, it was offered by us, a CRM consultant who could hand-hold a customer; second, it included a series of spreadsheets that were emailed back and forth that could not be scaled; and lastly it was English only. I am pleased to report that we have met the first two commitments and are now zeroing on the localization challenge.
We welcome all Microsoft partners to check out
So, no more excuses; go give your SMB customers the CRM they are asking for!