Where can I get the latest insights as to what changes and enhancements are coming down for Dynamics 365 CRM?
We maintain a video library on our website - check out the Dynamics 365 CRM Coming Soon tab.
Dynamics 365 Usability Enhancements
New Dynamics 365 Sales Mobile Experience
I have a client asking me what is difference between a free CRM system and Dynamics? Since free is always good - how do I provide him with guidance?
-- Phil, MSP
For getting started, the simple answer is that any CRM will do. A CRM system is like a young child. At first, the focus is just getting the child to talk and walk. Long term, however, you want them to mature, learning and do more. As your client moves to do more, mature with their CRM system, that is where a basic tool and more advance tool quickly separate.
My CFO is asking if our Dynamics CRM deployment was worth the cost. We are in year three of our use of Dynamics and I was not here for the decision to purchase. How do I respond?
-- Jack, New Sales Manager
Since you were not part of the decision process it will be difficult for you collect all of the deployment cost to build your case. I therefore suggest using a combination of the following approaches:
Consider not only the savings over what was in place before but what insights have been learned from using Dynamics that has caused you to reduced spending. For example, you have now been able to better measure the return for a specific marketing campaign and find that it’s not worth the resources.
Not only look at improved actuals, but also look at the speed of the sale flow. Is having a sales process spelled out in Dynamics 365 helping your team to move through the sales process faster? Does having a believable pipeline help account mangers better focus?
We are an IT Services company. I have a client who uses Dynamics 365 CRM - but they're really frustrated with the tool. I would like to help them but the whole CRM business model is not a good fit for us. I also don’t want to lose my relationship with the client by just passing them off to anyone. However, I know that if I don’t take action soon the client will go out on their own looking for help, which might cut me out altogether.
What options do I have?
A majority of CRM referrals that we get from our IT Managed Service partners are existing Dynamics 365 CRM users who are stuck and highly frustrated. They are not getting the results they expected, and your client’s problem can easily cause you grief.
We spend a good deal of resources generate leads for our sales team only to see that the leads are not being followed up. How do I get my CEO to get the sales and manger managers in the same room to make lead follow up a priority?
There are two primary reasons that lead follow up doesn’t happen. First, the leads are not what I would call Marketing Qualified. Second, there is not enough vision by the CEO, CSO and CMO into what is happening with leads, or better yet what is not happening.
Marketing Qualified Leads
Account managers will focus on efforts that put dollars in their pocket. As marketers we must recognize that is a truism. As such, marketing must make any leaded passed on an account manager as qualified. Marketing Qualified means that a lead meets the qualification you have for industry type, size, product and whatever sales has provided you as the top three items that a good lead must contain. And that you have included this information with the lead as well verifying the company name, website, and phone number.
I have a client with an older copy of Goldmine that they just have outgrown. I am afraid to outsource what I don’t know and risk the relationship.
Don’t be afraid to partner. Don’t be afraid to tell your client that CRM is not your specialty, however, you have the capability to bring in someone who is an expert. And together, we can work with you to provide the best possible solution.
Change is inevitable – but how do you keep evolving?
Bob, what are some of the key features added to Dynamics 365 Sales in the latest release?
I have picked out 3 features in the latest release that should get your attention.
Duplicate Detection – Enhanced Email Experience – Added PDF Capabilities
The feature overview video below, highlights new capabilities included in the latest update to Dynamics 365 Sales.
My account reps just don't prospect or even follow up on leads we provide! What can I do?
Dear Barb -
One of the challenges that we often see from a CEO is really trying to drive account managers to do prospecting and to reach out and follow up on leads.
A CRM system provides vision into what is happening, or not happening with leads provided to the account manager as well as vision of the sales VP and CEO.
You’ve heard that old saying “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”. I often hear managers complain that their CRM doesn’t work because they don’t have enough user acceptance. Well “leading a horse to water” is the same type of dilemma.
Two basic principles must be in place to achieve user acceptance of a CRM system.
What is the best way my customers can use CRM to be better Marketers?
It’s not hard to see why CRM data, made up of customers, prospects and influencers is the most important marketing asset. After all, how can a marketer be successful without the right data? And how can a marketer discover or fine tune a message without insight into behaviors and their service needs? But, keeping this data organized, current, and easily accessible for every relevant team member, throughout an organization, can still be a massive challenge.
A versatile, robust CRM system is still the best way to store, manage, and use critical customer data for sales AND marketing. However, many marketers who invest in a CRM system fail to fully capitalize on its marketing value.
Most CRM systems fail because upper management, IT, marketing, sales, customer service, and others who use the software do not establish clear, well-defined, measurable goals. Consequently, it can be difficult or impossible to determine the effectiveness of a CRM system.
This happens because CRM is often thought of as a technology solution for a company's business; however, CRM is a really a business solution.
Even if when your company deployed CRM you did not have defined measurable goals or had ill-defined goals, you can “mend" a failed Dynamics 365 CRM, in four simple steps.
My account managers have limited time and with so much distraction they often appear to not know what to focus on. How do I help them? -- James, Sales Manager
Sellers do have limited time, and in deciding how to focus many rely on guesswork or intuition. That leads to sub-par decisions and incomplete actions when interacting with customers or following a sales process. Here are 4 steps you can start taking today to help them improve their outcomes.
