CRM Software Implementation

Information related to the implementation of CRM technology

September 2018

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Training Best Practices

By |2018-09-28T20:15:46+00:00September 28th, 2018|About Microsoft Dynamics 365, About Microsoft Dynamics CRM, CRM Software Implementation, CRM User Adoption, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Technical|

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Training

Proper Microsoft Dynamics 365 training is absolutely paramount to a successful rollout. In this article, our team at Strava Technology Group shares best practices from our 15+ years’ experience with Dynamics CRM/365.

Developing your training plan should begin early in the project — during requirements analysis. It is important to assess the user base and the levels of training needed as well as logistics, training documentation, etc. We begin development of the training plan during the planning phase of the project.

Planning Your Training

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Training should be done by functional group, and synergistic groups should be combined so each knows the full process. For the initial training, we recommend in-person delivery unless it is just not possible. Think about the different functional areas that Dynamics 365 will be deployed to and break them into groups (Sales Support, Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, etc). Then, draw lines to the groups that should be cross-trained (like Sales and Sales Support). It is important for groups that interact to understand each other’s processes and use of the system. We have found that the ideal class size is 10-15 users per session — above that, it becomes more difficult to control the room and stay on point. Plan not only a trainer, but a room monitor to provide one-on-one assistance to users during the classes.

Hands-on is Essential

Every training should have a hands-on component; in fact, the proper ratio is 1/3 instructor led content to 2/3 hands on exercises. People often learn best by doing, so having effective hands-on time is very important to reinforce learning.

Training Materials

Every training should include custom training materials that show the use of the system and the business process. All of our training programs come with custom documentation that is not only valuable for the initial training, but as a take away tool for the users and for new employees.

The Four Hour Rule

We have found that the maximum single class should be no longer than 4 hours. Our classes are typically 2-4 hours in length.

Management & Executives

One significant deficiency we see in implementations we were not involved in is failing to engage the management & executive teams. They will use the system differently than end users and need their own training separate from the end user content. There are some great tools in Dynamics 365 for the managers and executives including Goal Management, automatic notifications on KPI’s, dashboards, and more. We always engage the management & executive teams and provide training uniquely to them.

Business Process

Training should be based on business process. Dynamics 365 is a large platform with many ways to accomplish tasks — training should include the business process and show one way to accomplish each task. The business process is equally or more important than the technology. If you don’t specify the detail on how users are expected to perform tasks, you are leaving it up to them to decide. This will cause lack of consistency and downstream challenges with reporting. Let’s look at some examples — when a lead is assigned to a sales rep, what are their follow up requirements, how will the record get updated, and when and how should a lead be disqualified? Not providing details on the business process will put the project in jeopardy.

Training Tools

We utilize several tools to develop our Microsoft Dynamics 365 training programs. One is the customized help facility in the product. This allows you to create contextual custom help pages that are in-line in Dynamics 365. When a user clicks for help, your custom help pages display and enable you to build in your business processes vs generic Dynamics 365 help content. We highly recommend leveraging this tool when developing your training approach.

Need help with Microsoft Dynamics 365 training? Strava Technology Group offers expert training services led by trainers with many years of experience. Give us a call to discuss how we can help provide training to your users — 844.8.STRAVA (844-878-7282).

About the Author: David Buggy is a veteran of the CRM industry with 18 years of experience helping businesses transform by leveraging Customer Relationship Management technology. He has over 15 years’ experience with Microsoft Dynamics CRM/365 and has helped hundreds of businesses plan, implement, and support CRM initiatives. To reach David, connect with him on LinkedIn. To learn more about Strava Technology Group visit www.stravatechgroup.com.

August 2018

FastTrack Implementation Services for Microsoft Dynamics 365

By |2018-08-02T16:20:31+00:00August 2nd, 2018|About Microsoft Dynamics 365, About Microsoft Dynamics CRM, CRM Software Implementation, CRM User Adoption|

FastTrack for Microsoft Dynamics 365

FastTrack implementation services for Microsoft Dynamics 365

Announcing FastTrack Implementation Services for Microsoft Dynamics 365. FastTrack is a fixed cost/scope, rapid implementation service that gets your company up and running quickly and cost-effectively. We offer FastTrack for Dynamics 365 Sales, Marketing or Service.

