Posted: 12/17/2013
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Crowe Horwath Public Accounting Company Centralizes Sales Pipeline, Improves Insight and Adoption

After nearly doubling in revenue over the previous three years, the Crowe Horwath LLP Performance Consulting Group set out to do it again in 2012, with a goal to grow annual revenues to U.S.$100 million by 2015. For the company’s Performance Consulting Group, supporting these ambitious goals meant keeping a careful eye on the sales pipeline.

* We chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM over because it fit with our internal IT roadmap…. It also gave us the ability to deploy the solution in a partner-hosted data center, so we could meet the security requirements of our industry. *

Dave Keever
Crowe Horwath LLP

Unfortunately, few employees in the group were diligent about using the aging Onyx system to track sales activities, which rendered the group’s sales database incomplete and pipeline reports potentially inaccurate. The 15-year-old Onyx application posed other challenges, but low adoption among the Performance Consulting staff had the potential to thwart the group’s growth plans.

Getting employees to embrace the customer relationship management (CRM) tools was critical to establishing a comprehensive view into sales and to operating more efficiently and strategically. Dave Keever, Principal at Crowe, recalls the realization that hitting the targets might depend on deploying a new CRM system. “To support growth, we need to make CRM ubiquitous,” says Keever. “But with Onyx, we had poor user adoption. We were using only 200 of our 1,100 licenses, in part because the solution didn’t integrate with Microsoft Outlook or provide a similar user experience.”

Choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM

When Keever presented the business case for the new CRM system to Crowe executives, the project’s scope soon expanded to span the entire firm. The choice came down to Microsoft Dynamics CRM and, with the Microsoft Dynamics offering ultimately winning out.

“We chose Microsoft Dynamics CRM over because it fit with our internal IT roadmap, including integration with our Microsoft Outlook, SharePoint Server, and SQL Server,” says Keever. “It also gave us the ability to deploy the solution in a partner-hosted data center, so we could meet the security requirements imposed by our partners in the banking industry.”

Beginning the project in September 2012, Crowe went live with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 10 months later, though the time frame included a four-month hiatus from the project to focus on tax season and year-end auditing.

Now, with Microsoft Dynamics CRM in place for four months, Crowe provides robust sales management capabilities to many of its employees through the familiar Microsoft Outlook interface, which is native to the system.

Through Outlook, Crowe employees associate email messages, notes, and contacts to an account in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, which helps the company establish a 360-degree view into sales activities. To make it even easier for field sales staff to update their accounts and access real-time customer data, the company deployed a mobile app that enables people to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM from their mobile devices.


Although still relatively new to the solution, Crowe has seen marked improvements in user adoption versus its previous system. The company also now benefits from a dramatic increase of insight into the sales pipeline while easing reporting and marketing.

* With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, I can run a report I can trust in a matter of seconds. *

Dave Keever

Says Keever, “Both the greater visibility into our sales pipeline and the increase in number of users are contributing to our return on investment. We expect the payback period to be between nine and 15 months.”

Boost Adoption

Today, 800 market-facing consulting employees use the system. Keever notes that Outlook integration was an important facet of the widespread adoption. Because of their familiarity with Outlook, staff members were able to achieve proficiency with Microsoft Dynamics CRM in about one week. On the Onyx system, this took about one month.

Improve Insight, Reporting, Marketing

With almost all sales and marketing information on one system, Crowe has the insight it needs without having to cobble together reports. “Reporting on the full sales pipeline for the company used to require an overnight batch process—and even then, the data wasn’t comprehensive,” says Keever. “With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, I can run a report I can trust in a matter of seconds.”

And in terms of marketing, Keever says, “We now have full visibility of our marketing efforts around a contact or account. We can see, for example, if a customer or prospect opts in on an email or has downloaded any of our white papers, and we can then discuss that with them in a meeting. Before Microsoft Dynamics CRM, it could take a day or two to find out about an account and the surrounding marketing activities. Now, it takes seconds.”

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published December 2013

Solution Overview

Organization Size: 3000 employees

  • Increase user adoption 444%
  • Ease reporting
  • Improve insight into sales
  • Streamline marketing
  • Achieve payback in 9 to 15 months

Software and Services
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Vertical Industries
Accounting & Consulting

United States