Back in March 2014 we had a session at CRMUG UK called “X(RM) Factor”, in which several speakers gave a short “audition” presentation about a tool or add-on that they find very useful in their day-to-day work with CRM. The audience then voted on which one they most wanted to hear more about. The top two speakers went through the the “finals” where they gave a short demonstration to showcase their chosen solution. The audience voted again, and we had our “XRM Factor” winner.
The first one was won by John Grace of North52 with a presentation about Sonoma’s Universal Search add-on. We had another great XRM Factor contest at the European Congress earlier this year, chaired by Sarah Critchley, this time the overall winner was Adam Vero with a showcase of XRM Toolbox.
We are planning two more of these sessions, one at CRMUG Summit 2016 in Tampa (on Thursday 13th at 4:30 pm), one at the next UK user group meeting on November 23rd.
XRM tools could be anything that helps make your CRM system better for users, or makes it easier to build or troubleshoot. Free tools are always popular with the audience, but if you have a favourite paid-for add-on then feel free to tell us about that too. In previous sessions we had a great range of tools on show, such as:
- Sonoma’s Universal Search (this was before 2015 made that an OOB feature)
- Fiddler2 – a great tool for troubleshooting, testing and development
- XRM Toolbox, a favourite of CRM customisers everywhere
- Azuqua – connecting cloud apps to CRM without MSE
- Boomerang – an add-on for sending SMS messages from CRM, and processing replies
- LinqPad, PowerBI, Ribbon Workbench, and several other tools and solutions
XRM Factor Rules
To keep things as fair as possible, we have a few rules:
- Speakers can choose anything to talk about, except any tool they (or their company) have been involved in creating, even if it is free.
- First come, first served. If someone else is already talking about the tool you want to cover, you need to talk them out of it or choose something else.
- All speakers will have the same amount of time for their first presentation. Depending on numbers participating, this is between 3 and 5 minutes (decided in advance).
- All speakers will use the same slides for the start of their presentation to make sure the audience get the same basic facts – what is it, where to get it, how much it costs. After those, they can use any slides, screenshots etc. (Demo is not really practical in the time available). These slides MUST be sent to the chairperson at least 3 days in advance so they can be collected into a single slide deck in a pre-selected random order.
- The two finalists will have the same amount of time as each other, probably 15 to 20 minutes (again, decided before the day).
- The two final presentations can be in any format. Demos are ideal, but some supporting information in slides can be helpful.
- In the event of a tie, the chair will make a final decision.
Do you have a tool you could not live without? Something you use every day when working on CRM? Or something you have installed to give your users some feature they really need?
Could you present a 5-minute pitch to the audience about why your tool is worth them knowing more about?
Please get in touch at CRMUG-at-meteorit.co.uk and tell us what tool you would like to share with the community.
Why XRM Factor?
Why have multiple presenters talking for only a short time, rather than just giving everyone 30 minutes to talk about their favourite tool?
When we first did this in the UK, it came out of several things we were trying to address to give our members the maximum value out of every meeting. We have limited time in a day, so we simply can’t cover many tools if they have 20 minutes each, we could maybe do 2 or three at a given meeting. Our audience will also be giving up their time, so it is only fair that they get some say in what that time is spent on. But finding a way to generate an agenda by voting or a survey was difficult. In a brainstorming session (in the pub after a meeting, naturally), one member came up with the idea of something like “speed dating” – you spend a short time with lots of people, then get to write down who you might like to spend more time with later. We switched the metaphor from speed dating to a talent show to avoid any unwanted overtones, and “X(RM) Factor” was born.
Some tools will always be a little bit “niche” and only apply to a small number of customers, and probably not get onto any shortlist for a whole session. With the XRM Factor format, we could give them some “air time” and even if they did not get through to the final, people perhaps had awareness of something they had not previously heard of, and could also approach the speaker to ask them more about it (especially with the rule that you can’t present something you helped to write, so our mantra of “by users, for users” means no-one is going to get a hard sell if they ask more questions).
It was also good for some of our speakers – we were asking a lot less of them than if they had to prepare a 30 minute talk about something. It also meant some of them who were speaking for the first time could do this with less nervousness, and just get through the 4 minutes they were given. Several of them have come back at a later date to present longer talks on a range of subjects.