Melissa: Hi there, everyone, and welcome. My name is Melissa Bergen. I’m a marketing specialist here at Encore. Also joining me is Nicole Chorney, an account executive of Encore.
Today, we’re going to hear from Tracey Santos, another account exec at Encore. Tracey will interview a customer of ours, Diane Taylor, from Synergy Credit Union. Diane is going to tell us about the value she saw from attending Summit last year and why she’s excited to be going again this year.
So, if you’re not familiar with the Summit Conference, it’s the premiere Microsoft Dynamics User Group Event. This year, it’s being held in Nashville from October 10th to the 13th. The Encore team will be there in our still fairly newly-rebranded colors, purple and pink, so make sure to look for us around the conference and the Expo Hall, Booth Number 347.
I attended Summit last year in Tampa for the first time, and you can’t really imagine what the entire experience is like just by learning about it online. The amount of Dynamics users and experts there to meet with and learn from is amazing. There are so many opportunities for learning that you really have to plan out where to be to try and take advantage of it all. The more team members from your business that can come, the more chances you’ll have to take in the pre-conference academy courses, the breakout sessions, the speakers, and the hands-on labs.
A couple notes. Advanced pricing for Summit Registration ends on September 7th, so you’ll want to register and start planning now. At the end of the webinar today, we’ll let you in on a special code we’ve been provided by Summit to get 10% off the cost of registration.
So, I have Nicole with me here. I’ll just un-mute her. So, Nicole, you are going to Summit for the first time this October. Are you excited?
Nicole: I am beyond excited to attend Summit this year. I’m actually, coincidentally, coming up on my one-year anniversary with Encore on August 2nd. And, actually, one of the first tasks I remember, that was kind of handed down to me in my first couple weeks, was to really promote Summit. And, I mean, it wasn’t very difficult to sell everyone on an opportunity to improve their skills and knowledge in Microsoft Dynamics. And, of course, the fact that it was in Florida was really just the cherry on top.
But I really remember hearing the hype, even internally, just because, last year, we actually had the largest Encore group attend, just due to our new rebranding. And I just remember thinking about how awesome it would be to attend. And so, lucky for me, this is the year I get to go, so, yeah, I’m really excited.
Melissa: Yeah. Awesome. So, what are you most looking forward to when you go this year?
Nicole: I would say, just being fairly new to the Microsoft Dynamics line of products, I’m just really excited to be immersed in all the Dynamics culture, and just looking forward to attending all the sessions in the Expo. So, my goal is basically just to come back with even stronger skills that enable me to represent the products we know and love, even better than before.
Melissa: That’s great. Okay, well, you are going to have a fantastic time. Okay. So, now, we’ll hear from Tracey and Diane.
Tracey: Now, I’ve never been before. I’ve been to Convergence, and Diane has attended before and had some really great, great experiences. So, we thought, well, we would do a bit of an interview with Diane today to give you some background actually coming from a customer’s perspective about Summit, in general.
So, Diane, maybe you can introduce yourself. You’d probably do a better job than I would. So, I know I’m Tracey from Encore, account executive, and, today, with me is Diane Taylor.
Diane: Hi, everyone. My name is Diane Taylor, as Tracy said. I’m with Synergy Credit Union, out of Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, and I am our CRM project lead manager. So, my role really entails engaging users at Synergy, gaining adoption, and getting trainee note, figuring out the next steps with where we’re going with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and just getting our organization to get the most value out of Dynamics that we can.
Tracey: Great, fantastic. All right. Well, let’s get started with our questions.
Tracey: So, Diane, how did you ultimately decide that investing in Summit Conference was right for you personally and also for your business?
Diane: Well, you know, we had actually never, ever heard of Summit until Encore sent us a bit of an email saying, you know, “This is coming up. It would be of great value.” So I did a little more research. We were, at that point…that was last fall. We were very new to CRM. We had just launched in the summer. So we knew, as an organization, we had a lot to learn in order to maintain a CRM internally. At that point in time, Encore had been helping us every step of the way, and we knew, at some point, we had to let go of Encore’s hand and try this on our own. So, reading the description of the conference, we thought it was right for the organization to get a little bit of knowledge internally. And then, for me personally, I was really excited to go, again, just to gain the knowledge of CRM, maybe grow in the career path that I’m in, and continue what I’m doing here at Synergy.
Tracey: Fantastic. What did you expect to gain from going to Summit before you went?
Diane: It’s actually really funny. I looked back a couple weeks ago when I was getting my training request form ready for this year’s Summit, and looked at my comments from last year, and really my comments were around, “I expected to learn a little bit on reporting, maybe a little bit of the admin side.” I didn’t have a whole lot of expectation except to meet some vendors and learn about what else we could integrate with CRM. So, that was my whole goal going into Summit last year.
Tracey: Great. I’m glad you did some preparation. That’s fantastic. So, how did this differ from your actual experience?
Diane: Well, I did meet absolutely every one of those goals, but so much more. Summit was so much more than I could’ve imagined, even just reading it. Reading the description and users’ comments about your task, I was excited by it. I knew it was going to be big and a lot of information, but what I gained, when I was in Tampa for those five, six days is almost hard to put in words. I gained some knowledge on the admin side. I met so, so many people that were willing to help and willing to talk about where we were in the CRM journey and what their experiences were. Just learning through conversation was huge when I was at Summit. The number of sessions and things that I learned, absolutely invaluable coming back and being able to implement that. And Synergy now has a fairly strong CRM admin team who can maintain and continue on the program internally.
