What is the purpose of a CRM Practice

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.

Warren Bennis

What is the purpose of a CRM practice?  

What is the purpose of CRM practices you have worked for?

Its an obvious question you are wondering why I am asking it? The answer influences the actions of the employees in a CRM practice.  The answer gives individuals purpose and is the reason they are employed.

Two of the core ingredients to a successful CRM practice are people and purpose.  For CRM professionals to be motivated and engaged they need to feel their actions make a difference, they are contributing to something bigger.  It‘s the role of the leader to create the vision of the future and enabling the team to deliver.

What is purpose?

Google describes purpose

  1.  The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.
  2.  A person’s sense of resolve or determination.
  3.  Have as one’s intention or objective

A purpose is what a CRM practice stands for, what’s its vision is, what everyone involved is working to archive.

Here are mission statements for big companies

Disney

To make people happy

IKEA

At IKEA our vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. Our business idea supports this vision by offering a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.

Starbucks

To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time

Google

Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

Virgin Atlantic Airways

to embrace the human spirit and let it fly

Lack of purpose

Many CRM practices have managers not leaders.  What is the difference?

Managers have people who work for them, Leaders inspire people to follow them.  Leaders create a vision of the future and engage people to deliver it.  Managers focus on the present, the tasks which need to be done today without thinking about the tasks which will need to be done in the future.

The purpose of a CRM practice should come from leader of the CRM practice, reminding everyone why they are coming to work and what they are helping the CRM practice archive.

Not anticipating the future, leads to not being ready for the future. Managers allow the future to sneak up on them, the danger is what brought you success today might not work tomorrow.

If you are not looking to the future, you cannot capitalise on opportunities arising from changing technologies and customer requirements.  Adapting to a changing CRM landscape leaves you scrabbling to catch up, anticipating allows you to profit.

The CRM Practice might win a project but not have CRM professionals skilled in those areas, leading to learning on the job, making mistakes on a live project, not delivering quality projects.

Without a clear purpose you get embroiled in the day-to-day running of a project, the project gets split up into small tasks and everyone focuses on completing their tasks.  This is how projects get created which don’t satisfy the business requirements.  It‘s easy to get engrossed on the technical aspects of a project, focus on delivering various parts of the project but you should understand what business aims you are delivering.

Technical solutions which don’t deliver business requirements won’t give a positive impact to the business.  The purpose of a CRM project is to deliver business requirements, the purpose of the people working on a CRM project is to make sure this happens.

Purpose of a CRM practice

Successful organisations, CRM practices and teams are led by great leaders.  Success follows great leadership.
To motivate people you need a vision to give them purpose

A CRM practice’s goal is to deliver projects to help satisfy customer business requirements, solve their business problems, to do this you need

  • The right people
  • With the right skills/knowledge
  • The necessary management systems
  • Technical environments
  • Project methodology
  • templates
  • best practices
The CRM practice might have everything in place to deliver projects now but can it deliver projects in 5 years time? what will projects look like in 5 years time they could include
  • Azure machine learning
  • Cloud only solutions
  • Azure services
  • Social CRM
  • Mobile solution
  • Field Services

Hosk CRM

I talked  about my fictional CRM practice – Hosk CRM in the article Thoughts on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Strategy, so I will continue to expand the Hosk CRM practice with a purpose.  Ideally you want your purpose linked to your CRM strategy (or vice versa)

To deliver quality CRM solutions aligned to the customers business objectives

The important points are quality and business objectives.  CRM projects must be built around business objectives, this can get lost during projects and when delivering the CRM solution.  The team ensures the project aligns to the business objectives of the company.

Focus on business objectives reduces projects getting engrossed on the technical side of the solutions.  Customers and developers can drawn into the technical aspects of solutions, which causes the project to drift away from delivering the business objectives and reduces the effectiveness of the CRM project.

Quality

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected. Steve Jobs

To deliver a quality or excellent CRM solutions you need a team of passionate and engaged CRM professionals, everyone is involved and contributing.  Quality is a moving target, it changes between projects depending on the solution and technical.

