What Customers Want From Partners

Customers
I attended a Convergence Pre-Game customer panel session where 4 customers talked about “what customers want from partners”. I heard some really good insights into what customer’s really want and expect from partners.

The session opened with the moderator asking “What one word describes your expectation for a long term, positive relationship with your partner.

  • Amaze!
  • Communication
  • Experience
  • Initiative

Below are my general notes regarding additional feedback and expectations.

  • Don’t send in junior consultants that are not experienced, we want people that know what they are doing.
  • Each customer has changed partners looking for the right fit (this spells opportunity)
  • Customers generally have their top people engaged, we expect the partners to do so as well.
  • Customers don’t like it when the courting phase is over. Don’t make it obvious when your energies have switched to other customers, projects, new stuff.
  • Partners like to trump their experience..they all say we have done thousands of implementations..the customer perspective is then “oh then we are just one if thousands”.
  • We just helped one of your competitors…that gets our attention.
  • Pair the right resources…if the customer person is technical then make sure the main person that interacts is technical.

On SOW’s and contracts.

  • Give good estimates.
  • Approach with a win win mentality.
  • Strive for a partnership.
  • Sign off on all documents.
  • Get people to sign off on initial project and on any changes.
  • Make the investment on the front side, drill into the needs then give us the pricing.
  • If projects are hourly, itemize the billing and don’t be too general.
  • Giving options is a good thing, but, recommend as well.
  • Be clear about what the customer can do realistically and what the partner can or should do. Let us know what can be done out of box, or if something is fairly simple. Give us some ownership.
  • What sources of information do customers find useful: CRMUG, collaborate with the customers, books, blogs, conferences.
  • Black and Veatch, ALL of their projects and consulting work is fixed fee AND they get a 30 day warranty.
  • Works best for them to have fixed fee…ranges are a problem.
  • Requirements must be clear.
  • A couple are ok with hourly, but for smaller projects and where the requirements may be a little loose.

Best approach from a people/person approach is to have an account manager as a single point of contact. Prefer it. It should not be the consultant or technical resource. It’s a value add person, NOT billable!

Most like over communication…feel like the partner cares…too often partners take too long to respond or provide updates, particularly on issues. Don’t make me call you to get a status update. Even if you say “we are still working on it”, this is ok.

Confront brutal facts and issues up front and head on….don’t wait.

SLAs?

  • Yes, expected and do track them.

Online tracking systems?

  • Yes, prefer to have online tracking for anytime, anywhere communication.
  • Also want to talk to someone Easier for me to wait if i see it online.
  • When I reach out to you, it’s important!

Training and other best practices

  • Separate sow for training, implementation and other stuff
  • Training up front, before the project starts, helps with developing requirements.
  • Want to see “English” design documents, easy to read, not just technical, execs need to read/understand them
  • Ask if customer has resources to translate technical docs to simpler docs
  • Ok with cutting back on some documentation.
  • Don’t discourage us from using features.
  • Customer should NEVER be more excited about the product than they are.
  • The partner should be major proponents and cheer leaders for the product.

What we expect

  • Integrity, customer focused, fair, honest, dependable, drive to success, amaze us, be creative, deliver measurable ROI, really understand our processes and help us improve them.

Do more than just implement. Look for partners that talk about CRM, that blog, have good content, do more than just implement.

Shared values. Flexibility. Give us the time and attention based on our needs. It cycles so be flexible.

Be proactive with solutions. Help,me make the right decision.

All in all some really great insights and well worth paying attention to!

Sales Acceleration Summit 2014

Sales Acceleration Summit?If you?have a?focus on sales and marketing?I just ran across a free Summit/Webinar you might want to check out.

Free sales training without the travel. Choose from more than 80 sessions in 6 tracks. Discover how to accelerate revenue in your unique role.

On March 13th, the Sales Acceleration Summit launches as the largest online professional sales event ever held.

