Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

Sonoma Partners' Microsoft CRM customer featured in Big Builder magazine

One of our Microsoft CRM customers recently received some great media coverage in the February 2007 issue of Big Builder magazine! Sonoma Partners even received a nice little plug in the writeup as well, including a quote from yours truly. The Athena Group is a large condo developer headquartered out of New York, but they have developments all over the country including Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

The Athena Group has been running Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 with our CRM Elements for Real Estate vertical add-on since early 2006 with great success. Their intitial pilot project of 10 users quickly ramped up to almost 50 users, and they're continually growing.

In the article titled "Team Play: Target Practice", I thought that Harold Willig from the Athena Group had some great insights on their use of Microsoft CRM:

“One example is, if someone logs on to our Web site, a task automatically pops up for the appropriate salesperson to follow up with that potential buyer,” says Willig. Most importantly, during a time when every potential lead is critical, managers can see, in real time, what the open leads are and who is responding to them.

Athena recognized the need to add organization and structure to their sales systems. “It's been said that an organized salesperson won't sell and that a successful salesperson won't be organized,” says Willig. But that didn't keep Athena from seeking the best of both worlds.

Big Builder is a B2B trade publication that covers topics of interest for the largest 1,000 builders in the world. In addition to their regular circulation of almost 15,000 readers, this issue of Big Builder was also distributed to all of the attendees at the International Builders Show last week so this was a great win for the Athena Group, Sonoma Partners and  Microsoft CRM.

You can read the entire article online on the Big Builder website, or download a nice print-ready PDF version of the article from our website.

Come to our Microsoft CRM 3.0 and Exchange 2007 Seminar

We have a very exciting Microsoft CRM seminar coming up on March 1st (just a few weeks away!) that will highlight the benefits of using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 with Exchange Server 2007. You can learn more about the seminar on our website and then sign up online. As you probably know, Sonoma Partners focuses exclusively on Microsoft CRM, so we enlisted our friends at Pointbridge Solutions to present the Exchange 2007 portion of the seminar. Pointbridge is an excellent Gold Certified Partner in Chicago with a focus on Advanced Infrastructure solutions such as Exchange Server.

This seminar really hits close to home with me because we're in the process of upgrading our internal network to Exchange Server 2007 as well. Exchange Server 2007 only runs on 64-bit hardware so we had to order a new box from Dell and we're just waiting for the shipment to arrive...but the wait is killing me. I am pumped to upgrade. In addition to the cool new out of office feature, Exchange 2007 offers other great end-user enhancements such as:

  • Calendar Attendant - Server-side meeting processing means that the Outlook client no longer has to be running for the user’s calendar to remain up-to-date.  Meetings are updated without sending redundant notices, reducing inbox clutter.
  • Resource Booking Attendant - Rooms and equipment are specially marked in the Address Book so they can be browsed separately and given custom properties and permissions.
  • Calendar Permissions - Calendar item details can be more flexibly shared with others (for example, showing only the name of a meeting or appointment, not the full details).
  • Enhanced Outlook Web Access Experience - Outlook Web Access has been rebuilt from the ground up to provide a rich, browser-based experience with the updated look and functionality of Outlook 2007, including scheduling assistant, categories and flags, and search enhancements.
  • Outlook Voice Access - Users can access their Exchange mailboxes using any telephone, hearing their e-mail and calendar entries and taking action on them using either speech or touch tone commands.
  • Exchange ActiveSync (Direct Push) - Mobile devices that incorporate Exchange ActiveSync technology maintain a connection with the server, receiving any new or updated e-mail, calendar items, contacts, or tasks as soon as they arrive on the server.

Of course they added a ton of "under the cover" features too such as server roles, Outlook autodiscover, web services API and so on. To read more details about Exchange Server 2007 be sure to check out the Evaluator's Guide...but beware it is a 9.5 MB file!

And don't forget to sign up for the seminar!

Award for Working With Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 book

We recently found out that our Microsoft Press book Working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 won an award from the Society of Technical Communications. If you're not familiar with the STC, it is "dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of technical communication" and has over 18,000 members worldwide.

Our book earned a Merit award in the Puget Sound (Seattle) Chapter STC Publications Competition. The email we got says this award "signifies a commendable level of technical communication competence".

Pretty cool!

Now we have to really ramp up our efforts to update the book for the next version of Microsoft CRM (code-named "Titan").