Why a “rapid” implementation approach works – There are several things coming together in the CRM space that enables a FastTrack model to work very well. The Dynamics 365 solution has been greatly enhanced over the last several years, more and more functionality has been added to the product that previously would have required significant customization or even custom programming. Examples include Project Service Automation, Field Service, AI & Machine Learning. Also, significant improvements in the backend of the platform enable us to shift our focus from customization to configuration which can be done in a rapid approach.

Customers are demanding a lower cost, quicker time to value implementation model. I wrote a blog a while back “The Days of expensive, complex CRM implementations are coming to an end” With the shift to the cloud came a shift in how companies invest in technology, from capital expenditures (heavy investment upfront) to operating expenditures (pay over time). This is also causing organizations to re-examine how they consume professional services. We invented a new category – Professional Services as a Service (PSaaS). This allows organizations to consume professional services in a similar way to how they consume the technology.

Beware! Not all “rapid” implementations are alike! We built FastTrack based on 15 years experience implementing the Dynamics CRM/365 solution. We know what works and doesn’t. The old adage you get what you pay for is very true in professional services engagements. Putting budget/cost over a clear path to success is a fatal mistake for the project. Most rapid models for Dynamics 365 are too rapid, they are missing key elements that are required to successfully implement an enterprise-class CRM solution. An example is around new business development and lead management. Most rapid offerings jump right to configuring the lead screens and largely leave it to the customer to determine the processes. The big missing piece is consultative guidance on the process that will be implemented along with the technology. Key elements are not addressed such as what is the qualification criteria for leads, required follow up and touchpoints by the salesperson, what is the trigger for a lead to convert to an opportunity, how will management monitor lead follow up. Also most rapid models do not spend near enough time on requirements analysis. Requirements analysis are critical to success with any CRM project. Ask just about any company that has had a failed CRM implementation, they will cite lack of proper requirements analysis as a failure point. Our FastTrack model begins with a planning session to take you through all the key elements of a successful implementation with a focus on requirements and business process.

Phasing is important. In a lower cost, rapid model some more complex use cases cannot be accomplished in a phase 1 rollout. We find that in most cases in a phase 1 your users are not ready for more complex use cases, they need to accomplish the basic blocking and tackling of CRM first. It is important to have a phased plan for any implementation. Our road mapping services are very helpful to plan and execute the longer term deployment model.

Is FastTrack a good fit for you? The sweetspot client for FastTrack is typically one not using a current CRM system, does not have overly complex sales, marketing or support processes and does not need integrations with other systems. We also find that smaller projects are a better fit for a rapid implementation model (a few users to around 20). If your implementation is larger but feel a rapid model is a good fit we are happy to discuss it with you.

We are there for you ongoing – Another key component to our FastTrack model is the ongoing engagement that is included – Total Solution Management. Total Solution Management is a comprehensive managed service for Dynamics 365 that provides ongoing support, configuration/enhancement services, training and consultative guidance. This keeps the project moving forward over the longer term roadmap and assures the solution stays aligned to the business and driving value.

Is it time? If your organization needs a Sales, Marketing and/or Customer Service solution but cannot spend the average $2000 to $5000 per user in upfront implementation services let’s talk! We have been able to reduce Dynamics 365 implementation budgets by up to 70% without compromising value. Click here for more information on FastTrack, call us at 844.8.STRAVA (844.878.7282) or email us at info@stravatechgroup.com

February 2018

Microsoft Releases Marketing Module for Dynamics 365

By |2018-04-15T01:37:25+00:00February 14th, 2018|About Microsoft Dynamics 365, About Microsoft Dynamics CRM, CRM Software Implementation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Technical|

We have been hearing about this for quite a while, it is finally launched – the new Marketing module for Dynamics 365. This has been released to public preview meaning you can access this and start using it today.

To enable this public preview feature go to https://trials.dynamics.com/Dynamics365/Preview/Marketing Specify your email address (that is used to login to Dynamics 365 as an admin) and your phone number. It will walk you through a brief setup process and enable the preview. Note: It takes a while to provision this module (up to an hour). Also, we recommend enabling this in your sandbox or other non-production system to test before deploying to production. Let us know if you would like assistance getting the marketing preview setup in your Dynamics 365 system.

For other previews:

  1. Go to Settings > Administration.

  2. Choose System Settings, and then click the Previews tab.
  3. Read the license terms, and if you agree, select the I’ve read and agree to the license terms check box.
  4. For each preview feature you want to enable, click Yes.

Pricing – I spoke to Microsoft, no pricing is available yet… stay tuned.

With Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Marketing, marketers can seamlessly:

  • Generate more leads from multi-channel campaigns across email, landing pages, webinars, phone calls, in-person events, LinkedIn and more. New customizable templates for emails and landing pages help you create campaign content quickly. And with a dedicated email marketing service, you can get the word out reliably.
  • Nurture more sales-ready leads by personalizing the buyer’s journey that guides your leads to next best experience based on their engagement.
  • Target the right audience using embedded intelligence capabilities like dynamic segmentation. With multiple lead scoring models, you can prioritize the leads that are ready to buy. Automated insights can help you track how your leads are engaging during your campaigns.
  • Organize events with ease using the event portal to manage in-person events and integration with webinar providers.
  • Track and improve marketing performance using built-in dashboards. Run surveys from the application that help you better understand your customers.

We are excited about this launch and will be analyzing the new functionality and sharing what we find. Look for a comparison with ClickDimensions and a webinar to showcase the new marketing module, both coming soon.

September 2017

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing & Licensing

By |2018-04-15T01:37:25+00:00September 26th, 2017|About Microsoft Dynamics 365, About Microsoft Dynamics CRM, CRM Software Implementation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Technical|

This blog and video will help you understand the Microsoft Dynamics 365 pricing and licensing.

We recommend you watch the video however we have summarized below.

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM is now Dynamics 365
  • Components of Dynamics 365 are Sales, Marketing, Finance, Operations, Customer Service, Field Service and Project ServiceDynamics 365 Pricing Information Automation
  • Dynamics 365 can be licensed as individual applications or as a Plan
  • Team Members license is for “light users”
    • Read access across Sales, Service, Field Service & Project Service
    • Write access to Contacts, Accounts, Notes & Activities
    • Read/Write to Custom Entities
  • Team Members cannot access Marketing Lists, Cases, Products,
    Contracts or Work Orders

The “Business Edition” consists of only the Financials application. Functionality includes: Financial Management, Inventory, Purchasing, Project Management and Outlook Integration for Quote, Invoice, Order & Credit Memo.

Microsoft announced that the Sales & Marketing modules would not be released under Business Edition – see our blog article for more information

Business Edition Financials – priced at $40 per user/month

Enterprise Edition

Licensed as Individual Applications or Plans (groups of apps).

Application Licensing

Start with what you need and upgrade to plans as your business grows. You can buy Dynamics 365 applications for:

Retail – $170 pr user/month

Talent – $40 per user/month

Sales$95 per user/month

Customer Service$95 per user/month

Project Service Automation $95 per user/month

Field Service$95 per user/month

Relationship Sales $135 per user/month

PowerApps – $40 per user/month

Additional Licenses:

Team Member – Execute basic processes and share knowledge. $8 per user/month

Dynamics 365 Enterprise Plan 1

Get full use of all applications in one comprehensive, cost-efficient license.

$210 per user/month

Includes:

Additional Licenses:

Team Member – Execute basic processes and share knowledge. $8 per user/month

Operations Activity – Perform transactional tasks with Finance and Operations or Retail applications. $50 per user/month

Operations Devices – Access Finance and Operations or Retail application functionality through a shared, licensed device. $75 per device/month

Unified Operations Plan

Get full use of applications that help connect and manage your business operations.

$190 per user/month

Includes:

  • Finance & Operations
  • Retail
  • PowerApps

Additional Licenses:

Team Member – Execute basic processes and share knowledge. $8 per user/month

Operations Activity – Perform transactional tasks with Finance and Operations or Retail applications. $50 per user/month

Operations Devices – Access Finance and Operations or Retail application functionality through a shared, licensed device. $75 per device/month

Customer Engagement Plan

Get full use of applications that help build and support customer relationships.

$115 per user/month

Includes:

Additional Licenses:

Team Member – Execute basic processes and share knowledge. $8 per user/month

Discounted Dynamics 365 Pricing Available!

Enterprise Sales Application – $40 per user/month, renewable through December 1, 2019! Maximum 25 licenses (if you need more than 25 licenses all licensing must be purchased at regular pricing (see below). This discounted pricing is available only to new customers (a customer that has not previously licensed any version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM (Online or On-Premises) prior to this purchase).

Enterprise Sales & Customer Service – $65 per user/month, renewable through December 1, 2019! Maximum 50 licenses (if you need more than 50 licenses all licensing must be purchased at regular pricing (see below). This discounted pricing is available only to new customers (a customer that has not previously licensed any version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM (Online or On-Premises) prior to this purchase.

