Whilst looking at the list of CRM MVP’s https://community.dynamics.com/crm/p/mvp.aspx the other day I thought, wouldn’t it be great to ask these CRM experts some questions lik
How did they start out in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?
what do they think of CRM 2013?
Looking at the profiles of the CRM MVP’s you will notice they are all very different and each CRM MVP took a different route to having a successful career using Microsoft Dynamics CRM. I remembered reading a great blog post where Gus Gonzalez asked 19 CRM MVP’s 20 questions and I thought I would attempt to do something similar.
I will add I have picked a tricky period to do this because a lot of the CRM MVP’s are getting ready for convergence 2014
I sent a message to some of the CRM MVP’s asking if they would kind enough to answer some questions that I would post on my blog. I’m not sure how many will reply to my request but so far I have four filled out questionnaires and with some others promising to get round to it when they have the time.
I start off with Gus Gonzalez, a person I’m sure many readers of my blog will of heard/read/seen. I believe Gus will be there at convergence this year (unfortunately I won’t be, it’s hard being based in the UK to persuade your boss they should send me to Atlanta)
As I have recently been working to get my CRM community badges I will highlight Gus’s amazing forum stats
1569 forum responses
572 suggested answer
174 verified answers
One thing I really like about Gus’s blogs/tweets and other social media output is he is a really positive person and always seems to be having fun and why not, life is fun.
Here are Gus’s Q&A, enjoy and thanks to Gus for filling out questions faster than anyone else I contact.
1. Name, current job title and social media links please
Solution Architect at Zero2Ten
2. What does an average day at work look like
It varies but I normally have a couple of customer sessions (I.E. Training sessions, Workstreams, Workshops, etc.), the rest of the time is spent doing project work, answering emails and contributing to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community.
3. What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM
CRM Administrator, CRM Technical Lead, CRM Consultant, Solution Architect.
4. What job did you did before you starting using CRM
I was a full time technical trainer (Microsoft Certified Trainer, Citrix Certified Instructor, Certified EC-Council Instructor)
5. What was the first version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you worked with and how long have you been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM
CRM 3.0 – working with CRM since 2006.
6. How do you stay up to date with the CRM
Mainly by staying involved on the testing of new features and participating in conduit sessions at different conferences and other events. Following other experts in social media is also very important and I stay up to date by interacting with them.
7. How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job
You don’t. Contribution to the CRM Community mostly comes after work hours, unless it is a conference or a webinar or meeting during work hours. The company I work for is very supportive of my commitment to help the community and to continue to improve the quality of the experience other users have when using the system I love.
8. What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?
Two things. One is to get involved in the Community. Go sign up (if you haven’t done so yet) to community.dynamics.com and community.crmug.com and start answering questions or helping other people by blogging interesting things you’ve found when using Dynamics CRM. The second thing is to always volunteer to learn something you are not familiar with. If you are very good with an area in CRM, for example Workflows or Importing Data, volunteer to conduct a session on Security Roles or Customizing forms or anything else. This will push you to learn all details you can regarding the subject you are not familiar with. This goes back to the first point, go to the forums and answer ALL questions. Whether you are familiar with it or not, do the research, try to figure out the problem, even if you can’t answer the question I guarantee you will learn a ton about CRM by doing that.
9. What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.
First impression was: Where are all the buttons? – Now: I think they did an awesome job with the feedback they received regarding CRM 2011. Most customers complained that the first impression regarding CRM 2011 was that it was too cluttered. Too many buttons and too many things on the screen. This right off the back introduced a hurdle for User Adoption. CRM 2013 eliminates that, everything looks more clean and simple so users don’t have a bad first impression.
10. What one feature would you add to CRM 2013
Hybrid Server Side Sync support. The ability to connect CRM Online or On-Prem to Exchange Online or On-Prem. Right now the functionality only applies to CRM On-Prem and Exchange On-Prem but I hope Microsoft unleashes this awesome functionality soon.
11. Most annoying feature of CRM 2013
Top Navigation Pane’s lack of easy customization. The problem most users complain about is having to scroll all the way to the right to access custom entities. I wish there was an easy way to customize the SiteMap or Top Navigation within CRM.
1. Zero2Ten’s Blog – http://www.zero2ten.com/blog
2. CRM Tip of the Day – www.crmtipoftheday.com
3. Hosks Dynamic CRM blog
13. What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force
Good question! – I wish I could predict when that happens. I feel that SalesForce will lose a lot of market share when Benioff decides to sell to Oracle so it could happen before we expect it.
14. Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online? Do you think it will all be online in the future
Yes, 95% of my projects are Online. I don’t think On-Prem will disappear but I do think that Online and Private Cloud/Partner Hosted will have many more customers than On-Prem.