What you can say about quality CRM projects, is they are hard to define but everyone knows one when they see one.  Quality isn’t something you can archive, it‘s a mindset where everyone works in an environment where excellence is expected.  Highlighted in these posts

Purpose gives clarity

Successful companies find their purpose.  Purpose gives clarity, bonds people as a team and guides their actions.  When a CRM practice has an idea of its purpose, the next step is to organise strategies, tasks and people to deliver.
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Thoughts on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Strategy

All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaptation.”
― Max McKeownAdaptability: The Art of Winning in an Age of Uncertainty

Strategy is about shaping the future.  Look at how you can win, where the opportunities are, create actions develop knowledge, skills and resources to deliver the strategy.

Strategy is important because what brought a company success in the past might not work in the future, you must keep evolving at a company.

Successful companies are those who adapt to their changing environments, those who understand the direction of an industry, create and deliver strategies suited to opportunities arising from change.

“Change is inevitable, progress is not.”
― Max McKeownThe Truth About Innovation

Do I need to know about strategy

Individuals need strategies to progress, the skills and knowledge you have might not be in demand in the future, you must learn new skills, technologies to adapt to new roles.

You might think I don’t need to know this, it doesn’t affect me, I go to work, do my job and go home at 5.30 but what about?

What technologies will in the next Microsoft Dynamics CRM project, it could be CRM Online, portal, Azure services, Machine learning, gamification.  Could you deliver this project or will they need to hire someone else?

What are you going to learn next? if you pick one new technology used in Microsoft Dynamics CRM which is it? why did you choose that? is it the best choice?

You are making strategic decision’s daily but if these are not linked with your future vision, you could be investing your time and energy into areas not helping to progress your career.

Plain and Simple

I’m reading the excellent book Leadership:Plain and Simple: Plain and Simple (2nd Edition).  It discusses when John Harper become UK Managing director of Hasbro (a global toy company), when he came in things were in bad shape, losing money, morale and confidence were low.  His plan was to energise and engage the workforce.  He closed the company for a day and they discussed the ideas

  1. What is the future we want want and how great can we be?
  2. How do we play to win and perform at our best
  3. How do we build relationships internally and with customers, so we can deliver the future together as a team.

The questions are direct and decisive, they create a vision of the future and create a strategy to make it happen.  A leader cannot do the work himself, he needs to inspire the workforce deliver the vision.

These quotes highlight the role of a leader and limitation of a leader because without an engaged workforce they have no one to implement the strategy

A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.”
— Ralph Lauren

“A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there.”
— David Gergen

The book Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works simplifies strategy to these two questions

  1. Where to play?
  2. How do you win?

Successful companies answers to these two questions seems obvious

Apple

  • High end smart phones and gadgets
  • beautifully designed, easy to use, high quality gadgets

Facebook

  • Social interaction
  • easy to use, different methods

Microsoft and Microsoft Dynamics CRM

To help me understand the questions I would answer the questions if I was head of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM division.  I wrote about the evolution of Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the blog The rise of Microsoft Dynamics CRM

1 – What is the future we want want and how great can we be?

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM strategy filters down from the global strategy of Microsoft – Mobile First, Cloud First.

  • The future for Microsoft Dynamics is Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
  • Improve the Microsoft Dynamics service,  redesign the internal design of to incorporate azure’s scalability to improve performance.
  • Improve the mobile functionality to match Resco
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM act as a hub, linking to many specialist services (Machine learning, Big data analysis), Microservices/app structure.
  • Portals used more, allowing CRM deployments to offer self service portals, contractor functionality and extending CRM to none CRM users.
  • Social CRM to really take off

2.  How do we play to win and perform at our best?

Ask yourself what is Microsoft good at? why do people choose Microsoft Dynamics CRM?  Office Integration, competitively priced, cloud solutions/Azure functionality is world class.  Microsoft are constantly innovating Microsoft Dynamics CRM and surrounding products.

  • Keep improving Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • Purchase strategic Microsoft Dynamic Solutions/companies
  • Keeping prices cheaper than Salesforce.
  • Microsoft can continue to benefit from improved Azure functionality and an increase in Azure services and data centres.
  • Microsoft must improve their mobile application or buy Resco
  • Strategic purchased of related services.

3 – How do we build relationships internally and with customers, so we can deliver the future together as a team.

Microsoft work hard to embrace Microsoft Dynamics CRM partners and help enable them to sell Microsoft Dynamics CRM (although perhaps more focused on larger partners and enterprise solutions).  The training materials Microsoft offer is pretty good and the Azure training is really good.

Microsoft offer a competitive price for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.

