CRM MVP Question and Answer – Joel Lindstrom

It’s Wednesday which means it’s time to demand some more answers from the CRM MVP’s, today we are off to the good old U S of A, where the effective people live (or at least those who work for them, that’s a customer effective joke for you).  Today’s CRM MVP on to come down Hosk’s red carpet is Joel Lindstrom.


You can hear Joel when he gave an interview to Rockstar 365

He can also be seen on one of the great MVP chat’s hosted by Donna Edwards


looking at Joel’s highlights on his Rockstar profile –, well it certainly won’t take you long to soak up his highlights

Joel Lindstrum

But if you want a good biography of Joel then you you should look at his CustomerEffective Bio , I have taken the Certifications and accolades below and we can see Joel has been an MVP 5 times and been number 50 in the Microsoft Dynamics most influential people.

Certifications & Accolades:


You will have probably have read many of the tips Joel has recently been writing about CRM on the blog CRM Tip of the Day, which is definitely a favorite among the CRM Twitters out there


As always thanks to Joel and the other CRM MVP’s who have answered my questions and shame on you those who have not yet done so.  BOOOOOOO

As usual you can find the previous CRM MVP Q&A at the bottom of this post




Name, current job title and social media links please

Joel Lindstrom, Solution Architect, Customer Effective

What does an average day at work look like

I tend to work some unusual hours. I will catch up on email before my kids get up, then help them with breakfast and getting to school, then work on client projects. During lunchtime I will catch up on blog posts or tweets, work on projects during the afternoon, After my kids go to bed at night I write blog posts or work on extra-curricular projects.


What different roles/Job titles have you had whilst using CRM

I started as a solution consultant, then my title was changed to technical specialist, now I’m a solution architect. I used to be focused mainly on technical aspects of installing CRM, now my job is more guiding other consultants and ensuring that our solution design quality standards are met and that we follow best practices.


What job did you did before you starting using CRM

I was an inside sales representative for 10 years for several companies. Even though that was not my favorite job, I credit it for a lot of what I do now—the sales part gave me an interest in CRM.


What was the first version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM you worked with and how long have you been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM

I started with Dynamics CRM in 2007 using version 3.


How do you stay up to date with the CRM

I push myself to try new functionality and be actively involved in the previews. I force myself to write blog posts—if you don’t know about something, write about it. It forces you to learn how things work. If there is a part of the application that you don’t use, teach someone how to use it—no better way to become familiar with something.


How do you find time to contribute to the CRM community whilst doing your job

I have trouble sitting still and watching television, so I do my CRM community activities after hours, but I will also write blog posts and engage in community activities while taking a coffee break during the day. Like anything, the more you do it, the easier it gets. You definitely want to generate quality content, but don’t think you have to write a 10,000 word blog post each time. It is much better to consistently deliver good average work than to only one time deliver something extraordinary.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a successful career in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Be yourself—don’t try to be someone else. Find your voice, don’t think you need to be someone else. Also, you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room—there will always be someone who can do something better than you can. But deliver good work, always push yourself to be better, never get comfortable.

Find your niche—if you are a developer, be the best developer you can be. But if you are not a developer, don’t feel you have to be to be successful. The great thing about the CRM community is there is plenty of room for many different types of proficiencies. We need people who are good configurators, good developers, good report writers, server/networking experts, and business process experts.


What where your first impressions of CRM 2013 and what do you think now.

Very positive. The UI changed dramatically. I was a bit unsure of how existing users would    take to it, but excited to see Dynamics CRM become more modern.


What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Server sync for every deployment type. This is one of my top 3 favorite features. Can’t wait for Online and mixed deployments to be able to use it and kill the email router.


Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

No offense to her, but the “What’s new” woman. She keeps coming back.


You favourite 2 CRM blogs (I have filled the first one in for you)

Hosks Dynamic CRM blog Not saying this because I am one of the authors, but   because I’ve learned a lot from the other tipsters


What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force

We don’t already?J Hard to say, but I think momentum is on our side.


Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online?  Do you think it will all be online in the future

We are seeing a lot more online projects than we used to, but still a fair amount of on premise. I don’t think On premise is going away any time soon, there will always be industries that can’t go to the cloud, but that number is shrinking. Industries like insurance and banking are still primarily on premise though.


What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

There are many of them. Jason Latimer’s CRM 2013 Duplicate Detection, Tanguy’s XRM Toolbox just added a fantastic sync filter manager that is fantastic, I use the orgdborgsettings tool to change the organization settings in CRM Online.


What CRM certifications do you have, do you try and keep up to date with CRM certifications

I have application, customization, and installation certs for 2011 and crm 3. I will be taking the 2013 certs soon. I think it is important, as it helps you keep up to date, exposes you to areas of the application that you might not otherwise experience if you don’t use them.


How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Very important if you want to be successful in a career with Dynamics CRM. To be good you need to know how the technology works but also how to adapt it to client’s business, and you need to be able to analyze business processes and translate to CRM design requirements.


How useful is it to have programming knowledge to become a good Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?

Helpful, definitely, but not required. The more programming knowledge that you have, the more you will be able to do with the application, but you want to balance programming with standard functionality. Every release, there is more that you can do without programming. In CRM 2013, we got synchronous workflows and business rules. If you approach everything as a programming exercise, the risk is you will overcomplicate some solutions where a non-developer solution will work, and if you are not a programmer, you might try to use a workflow for a scenario where a plugin might be a better fit. The trick is being able to know what is the right tool for the job.


What knowledge/experience do you have with software/systems which integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM e.g. (sharepoint, SQL Server, Scribe, Etc)

I’ve done a lot with Scribe and SSIS. I love Scribe for how easy it makes some things like   connecting to virtually any type of database and find it very approachable for people with little ETL experience, and I appreciate SSIS for how powerful and flexible it is, especially with the Kingswaysoft adapter.

My take on it is that the ETL tool you use is less important than following good integration design principles.


How often do you travel as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional?

It really depends on what projects I’m working on. I do a lot of remote client work, but will   also travel regularly.


Can you see yourself not using CRM in your career in the future

Anything is possible


What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

By far the insight I get from other MVP’s. Being able to call the smartest people in the CRM community my friends


What are your hobbies outside of CRM

I play Legos with my kids and collect vinyl records


 What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell and the Lego movie


Has CRM ever got you in trouble with your partner/family.

Yes, when I had to spend Christmas vacation getting a CRM server back up.


Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM

I always tell my friends that they can follow me on Twitter, but they probably won’t understand anything I Tweet.


Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I have every Johnny Cash record ever made except for one.


Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Aaron Elder


Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

Be consistent—someone will not be a MVP by writing blog posts for 3 months—you have to regularly contribute, and find a pace that you can keep up with for the long term. Don’t do it if you are just looking to advance yourself—you won’t make it. Do it if you genuinely enjoy helping others and giving back to the community.

The way I became an MVP was by setting a goal to answer 1 forum post a day—something that you can do in 10 minutes while watching television at night. By answering forum posts, I found out what people were wanting to know. This gave me ideas for blog posts. If I didn’t know the answer, I figured it out, wrote a blog post with the answer, and posted it as the answer.

Even if you don’t make MVP, you will still benefit from growing your knowledge of CRM.

Don’t be intimidated by others in the community—everyone has something that they are better at than you, but you are probably better at some things than they are. And don’t view them as your competition. By sharing your knowledge, we all benefit.


Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates

Javascript or .NET

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink – Water

Certifications or Use CRM

twerking or tweeting

books or ebooks – both—fiction books, nonfiction ebooks

save or autosave

OnLine or On Premise

Windows 7/Windows 8.1/Linux/Mac/Other

work from home or work from office 

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus – Johnny cash

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe – Vinyl at home, xbox music on the go/at work

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Early Bird/Night Owl – Too often both

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

Hot Weather/Cold Weather – Rainy weather

Half Full/Half Empty


Previous CRM MVP Q&A

Gonzalo Ruiz

Leon Tribe

Tanguy Touzard Questions


finally don’t forget to check out my CRM Developer YouTube channel

Hosk’s CRM Dev Youtube Channel