That One Microsoft Dynamics CRM Story

There is this one story that gets told almost every time I get together with some of the Dynamics CRM MVP folks in the community. Usually over adult beverages at some conference. The problem for me is that it’s a story of one of my failures.

The story outline is this – 10+ years ago, the company I worked for signed a CRM deal in the early days of Dynamics CRM. We were fledgling CRM implementers at the time and signed up for more than we bargained. Long story short, we failed and someone else came in (one of the current CRM MVPs, who will remain nameless) and saved the day for that client. It was their first CRM project and made a nice addition to their already successful business and, ultimately, turned out to be an huge boon for the community as a whole. I failed, they didn’t, the CRM community got a couple GREAT MVPs.

We laugh about it and I groan when it gets told – again. We move on to the next story and the next round.

But, that story, it sticks with me. I moved on from that employer 7 or so years ago and ended up starting xRM3. Every prospect I talk to, every customer request, I think back to that story, that failure.  Our commitment to focus on Dynamics CRM only, comes from the lessons I learned from that story. My hiring decisions, our programs, our growth strategy, are all driven by the lessons that story have provided me. We thrive today because of that story.

Microsoft is recruiting new Dynamics CRM partners for the channel right now and I think about that story. I know we will be taking over many of those new partners’ clients eventually because of one simple truth – CRM is hard.

ERP partners can’t just step into a CRM implementation and be successful because they know ERP (Lesson 1). Partners that sell multiple products can’t just take on a new product like Dynamics CRM and expect their consultants to learn on the fly and be successful (Lesson 2). Traditional platform/license partners can’t take on a business process dependent product, turn it over to their technical folks and be successful (Lesson 3). CRM is unique and takes a special company with special people.

Don’t get me wrong, all those partner companies I just mentioned have REALLY smart people working for them. Brilliant people in some cases. It’s just that Dynamics CRM requires a different mindset and special folks to achieve success for their clients.

The lessons I’ve taken away from that one story have helped shape me and the company I am building. Sure, I groan about it in public when someone brings it up but without that story, all the people it touched would have very different, and very boring, stories to tell.

What about you? Do you have one of those stories? Do you use it in your business today?  I embrace mine.

If you are looking for a Dynamics CRM partner to work with, remember my lessons listed above. Where does that partner fit into the story?

Quick note – The Dynamics CRM community is a smart, vibrant, and collaborative one. All those CRM MVPs are more than happy to answer questions and assist anytime. I love those folks and their commitment. Anytime you run into one of those people, buy them a drink. They deserve it. And if they start telling this one story…

By Ken Farmer, President/Principal Consultant of xRM3, a Microsoft Partner specializing in Dynamics CRM consulting, implementation, integration, and administrative services. Based in San Diego County Southern California.