Recommendations for Rookies – CRM Part II
I know you’re excited for the second installment of Recommendations for Rookies. Again, I will focus on Microsoft Dynamics CRM. If you missed my first article focusing on customization, you can read it here.
Q: How can I make CRM more accessible?
A: Whether you have CRM Online or CRM On-Premise there are 3 ways to make it accessible to your users. The first is through the web client. This CRM has full functionality but if you have it hosted on an internal server, users may have issues with remote access. You will have to make sure you have the proper certificates to ensure it’s available externally. CRM also has a mobile client. There are several apps out there and honestly I don’t know which one is best. I tried a few but what really worked best for me was saving the web version of CRM as a bookmark on my phone. The great thing about this approach is within the CRM customization settings you can modify the mobile view of your forms and tables. The last way is through the CRM for Outlook add-in. I’ll go into more detail later, but with the add-in, your users won’t even have to leave their e-mail to create entries and search the database.
Q: Which is better the web version of CRM or the Outlook Add-in?
A: To each their own. I prefer using web access because that is the interface I used to do all the customizations and to familiarize myself with the program. The one thing I use the Outlook client is to track e-mails, which seems obvious. The reason is, if you create an e-mail activity within the web client you must click “Send e-mail” in order to close the activity. I don’t necessarily want CRM sending those e-mails or I’m logging an incoming e-mail. One thing to look out for is the synchronization settings within Outlook. If you create a set of phone calls within the web client they will sync down to your Outlook tasks, which is fine but then if you mark a phone call as “Canceled” in CRM, Outlook thinks the call is “Complete.” Then when they sync again the value in CRM overrides to “Complete.” We like to track the number of calls our account managers are making each week and this is no bueno as it skews the data.
Q: How long will it take to bring new users up to speed?
A: Well that really depends on a couple of factors. Have they ever used a CRM program before? How technically literate are they? How is CRM configured? How many access points do they have? What is your training process? And the list goes on… As a reference point, our CRM went live about 6 months ago and our sales team, who had to transfer from our old methods of tracking, is now entering data well and consistently using the tool. Not quite perfect yet, but getting there. Our newer hires are catching on as well. I’d say the timeline ranges anywhere from 1 to 4 months to really grasp the basics of creating and updating the data, and 4+ months to learn the more advanced features, like creating personal views, dashboards, goals, workflows and queries. The best way I’ve found to speed up the process is to really familiarize yourself with the system. Click every button you can and see where everything is. Also, during our training sessions, we had users bring their laptop and practice together.
Hope my recommendations help out my fellow rookies.
Heidi Christensen, PEI