(For more resources related to this topic, see here.)
Introduction to CRM 2011
Every organization is dependent on customers, and every organization is challenged to manage these customers. Businesses need a way to attract, sell to, service, and track every interaction these customers have with their organization. To do so, they often implement a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system.
Microsoft offers a CRM solution as part of their Dynamics suite, which allows companies to implement a system that manages more than just their customers. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a web-based application that can be accessed online through an Internet browser or through Microsoft Office Outlook.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Web client
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Outlook client
Microsoft Dynamics CRM includes three main modules:
- Customer service
Each module contains entities, which are objects in CRM, and are used to help model data.
Throughout this article, business examples will be used to explain various concepts. A fictitious company called Race2Win Insurance Company will be used to further illustrate these concepts.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows businesses to optimize their sales processes and customer tracking efforts. With CRM, an organization can increase interactions with current customers, shorten sales cycles, and increase opportunity close rates to gain new customers.
The sales module within CRM consists of the following entities:
- Marketing lists
- Sales literature
- Quick campaigns
- Goal metrics
- Rollup queries
Each of these entities are explained in more detail further, but let's give a high-level overview of how users could potentially use these out of the box capabilities.
The business scenarios that we'll cover in a moment outlines the use of the sales module for our fictitious insurance company. Although entities such as marketing lists, quick campaigns, and sales literature are found in the sales module, these will be discussed in the marketing business scenarios. For our scenarios, we'll illustrate examples from the viewpoint of various individual roles within the organization.
Race2Win Insurance Company needs a way to track leads they've acquired as a result of efforts by their marketing team. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows the company to track and qualify leads. For example, let's say Race2Win is capturing information on the lead record related to a potential insurance customer. Based on information entered, business rules can be applied to categorize the lead as hot, warm, or cold. CRM has out of the box functionality to apply these business rules automatically.
Once a lead is qualified, Dynamics CRM provides the ability to convert the lead into an opportunity, account, contact, or a combination of the three.
The organizations or companies that Race2Win Insurance views as customers can be tracked as accounts in CRM. These accounts may be managed by one or more salespeople. A salesperson may receive commission on sales made to their managed accounts, thus making accounts critical. Accounts contain the address, industry, and various other demographic data about the customer.
As part of the sales process, Race2Win Insurance Company's sales force may reach out to individuals or employees at a company. Individuals, either on their own or tied to a company, can be tracked as contacts in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Like the account, contact records can store addresses and industry/professional information, but can also store more personal data, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and information about various family members. A salesperson may find personal information critical to start and maintain a personal relationship with people at a company.
Opportunities can allow the Race2Win sales force to track potential sales opportunities with their customers. The opportunities can go through various sales cycles, and can track the estimated versus actual revenue of a particular sale. Opportunities can have products from the product catalog associated to them in order to help estimate the revenue more accurately. The Race2Win Insurance salespeople receive their commission when an opportunity is won, and the commission amount is based on the estimated revenue.
Race2Win Insurance Company has various insurance products and services it may sell. Products can be sold to different customers at different prices, and some products may be eligible for discounts based on the quantity ordered. Dynamics CRM allows all of the above functionality through the use of the product catalog.
Let's say that during the course of a sales cycle, the customer wishes to receive more detailed pricing information such as an estimate from the Race2Win salesperson. Dynamics CRM allows a quote to be generated ad hoc or from an opportunity. In either case, products from the product catalog can be added, prices from the price list can be used, and discounts can be applied—all to create an accurate quote.
If a customer wishes to proceed with purchasing products or services, the opportunity can be closed as won. The salesperson will receive commission, and the process is now handed off to someone in order entry to create an order. Orders can be created ad hoc, from an opportunity, or quote. If an opportunity or quote has products, prices, and/or discounts, these can be inherited, making the generation of the order timely and accurate.
An invoice can be generated for a customer in place of an order if needed. Many other organizations like Race2Win have their billing department typically create an invoice once the order is ready to be billed. An invoice can be created ad hoc or from an opportunity, quote, or order. Like an order, invoices can inherit the products, prices, and/or discounts from an opportunity, quote, or order.
While quotes, orders, and invoices can be created in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, sometimes they are created in an ERP system and then imported into Dynamics CRM for reference or reporting.
Race2Win Insurance Company has now been using the leads generated to attain new customers, increase sales, and generate quotes, orders, and invoices for customers quickly and efficiently. Like any successful organization, Race2Win has to deal with competition. Dynamics CRM gives the organization's sales force and management the ability to track competitors, analyze their sales strategies, products, and the business they win.