Dynamics 365 Team Members Licensing – $5 per user/month, renewable through December 1, 2019 New customers that purchase the above SKUs will also be able to obtain a version of Team Members, Enterprise edition at $5/user/month. Up to 150 Team Member licenses are available with the above promotional pricing. 

We hope this information was helpful!
For a quote on Dynamics 365 licensing send us an email – info@stravatechgroup.com or call us 844-8-STRAVA (844-488-3381). FREE training with every license purchase to help get you up and running.
About the Author: David Buggy is a veteran of the CRM industry with 18 years of experience helping businesses transform by leveraging Customer Relationship Management technology. He has over 14 years experience with Microsoft CRM and has helped hundreds of businesses plan, implement and support CRM initiatives. David spent 20 years as VP/Partner for a leading Microsoft CRM partner where he founded the Microsoft CRM practice. In 2017 he founded Strava Technology Group, a firm that is focused on helping businesses achieve success with Microsoft CRM and Dynamics 365. To reach David connect with him on LinkedIn. To learn more about Strava Technology Group visit www.stravatechgroup.com

August 2017

Are your Sales Reps Behaving?

By |2018-04-15T01:37:25+00:00August 24th, 2017|About Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM Software Implementation, CRM User Adoption, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Technical, Uncategorized|

Are your sales reps behaving? I have been doing a lot of research recently for a client that wants to build best practice behavior into their sales team and manage it with Dynamics 365. I have read research from all the top sales benchmark and behavioral analysis firms. In compiling this information I have found significant commonality across the research reports and thought I would compile the information and share it.

Sales has changed significantly over the last decade but sales rep. behavior has not kept pace in many cases.

The Internet, ecommerce and social networking are just a few of the major drivers that have changhed sales. Today a buyer is most often more than 60% through their buying journey before contacting a supplier.

The reality is that buyers now dictate the sales process. In recent studies several key buyer behaviors were discovered:

  • Buyers use the Internet, particularly search engines when they want to learn more about a business product or service
  • When asked what type of content they want when interested in a business product or service – “Product/service information”, “Ratings & Reviews” and “Peer Experiences/Case Studies” were the top responses
  • What do buyers want to discuss on a first sales call? The top responses were “pricing”, “how the product/service works”, “discuss our needs” and “how similar businesses have used the product/service”.
  • What sales reps plan to cover on a first sales call – “Timeline for a purchase”, “who will authorize the purchase” and “pricing” were the top responses. Clearly there is mis-alignment between buyers and sellers.
  • Finally the survey participants were asked what can sales reps do to improve – “Listen to my needs”, “is not too pushy” and “provides relevant information” were the top responses.

In other studies on sales rep behavior there were several key findings. Top performing sales professionals have several behaviors in common:

Effective “territory” management – Top performers are very good at managing their “territory” – they understand it well, they understand the numbers they have to hit and have a plan on how to be successful.

Building pipeline – Top performers are building pipeline every day

Good at networking – The top performing sales reps are very good at networking but not the “networking” you may be thinking of. They are well networked within their own organization, they build relationships with with internal support staff and with external vendors and partners.

Learn more by getting a free copy of the Infographic – Top Behavior of High Performing Sales Reps. 

Microsoft vs. Salesforce – There is a new leader

By |2018-04-15T01:37:26+00:00August 15th, 2017|About Microsoft Dynamics 365, CRM Software Implementation, Microsoft vs. Salesforce|

A new leader has been named for 2017

In the Microsoft vs Salesforce war, there is a new leader. I have been in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM/365 space for over 14 years. Ever since I can remember Salesforce led most analysts’ reports on CRM/Sales Force Automation. There are a few key reasons why:

  1. Salesforce.com was launched in 1999, Microsoft released Dynamics CRM in 2003. This allowed Salesforce.com to build market share and product maturity which Microsoft has struggled with ever since.
  2. Early versions of Microsoft CRM were clunky, difficult to use and lacked key functionality. The user interface was challenging in versions 1.2, 3, 4 and 2011, it was finally overhauled in version 2013.
  3. Salesforce built Force.com, a platform as a service that allows developers to develop add-on applications that integrate with Salesforce.com. In 2013 Force.com had 1.4 million registered developers and a full library of add-on solutions. Microsoft has struggled to compete with Force.com.
  4. Salesforce launched AppExchange in 2005 which is an application marketplace for 3rd-party applications that run on the Force.com platform. AppExchange has over 3000 applications and has had over 2.8 million installations of apps.
  5. Market Share – Salesforce.com has been the clear leader in market share (somewhere around 45% vs Microsoft’s 10% (Source: 2016 CRM Market Share report by CRMsearch).

