3 min read

Enhanced relationship tracking in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

In this article, John O’Donnell highlights a new product from SalesCentric which can be used to show the relationships in your CRM system.

In my new role as a Microsoft Dynamics ISV Architect Evangelist I come across some interesting add-ons to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In this case while walking around the World Wide Partner Conference I came across this solution from SalesCentric called Relationship Charts. The idea is that you can build up a visual diagram showing the relationships between various contacts and accounts for example.

As we build larger CRM systems with more contacts it becomes important to track more than the fact that contact1 works for company2. You also want to track the less obvious relationships such as that contact2 used to work for contact1 but now owns his own consulting organization and still plays golf with his former boss who by the way is the person you are now trying to close a deal with.

Relationship Charts from SalesCentric lets you model these types of relationships and therefore track contacts who could help you convince the client that your product really is the best choice. In addition the product shows these relationships in an org chart format rather than a simple list.  Although the example shows a simple organization chart, “owned” by an Account, it’s important to note that you can also set up charts tied to other entities such as Contacts and Opportunities.  The number of variations is endless, with Decision-making Units, Political Landscapes, Campaigns, and Project Teams as a few of the possibilities.

In the screen below I have set up a simple diagram showing that Bill Richards used to work for Richard Watkins and also now plays golf with him. You will see in Bills record that the green flag highlights that he will act as a product champion for our products. Bill is also listed as consultant in this relationship.

In comparison Rachel Davis is the CTO for Contoso and has a neutral attitude towards our company therefore it would be good to see if we can meet with her again to see if we can turn her into an advocate who can then help us convince the CEO to buy our product.

As you can see from this simple scenario, having a richer way of tracking relationships between the contacts and accounts in your CRM system can potentially help you close deals or simply improve client relationships. Having the ability to do this in an intuitive way can hopefully help so that the next time your sales guy finds out that a previous client plays golf with a new prospect you will be able to track it in CRM.  Exporting a chart to Excel let’s you easily distribute updated charts to the rest of your organization via Outlook or SharePoint.

Relationship Charts also includes an administrative interface which let’s you
customize anything from relationship types to attributes and icons, making it easy to tailor the  application to a wide range of business requirements .

Relationship Charts is a useful tool today but what else could be added? Well what about the ability to link the tool to networking sites like LinkedIn.com. In this scenario and at some point in the future Relationship Charts might perform a lookup into LinkedIn.com and show in your diagram that Bill is linked to a number of contacts in LinkedIn.com. Perhaps it could also flag any contact in your CRM system that also exists in LinkedIn.com. As you can see sometimes its not who you know that matters but who knows who you know J.

You can read more about Relationship Charts using these links:

· Main product page: http://www.salescentric.com/products/relationshipcharts.html

· Brochure: http://www.salescentric.com/downloads/SalesCentric-Relationship-Charts.pdf

· A recent webinar on the new version, 3.0: http://www.salescentric.com/Webinars/RC%20Webinar%20v3.0.wmv

John O’Donnell