Throughout a period of time, say fiscal year, an organization like Race2Win can set up goals to track various metrics such as sales performance. These goals can be tracked for each individual, and managers have the ability to see each of their team member's goals. The entire business scenario we just outlined can be achieved by using the Microsoft Dynamics CRM sales module.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows an organization to launch and maintain marketing campaigns. The responses to a campaign can be tracked to gauge the effectiveness of a campaign. These responses can also be converted into accounts, contacts, leads, quotes, orders, or opportunities.
The Dynamics CRM marketing module consists of the following entities:
- Marketing lists
- Quick campaigns
- Sales literature
Each of these entities are explained in more detail further, but let's again look at a high-level overview.
The business scenarios that we'll cover in a moment outlines the use of the marketing module using our fictitious company, Race2Win Insurance Company. Race2Win's marketing team has analyzed its existing customer base and found areas to expand the company's business. They can market new products and services to their existing customer base, and try and turn potential customers into new ones.
Race2Win has realized that it needs to market new insurance products to an existing list of accounts, and market existing products to potential customers in China. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows Race2Win to set up a marketing list containing a static list of accounts. They can also use CRM to set up a dynamic marketing list of all leads where the address has the country set to China.
Using marketing lists, an organization can kick off, run, and evaluate marketing campaigns. Race2Win can kick off a campaign very quickly for the existing accounts and it can also execute a more lengthy campaign, containing multiple communication channels, for the leads in China. Depending on the campaign type, the marketing team can create planning activities, track the cost of the campaign,and target certain products.
At times, customers or even internal business users may want to know more about a product that an organization is selling or marketing. Race2Win is no different, dealing with multiple inquiries about products from customers on a weekly basis. The sales literature in CRM can offer collateral for marketing or sales teams to share. An example can be a brochure of their latest insurance products.
The scenarios we just described illustrates how the Microsoft Dynamics CRM marketing module can be used to achieve any marketing goal.
Customer service module
Obtaining new customers is an important goal of any organization, but servicing existing customers is just as important. Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers a solution to service an organization's customers, manage service resources, and maintain a knowledge base repository that can be used to efficiently resolve future service incidents.
The Dynamics CRM service module consists of the following entities:
- Service calendar
- Knowledge base article
- Goal metrics
- Rollup queries
Each of these entities are explained in more detail further, but let's look at a high-level overview of how an organization could potentially use these out of the box capabilities.
Thanks to CRM, Race2Win Insurance Company has been able to effectively market and sell its products to companies in a wide range of industries all over the world. Now it's time for Race2Win to start servicing their clients, and it's Dynamics CRM to the rescue once again.
Let us say a customer didn't receive their invoice for insurance products that they purchased. This customer e-mails this issue to a client service representative at Race2Win. With Dynamics CRM, this e-mail can be converted to a case. During that process of conversion, an account or contact can be linked (the case can reference a product if needed). Once converted, the original e-mail will be tied to the newly opened case. After the case is created, it can be assigned to a user, or routed to a queue. Throughout its lifecycle, activities such as e-mails, phone calls, and/or tasks can be tracked as a part of the case.
Knowledge base articles
In trying to resolve the case, users can access a repository of knowledge base articles to reference past issues and resolutions.
Race2Win can use CRM to create service contracts to defne the type and level of support required. These contracts can then be referenced when new cases are opened.
If the servicing of customers requires the allocation of resources, whether that is an individual employee, a contractor, a facility or equipment, Dynamics CRM's scheduling features can assist. The service calendar can show users how each resource is being allocated for a given time period. With this knowledge, you can schedule resources more efficiently in order to deliver a prompt resolution to a case.
As you can see, CRM has a rich feature set that can be used to service any type of client. We just went through a high-level introduction of the three main modules in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This article is a guide to help pass the CRM 2011 Applications exam (MB2-868) and we will delve deeper into each of the modules to help you better understand the application. The next section gives you an introduction to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 training and certifications.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 training and certifications
The majority of the content for this section was created by my colleague, Neil Benson, who is also writing a Dynamics CRM certification guide. He was gracious enough to offer this material as a resource for folks preparing for the MB2-868 (Dynamics CRM 2011 Applications) certification exam.
Training courses and examination
On the Microsoft Learning website (http://learning.microsoft.com),you can find more information about the courses and exams. Here, you can also find a local training course provider or buy an online training course collection.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 users will find the following two courses very useful:
- What's New in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (Course 80289A): This one-day course provides an introduction to the new features of CRM 2011 for users who already have experience with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 or higher
- Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (Course 80442A): This one-day course provides an overview of CRM 2011 to users with no previous experience with Microsoft Dynamics CRM
There are no exams or certifications associated with these courses.
For implementers and administrators
If you are an implementation team member or a system administrator, there are eight training courses and four exams available.