You and your entire sales and marketing teams are invited to come be inspired by the top minds in the industry. The summit is free and features over 80 sales authors, industry experts and business leaders like:

– Jeffrey Gitomer, Little Red Book of Selling
– Matt Dixon, The Challenger Sale
– Mike Bosworth, Solution Selling
– Jill Konrath, SNAP Selling
– Steve Young, NFL Hall of Fame Inductee
– And many more

Join over 20,000 viewers to watch today?s brightest minds in sales and marketing share their methods for accelerating revenue.
Registration is free ? sign up today!

Register Here: http://insidesales.com/summit/register

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 UR16 Available

Big News AnnouncementDynamics CRM 2011 UR16 Available Now

For all of my Microsoft Dynamics CRM friends that have an on-premise deployment, Update Rollup 16 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is available. Keep in mind the release cycles and that UR’s are updates and hotfixes only. There is no new functionality in this release. No new features should not stop you frm deploying this release as there are quite a few fixes and performance improvements.

The link below provides all the details.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2872369/en-us

How to Mirror Your iPhone or iPad on a Laptop

Have you ever wished you could display your iPhone or iPad on a laptop or PC? Well, it’s always been a big PITA thanks to Apple and their restrictive lock down policies on these devices. In the past one had to Jailbreak their device to make this happen….and who really likes messing with that? Obviously, jailbreaking is still possible but I really hate to spend the time and effort messing with that, particularly with the cat and mouse updates required when Apple patches the “holes” that allow this to happen.

Yes, there is also the ability to plug in an expensive VGA connector and display your device on a monitor, but, that’s not ideal, especially for people like me who need do a lot of demo’s. This approach makes things like a projector, Lync, GotoMeeting and Webex impossible.

AirServer

Well, finally Apple added a feature called Airplay that makes this possible. It’s still not as easy as it should be; and, it’s still not really built in. In order to make this happen on your device of choice, you need to purchase an additional software app (for your laptop or PC, not your device). I recently checked out AirServer which to setup, configure and use. You can choose to run it on your Mac or PC and the iOS device requires iOS 4.2.1 or later, and they have to be on the same Wi-Fi network.

iPad on AirServer

AirServer makes sharing your iPhone or iPad screen to your computer with AirPlay mirroring. After you install AirServer, your computer name will appear in the list of devices available for AirPlay Mirroring on your iPhone or iPad and when you select your computer, your iPhone or iPad screen will pop up on your computer screen, just like it would on your television with an Apple TV or VGA connector. Now it’s super simple to just share your desktop in a Lync or GotoMeeting; or show it on a projector and demo whatever you need from your iDevice.

If you want to check our a trial version you can get it from here:?http://www.airserver.com/trial

Dynamics CRM 2013 Business Process Overview

One of the amazing new capabilities in Dynamics CRM 2013 are Business Processes. this post provides a Dynamics CRM 2013 Business Process Overview.

Business Processes are new way to help guide users through any type of business process in a simple and intuitive way. The process is presented in stages and steps that are clearly shown to the user and very easy to complete.

What really makes these processes powerful are:

  • Multiple processes enabled per entity
  • Multiple entities per process
  • Stage gating
  • Role based processes

So what does that mean? I’ve recently been working with a lot of Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology companies Innovation Centers. These are the business units responsible for partnerships, licensing and merger & acquisition activity. In this context, I’ll briefly explain each of the above.

CRM 2013 Business Processes

 

 

Multiple Processes enabled per entity

An entity is simply the technical word that CRM uses for an organization (account), or contact, or opportunity. It’s the main record you are dealing with. So, multiple processes per entity means that I can have any number of processes for an organization. I might need a processes for an agreement with new potential partner, and a different process for an exiting partner. I could have different processes based on the type of partnership required, is it related to licensing (in or out), an investment, a purchase, or you name it.

Multiple entities per process

This is where things get really powerful. In our partnership example, we might start with a lead from a biotech event. The forst part of the process then is linked with the Leads entity (or records) in CRM. Once the lead has been qualified, the next stage would convert this to an organization record which could kick off an entirely new set of processes (e.g. vetting the partner through legal, compliance, AP/AR, etc.). Once vetted, the next step would then be an opportunity record. Once we come to agreement the next step would then be a Deal or Alliance record (or agreement). Each one of the stages in the process would be linked with a different recod, however, it’s presented to the user as one single connected process….very powerful, efficient and easy.

