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We are using: Microsoft Dynamics 365 version 22.214.171.124 on-premises.
Background info: We are a B2B platform company. Our customers are often not one-buy customers, but customers using our platform very often - usually every week.
We want to be able to get a nice overview of which customers are "new" customers, and which are "existing / current" customers. On top of that, we both "Customers" and "Partners" in our CRM system as Accounts.
How we do it now:
We have a segment field "Small, medium, big"
Account Type field (Manual selection):
On Account entity, we have a field called "Account Type", which has values "Partner" and "Customers".
Lifecycle field (Based on workflow):
On top of that, we have another field "Lifecycle" which contains "Prospect, Onboarding, Existing, Churned"
Unknown is when we dont have any info at all, or if it has not ordered for more than 1000 days.
Prospect is if there is an opportunity on the account.
Onboarding is for "small and medium" segments, when it has had its first order. For "Big" it is first on Onboarding when we manually do it
Existing is for "small and medium" one year after it went into onboarding and for "Big" when we manually put it here.
Churned is if it has not ordered for a year.
This mixture of a lot of different fields (mix of customers and partner accounts), mix of lifestyle field and segment is confusing for us, as some is manual and some is automatic (workflows). Also we sometimes change segments of our customers, because people forget to set it etc.
So often we have a hard time answering very basic questions like "How much new business did we get last month".
In my ideal world I would like a very easy overview of:
1. Partners vs Customers
2. Prospects (Potential customers) vs. New Business (New customers) vs. Existing Business (Existing / Current customers) vs. Lost Business (Lost customers).
3. Small vs medium vs Big customers
What is best practise in this system? Right now everything is in one Account form and is confusing - and data is often not right as we have some manual processes, like segment, which is often forgotten.
thanks for sharing this with us.
My opinion is that you are facing challenges on requirements which are not very uncommon.
I believe the challenges appear also because there is not only one solution which fulfills your requirements. The ideal solution really depends on what your current needs are and what you are considering for the future / if the solution is scalable.
Based on my understanding on the details you have shared, allow me to express my thoughts/opinions your 3 points.
1. I believe many organizations use the account entity for different purposes, many though also split into different entities.
If you are thinking of separating your customers and partners into different entities, I believe one of the first questions you should consider is if creating a new "Partner" entity allows you to continue using the out of the box business logic of the system.
The account entity being a very central component of many core workflows of the system (Sales, Service, Marketing, Reporting etc..), does it make sense to your business to detach the partners from the native out of the box functionalities the system offers for the accounts?
2. This again is very specific to each organization's needs and is exactly the reason of the "XRM"-nature of the product itself. I believe your approach is not wrong, if that classification makes sense for your business.
3. Same as on point 2.
My recommendation would be to invest more efforts into ensuring process integrity. The fact that you feel you loose overview could be related that you do not trust the reporting / data / views as a result that naturally humans make mistakes.
The system offers plenty of technical capabilities to ensure you can rely on your processes (front end & back end validation, automated system jobs, plugins etc.)
At the end, it all comes down on how you use these capabilities to ensure that you can trust the data you are looking at.
Solution/Process design & integrity by automation & implementation of validation might be the first topics to have a look on.
I hope that helps
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