There are four courses available for learning about the major application areas of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011:
- Marketing Automation in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (Course 80290A): This one-day course covers the marketing features of CRM 2011. These marketing features include campaigns and quick campaigns, lists, templates, campaign activities, and campaign responses.
- Sales Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (Course 80291A): This one-day course covers the sales features of CRM 2011. These sales features include leads, opportunities, quotes, orders, invoices, and the product catalog.
- Service Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (Course 80292A): This one-day course covers the service management features of CRM 2011. These features include cases, queues, teams, and the knowledge base.
- Service Scheduling in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (Course 80293A): This one-day course covers the service scheduling features of CRM 2011. These features include services, service activities, and the service calendar.
There is one exam covering all four of these application areas. This exam is Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Applications (Exam MB2-868). After passing this exam, you will earn a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certifcation.
There are two other useful courses available for implementers and administrators. These courses are as follows:
- Reporting in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (Course 80445A): This one-day course covers the advanced reporting features of CRM 2011
- Workfow and Dialog Processes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (Course 80444A): This one-day course covers the configuration and use of the workflows and dialogs processes in CRM 2011
There are no exams or certifications associated with these courses.
There is one training course and an exam that covers the installation and deployment of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011:
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Installation and Deployment (Course 80296A): This two-day course covers the deployment options, prerequisites, and installation procedures for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Installation and Deployment (Exam MB2-867): After passing this exam, you will earn an MCTS certification
Customization and configuration
There is one training course and an exam that covers the customization of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011:
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration (Course 80294B): This three-day course covers the customization features of CRM 2011. These features include configuring the organization structure, customizing entities, forms, views, and charts.
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration (Exam MB2-866): After passing this exam, you will earn an MCTS certification.
For developers, there is one CRM 2011 training course and an exam available.
There is one training course and an exam that covers extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011:
- Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (Course 80295A): This three-day course covers CRM 2011's extensibility options described in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 SDK
- Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (Exam MB2-876): After passing this exam, you will earn an MCTS certification
In addition to the Extending Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 training course and exam, developers should also consider the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration training course and exam listed earlier in this article.
This section describes the two levels of certification available for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, and the benefits of becoming certified.
Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)
MCTS certifications demonstrate your proficiency in a feature area of a Microsoft product. Passing any one of the four CRM 2011 exams described earlier in this article will earn you an MCTS certification.
Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP)
MCITP certifications demonstrate your in-depth expertise across a number of Microsoft products. There are three MCITP certifications available:
Benefits of certification
Whether you work as an independent consultant, work for a Microsoft customer, or work for a Microsoft partner, earning a Microsoft Dynamics CRM certification leads the way to better career opportunities.
Microsoft partners value certified individuals because employing Microsoft Certified Professionals (MCPs) enables them to achieve silver and gold competencies that demonstrate their commitment to, and expertise in, Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Microsoft customers value certified individuals because Microsoft Dynamics CRM solutions implemented, managed, and supported by MCPs have a lower total cost of ownership and a higher return on investment.
Achieving certification demonstrates the technical proficiency that validates your knowledge, adds credibility to your resume, and will help you advance in your career. When combined with real-world experience, certification will mean that you are more highly regarded than other individuals with similar experience who haven't taken training or shown sufficient initiative to achieve certification.
The focus of this certification guide is exam MB2-868: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Applications. In this section we'll learn:
- How to study for the exam
- How to register for your exam
- What to expect at the test center
- How to make the best use of your time
- How to answer the different types of questions
How to study for the exam
There are several ways to study for the MB2-868 exam:
- Take an official instructor-led training course: For the applications exam, there are four courses you can take:
- Course 80290A: Marketing Automation in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is a one-day, instructor-led classroom training course available for a fee from Microsoft Learning Partners worldwide, in a number of languages
- Course 80291A: Sales Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is a one-day, instructor-led classroom training course available for a fee from Microsoft Learning Partners worldwide, in a number of languages
- Course 80292A: Service Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is a one-day, instructor-led classroom training course available for a fee from Microsoft Learning Partners worldwide, in a number of languages
- Course 80293A: Service Scheduling in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is a one-day, instructor-led classroom training course available for a fee from Microsoft Learning Partners worldwide, in a number of languages
- Take an official e-learning course: A subscription to e-learning collection 80290A, 80291A, 80292A, and 80293A is available for a fee from Microsoft Learning, in a number of languages
- Study the official courseware: If your organization has purchased a Microsoft Dynamics service plan, you can download the official courseware for courses 80290A, 80291A, 80292A, and 80293A from PartnerSource or CustomerSource
- Use this certification guide: This certification guide follows the syllabus examined in the MB2-868 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Applications exam
The best study method will depend upon your training budget, learning style, and the available time. Note, however, that certification guide is the only option available that includes practice exam questions.
