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Drive Meaningful Interaction with Dynamics CRM 2015

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 release that we got in late 2014 included some fantastic new tools. We’ve explored a few of these already on our blog and have been busily working with our existing client base to discuss what it means for them.

One item that’s coming up consistently during our discussions with Professional Services Organizations (which can apply to many situations, not just ProServ) is a new option to use the new Rollup Field type to identify “meaningful” interactions with their key clients and prospects.

The core configuration work has already been detailed in a previous post, so here we can focus on what we would do differently to drive meaningful interaction.


Focus on Specific Types of Interactions

Not all activity is created equal—and this is especially true when considering interactions with a client. If we send out an email with a link to a thought leadership article is that valuable to see in a CRM? Absolutely, but, is it as important as a quarterly or annual planning session? Not likely.

CRM 2015 Rollup Field Filter Criteria

Example of the Rollup field filter criteria page in Dynamics CRM 2015

In every organization there are key types of calls, meetings, and emails that are just a little more important than the rest of the chatter. Separating these and providing feedback so teams can make sure key interactions don’t slip through the cracks is what separates a good CRM from one that drives a higher quality of service.

The enabling functionality inside of CRM 2015 is that the Rollup fields can be filtered as part of the rollup. We can use characteristics of the activities to filter out the noise without putting that burden on the end user. This could be as simple as looking for specific text in the activity subject or body, to more complex and/or combinations looking at custom fields.

This focus opens a clearer path to making this information actionable for your team. Herein lies the difference between simply tracking metrics and helping guide a better experience.

Keep It Simple

There’s an inherent danger with dropping this type of configuration into a client relationship management system. It comes down to a matter of focus. Focus around what is truly important or different enough that it warrants this type of tracking.

It can be tempting to add in new and interesting tracking mechanisms like this but each additional field has additional costs. This can lead to user frustration as well as information overload.

The low-hanging fruit are the already-established key performance indicators around interactions. The rollup field (or perhaps several rollup fields used in concert with a calculated field) help track these directly or even provide leading indicators that can be used to take action before key dates are missed.

Closing Thoughts

The expanded functionality in the last few releases of Dynamics CRM have all had little nuggets like this. We’ve had ways of doing this kind of thing before. A combination of custom code, script, creative “Goals”, and reports have all been viable paths to this information. Those methods took a developer…or a technical whiz…or at least someone with deep CRM experience.

This is different though.

This puts the power back in the hands of the business, allowing them to answer questions like, “When did we last confirm our account plan for this client?” or, “Who are my clients that are due for a face-to-face meeting?” and myriad others. What questions do you need answered in your organization?