3 Best Practices for using Activity Feeds in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

3 Best Practices for using Activity Feeds in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

I was very interested in how Organizations would adopt Activity Feeds when Microsoft first launched this functionality back in November ("CRM Online 2011 R7 Released – "Activity Feeds" is Here").

Activity Feeds is very similar functionality to Social sites like
Twitter
or posting a "Status Update" on Facebook
or sharing an update on LinkedIn. When you go into "What's New", you are seeing all the latest posts that Users or CRM have posted on Accounts, Contacts, Opportunities etc. that you have decided to follow.

The mechanics of it is very straight forward and understandable but how can we make this functionality productive for the Organization?

To answer that question, here are 3 Principles to apply to effectively use Activity Feeds:

1) It needs to increase your productivity by making it more efficient for you to consume important business information

The thing that I like best about Facebook is that it allows me to quickly scan all of my Friend's posts for the past day or two and quickly get up to speed on what everyone is up to. I can then comment or drill into the posts that I like best or are most interested in.

The same principle applies to Activity Feeds. If your team is posting even 1 Activity each day that they are working on, you could very quickly and efficiently consume that information and act on the posts that are most interesting to you. If each person instead were to send a daily email of their top 1 or 2 activities, pretty soon the only thing you would have is a full Inbox.

2) It needs to allow you to post important information that will be easily consumed by others

The thing that I like the least about Twitter is when I have followed someone who is compelled to tweet about every movement they make or retweeting ever single tweet that they see! Don't be this person. Post daily the top items you are working on or interesting information about an Account or Opportunity or the market but keep it useful.

3) Let CRM do some of the work for you

One of the great features of Activity Feeds is that it can post relevant information automatically like "New Opportunity for an Account" or "Latest Win by your Sales Team" or "Update to the Sales Stage on an Opportunity over $100K". This can be accomplished in two ways:

  1. Go to Settings -> Activity Feeds Rules –> Select a Rule and "Activate"
  2. Configure a Workflow to post an update based on an Event or Update in CRM

 

Are you ready to get started with Activity Feeds in your Organization?

 

Here are 3 Best Practices to Getting Started:

1) Communicate to your users what will be posted automatically by CRM + give specific guidance on what to post

Give the users a list of posts that will happen automatically from CRM like: "We will be posting automatically every time an Opportunity is Won or a New Opportunity is created". Provide the users the guidance on what to post like: "The best way to get started is to Post the most interesting or important Activity that you did today and link it back to the related Customer, User etc by using "@" which will pop up a window for you to hyperlink to that record".

2) Tailor the forms so that the "Wall" is easier to see and glance (see the screen shot below as an example)

Consider moving the "Record Wall" on Accounts and Opportunities under the General Tab so that it is seen by the users as the scroll down the form. You can also embed the "Wall" right into the General Tab. NOTE: You still need to keep the Record Wall Tab on the Form if you do this.

3) Commit to using it regularly by making sure that users post something daily to get started

This is the classic change management recommendation. Like everything with CRM, you have to form the habit of doing it and then it just becomes a part of your day.

Send me your feedback on Twitter.



Good luck with your journey of implementing Activity Feeds in your Organization!

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