Getting the Most Out of Your CRM Online Trial – Getting Started

By signing up for a free 30-day trial of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, you are taking your first step towards improving your business’ marketing effectiveness, boosting your sales productivity, and enriching your customer service interactions. But how do you effectively measure and evaluate this application’s contribution to your business in just 30 days? We’re going to help you do just that with this series of posts. 

When we sign in to our CRM Online trial for the first time as our organization’s administrator, we might be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data available to us. We’ll see dashboards containing various charts, a sales pipeline representing seemingly arbitrary dollar amounts, activities that mean nothing to us, and a button that says, “Get CRM for Outlook”. 

Getting the Most Out of Your CRM Online Trial – Getting Started

Where in the world do we begin? Before we start clicking away and drilling down into functions that don’t make sense to us yet, let’s plant our feet firmly on the ground by understanding something important: this is a default deployment of CRM Online. It is a newly unwrapped, right-out-of-the-box tool that doesn’t resemble the refined instrument it will become when it is firing on all cylinders for our business.

For example, take a look at the Sales Pipeline. It looks like a functioning pipeline with several color-coded segments that represent the various stages of the sales process. However, it’s a result of the sample data set, and until we make some customizations to our organization, only sample data will display a neat, succinct pipeline funnel chart like this one. That doesn’t mean we cannot build a sales process, we should just understand that we need to mold CRM Online to our business’ needs. And my goodness, CRM Online certainly is moldable.     

Getting the Most Out of Your CRM Online Trial – Getting Started

Now that we understand our starting point, we want to learn some basic functions in CRM Online. To do that, we should stop by the Success Portal by It contains a number of resources, like introductory videos, how-to tutorials, and instructional webinars, all of which will help us make the most of our CRM Online deployment. Check out this Introduction to the Success Portal to learn more.

The first stop in the Success Portal is “Getting Started”. This section contains a number of videos that will help us establish a foundation of basic CRM Online knowledge from which to build. We can use the sample data that comes with our trial by default to practice some of these tasks:

  • Adding Users
  • Assigning Security Roles
  • Creating a Team
  • Importing Data
  • Inviting Users
  • Outlook Client Installation
  • Setting Personal Options

Once we start to get an idea of how CRM Online works on a basic level, we want to know how our employees will use this tool. In the next post of this series, we will add a few dummy Users to our organization, assign them each a Security Role that I’ve created, and then sign in as these Users to help us see CRM Online through the lens of our employees.  

Good luck and check back soon!

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