About a year ago I mistakenly ended up sitting in the private analyst seating area at a very large Microsoft conference. I heard some talk about “leap frogging” and had a conversation with two industry analysts. They predicted that Microsoft would leapfrog Salesforce.com within a year. They felt that the pace of innovation on the Dynamics 365 platform and Microsoft’s faster machine learning and artificial intelligence go-to-market would propel them to the lead spot. They were spot on as Forrester names Microsoft the leader in Sales Force Automation (July 2017).

First let’s cover why Forrester awarded Microsoft the top spot then we will cover a much more “street-level” view of why Microsoft is propelling in the market.

Forrester gave Microsoft Dynamics 365 the highest score in “current offering” combines with the highest possible score in “product vision”. Forrester notes in their report “Microsoft is building out its intelligent offerings and unifying its SFA solution with its larger portfolio”. They go on to mention that the transition to Dynamics 365 (from Dynamics CRM) in 2016 brought a heightened focus on seller productivity and deep integrations into Office 365 and Outlook. Forrester also noted that Microsoft has delivered very strong analytics capabilities, machine learning and artificial intelligence offerings.

Let’s now look at it from more of a “street- level”. Many times analysts look at the market from an Enterprise perspective. What’s important to very large organizations can be markedly different from the SMB perspective. In Forrester’s case they hit the bullseye citing innovation that is applicable to both Enterprise and SMB.

The CRM space has changed significantly over the years. When I began offering CRM related products and solutions it was all about sales force automation, having a sales based system for managing prospect/customer information and tracking activity. Around 1995 CRM became the buzzword. In the late 1990’s Mobile & Software as a Service (Cloud) was popular then came social selling. The current trend and focus is on machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI). To take that one step further the future is smart business applications and leveraging ML and AI to increase user productivity and efficiency. Until the last few years there was still a large element of management reporting in CRM initiatives. Sales people used CRM in a lot of cases because they had to not because it was necessarily helping them do their jobs better. This is changing as CRM becomes a valuable tool for users to gain actionable and automated intelligence making salespeople more successful every day.

Let’s look at a few key real-world use cases that illustrate this change in purpose for CRM technology:

  1. Leveraging data – With the change in marketing effectiveness from “outbound marketing” to “inbound marketing” there is a need to improve the use of data (see our video on inbound marketing vs outbound) For example rather than sending mailers or cold-calling a list (outbound marketing) companies are finding much more success in social selling (LinkedIn, blogs etc.). We have also found a lot of success harvesting data from visits to company websites (See our video How to turn website visitors into customers)
  2. Help Sales by providing actionable intelligence – With Machine Learning built into Dynamics 365 we are able to analyze large amounts of data and learn from it. For example, we can take several years of sales history from a customer’s accounting/ERP system and analyze it – learning things like seasonality, sales history by industry/customer segment, average spend etc. With this intelligence we can drive actionable activity to the sales team to pursue opportunity that would likely otherwise not have been discovered.
  3. Social – This is not a new trend but the gamechanger is Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn. Imagine what Microsoft can do by marrying Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn, endless possibilities. Imagine being alerted when a key prospect posts on LinkedIn and being able to reach out to them from within Dynamics 365.
  4. In-Depth Built-in Functionality – I wrote a separate blog titled The days of expensive, complex CRM implementations are coming to an end In that article I point out the correlation between the increase of built-in functionality and the reduction in cost to implement Dynamics 365.
  5. Integrated Systems – The average small business uses 11 or more software systems making it very challenging to manage end-to-end business processes, analyze data and perform effective marketing. Dynamics 365 is integrated with Office 365. It offers a Financials app and for larger businesses a full ERP system and enables other systems to be seamlessly integrated reducing the amount of disconnected systems.

In the Microsoft vs. Salesforce competition Microsoft is winning on several fronts – artificial intelligence, machine learning, driving behavior to users and social with the integration of LinkedIn.

Want to see for yourself why Microsoft has taken the lead? Schedule a FREE demonstration of Dynamics 365.

June 2017

Part 2 – User Adoption with Microsoft CRM/Dynamics 365. Do you have it?

