Top 10 CRM Tweaks for New User Productivity

So, now that you’ve got your CRM system in place, how do you make it work for you? Here are some simple solutions to increase your user productivity and make your implementation a success!

1. Add highly used folders from Microsoft CRM to Outlook Favorites.
The fastest way to improve your CRM productivity is simply to add folders that you use in CRM all the time to the favorites folders in the Outlook mail folder.

2. Add a “Phone call” button and Task button to the account and contact forms.
Since the most common activities usually entered by CRM users are phone calls it just makes sense to add a phone call button to match the e-mail button that you can click from the toolbar in the contacts and accounts. This simple fix takes only a few moments and improves productivity for the sales reps and people and your call center.

3. Update the Contacts ‘associated view’ to include e-mail & job title.
The contacts associated view is the view that is used to show the contacts associated with an account by simply adding a contact e-mail address in title to this view. Adjusting the widths of the columns to make sure it displays properly, you can make it much easier for everyone to use.

4. Create a standard signature template for CRM e-mail.
Out-of-the-box, Microsoft CRM does not support a standard default signature with CRM-based e-mails.  The most helpful fix, is to create a special universal e-mail template, that retrieves all the user information and generates a generic signature template. Another tip: use the underscore character as the first letter in the template name which will cause your default signature template to rise to the very top of the list were will be easy for all your users to select.

5. Stop the E-Mail address from Leads getting transferred to the Account Record when promoting a Lead.
Out-of-the-box, Microsoft CRM automatically maps fields from the lead entity into both the account entity and a contact entity as part of the promote lead process.  The problem is that the e-mail address from the lead is copied into both entities, which will cause problems whenever Microsoft CRM attempts to promote an e-mail. To fix this problem the easiest thing to do is to delete the mapping of lead e-mail address into the account e-mail address, thus guaranteeing that the e-mail address is only promoted into the contact where it actually belongs.

6. Add one or both additional e-mail address(es) to contact form.
There will be many occasions where CRM user receives e-mails from contacts who have more than one e-mail address.  Microsoft CRM supports up to three e-mail addresses for a contact and uses all three addresses when attempting to determine where to promote an e-mail using the address.  By simply exposing the second and third e-mail address user will be able to store more than one e-mail address for a contact and any e-mails received from any of the contact e-mail addresses will be associated properly.

7. Rename the ‘account’ entity to ‘company’.
Rename Accounts to Companies and use it for all the companies you do business with whether they be vendors, customers, or otherwise. A common problem I run into with new users is that they’re confused by the term accounts as the entity name for company information.  In most CRM implementations, the account entity actually stores company information about every single company that the user needs to store information about.  Make it easier for users to adapt to the new system and recognize that all companies are stored in the CRM database and not just those that are customers. Don’t forget to also change all the messages that refer to accounts or it will still be very confusing.

8. Start to use the Opportunities entity and formalize your sales process.
In many implementations, people are intimidated by the opportunities entity and don’t start using it.  To start reaping the benefits of the opportunities entity, you only need to enter a few basic pieces of information for each opportunity: who, what, how much, how likely, and when. It will only take a few minutes to enter all your opportunities. Once they’re in, you get the benefit of an easy to maintain list along with the pipeline report. Start building your sales process over time.

9. Create a sample MS Word template database.
CRM mailmerge functions are relatively easy to use, but most users don’t know how to set up the initial template.  Consider setting up a couple of sample templates and store them in a public folder for all to use.  Don’t forget to tell users they are there.

10. CardScan for MS CRM for each department.
CardScan is one of the fastest ways to add new prospects and contacts into the CRM system. We recommend this product to every one of our clients.

And, if you really want your users to succeed,

Provide two half day training sessions for each end user. The productivity gains will return much more than the cost and time spent in the first three months!

Have a great day!
Steve Noe

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About stephenvnoe

CRM & XRM solution architect and project lead. I provide CRM design, services, mentoring & support to all manner of front office solutions and CRM projects.
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