Stage gating

This is pretty much how it sounds. You can set rules that state all steps in the stage must be completed before moving onto the next stage. So, when starting a new partnership, confidential agreements (CDA) must be in place before the details can be discussed with the partner. This would be a stage gate, CDA must be in place and attached before the next stage is allowed to proceed. So, important stuff is not missed, and it’s all front and center for the user and team members to see exactly where things are in the process.

Role based processes

This too is how it sounds. Processes can be defined by your role in the organization. This is a great way to add security around different parts of the process. Legal may have steps that are very specific to them, and they are the only ones that see those details. The rest of team might just see a status and perhaps a due date. Nice, right!

So that’s it in a nutshell.

I’ve included a video below from Eric Boocock, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This video?shows you how business processes help you rapidly respond to changing business needs. it also goes into more detail on how you can quickly and easily create or change processes.

Live Virtual Event, Office 365: Transform your workplace, enable innovation

A live webinar coming up on November 7, with industry thought leaders on “Office 365: Transform your workplace, enable innovation”. Speakers/presenters include:

Office 365 - Transform - Enable Your Workplace

 

  • Adam Pisoni – Co-founder of Yammer (a great speaker)
  • Luke Williams – Professor of Innovation at NYU Stern School of Business
  • John Case – Microsoft VP, Office

Learn how Microsoft Office 365 has helped companies harness employee ideas, embrace new workplace cultures and technologies, and spark innovation and spontaneous collaboration in the workplace to accelerate business: getting it done, anywhere.

If you haven’t heard Adam Pisoni speak or seen him present, I highly recommend it. Easy to see why Microsoft paid $1.2B for Yammer. this should be great event so check out it if you have time.

Details here: http://community.dynamics.com/partner/b/msuspartner/archive/2013/10/23/november-7-virtual-event-for-office-365-transform-your-workplace-enable-innovation.aspx

 

Dynamics CRM 2013 Mobile Client Details (MoCA)

Notes from CRMUG Summit 2013 – Dynamics CRM 2013 Mobile Client Details (MoCA)

One of the major new features of Dynamics CRM 2013 is a new mobile client and framework, dubbed internally as CRM 2013 Mobile MoCA (Mobile Client App)

Beth Steinke, Microsoft CRM Mobile Program Manager gave use some insight and details into this amazing new feature…best of all, it’s included FREE in Dynamics CRM 2013 (available now on iPad and Windows 8 app stores!)

Dynamics CRM 2013 Mobile Client

Highlights

  • CRM on the go, wanted a consistent experience, configure once and deploy across applications and devices for seamless experience
  • User experience.
  • Dashboards, currently a single dashboard, up to 6 components
  • Currently does not support web resources or iFrames
  • Drill down and filtering is supported
  • Multiple entity search, up to 10

Personalization

  • Tiles, can pin to start screen of the dashboard (iPad and Win), or the Windows Start screen for Windows 8+
  • Can change views on lists grids and charts, this is a way to get around the 6 item limit
  • Sticky columns on views (remembers your changes)

Productivity focus

  • Reflows the forms (responsive design) in a horizontal experience, more tablet like than just giving a web client experience on the device
  • All controls are touch friendly
  • Business process flows work across the clients (woohoo!!!)
  • Will use quick create forms if available, otherwise it comes from full form
  • Communication: email and phone aware, on Windows uses Skype, when either phone or email is tapped, an activity form will open for entering notes
  • Communication form or card, represents a user or contact
  • Renders on entity forms and dashboard, currently hard coded (will be configurable in feature)
  • Immediate drill down when touching charts in dashboards or list views

Search

  • Can search across 10 entities
  • Using the quick find definition for scratches
  • Can pin views to dashboard
  • Resizable columns
  • Win 8 can do the split thing screen
  • Quick create available from anywhere
  • If multiple forms are used in Customization area, it takes the top order one; and does not support multiple forms yet

Configuration

  • User privilege.entity setting
  • Tablet dashboard, by default it is called the sales dashboard but can be renamed
  • Setting up search
  • Form structure, will get slide that shows this
  • Availability
  • Online and onpremise but does require IFD
  • Currently only iPad and Win 8, smarphones are next, Android “at some point”
  • Offline is cached and read only at this time
  • Mobile Express has had some improvements and a UI refresh (actually looks pretty good now, check it out!!