By |2018-04-15T01:37:26+00:00June 16th, 2017|About Microsoft Dynamics 365, About Microsoft Dynamics CRM, CRM Software Implementation, CRM User Adoption|

In the last post I examined the main reasons for CRM project failure. In this and future posts in this series, I will dissect each of the reasons and offer guidance on how to avoid these pitfalls and/or how to recover from them.

The topic for this post will be – Lack of Proper Requirements Analysis Before Implementing. This is a significant cause of user adoption challenges or problems and ultimate failure. I have seen many companies select a CRM system based on a demo versus the project’s actualrequirements. One challenge in a lot of businesses is that they don’t have formal processes which makes defining requirements much harder. If you don’t have at least high level business processes defined, I recommend that you add business process planning at the forefront of the CRM planning.

The first step every business that is considering investing in CRM technology should perform is requirements analysis.

At Sträva we typically will not engage with a client for a new implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM/365 without a requirements analysis and project planning phase. This approach is used no matter the size of the project or the client. We offer the requirements/planning phase separately and independent from a full implementation allowing a business to engage for only that phase of the project before committing to a full implementation. This approach allows us and our client to fully understand the project (and budget) before engaging for an implementation. It also allows our client to get to know us and experience the value we bring to the table prior to committing to a longer term project and relationship.

We recommend that our clients form a project team for the CRM initiative. This team should consist of:

  • Project Manager – The client-side person who will manage the project
  • Executive Sponsor(s) – It is critical to have executive engagement and support in the project
  • Business Sponsor(s) – These are typically managers/leaders that will be more involved in the project than the executive(s)
  • End Users – Developing a CRM project in a vacuum almost guarantees user adoption issues. You need the input of the people who will be using the tool every day to make sure it will provide value.

The first step in requirements analysis is to define the overall goals andobjectives for the project. This should start at the top with the executive level. The executive team has a good understanding of the current challenges and future direction of the company. When we interview executives regarding goals andobjectives, we ask a series of questions that guide the executives through the process of articulating the outcomes they are looking for from the CRM initiative. Examples of executive level questions:

  • What are the top challenges your business is facing today?
  • How will your business and industry change over the next few years?
  • How do you envision CRM technology providing value to you personally?
  • How do you measure and manage the goals you set for your management team?
  • Do you receive an accurate sales forecast on a regular basis?
    • If not, what would be the benefit of receiving an accurate forecast?
    • If you do receive forecasts, how accurate would you say they are?

The list of questions we go through with executives is extensive and tailored to each client and the market they serve.

A proper requirements analysis phase should cover a lot of bases. Missing any one of these could put the project in jeopardy and lead to user adoption issues. Below is a partial list of the topics we cover when performing requirements analysis:

  • A thorough analysis of the clients’ goals & objectives for each functional area of the business
  • Discuss and plan project phases
  • Review current state business processes and tools used
  • Review IT & systems requirements for Dynamics 365
  • Review workflow requirements
  • Configuration requirements to meet desired future state business processes
  • Review current tools/systems used that will be replaced by Dynamics 365. Gap analysis needs to be performed to make sure each use of the current systems are accounted for in Dynamics 365.
  • Plan data migrations and/or conversions from current systems.
  • Establish migration plans for users from current CRM and other system(s) to Dynamics 365
  • Review integration requirements between current systems & Dynamics 365
  • Review of available needed Dynamics 365 add-on tools
  • Management analysis, reporting and dash boarding requirements
  • Discuss project timeline
  • Define roles & responsibilities
  • Plan training requirements – end user, power user & administrator
  • Plan user acceptance TestingPlan successful conference eoom pilot(s)
  • Plan go live and ongoing support
  • Discuss collaborative project responsibilities, benchmarks and measurements
  • Establish executive enforcement and end-user adoption plans
  • Discuss success criteria

Again this is a partial list topics and each is expanded upon to cover all the sub-topics necessary. From the above information an overall project plan is createdby our CRM team . The project plan contains a system design specification outlining how the system will be configured/customized to support the requirements. The plan also includes roles/responsibilities, timelines, project phases, budget etc. The project plan is the blueprint and road-map for the project and absolutely critical for success. If you are suffering from user adoption issues or a project that is not meeting expectations, I bet the root causes can be traced back to not properly defining one or more of the above areas of requirements.

