I had the opportunity to attend the eXtreme CRM conference this week in Las Vegas, NV. The first of a series of blog posts, I will recap my activities and observations during the conference. You can also take a look at my quasi-live tweeting of my conference experience at http://twitter.com/crmhobbit.
The eXtreme CRM conference kicked off with a keynote by Paul Greenberg. The topic was “Your Customers Have Changed, Now It’s Your Turn: Social CRM is CRM. This keynote really set the tone for the overall conference, and was a bit eye opening to me personally. Paul started his keynote with some simple, common sense advice…”Don’t give your customer anything to complain about and they will continue to do business with you. The true impact of Social CRM is when customers use the channel to advocate FOR you.” He then went into detail about how Social has become a communications revolution, creating a new type of customer. This new Social Customer forces businesses to engage in a multi-channel strategy that focuses on the customer experience and has direct correlation to the Golden Rule.
Interesting artifacts from his keynote include:
- IBM study “From Social Media to Social CRM: What Customers Want”
- Informational tidbit: documents the “Perception Gap” that demonstrates that consumers top reasons for interacting with companies via social sites are the exact opposite of why businesses interact with them via social sites. (p. 11)
- Econsultancy’s State of CRM 2011 report states that 64% of companies have moved beyond social media experimentation. (requires free subscription for complete report access)
Assistance Software was awarded the Innovative New App Award at eXtremeCRM 2012
Next up was Matt Wittemann, CCO of Click Dimensions, CRM MVP and author of the Microsoft CRM 2011 Administration Bible. His topic? “Everything you think you know about CRM is wrong.” Now that is a strong way to open a keynote. While Matt only spoke for about 20 minutes, what he said seemed to resonate with the audience. He spoke to the perception that “Adoption is the greatest obstacle to successful CRM implementations”…when its not. Matt argued that customer relevance was in fact the greatest obstacle to successful CRM implementations…I couldn’t agree more. Having managed CRM implementations of well over 4000 users and dealing with executives who were only focused on bar charts reflecting the current state of user adoption, I agree that if a customer does not feel that the system functionality offered to them has no personal relevance, they just won’t use the system. Understanding the business needs and requirements and keeping a laser-like focus on customer relevance within the design is critical for a successful CRM implementation.
Next up was Seth Patton, Microsoft Worldwide Product Marketing and Eric Boocock, Microsoft Sr. Technical Product Manager, to discuss “Winning the Hearts and Minds of CRM Customers” This was another common theme of the conference, The presentation began with a discussion of how CRM is top of mind to business executives. According to Seth, winning in the Enterprise against competitors requires customer centric conversations and value selling. This amounts to a shift from conversations regarding product and a historically IT centered sales audience. During the presentation, Seth reviewed the key trends in CRM, which were supported by the statistic that over 60% of all new CRM customer additions are online instead of on-premise. Microsoft’s vision for CRM focuses on customer centric sales and service capabilities.
Key Trends in CRM
- Big Data
Eric Boocock also demonstrated some really powerful power within Microsoft CRM to enable effective sales collaboration using Office 2013 and SharePoint.
The afternoon of Day 1 was spent with Murat Ozturan, Group Manager of the E2 team (Engineering for Enterprise), discussing common issues within Enterprise implementations during his session “Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 in Enterprise Deployments”. The discussion was lively and engaging with a number of members in the audience sharing their personal experiences. After that session, I participated in an Industry Showcase for Financial Services: Insurance with Tom Feher, Microsoft Financial Services Industry Director, and Brad Koontz, Product Manager with CustomerEffective.
Day 1 closed with the Microsoft Executive Panel hosted by Connor Marsden, US Director for Microsoft CRM Online, Craig Dewar, Director of Product Management for Microsoft CRM, Terrence Abrahams, Director for Microsoft Worldwide CRM Partner Strategy, Seth Patton, Worldwide Microsoft CRM Product Marketing and Peter Jensen, Director for US Microsoft Dynamics Partner Channel Programs.
I appreciated the willingness of the panel to answer questions from the audience on the fly, with no prior notice of the questions to be asked. Some of the best questions asked by the crowd were:
- Q: “Why did you not release R8?”
- A: It was a painful decision to delay the release, but it simply wasn’t ready. Example: In the effort to provide cross-browser support as promised, the release would have caused a 30% reduction in performance for Internet Explorer.
- Q: “What are the Top 3 limitations of CRM Online?”
- A: Consistently performant, fast system, Lights always on (no outages) and API throughput
- Q: “When will we have an ability to test CRM Online updates prior to release to our customers?”
- A: Dev/Test is an area of opportunity and they are working towards that end.
- Q: “When will we have effective user level Process management for Enterprise customers?
- A: Personalization is coming in the future releases that will be discussed on Day 2.
What a first day. A ton of great content, networking and discussion. In my next post, I will cover Day 2 and the highly anticipated CRM Roadmap!