Hands-on experience with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is essential, regardless of your preferred study method. Follow all of the procedures covered in this guide several times in a CRM test environment. Use a 30-day trial subscription to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online if you don't have a training deployment available. You don't need to have completed a full implementation project, but some hands-on experience will greatly improve your chances of success.
How to register for your exam
Regardless of which study method you choose, the only way to register for your MB2-868 exam is with Prometric: Microsoft's official certification exam provider.
Visit the Prometric website to register for your exam (http://www.prometric.com/Microsoft/Dynamics.htm)
You must take your exam in person at one of the Prometric's worldwide test centers.Candidates can use any test center, except in India, China, or Pakistan where you must provide proof that you are a legitimate resident of that country.
If you are taking an official training course with a Microsoft Learning Partner, check whether or not the course includes an exam before you book directly with Prometric.
MB2-868 is available in the following languages:
- Portuguese (Brazil)
- Chinese (Simplified)
The exam fee for MB2-868 is USD 150 (at the time of writing). The exam fees in your country may vary.
Your organization may be entitled to, or have purchased, exam credits. Check with your manager before booking your exam.
Retaking the exam
If you need to retake your exam, you will need to rebook with Prometric and pay for your retake exam. If you need to retake the exam for a third time, you will need to wait for 14 days after the date of your second exam.
What to expect at the test center
Prometric test centers are located in a wide variety of IT training and test centers worldwide. Microsoft Learning Partners often have a test center so that you can take the exam directly after completing an instructor-led training course.
You should arrive at the test center about 30 minutes before you are scheduled to take your exam. You will be asked to present a photographic identification to the test center administrator and to sign in to a log book.
You cannot take anything into the exam room with you. This certification guide is so exciting that it can be hard to put down, but you'll have to do so while taking your exam!
The exam room usually has a number of workstations screened off from each other, and you may be taking your MB2-868 exam along with candidates taking the same or different exams. Communicating with other candidates is not allowed.
An exam supervisor will set up the exam on your computer and may or may not remain in the exam room during your exam. Video surveillance might be installed in the exam room to ensure all that candidates comply with the exam rules.
A wipe-clean notepad will be provided, but any notes that you take during the exam cannot be retained after the exam.
How to make the best use of your time
Once the test center administrator has set up the exam on your computer, you will be able to start the exam. You have 3 hours to complete 75 exam questions, although some of this time will be spent reading the legal preamble regarding copyright and personal data protection.
Almost all candidates will comfortably complete the exam within the time limit. The questions in your test are taken at random from a large pool of possible questions, so no two exams will ever be exactly the same.
The passing mark is 700 points, but Prometric does not reveal the points awarded for each question.
The following are some tips to help you make the best use of your time:
- Spend lots of time reading the terms and conditions, privacy statements, and other legal preamble only if you've missed your calling to the legal profession. Otherwise, accept the statements and move on to the exam as quickly as possible.
- Read each question carefully. In particular, pay attention to phrases that indicate how many answers are required—for example, select one, choose three, or select all that apply—and whether you are expected to select true or false statements.
- Answer each question as best as you can in sequence. Do not skip questions by leaving them unanswered. Instead, if you are not confident in your answer, mark the question for review at the end.
- After you have answered all questions, reassess all of the questions that you have marked for review.
- Before finishing the exam, quickly review all of your answers to ensure that you have left no questions unanswered, and, where appropriate, that you have provided the required number of answers.
- Your intuition is often right. Change an answer only if you have an overwhelming feeling that your first answer was wrong.
How to answer the questions
There are two types of multiple choice questions in the exam:
- Multiple choice with one correct answer (radio buttons)
- Multiple choice with multiple possible answers (checkboxes)
Read the question carefully to see how many answers are required. Consider the following example question:
Q.1. The required fields when creating a marketing list are:
(Choose all that apply.)
- Member Type.
- Campaign Type.
- List Name.
The answer to this question is 1, 3, 4, and 5.
This question is a good example of an off-syllabus question that sometimes appears in Microsoft certification exams. The Microsoft training course syllabuses and exams are written by different groups of people and do not always cover exactly the same material. So, it is possible to encounter an exam question that wasn't included in the syllabus. This guide covers the course syllabus, and a deep understanding of all of the material covered here will be sufficient to achieve a passing score, but broader hands-on experience and additional reading is recommended if you want to achieve a perfect score.
In this article, a brief introduction to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 was presented. Each of the three main modules—sales, marketing, and service—were covered at a high level with business scenarios centered around a fictitious organization called Race2Win Insurance Company.
Resources for Article:
- Overview of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 [Article]
- Using Processes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 [Article]
- Integrating BizTalk Server and Microsoft Dynamics CRM [Article]