If you have Dynamics CRM/365 implemented and are experiencing problems, we can help. We work with companies to “rescue” their implementation by diagnosing the current state of the project and creating a road-map to success. If you are planning on implementing Dynamics 365, we can help with proper requirements analysis & planning, implementation, configuration, customization and ongoing support.

To prevent user adoption issues going forward, we offer Total Solution Management for Microsoft Dynamics CRM/365. For a fixed predictable monthly cost, we become your CRM team. Total Solution Management includes four pillars of ongoing services that increases user adoption and keeps your system healthy and evolving with your business.

At Sträva we have one mission – to help business achieve true success with CRM. We are happy to discuss your project and how we can help you achieve success. Give us a call at 844.8.STRAVA (844.878.7282) or email info@stravatechgroup.com

About the Author: David Buggy is a veteran of the CRM industry with 18 years of experience helping businesses transform by leveraging Customer Relationship Management technology. He has over 14 years experience with Microsoft CRM and has helped hundreds of businesses plan, implement and support CRM initiatives. David is the President and Founder of Strava Technology Group, a firm that is 100% focused on helping businesses achieve success with CRM. To reach David directly visit our web site.

 

 

May 2017

User Adoption with Microsoft CRM/Dynamics 365. Do you have it?

By |2018-04-15T01:37:26+00:00May 16th, 2017|About Microsoft Dynamics 365, About Microsoft Dynamics CRM, CRM Software Implementation, CRM User Adoption, Uncategorized|

This is part 1 of a series of blogs on user adoption with Microsoft CRM/Dynamics 365… the Achilles heel of CRM. I will examine real-world causes of CRM user adoption failure and how to avoid or recover from the top issues that cause user adoption issues.

I founded Strava TechnolDilbert CRM User Adoptionogy Group with a very clear mission… to help businesses achieve success with Microsoft CRM & Dynamics 365. Our entire go-to-market strategy is built to avoid & overcome the common challenges that plague CRM projects, many caused or exasperated by the implementation partner. For more information on our strategy see our home page.

CRM implementation projects are complex and riddled with landmines that can cause significant user adoption issues or even failure. In 2001 Gartner published one of the first studies examining failure rates of CRM initiatives, they found that 47% of projects failed or failed to meet expectations.

Over the last decade and a half failure rates have not decreased substantially. We have discovered  and most industry analysts agree that there are a limited number of  core reasons for  CRM project failure. The reasons do change a bit from enterprise to SMB and slightly by industry but in most cases all stem from the same high-level reasons.

Let’s first define failure and failure to meet expectations. I define failure as a project where the outcomes were so far from meeting expectations that the project was abandoned. Unfortunately in many cases the CRM product is blamed and the company moves on to another solution without addressing the real root issues that caused the failure. Hint… it’s rarely the product that causes failure.

Failure to meet expectations – This outcome is unfortunately very common, in fact I would argue that a significant number of CRM projects fail to meet expectations. Stay tuned for an examination of what causes this outcome.

In this part-one I will define the list of main reasons for CRM failure and ask you to help fill out the list. Below is my personal top list of reasons for failure in CRM projects. This list is based on my 18 years of experience helping businesses implement CRM solutions (14+ years with Microsoft CRM). I also base this information on experiences in the SMB market (5 employees to 1000 employees) as things change a bit in the enterprise space.

  • Lack of proper Requirements Analysis before implementing
  • Not spending the required time to fully plan the project
  • Trying to achieve too much in phase 1
  • Project Management responsibility not defined
  • No clear definition of success/successful outcomes
  • Not defining use cases across the entire user base
  • Lack of cooperation between IT and the business
  • Not engaging representative end users in the solution design
  • No specific study of executive/management needs & requirements
  • Making a product selection on product features vs. business requirements
  • Lack of necessary funding for the project
  • Selecting the wrong implementation partner
  • Adequate system testing not performed before go-live
  • Improper training for end users
  • “Scope Creep” & Cost Overruns
  • Data migration/integration issues
  • Inadequate ongoing support for end users, management & executives
  • Executive/Management teams not enforcing the use of the system
  • Not making CRM a part of the business processes and culture of the company
  • No ongoing coaching & training for users
  • Inadequate ongoing support for users
  • Not properly maintaining the CRM system causing technical & usability issues
  • Allowing the solution to become stagnant
  • Not staying current on versions of the CRM system
  • No ongoing program to measure, monitor and improve user adoption
  • Not performing regular road mapping of the solution

That’s quite a list huh? Do you have any to add? Help build a master list of failure points so we can discuss & address them together in future posts.

