The Value of CRM Training

CRM MVP Larry Lentz is our guest blogger this month speaking about a topic near and dear to users' hearts, training.

Recently I had a CRM training gig in Chicagoland. My student (yes, a class of one) was from a Chicago area company that was about to implement CRM. In addition to being in charge of the IT department, she was also the head of marketing for the company. So, she was the primary user and manager of the proposed system. She had requested the class as a way to get a head start on the project.

As we worked through the material she developed some major concerns as to whether CRM would be able to perform certain critical functions for them. If it could not, then she would not be able to sign off on the project. Fortunately we were able to work through each of her concerns and come up with ways to accomplish what was needed after all.

Another issue we worked though concerned Business Units and permissions. They have a number of sales people working out of the office. These sales folks have assistants who remain in the office. The normal tendency is to structure Business Units and permissions along organizational lines with bosses above their assistants. The inside sales folks work for the outside sales folks. But the outside sales folks should only be allowed to view their own records while the inside folks generally support several outside sales people.

So, we had to think out of the box and create Business Units for each of the inside sales assistants and give them permissions for all records within their Business Unit. The outside sales people were to be assigned to the appropriate Business Unit but only given permissions to access their own records. Even though in the company hierarchy the inside sales assistants work for the outsider sales folks, they appear above them in the CRM structure.

I asked my student why they had contracted with a third party for their training. I would have expected their CRM implementation consultant to have included the training in that offering. She said they did, but at the end. This would be End User Training on how to use the system once it was installed. What she needed, and got, was information and an understanding of what CRM could do and whether it could really work for them BEFORE it was actually implemented.

Larry Lentz

Comments (2)

  1. Larry,

    I found your blog posting to be very valuable in that it confirmed a tactical approach I tested on our last project and will be using on all projects going forward – Train the Business Decision Maker, Project Manager, IT Manager, and Key Users first.

    What we did was bring these individuals at the beginning of the engagement and gave them the Sales Management, Marketing Automation, and Administration courses prior to starting the Gap Analysis. This gave the client the opportunity early on to confirm that MS CRM would work for them once we closed the Gaps. It also made for significantly more productive working sessions as they had some basic idea of what I was talking about when we discussed creating new attributes, forms modifications, customization vs. extending. They were able to appreciate the big picture and how the pieces would come together. The money and time they spent on the class room training enabled us to reduce the time and cost of the Gap Analysis and ultimately delivered a better product first time out. The training cost was more then offset by the subsequent efficiencies.

    Our company will be using this sequence of activities going ahead – Train Key Participants, Install 90 Day Trial, Conduct Gap Analysis, Close Gaps, Train Pilot Users, Pilot, Acquire Licenses. Not necessarily the sequence Microsoft would like to see it but it made great sense to the client as it enabled them to manage risk and gave them multiple milestones to either continue to buy-in or bail out.

  2. Larry Lentz says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jerry. Your approach will get a lot of the hard stuff out of the way early on.

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