Tracey: That’s really great to hear. Please share the best part or parts of the conference.
Diane: Oh, man, it’s really hard to just pick one. There is so many things. As I talk about Summit to other people, there’s so many things, and depending on where you’re at with your product, CRM, for us specifically, the parts are probably different. The conference specifically had a number of sessions, from leadership, to actual technical, getting in and amending the system, and making changes. Those were really great.
My favorite part of the conference, though, was hands-on labs. So, they have computer labs set up. You can go in. You can play around with different scenarios. There’s an expert user there to help you through in a test environment and just play with some of those scenarios that you’re maybe wanting to look at implementing when you get back home.
Diane: There’s also, before the Summit, is a pre-academy. So, if I were to look at the entire week, the pre-academy classes, to me, were the most valuable to me personally and to our organization. It was three days of sessions that could be one-day sessions or half-day sessions. And, being new to CRM, it really gave us that time to focus compared to a one-hour session at conference. So, the pre-academy, to me, it’s an extra cost on top of the conference but worth every penny.
Tracey: Great. So, Diane, how do you think your Summit experience this year will be different?
Diane: Well, of course, a year later, our focus as an organization is a little different. We’re looking at more specific customizations. We know what kind of workflows we want to get through, some different troubleshooting techniques that maybe we want some advice on. So looking at the session descriptions for this year, I wish I can attend them all because they all look so good. But the sessions will probably be more focused and technical rather than the overall adoption and leadership-type sessions that I was in last year.
Tracey: That’s great. Great feedback.
Diane: And then, I’m also…so my experience will be a little different because I’m also presenting at Summit this year.
Tracey: Oh, how exciting.
Diane: Super-excited, a little nervous. But it’s going to be so awesome, and that really is what I love so much about Summit, is it’s users helping users. So, when you’re going to a session, you know it’s not someone trying to sell you something. It is someone speaking to you from their own experiences and willing to share their experiences so that you can go home and do better with your program.
Tracey: Great. Would you encourage other Dynamics users to go, and why?
Diane: Absolutely. I think it’s a no-brainer, really. The value that we’ve got, the knowledge we got, and most importantly, the connections that I made with people at Summit have really helped us take our CRM to where it is today, and it wouldn’t be without Summit that we’ve done that.
Tracey: That’s great to hear. Would you encourage other users to become members of the Dynamics User Groups?
Diane: Again, absolutely. I hadn’t actually heard of the User Groups, CRMUG, in particular, for us, until we got talking about going to Summit last year. And by becoming a member, you get a discount on the conference price, so that’s really the whole reason we became a member, and thinking that was probably the value we were getting out of being a member of the user group.
What I learned at Summit was how much the user groups had to offer, online courses, user forums, recorded webinars, live webinars. There was just so much you could access to be able to help you through your day-to-day. So when I came home, I did start using the User Groups more and more and, absolutely, becoming a member was one of the best things we could’ve done.
Tracey: Great. Well, you’ve kind of answered our last question there. Definitely, being a member and attending those events like Summit are invaluable. Another part of Summit is ability to have that exposure to other product lines. So, for example, being a user of one of those product lines but having that ability to go in and sit in some other sessions for information purposes if you’re looking at expanding your Microsoft Dynamics solution. And that whole face-to-face component of it, that’s the part I really love about all of these conferences. And the value that they add is that you’re absolutely right, Diane, you’re getting to meet someone else who’s gone through the same experience or is going through the same experience as you have, and being able to share that information. And what a great accomplishment to be able to present. I’m really excited to go and watch your session, and, again, you’re going to be adding so much value to that whole community.
I had a customer send me an email asking, “You know, I really want to go, and, you know, I need to be able to build that kind of business case so that I can get approval to go with that.” And there are so many, many components of Summit, you know, the sessions themselves, those hands-on labs, the expo floor, the ability to meet other people, users just like yourself that have gone through similar situations, you’re absolutely right, echoing your comments from earlier in the sessions, is that you just can’t put value on it. It pays back. There’s definitely a high ROI in investing in Summit, for sure.
Diane: Absolutely. I can’t say enough, and I talk to so many people in my role about Summit. And I just can’t say enough about Summit, and, specifically, Encore. When I was there last year, I was new to CRM. I was new to Summit, and the Encore team that was at Summit was so helpful in guiding us, as far as which sessions might be best to meet our goals, helping us find vendors in the expo hall that we were wanting to talk to for different solutions, so again, having that team there and helping us along was absolutely awesome.
Tracey: Fantastic, great. Well, I really appreciate you joining us today on this call and I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of Encore customers that are going to be very eager to join us down at Summit. And I look forward to joining you there…
Diane: And I hope so. I…
Tracey: …in a short few months. It’s just around the corner.
Diane: Absolutely. It’s going to be awesome, and I’m super excited to be there.
Tracey: Great. Well, thank you very much.
Diane: Thanks, Tracey.
Melissa: And we wanted to talk to you a little bit about Encore Care, so that’s our new managed support services for Dynamics GP and NAV. So I’ll be sending a link for that.
And some upcoming webinars we have going on, so we’re going to do a demo on Power BI on August 9th. Going to do a deeper dive into Summit, September 12th, so leading up to the conference, and a look into Office 365 in October 28th. So make sure to check out the Encore blog. If you want to stay up-to-date on everything, that’s the place to go. And Diane, our star for the day, wrote a really great article for the CRMUG community site, so I’m going to include a link for that as well.
So, thank you, everybody, and take care.
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