There’s a simple, memorable, and infinitely useful CRM strategy model that will help any certification organization or association get the most out of its CRM software investment. Before I outline that model and unpack how your team can put it into practice, I want to stress how important this work is for our crew at Cobalt.

Helping you do more for your end-users while improving your team’s core processes and efficiencies is what we’re always pursuing. The certification management software, association management software, and CRM systems we’ve built to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics 365 all serve that ultimate goal. Today I want to paint a clear picture of your CRM solution’s core abilities to help your organization and business intelligence insights.

Your Ideal CRM Strategy: The Short Version

After your team has gone through the vendor selection process and Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation, what should you do next? Here’s a helpful way to boil down the ideal CRM lifecycle model and strategy your team should use:

  1. Configure your CRM to collect the right data about your end-users and interactions with them.
  2. Analyze the data your CRM collects to surface opportunities and actionable insights.
  3. Capitalize on those opportunities and insights: make adjustments to your communications, programs, and other key interactions with the people you serve … and feed all of that data back into your CRM.
  4. Repeat, repeat, and repeat.

Cobalt has been working in your industry for decades. We have authentic, trusted partnerships with organizations that go way back. So, we know there’s a good chance that you understand — and maybe even already knew about — the essential CRM lifecycle. If so, but you’ve got a breakdown somewhere along the cycle, there could be a number of things causing that. Our team can help you sort out the problem(s) and make a solid plan for improvements as a part of one of our product showcases. 

If your certification organization still needs to make the transition to a more robust CRM platform and set of tools, I can quickly give you a glimpse now of the difference it can make. And, in just a minute I’ll share a story that demonstrates what I’m talking about from one of our certification partners.

The Benefits of This CRM Strategy: Flexibility, Productivity, and Responsiveness

One of the things each of the benefits I’m about to describe has in common is flexibility. We’ve all seen in dramatic ways through the pandemic how critical it is to adjust and pivot quickly. With the right CRM platform and integrated tools, you’ll be able to do that.

Adding New Certification Programs

If you want to add a new certification to the roster of what your organization offers, that process can drag out and get expensive if your CRM vendor needs to step in for some additional customization work. Many of our certification clients don’t even need to call our team for a change like this — even if they are adding multiple certifications. Also, the open API backbone of Microsoft Dynamics 365 makes new additions and integrations with best in class tools doable and even painless for in-house IT teams.

Finding the Right Business Intelligence

How are your applications and renewal rates trending? What kinds of certification maintenance opportunities are your users taking advantage of right now? When your CRM lifecycle is fully functional and your CRM is configured to capture the right data, you’ll be able to answer questions like these and make adjustments quickly, with confidence.

Are you seeing a spike in certain classes you offer? Double down on promotions for those classes. Did you boost your efforts to recruit users for a course and it’s still not taking off? Now you know they aren’t interested and you can reallocate those efforts.

What about location data? The next time you’re planning an in-person conference, you’ll need to pick a city to host it. Use what you’ve learned about clusters of your potential attendees to pick your conference location. The list of questions and ways to take advantage of what you’ve learned is endless.

Establishing New Revenue Streams

Almost every client we talked to last year was interested in finding creative, new ways to supplement their existing revenue streams. With a flexible system in place, that’s a much more attainable goal. Here’s some firsthand insight into how this has worked with micro-credentials for one of our certification partners.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) has been using Cobalt Engagement Dynamics since 2013 to run their credentialing program operations. PTCB’s primary credential is the Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT). This credential is accepted in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico. PTCB CPhTs work across the US in a wide range of pharmacy practice settings. PTCB is constantly monitoring trends in their industry and is always working to meet the needs of their credential holders and the organizations that employ them. In 2017, PTCB introduced a new specialty certification, the Certified Compounded Sterile Preparation Technician® (CSPT®). This new credential recognizes technicians who are responsible for sterile compounding, the preparation of medications in a sterile environment to prevent contamination, and was developed to meet demand from the market. To further diversify their offerings and provide additional opportunities for recognition, PTCB developed four new specialty certificates as well as an advanced certification, the Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT-Adv), which is a credential for CPhTs who hold four specialty certificates, or three plus the CSPT certification. In response to the increased demand for vaccination specialists, PTCB launched its new Immunization Administration Certificate early in 2021.

Cobalt’s team has worked side-by-side with PTCB to implement the systems and processes behind these new programs. The flexibility of Cobalt Engagement Dynamics and the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform has played a huge role in the success of these efforts. The ability to respond quickly to make sure PTCB has what they need to succeed can be best demonstrated by how quickly PTCB was able to respond to the global pandemic and pivot to online proctored testing when in-person testing centers were no longer an option. Cobalt worked with PTCB’s testing partner, Pearson VUE, to make these capabilities available by early May 2020.

I love that PTCB was already in a position to make strong, effective changes quickly when everything took unexpected turns last year. We know it’s the kind of support our Cobalt solutions and Dynamics 365 can provide any business in any given year, but the benefits recently have been tremendous.