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 – http://rockstar365.com/JoelLindstrom, 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

http://crmtipoftheday.com/

 

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

 

THE QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

 

Name, current job title and social media links please

Joel Lindstrom, Solution Architect, Customer Effective

http://about.me/joellindstrom

https://twitter.com/joellindstrom

http://www.linkedin.com/in/joellindstrom

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

CRMtipoftheday.com. 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

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-andrii-butenko/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-jason-lattimer/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-julie-yack/

 

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

Hosk’s CRM Dev Youtube Channel

 

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Leon Tribe

I met a CRM buddy this week Parvez Ghumra and one of the first questions he asked me was who was the next CRM MVP to be featured on the blog, so it’s good see people are enjoying the Q&A with CRM MVP’s

This week we are off to Australia to the Lemonade stand to get the answers from Leon Tribe, someone who has been described as “The poster child for the code illiterate”.   Leon is one of our under cover CRM spies who also knows the software that shall not be named – SALES FORCE.  Indeed Sales Force is a recurring topic on his blogs and he does like to keep a close eye on Sales Force financial figures.

Like a true Australian you can find photo’s of Leon with a handlebar moustache

 

So it’s a big thanks to Leon for answering my questions and reminder to all CRM MVP’s who haven’t answered the questions yet, please contact me or look in your inbox, I and my readers of the blog really enjoy reading the answers from the CRM MVP’s and I have personally found it very interesting how all the answers have been very different.

Leon is an influential person, in fact he has been voted 55th most influential person in the Microsoft Dynamics universe in 2013 – http://www.dynamicsworld.co.uk/category/top-100/numbers-51-through-60/ and as they will be doing the 2014 at some point don’t forget to vote for Leon.  In 2012 he was at number 45.

Dynamics world has an interesting biography of Leon and here it is

Dynamics CRM consultant and business thought leader based in Sydney, Australia. Leon regularly applies his skills to improve businesses through applying a strategic focus, implementing transparent processes and using technology to bring everything together. Initially working as a trainer/lecturer, Leon transitioned into technology and started working with CRM systems in the late 1990s. Consulting at Interact Commerce (now part of Sage) on the ACT! and Saleslogix products, Leon moved to Deloittes in 2001 to hone his consulting skills. Leon moved on to work with numerous customers across multiple industries and was part of the first group of consultants in Australia trained on the beta edition of Microsoft CRM 1.0 (now Dynamics CRM). Seeing the future of the product, Leon transitioned to Dynamics CRM and has worked almost exclusively with the product ever since. A prolific business writer, Leon has been writing on consulting and the CRM industry for almost ten years. These days Leon writes and contributes to industry books, writes his humorous syndicated blog, “Leon’s CRM Musings”(www.leontribe.blogspot.com), regularly tweets.

 

Lets have a look at the highlights from his Rockstar 365 profile

leon tribe

 

 

Here are Leon’s answers

 

1. Name, current job title and social media links please

Leon Tribe
Principal Consultant, Oakton
Blog: leontribe.blogspot.com
Twitter: @leontribe
Google+: leon.tribe@gmail.com

2. What does an average day at work look like

Get lunch ready for my children
Get ready for work
Ride to work, across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, grabbing a bagel en route
After that anything goes. I might be having one on one meetings with my team, conducting workshops with a client, thinking of a new way of solving an old problem or something else entirely.
After work, ride home, hang out with the little ones, read a few emails/write a blog then off to bed

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

Principal Consultant
NSW CRM Practice Manager
Senior System Architect
CRM Practice Lead
CRM Consultant
Business Manager
Senior Developer
Professional Services Consultant

 

4. What job did you did before you starting using CRM

Installed EFTPOS terminals, designed web sites, taught maths and electronics

 

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

Microsoft CRM 1.0 beta. Eleven years. Before that I worked with SalesLogix for two years.

 

6. How do you stay up to date with the CRM

Writing my blog forces me to learn the new features of the system. Otherwise I get involved in the preview programs and read tweets.

 

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

It’s hard and is generally after hours. Some people watch television, I read emails and write blogs. I rarely go to bed before midnight and often do online presentations late into the night.

 

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

Get on the forums. You will learn the product, the workarounds and, when you start contributing, making a name for yourself. Always remember you are there to provide a service to your clients so be friendly and stay humble. Never be afraid to say ‘No’ to a client if they are setting themselves up for disaster. They pay you for your expertise, not your compliance.

 

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

Microsoft CRM 1.0 was like ACT! but ten times the price. It has come a long way and is now one of the best CRM systems on the market. I am proud of the product I work with and what it can do for my clients.

 

10. What one feature would you add to CRM 2013

Calculated fields.

 

11. Most annoying feature of CRM 2013

Being forced to have a default text field for every custom entity.

