CRM MVP Question and Answer – Gustaf Westerlund

I love the fact when I’m not sure what, where or who I am going to find when I come to do the wednesday CRM MVP Q&A.  The CRM MVP’s come from all parts of the word and all have very different skills and experience, which makes their answers different and interesting each week.

This week we are off to Stockholm in Sweden, I once visited Stockholm and stayed in a prison they had converted into a hotel.  The things I remember about Stockholm is it was quite cold, the price of beer was astronomical (the taxi driver tried to sell us some home made booze!) and there was some rather fruity TV on But I digress.

Thanks to Gustaf and all the CRM MVP’s who have answered my questions, I have really enjoyed reading your answers

I would definitely recommend subscribing to Gustaf’s CRM blog, it’s full of great posts

here are the highlights from his rockstar profile

Gustaf 1

If you want to read previous CRM MVP Q&A by clicking the link on the header – HOSK’S CRM MVP Q&A



Name, current job title and social media links please

Gustaf Westerlund, CEO of CRM-Konsulterna, a small consultancy specializing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM in Stockholm, Sweden.

What does an average day at work look like

Don’t know if there is an average day. I have a huge variety in my work, some of the stuff I do:

Running my company, administration, legals and all the other stuff nobody else does… J

Sales. I am the only one responsible for generating business for our company. I have tried to focus a lot on pull marketing so that I don’t have to work the phone, but I still have to visit quite a lot of potential customers and get them to understand that Microsoft Dyn CRM just is the best CRM system in the world, hands down.

Implementing CRM for large and small companies. I used to code a bit but not so much anymore. In larger projects I usually have the role of Solution Architect. In smaller projects I sometimes just do it all.

Training. I do some teaching in both end user training and classroom MOC courses. I like this as it requires you to keep sharp and I get to hear my own voice quite a lot which my wife tells me I like to hear.

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

Programmer, Architect, Solution Architect, Project Manager, Trainer, Application Consultant/specialist.

What job did you did before you starting using CRM

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

CRM 1.2, since 2005.

How do you stay up to date with the CRM

I eat, breath, work, play, blog, twitter, joke, love, hate read and write about CRM.

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

Do I? I find it a constant struggle. I view myself as a bipolar community escapist with a tendency to project inner struggles through the CRM system in Social Media. I leave the interpretation to someone with a degree in psychology.

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

Come work for me! Get goat farm. – Maybe I have to explain that. We have a joke at our company, CRM-Konsulterna, that you have to sacrifice a goat to the almighty DEMO-god before ever daring to do a demo to a customer. As many animal rights activists dislike us doing this in our office, and we also dislike doing this in our office, and it does get a bit messy, we usually just talk about it, and there are actually some decent Youtube clips on goat sacrifice as well if you like to have a look. It might also be more in the nature of “recycling”.

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

I think the new UI with the process flows are really great. There are some things to fix but it is really like a redo of the entire UI so we have to think a bit like it is version 1.0.

I have shown CRM 2013 to customers that have been set on buying CRM 2011 and they have turned on a dime. That did it for me. If customers like it that much, I think we have to listen to that. There are some things that need to be tuned, as there always are, and we have to work with Microsoft on that, but that is nothing new or very specific for Dynamics CRM.

What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Ability to customize the Activity/Notes section in the middle of the forms.

Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

The special pop-up forms that are so good looking but are so not-customizable… like the address-pop-up which is soooo USA-based. We don’t use Region in Sweden or Street 3.

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

I don’t know, and I am not sure it will matter. SalesForce will soon be bought by Oracle or some other company. It is not a well run company, as Leon Tribe, he has done his homework. I would rather have 10 good customers than 100 bad. I have turned down several customers and I think we more often should ask customers why we should have them as customers. Customers are not worth to be kept at any price and I think that all business should be built on a healthy win-win mentality. SalesForce obviously isn’t as they are not making money.

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

Small customers are online for us. Larger customers are not. We also have some SPLA customers despite the fact that Microsofts process for handling SPLA is a laugh and almost rude the CRM resellers. I almost think that they don’t want anyone to sell CRM that way.

I am a strong believer in the original story that Microsoft had that was “The Power of Choice” so which deployment is right depends on the customer. Banks will almost never be right for Online, small startups will almost always go for Online. We as Partners need to be good at understanding what is best for the customer and recommending this. Having the customers best as the first interest is important for long term win-win relationships which is what I build my business on I suggest all responsible Dyn CRM partners do as well as this will build a great customer!

What is the best tool/solution you have used recently


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

CRM Customization/Application 2011/4.0

CRM Installation 4.0


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

Very. Especially if working close to the customer. Understanding the customers’ business is essential. We have to be working primarily with the CEO’s, Sales Managers, Marketing Managers, Customer Service Managers etc. and not the IT-Department. The latter is of course essential for a good implementation, but they are just the engine that makes the car move, the CEO is the one who is turning the wheel and pressing the buttons so he has to be in control.

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

It is very useful. I am of course colored by my background as a programmer, I started programming when I was 11 and started assembly programming when I was 15 so for me it is a part of life and essential for understanding computers. But I also think that you should study calculus, physics, philosophy and languages to be a good CRM professional.

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

Quite a lot. I have done quite a lot of integrations with CRM, both custom systems but also with iScala, QuickBix, SQL SSIS.

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

Public Transportation, Car, Train, Airplane.

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

Hard to say. I have put so much of my life into CRM, I have even started a company that does nothing but work with Dyn CRM. But you never know what happen, perhaps I decide to become prime minister, and then I might need a VoterRelationshipManagement System…

What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

The CRM MVP Community. Getting to know the other CRM MVPs has been great! They are all really nice and helpful and I feel honored to be part of such a nice group of people which also happen to share my passion for CRM!

What are your hobbies outside of CRM

I have two kids, Nora 6 years old and Adrian 3 years old who both love to play Super Mario with me. We (that means me) are currently struggling with beating the final Bowser on New Super Mario Wii. I have a beautiful wife Kathrine who works with Dyn AX.

I also really enjoy computer games, it was one of my planned occupations, that or business systems. Currently it is the fantastic Battlefield 4 on PC! A day or two ago I was proud to make a 686 m headshot with a 8x rifle scope. J We even have BF@CRMK events at our office when we get a lot of coke and play Battlefield at the office!

About once a week I play some tennis which is a family sport. I also used to practice quite a lot of martial arts, primarily Aikido but also Shorinji Kempo, but it is hard finding the time now days.

As for societies I am involved in Rotary, International Order of Odd Fellows, an old society called Par Bricole founded in the 18:th century and a society promoting proper Science called Vetenskap och Folkfolkbildning.

What was the last book you read and what was the last film you watched
I am currently reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky and the last film was the “Battle in Seattle”.


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

Yes. End of story.

Have you friends ever told you to stop talking/tweeting/blogging about CRM? What does your partner/family member(s) think of CRM
I cannot stop selling/trying to get people to love CRM which can be a bit annoying for some people… J


Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I write poetry sometimes and I really like philosophy.

Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Mikael Höhne.

Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

Find your own blue ocean, understand that you don’t have to be the best to be able to share something to the community. There is a lot that can be said about many things not rocket science.

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

Certifications or Use CRM

twerking or tweeting

books or ebooks

save or autosave

OnLine or On Premise or SPLA

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other

work from home or work from office

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus


Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Early Bird/Night Owl

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

Half Full/Half Empty/Bad Design


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