Getting your sales team interested in CRM Online 2011

At this point in its lifecycle, there’s no doubting that Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is a powerful and flexible product, or that it’s here to stay. When you combine the feature set of the application with its low cost and familiar interface, subscribing becomes a no-brainer for most businesses. Most newcomers to Microsoft Dynamics CRM have seen it in action before, usually in some kind of technical demonstration by a sales representative. When they do make the leap, they’re usually eager to begin taking advantage of the tools they were shown, but how can they do that?

It’s quite simple actually; if you store your sales and customer data inside of its database, then CRM Online 2011 will automatically analyze the data and you’ll be able to use all of the advanced features included in the application.

That being said, have you ever tried to convince a salesperson to ditch their current methodology and adopt a new process? If you have, you’ll know it can be like talking to a tree—there’s simply no interest. Despite how simple and pain-free it is to enter data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and the online version, CRM Online, some people still need to see a personal benefit before they begin dedicating any of their time to entering data into the application.

If you do find yourself running into this issue with your team, here are some tips you can use to get them interested in adopting Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Reporting Capabilities

First off, you should aim to demonstrate the reporting capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Most people, even CRM users, are ignorant of the flexibility and power of reports the reports in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Reports are generated on-demand or on an automated and customizable schedule. Because these reports can be generated on-demand, you can quickly create a report for a user who has never used them before but who has still been tracking their data in CRM. We’ve found that a large portion of salespersons were manually constructing these reports already in some sort of legacy system, or even with pen and paper! As soon as you show them a system that automates the process, they jump for joy.

Sales Pipeline report

Speaking of reports, make sure you demonstrate the Sales Pipeline report to your users. This specially crafted report is designed to give you a top-down overview into your entire sales process. We recommend pulling your whole team together for this demonstration, as it can be a great motivator for them to see their combined efforts displayed in the Sales Pipeline. Reports such as the Sales Pipeline require that accurate data is entered by all your users, or the pipeline itself won’t be accurate. You can also use an advanced report in Microsoft Dynamics CRM to demonstrate the figures of a salesperson whose sales have increased since adopting Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This should both keep your current users interested in the application and spark an interest in some users who may have been ignoring it before.


Salespeople around the world know that building rapport and trust with a potential customer can be one of the most difficult pieces of the sales puzzle. One of the easiest ways to build rapport is simply by being reliable. If you track your upcoming appointments and various deadlines in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, it will automatically remind you as the date approaches. Do you want to send all of your customers an e-mail on their birthday, but have too many birthdays to remember? That’s no problem; you can create a workflow that would automatically e-mail a contact on their birthday, using an e-mail template that fills in their key information with a few kind words. This same process can be applied in a myriad of different situations, such as a holiday greeting or a three-month, post-purchase follow-up.

Social Activity Feeds

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is packed full of features. We still regularly discover different things about the application after nearly a year of using it. As if that isn’t enough, Microsoft regularly adds new features to the application through major service updates. One feature that was recently added and seems to be sparking a fair bit of interest among salespeople is social activity feeds. These feeds allow users to garner a quick overview on the moves their customers and other users have been making out in the field.

Leaders should lead

One of the easiest ways you can draw attention to the power of Microsoft Dynamics CRM is by having your team leaders use and learn the application. It’s simple: If users see their leaders using and benefiting from Microsoft Dynamics CRM, they are more likely to be interested in the product as well, if only to see how they can take advantage of it too.

CRM Success Portal

Despite taking all of the actions we just recommended, some of your team members may still hesitate. For them, the system can seem too complex to learn, and they don’t want to read a manual either. That’s why we at xRM developed the Success Portal for Microsoft Dynamics CRM users, a web site full of helpful tutorial videos aimed at combating this exact issue. It’s a true treasure trove of help. We also extend the invitation to all of our partner-hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers.

One thought on “Getting your sales team interested in CRM Online 2011

  1. I have managed sales teams for the last decade and introduced CRM about five years ago.

    Often, sales people might be reluctant to introduce too much information about their activities. At best, they will keep the figures updated for reporting the sales pipeline (with the most conservative estimation).

    I had better success in convincing to add more day to day customer relation information after implementing automated activity reports. Saving my team spending time on weekly report writing somehow increased motivation. However, workflows and automation rarely motivated any of them.

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