Here is short demo of the new mobile capabilities for Dynamics CRM 2013 – the demo itself starts at 1:50 into the video.

CRM 2013 Upgrade Considerations and Key Platform Enhancements

A great session on Dynamics CRM 2013 upgrade considerations and key platform enhancements by Matt Barbour, Microsoft Senior Program Manager.

Dynamics CRM 2013 Upgrade Considerations

Discontinuing support for

  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows XP
  • IE7
  • Exchange 2003
  • Reworking some of the accelerators several have been around since v4
  • This is a one way upgrade
  • Must upgrade from ur6 or ur14 or higher. CRM 2011 MUST be on one of these patches or the upgrade will refuse to complete
  • Supporting both in place and migration updates
  • Base and extension tables are merging in this release
    • Reason, improved performance (no joins), less locks, better design
  • Merge tool is suggested for large data sets. Guidance will be coming on size for when to use merge tool vs during the upgrade
  • Two new services added, CSS writer and monitoring service
  • VSS writer – online backup support for CRM, meaning live backup, SCOM support
  • Monitoring service – health monitoring, will support only 1 test/check for Orion, more tests to be added to future releases, integrates with SCOM pack
  • Email Connector service – email router v2, this will be part of CRM, no longer need to install email connector separately.
    • Today only works on like for like, either online only or on-premise only, this will change in future
  • Solutions, 2011 will import smoothly into CRM 2013, suggest partners install CRM 2013 dev instance, upgrade the CRM 2011 components and feautes to 2013, then create new 2013 solutions, then use these for updating production systems

CRM versioning system changes (improvements and consistency)

Major.minor.UR/lob.build

  • CRM 2013 “Orion” is 6.0.0000.xxxx
  • If second number changes, these are feature changes, adds
  • If 3rd number changes, these are bands or fixes
  • R2, service lack, feature lack, mean Minor update
  • Update roll ups are
  • Fixes and security only…no more feature adds

Other new adds

  • OAuth authentic a model, required for IFD deployments
  • Can’t speak yet about OpenID support
  • New image data type
  • Added left outer join to fetchxml (woohoo!!!)

Real time workflow

  • Transaction aware
  • Supports both pre and post pipeline support
  • Security aware
  • Fits existing workflows can be converted to workflows

Actions / PBL / Business Rules

Access teams (woohoo!!!)

  • Supports team selling scenarios, enhances security model
  • Works the way you do
  • Adding a user records grants them specific access
  • Can have multiple access teams per entity
  • E.g. Teams that come in nod do out at different times of a process
  • Ownership vs collaboration
  • Does not require team ownership of records
  • Scalable for large number of dynamic teams
  • When to use Access teams.
    • When number of users are dynamic and fluid, use team ownership
    • When number of team’s are fixed, use access teams

New Era in Dynamics CRM 2013

Notes from CRMUG Summit 2013, Tampa, FL

I have a few posts from sessions and content from the Dynamics CRM User Group Summit held in Tampa FL the week of October 21.

First up was the New Era in Dynamics CRM 2013 presentation by Param Kahlon, CRM Program Manager, for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Dynamics CRM 2013

Growth in Dynamics CRM continues and in fact is increasing
* 3.5m users
* 40,000 customers
* 66% choose cloud
* 36 double digit growth quarters and accelerating

Key themes for CRM 2013 and beyond
* Performance and scalability
* Agility and process excellence
* Social in context
* Reimagined user experience
* Role tailored mobile experiences
* Richness of custom extensions

One of the key UI/UX Designers for CRM 2013, Wayne Higgins, gave us a little perspective
* Reimagined UI and UX
* All about Efficiency
* New way to get things done
* Relevant tools available (max of 5 commands, drop down nav, etc.)
* Mobile optimized
* Start up experience, easy, user friendly, informative
* Information architecture