15. What is the best tool/solution you have used recently
I really like Rhett Clinton’s Quick View Menu for CRM 2013 – https://crm2013quickviewmenu.codeplex.com/
16. What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications
I have all certifications available for CRM 4.0. The Installation and Deployment certification for CRM 2011 and I’m working on all CRM 2013 certifications. Hoping to have something to show for Convergence 2014 here in Atlanta.
17. How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
It depends on your line of work. For me it is probably more important than having CRM knowledge. I not only work to translate an organizations workflow into a CRM deployment but I’m always thinking about ways to improve their current process.
18. How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
To become a CRM Professional you don’t need any programming knowledge. That is true unless you want to become a professional CRM developer. The most important thing is knowing what is possible within CRM and not how to make it happen. Other people know how to make it happen.
19. What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)
I’m not an expert on any of these products but I’m aware of their capabilities. Like I mentioned above, that is the most important thing as a Solution Architect or CRM Consultant.
20. How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?
Not much. I am very thankful for the fact that the company I work for has a strong belief of keeping cost down and doing most work remotely. I travel to more conferences each year than actual customer locations. J
21. Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future
Not immediately. Who knows if someday I’ll be a millionaire and not have to worry about CRM systems but for now and any foreseeable future, CRM is my career and my passion.
22. What is favorite part of being a CRM MVP
The best thing about being a CRM MVP is having a more direct access to other CRM MVPs. We are a tight family and we help each other a lot. So when you have a problem, there is nothing better knowing that I can jump on Skype or Email and have a couple dozen of the smartest people I’ve ever known willing to help me solve the problem. I am not sure if other Microsoft Product MVPs are as close as CRM MVPs but we are very close professionally and personally. I am very happy to be a small part of the family.
23. What are your hobbies outside of CRM
I’ve practiced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since 2010 – I try to train at least twice a week. Since I can’t teach any CRM skills to other CRM MVPs because they are way smarter than me and know almost everything about the product, they all get choked once in a while. It’s fun. I get to teach the community abut CRM and “teach” (more like test) my Jiu Jitsu chokes on CRM MVPs. Everyone wins. Mark Smith (nzCRMguy) is by far the most choked out MVP in the group.
24. What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched
Last full book I read was Fearless by Eric Blehm (I believe) and last movie I watched was The Wolf of Wallstreet by Martin Scorsese.
25. Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.
Not really. My wife is not happy when I travel but I’m never really “in trouble” for it.
26. Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
Not really. Everyone is very supportive. My family members think it’s an awesome product but I try not to talk about work too much when I’m with my family.
27. Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself
In July of 2005 I was a 22 year old Computer Engineer living in Venezuela. I was single but I wanted to have a family some day. As the country was getting worse and worse I decided to sell everything I have and move to America to chase my American dream. I didn’t speak English but I bought a ticket to Miami 2 weeks from that day and sold everything I could. I came to this country with $3,500 in my pocket, a suit case, and lots of hope. I went from a business owner computer engineer in Venezuela to unpaid intern at a computer school. I worked my way up to where I am and I hope to continue to grow in this industry.
28. Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing
First MVP I ever saw was Shan McArthur at Convergence 2012 but before seeing Shan at Convergence I remember reading about Tanguy’s tools and hoping to meet him some day. I had the opportunity finally at the MVP Summit and he was/is the coolest guy. He only charged me $10 for a picture with him when he normally charges $20. What an awesome friend.
29. Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP
There are many tips that have been repeated over and over but I don’t think people embraces exclusivity. I believe that if you want to be a CRM MVP you should find a place and become the best at it. For example, say you decide to create youtube videos about CRM. Don’t go and create 3 videos, answer 20 questions, post 15 blogs, send 100 tweets. That won’t get you noticed as fast as posting 75 videos on youtube, or answering 300 questions on the same forum. Being an MVP is all about getting noticed by the right people, to get noticed you need to stand out by helping others, answering 2 questions on 20 forums is not the same as answering 40 in one forum. The people from that forum will notice you and that’s what you need. So, pick a vehicle and be the best at it.
Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)
Steve Jobs or Bill Gates
Certifications or Use CRM
Both – using CRM is more important than book knowledge though
twerking or tweeting
books or ebooks
save or autosave
OnLine or On Premise
Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other
work from home or work from office
Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus
You have to go with Billy Ray’s Mullet. Serious in the front, party in the back. Just like Windows 8.
Windows 8 is the mullet of operating systems.
Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox
Early Bird/Night Owl
Do Today/Do Tomorrow
CRM Developer/CRM Consultant
Hot Weather/Cold Weather
I generally like Cold better
Half Full/Half Empty
Half Full – always look for opportunities where others see disadvantages