Tools for your CRM Success

I am often asked two questions “how do I learn about CRM?” and “how do I study for the CRM certifications?”. I figured it’s time to write down the answers!
If you are completely new to CRM start with the Microsoft Virtual Academy’s Introduction to CRM 2013. This is a great way to get a broad overview of all areas of CRM. Anyone with a Microsoft Live ID can view this so you can even watch while you are still evaluating the product.
The next step is to look at CustomerSource. Within CustomerSource you can access training manuals and training videos. The CRM 2013 videos are very nice because they have a real person talking! (After listening to the computer voice for 4.0 and 2011 this is a big deal!)

Note: everyone with Dynamics licenses can access CustomerSource. So talk to the person in your organization who manages that relationship or consult your Microsoft partner.
I actually like to use CustomerSource to study for the certification tests. The certifications are based off of this material and the questions are similar (or even the same as) those at the end of each lesson. If you download the training manuals, you will have the questions along with the answers to study with.
While we are on the topic of certifications, there are also several companies that offer training classes specifically to prepare for taking the tests (check out DynamicsEdge). However it’s good to keep in mind these classes are designed only for the certifications and not necessarily for real-life application. That doesn’t mean it’s bad, just something to be aware of when you make your decision.
For more real-life application training check out the CRM User Group (CRMUG) Black Belt classes or the PowerObjects boot camps. I have started the CRMUG Black Belt classes and they are great! I was worried that I would already know the material in the first class, but I learned new things and was able to strengthen the foundation that the other courses will build upon.
CRMUGalso offers many educational webinars throughout the year. You can join for free to view some webinars and participate in the online community where you can ask questions and find the answers you need. If you pay for the premium membership you get even more webinars as well as discounts on classes (such as the Black Belt) and for CRMUG Summit.
One last tip is to look at the Microsoft CRM Team blog Looking for help for the CRM Product Family. This discusses all of the Microsoft resources that exist to help you succeed. They have training videos you can share with users. There are also different ebooks that you can download, edit, and then share with your organization.

So that’s it. There are so many resources at your fingertips! You can do it! I hope this helps you find the tools and resources you need to increase your CRM knowledge. Let me know if I missed anything or if you have any questions.

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