Business process management – respond quickly to individual customer need
* Power to business users
* Agility
* Configuration not coding
* Multiple processes
* Client side logic
* Web and mobile
* Rules drive
* Plan to add business process for vertical industries

XRM a much richer platform (back to Param)
* Custom entities flow to mobile devices
* Configurable tool tips
* Quick create for custom entities
* Image data type
* Fluid form entities
* Team selling focus
* Portable business logic (formerly called PBL, now Business Rules)
* Visual process flows for custom entities
* Bing maps for custom entities
* Multiple entity quick find, enhanced search on mobile
* Custom actions and real time workflows

Future
* Online first
* Productivity and communication
* Proactive
* Business process excellence
* User experience edge
* Universal social
* Ubiquitous access
* Mobility

Next few releases
* CRM 2013 now
* Subra, Q1 2014 online only
* Mira, Q1 MarketingPilot updates
* Leo, Q2 tighter Netbreeze and MarketingPilot integration

Subra

* Netbreeze, social list ending and analytical, will be amended directly in CRM
* Scalable online service
* Office 365 integration
* General availability integrated as office 365 service

Mira

* Extended global reach
* Online service only
* Tighter CRM integration
* Multiple channelled campaign management
* Lync and Skype enhancements

Leo

* Revamped customer service
* Mobile and social improvements
* New look for customer service
* State of the art experience
* SLA and entitlement compliance

Will ensure industry templates that have been available in Marketplace will continue to work on 2013 and will add business processes to these as well. Essentially free, unsupported, accelerators.

The Partner Connections Event (TPCE) and Dynamics Partner Connections

The Partner Connections Event Happens but Once a Year!

The Partner Connections Event has moved to Florida as well as partnered up with Dynamic Partner Connections to bring you The Partner Connections Event (TPCE) from October 20-22nd. In addition to product focused technical training, attendees will benefit from role-specific tips, industry best practices, peer to peer engagement and gather Microsoft leader insight to improve profitability and competitiveness. With sessions like ?Mobility Options in Dynamics CRM 2013? to the infamous ?50 Marketing Tips in 50 Minutes?, you?re sure to walk away with golden nuggets of information to last you all year!

The Partner Connections Event - Speaker
The Partner Connections Event – Speaker

I will be co-presenting with Julinda Prekop from Ledgeview Partners. Our session is titled: The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Demo Showdown: How to Effectively Demonstrate Dynamics CRM

It will be a lot of fun and we’ll share some great tips with everyone. Bring your ideas too!

Check out the growing list of sessions already confirmed and make plans to attend by registering today: http://www.thepartnerconnectionsevent.com

P.S. If you?re already going to AXUG, CRMUG, or GPUG Summit 2013 Tampa, you can attend The Partner Connections Event for just $199! Don?t miss out on this wide range of learning at a very affordable cost. We look forward to seeing you there!

Partners who attend The Partner Connections Event will receive:

  • Coaching from industry experts that will help them re-focus and implement key business strategies.
  • Tips from fellow Partners as to what is working in their own businesses to drive leads, enhance customer satisfaction, and build profitability.
  • Technical training on the latest and greatest for Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft Dynamics GP.
  • Insight from our Keynote Speakers as far as what the industry future holds and how to prepare for the coming change.
  • First peek into Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. Check out the blog post from David Pennington of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM team about this event!

There is something for everyone that is a Dynamics focused partner!

Microsoft Dynamics AX

  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 ? Unlocking the Data and Security Models
  • Life Cycle Services (https://lcs.dynamics.com)
  • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Upgrade Best Practices
  • Mobile Applications Development
  • Industry Success with Microsoft Dynamics AX

Microsoft Dynamics CRM

  • Yammer ? Unlocking the Social Enterprise
  • Compete ? Latest Best Practices
  • Marketing Pilot ? A New Dimension
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 – The Inside Scoop for Readiness

Microsoft Dynamics GP

  • MVP Secrets Unveiled
  • Strategies for Life-long Customer Relationships
  • The Future of Microsoft Dynamics GP