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The Dynamics CRM Partner Opportunity Gets More Fuel

Recent analyst coverage and Microsoft announcements are prompting partner conversations about the value of adding Dynamics CRM to their portfolio of services.

As small and midsize businesses clamber to catch up in the customer-engagement game, they need help from their technology partners. Cloud productivity, mobile and CRM are natural, complementary solutions and can be a powerful combination that offers high value to your customers.

This week, Paul Greenberg, the globally recognized CRM analyst, added Dynamics CRM to his highly anticipated "CRM Watchlist 2015 Elite." In explaining why Dynamics CRM has earned the top designation, Greenberg cited Microsoft's plan to build out an ecosystem "around not just CRM but customer engagement." In addition, he believes that Microsoft's commitment to the partner channel sets it apart from all other CRM vendors.

Microsoft also recently delivered on its promise from last year's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) to include Dynamics CRM Online in the Open Licensing program. According to a partner-directed announcement from Neil Holloway, corporate vice president of sales and partners for the Microsoft Business Solutions Division, this gives "small and mid-sized businesses access to the full suite of Microsoft Online Services in a way that fits their current engagement with their partner or service provider."

In addition, Holloway announced that the Cloud Customer Relationship Management competency is set to launch at the end of February. "Similar to the Azure and Office 365 cloud competencies, it is predicated on cloud performance. Partners will enjoy a rich set of benefits designed to help them grow their businesses. Program requirements will include technical certifications, customer references, and sales," Holloway's announcement stated.

Resources To Make the Transition
This is clearly a big bet for Microsoft and, despite its alliance with Salesforce.com, it wants to convince partners to join the crusade. Current and new Office 365 customers who use Dynamics CRM are more deeply embedded, offering some protection from Google's coming offensive. 

To help those partners making the leap, Microsoft is rolling out the red carpet with training, marketing campaigns and partner promotion. The Small and Midsize Business Microsoft Dynamics CRM site includes a video explaining partners to visitors and links to the Pinpoint directory. That's a small but very important ingredient for small business owners who may not be familiar with the partner concept.    

There is also a recently updated Dynamics CRM Online marketing campaign on the Ready-to-Go marketing site. Included in the resources is a partner learning path guide in addition to sales and marketing support materials. Expect to see more campaign materials in coming months.  

For those partners who want to test the waters, working with an established Dynamics CRM partner is a pragmatic way to start. Define how you will work together up front, and what's in it for each business. For example, your team learns from the Dynamics CRM partner's expertise and you engage the partner for all custom development.

Last year, we listed additional recommendations and resources for making a transition to Dynamics CRM that you can check out here.

With the positive press and Microsoft's commitment to Dynamics CRM, this is an opportune time to expand your in-the-cloud strategy. As a service-focused business, you have an innate understanding of customer relationships. Build on your own experience and your knowledge of the cloud to help your customers catch the CRM wave.

How are you going to incorporate Dynamics CRM into your service line? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share your story.

Posted by Barb Levisay on February 11, 2015 at 1:02 PM


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