Comment below and add any items that you feel were left out. In future posts we will examine each of these and how to make sure they don’t cause issues in your project and how to recover if you are experiencing any of the above issues.

Now a word from our sponsors – Strava offers two powerful services to help business avoid failure or to recover from a problematic project:

TotalSolutionREV3

Total Solution Management – For a fixed predictable monthly cost, we can either augment your internal CRM resources or become your CRM team. Total Solution Management includes four pillars of ongoing services that will increase user adoption and your success with CRM – Support, Preventative Maintenance & System Administration, Enhancements/Customizations and Training/Consultative Guidance. We fully support, administer and maintain your CRM system end-to-end.

CRM Project Reboot – Is your CRM solution meeting expectations? If not we can help! We begin with a no-cost review of your CRM implementation. During this collaborative session, we revisit the goals and objectives of the project, determine what’s working and not, do a technical level review of your Microsoft CRM/365 system and educate your team on how to get more out of your investment. The outcome of this session is a written report summarizing the current state of the system, desired future state, a road-map on how to achieve future state and any technical level issues we identify.

For more information on how we can help your business achieve success with Microsoft CRM/Dynamics 365 connect with us – info@stravatechgroup.com or call us at 844.8.STRAVA (844.878.7282).

About the Author: David Buggy is a veteran of the CRM industry with 18 years of experience helping businesses transform by leveraging Customer Relationship Management technology. He has over 14 years experience with Microsoft CRM and has helped hundreds of businesses plan, implement and support CRM initiatives. David spent 20 years as VP/Partner for a leading Microsoft CRM partner where he founded the Microsoft CRM practice. In 2017 he founded Strava Technology Group, a firm that is 100% focused on helping businesses achieve success with Microsoft CRM and Dynamics 365.

 

 

The days of expensive, complex CRM implementations are coming to an end

By |2018-04-15T01:37:27+00:00May 5th, 2017|About Microsoft Dynamics 365, About Microsoft Dynamics CRM, CRM Software Implementation, Uncategorized|

I have been helping businesses implement Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions for almost 20 years. I began in the days where “Sales Force Automation (SFA)” was the buzz-term and market leaders were GoldMine & Act. While a lot has changed in the CRM space over the years history repeats itself and that is happenning in the CRM space.

The market went from SFA applications that were relatively inexpensive and packed full of features to CRM systems that were expensive, complex and in a lot of cases lacked depth of functionality. Unfortunately this prohibited many typically smaller businesses from tapping the power of CRM which is unfortunate.

This is all changing… We are experts on Microsoft Dynamics CRM/365 so I will center my analysis on that platform. In the last few years Microsoft has poured innovation and investment into their Dynamics 365/CRM product. They brought a hosted Software as a Service version of Dynamics CRM to market (2013), they completely redesigned the user interface, added marketing, customer service, field service and project service automation components. Microsoft acquired LinkedIn and just this week announced the initial integration between LinkedIn and Dynamics 365. Last November Microsoft launched Dynamics 365, a platform that includes functionality across communication/collaboration, sales, marketing, customer service (CRM) and financials. They have enhanced the CRM platform by making things that were previously only achievable with custom programming available right in the admin tool (like calculated fields, rollup fields etc).

What does all this mean for an SMB company who wants to tap the power of Dynamics 365? It means their cost will be lower, the ROI will be greater, the time to value will be shorter. The cost will be lower because the more functionality and increased configurability added to the product reduces or even eliminates the need for customization and custom development which are costly components of an implementation. It also reduces the total cost of ownership as customizations and custom development need to be maintained over time through system upgrades and changes to the business.

At Strava we recognize this shift in the market and fully embrace the “configured CRM” approach to implementing the solution. For every client requirement we examine all the potential solutions and recommend the best approach including the cost/benefit ratio.

Strava offers two implementation models  leveraging this above noted market shift –

  • Pay per user / month INCLUDING professional services. This allows a business to treat the entire project as opex, spreading out the investment over 3-5 years enabling the business to see real results and value without having to spend a large sum upfront.
  • Fixed/low cost configured implementations – Leveraging the significant enhancements to the Dynamics 365 platform we are able to offer full implementations for a fraction of the cost even a year ago.

If you felt CRM was out of your reach we would love to revisit the topic with you. Also if you have not seen Dynamics 365/CRM very recently we would love to show it to you on a live demonstration. More information at www.stravatechgroup.com