Internally hiring the best people who want to make a difference.  Under Satya Microsoft have started to innovate rather than copy.   This outlook should be brought to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM division to create innovative new functionality and have a workforce engaged to deliver it.

Hosk’s Dynamic CRM Practise

How would I answer those questions with my virtual Hosk’s Dynamic CRM Practise and what strategy would I come up with.

1 – What is the future we want want and how great can we be?

When implementing CRM solutions I find lots of cautious companies who wary about signing up for the project due to earlier bad experiences with IT projects and failed CRM projects.  There are many companies who have lost confidence in their existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM supplier.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM companies don’t sell products they sell people, processes, technical knowledge and experience (I know companies who create products).

The future  vision is to create a reputation for being an innovative company delivery quality projects, collaborating with the customer.  You want your CRM company to be the best in their sector and who put quality and customer satisfaction at the top.

It‘s difficult to differentiate through price alone, focus on being the best choice to deliver CRM projects for the customers requirements with regards to experience, vision and capability (skilled people, resources).

When a customer buys CRM from your company

  • you know the reason,
  • the staff know the reason
  • the customer knows the reason.

To win business you must have strengths which other companies cannot match.  Pick an area of expertise and become the best at it

2- How do we play to win and perform at our best

The future for Microsoft Dynamics CRM practices is to specialise in an industry or technological service.  The Microsoft Dynamics CRM industry is crowded with lots of companies offering similar services and at similar prices.  Ask yourself why would someone buy CRM from my company?

  • price?
  • experience?,
  • an existing solution?

Most successful Microsoft Dynamics CRM resellers and the ones Microsoft have purchased, they focused on a specific area and become the market leader.

FieldOne – The best Field Services company in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM space (the only one I know to be honest).  They were so good Microsoft brought them, which is an indication you are doing something right.

Parature – Fantastic self-service portal, knowledge base, which can run alone and is slowly (very slowly) being integrated with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

FantasySalesTeam – Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Gamefication (Hosk blog –  Is Gamification in a Microsoft Dynamics CRM a gimic?)

Resco – The leading Microsoft Dynamics mobile application/framework (Hosk blog – Why Resco acquiring CWR’s mobile CRM is important)

My strategies

  • Focus on Microsoft Dynamics Online solutions and specialise in delivering complex Microsoft Dynamics CRM projects online.  Align skills with Microsoft’s vision – Mobile, Cloud (Azure)
  • Concentrate on delivering FieldOne projects.  Field services is a growing marketing with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
  • Get a head with Azure Machine learning and CRM.
  • Focus on 2 sectors, Create solutions to speed up projects.

3 – How do we build relationships internally and with customers, so we can deliver the future together as a team.

You need leaders, who can create a vision, mission and goals and explain this to the organisation.  Everyone should understand what the company strategy is and it’s goals.

Employees

You need to engage the employees so they will deliver the strategy.  Fully engaged employees not only understand the strategy but add to it with ideas, energy and hard work.  Engaged employees feel valued, listened to and believe they are making a difference, this leads to quality work.

If you think about the difference in amount and quality of work when you were engaged on a project compared to other projects, the difference is huge.

Staff must have the skills/training to deliver projects to high standards, customer satisfaction is vital.  The focus is on quality projects, quality individual performance and constant improvement.  In the Microsoft Dynamics CRM industry you are mostly selling people.  Happy, motivated and engaged in order to deliver great projects.

Team is important in Microsoft Dynamics CRM community, the number of technologies/products and services used in Microsoft Dynamics CRM projects is growing, the team must collaborate, talk, support and share knowledge to deliver quality projects to meet customer expectations and enhance the reputation of the company.

Customers

Great relationships with customers come from delivering projects which meet business requirements and delivered on time.

Conclusion

Writing this article helped me understand I haven’t thought deeply about the subject before and my  thoughts and ideas were other people’s or snippets of articles I had read.   I could see some of original thoughts on the subject emerging but more work is needed to come up with a viable strategy for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM industry.  I’m not sure my Hosk CRM practise would have done particularly well with the strategy outlined above.

It‘s difficult to create strategies without understanding the current Dynamics CRM market, identifying where the Dynamics CRM industry is heading and what opportunities are available.

I hope you found the article interesting, please leave some comments on the subject

If you are interesting in learning more, I recommend these two books

ALL VIEWS AND OPINIONS ARE PERSONAL OPINIONS OF THE HOSK