 

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

1. Hosks Dynamic CRM blog (I genuinely used this one to get information for my most recent blog post)
2. Leon’s CRM Musings (My blog, I regret the title but I wouldn’t write it if I didn’t love it)
13. What year will Microsoft Dynamics CRM have more customers than Sales force

Salesforce is a recurring topic in my blogs and I often run the numbers on this. Although Salesforce do not release subscriber numbers any more, inferring them via their revenue suggests a constant subscriber ratio (Salesforce: Dynamics CRM) of 2:1 which means Dynamics CRM will never catch up unless something changes. “Dynamics CRM” recently became a more popular search term than “Salesforce.com” for the first time, according to Google Trends, so the tide is turning.
The good news is, while Microsoft is profitable, Salesforce is not and when Salesforce run out of money and funding, this will be when the war is won.
14. Are you doing more CRM projects with CRM online? Do you think it will all be online in the future

I still do more On Premise than online which may be a function of the size of client or on geographical location. Online projects are increasing though. I do not think it will ever be exclusively online but it will become more popular.

 

15. What is the best tool/solution you have used recently

Tanguy Touzard’s xRM Toolkit. I used it to create icons, create documentation and edit the SiteMap. Any consultant who has not used it is wasting project time.

 

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

My last certifications were for v4. My boss is very keen for me to get up to speed so this will happen in the next six months. While getting certifications are good, knowledge sources such as the forums provide a wealth of knowledge and this is where I go when I have a CRM problem to solve.
17. How important is it to have good business analytical skills working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

For a functional consultant, essential. I have an MBA and it has proven invaluable in understanding the concerns of the various areas of a business. If you do not understad what the client is trying to achieve, you may be able to give a client what they ask for, but not what they need.

 

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

I used to program Unix and Linux boxes in FORTRAN and C when I studied physics at university and, later, I programmed in Delphi when working with SalesLogix. However, I do not, in any way consider myself a .Net programmer. Many other CRM MVPs also do not code. This being said, a good knowledge of the coding foundations is very important when designing a solution for a client. I address this in my latest blog post (http://leontribe.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/developer-essentials-for-functional.html )

 

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

I used to work with Scribe back in the SalesLogix days and was a Crystal Reports writer for a few years but that’s about it, really.

 

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

At the moment, I am working on a project with the Australian government which has me travelling to Australia’s capital, Canberra a lot (I am based in Sydney). This has me travelling roughly 2-3 days every fortnight.

 

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

No. I have pretty much made a career out of CRM consulting and it would be a very expensive exercise in salary sacrifice to throw that experience away.

 

22. What is favourite part of being a CRM MVP

Mixing it up with the other CRM MVPs. By their nature they are friendly and generous and I am yet to meet one I did not like.

 

23. What are your hobbies outside of CRM

At the moment, bike riding, star gazing, Arduino sketching, researching the family tree, spending time with my family and on rare occasion, sleeping.

 

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

Having two children limits reading time but I am in the middle of reading “Shada” by Gareth Roberts. It is a novelisation of a Doctor Who television script by Douglas Adams. For me that is so many layers of good.

The last film I saw was The Hobbit Part 2.

 

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

Writing a blog three times a month can be seen as excessive sometimes but she understands it is part of who I am these days.

 

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

Never but I do not often talk about CRM to friends (unless they need one). My wife is in marketing and I am finding our worlds are coming closer and closer together as time goes on so she understands CRM very well and we often talk about its place as part of a marketing strategy.

 

27. Tell me something interesting/unusual about yourself

I do not have a computing degree. I studied physics at university and took an IT job when my PhD scholarship ran out before I had written a thesis. I once sang solo, on stage, in the Sydney Opera House and I rode 90km (56 miles) last year for charity.

 

28. Who is the first CRM MVP you remember reading/seeing

Guy Riddle. He was running the Sydney User Group and I thought I would go along.

 

29. Tips for someone who wants to become a CRM MVP

Microsoft value measurable community activity which means their forums are a good place to make a splash (although these days it is highly competitive). Being outside of the USA also helps for forums because it means you may see a question and have a chance to answer it while the board leaders are sleeping.

Having a blog and providing interesting, fresh content is also good and is, again, very visible to Microsoft.

However you make your mark, the other thing you need to do is make sure people know about your activity. Reach out to existing MVPs, reach out to local Microsoft representatives and become known in those circles. If you have an awesome tool for CRM, give the MVPs easy access to it so they can use it and blog about it. Being known for being passionate about the product is just as important as the passion itself.

 

Quickfire questions (choose one option and no explanation)

Steve Jobs or Bill Gates
Bill Gates

Javascript or .NET
.Net

Internet Explorer/Chrome/Firefox/Safari
Firefox

Wine/Beer/Soft Drink
Scotch

Certifications or Use CRM
Use CRM

twerking or tweeting
tweeting

books or ebooks
books

save or autosave
save

OnLine or On Premise
On Premise

Windows 7/Windows 8/Linux/Mac/Other
Windows 8

work from home or work from office
office

Miley Cyrus or Billy Ray Cyrus
Toys R Us

Vinyl/CD’s/MP3’s/Subscribe

MP3

Zero Inbox/Overflowing Inbox

Zero inbox

Early Bird/Night Owl

Night owl

Do Today/Do Tomorrow

Do Today

CRM Developer/CRM Consultant

CRM Consultant

Hot Weather/Cold Weather

Cold weather

Half Full/Half Empty
Poorly designed

 

here are the previous CRM Q&A

Tanguy Touzard Questions

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-andrii-butenko/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-jason-lattimer/

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/crm-mvp-question-and-answer-julie-yack/

 

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

Hosk’s CRM Dev Youtube Channel