1. Cut anything that is not sales related.
When organizations assign or let account managers perform customer service tasks or get involved with marketing, they are providing a manager with the number one excuse for not selling.
Dear Bob -
My CEO is frustrated with the lack of progress the sales team appears to be making with the Dynamics CRM system we installed two years ago. How do I help her move the effort forward? I too must have an effective CRM with current customer and prospect data to meet my needs.
-- A Concerned Marketer
Dear Concerned Marketer -
I expect the frustration your CEO is experiencing with not achieving the expected value out of the Dynamics 365 CRM is around all ROI. The evidence I usually see includes: missed or no alignment between sales and marketing, an ineffective sales pipeline, data silos dependent on Excel files for marketing-sales-service, no one-view of the customer engagement, just to name a few.
You, with our help, can resolve this frustration for your CEO with a four-step exercise I have developed.
I just lost 45-minutes of my life, that I can’t get back, dealing with a dumb chatbot and then waiting for real person online to resolve a simple issue. What can I do not to put my customers through the same pain? -- Frustrated Bill
We have all encountered service bots that are not as smart as we would like. Well Microsoft's newest member of the Power Platform, Power Virtual Agents, looks like to be heading in right the direction for smarter Chatbots.
These bots feed off Dynamics CRM and the Common Data Platform, which opens up a whole lot more connections to other data sources. In addition, with the power of Microsoft’s AI behind the bots, these chatbots can learn how to improve.
Do you support other CRMs?
First, success with CRM has little to do with the software itself. It has to do with knowing and aligning a client’s business processes with the software selected. With any client our upfront discovery and analysis effort on a CRM project can be applied to most CRMs. Due to our approach - it is not about the technology, it is process and changing behaviors - we are able to work with clients who have other CRMs. After our work we will then help the client find a partner that best fits their needs.
I have a client who is a CFO and she is concerned that her sales team is rapidly becoming Zoom-Zombies on time-consuming internal web meetings. Isn’t there a way could help them see that they could be using our Dynamics 365CRM to help their team work better from home?
Meetings aren’t all bad – and can be a great way to stay socially connected. However, we know that in general internal meetings are:
What is Marketing Automation?
What is so special about Marketing Automation vs. continuing to drop bulk emails?
If you are concerned about the low click-rates of your bulk emails, or being seen as a spammer, or your messages always only “selling” this week’s special offer, then you might want to look beyond bulk emails and at marketing automation.
Generating leads and acquiring new customers is the lifeblood of every organization. Many organizations believe that satisfied customers and referrals are their best sources of leads. That’s certainly a sound principle and something to strive for but unless you’re measuring and tracking where your leads are coming from, this belief is anecdotal and little more than company lore.
We have been using a CRM for almost five years and I am still seeing sales users avoid it as much as possible. What can I do to help them recognize the value to them and for our growth? -- Amy, frustrated marketer
I am sure you have heard the saying – You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.
Your efforts need to be focused on the “What’s in it for them” approach. Package your training and communications on what the benefits are and productivity savings they get out of using Dynamics 365 CRM.
Today's CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is better than yesterday's because: (a) CRM systems such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM can now deliver greater productivity returns and (b) vendors' software usability is much improved. These advancements (and others) mean less time and lower costs to implement a CRM system. And the more people in a given company who use a CRM system translates to more benefits and a higher ROI on a CRM investment. Research notes that for every dollar a company invests in a CRM system, it earns $5.60.
But not everyone who has a CRM system is experiencing the expected return and, thus, some are even Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM haters. It may depend on how you choose and implement your CRM system. To help you get the most from your CRM, here are some common mistakes and ways to avoid them.
Want more and better leads? Of course you do!
The key to getting rock-solid sales leads is understanding your best lead sources – and how you can find more prospects just like your best customers. Customer relationship management software like Dynamics 365 for Sales / Dynamics CRM can help you:
If you’re in a sales management or executive position within your company, see if you can easily answer these three questions:
If your account reps could sell more, marketing could target better, and customer service was more responsive to key accounts, life would be great, wouldn't it? It may not be as hard as you think using CLV with Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM.
You’ve probably heard that it costs less to keep and grow an existing customer than to acquire a new one. And it’s true. But, for many organizations this truism seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as companies still spend a large amount of their time and resources on chasing after new, potential clients. Even then, their efforts can be fragmented and the results less than desirable. This is hard to understand because keeping and growing current customers, and finding new ones like them does not have to be hard.
What an interesting week we had. It just underscored how important it is to approach working Dynamics 365/CRM from a process and change management vantage point rather than as a technology. We saw the following:
Most customers who have, or are looking to purchase a Dynamics CRM system are looking to achieve basic results which boil down to two frequently stated objectives: retain current customers and acquire new customers to power growth. Both of these objectives rely on extensive understanding of customer relationships grounded in business data such as account details, sales history, end use information, industry assessment, response to campaigns, etc. If the business does not win through the transformation of time-sensitive management of this data to systems that provide not more data, but useful information and insights, they will lose to competition who are leading in this strategic approach. If your customers are not moving to this new business reality, then they are falling behind.
Marketing Automation software serves a company's marketing department beyond what a Dyanmics CRM system does, and a CRM system serves sales and other departments. When integrated, Marketing Automation and Dynamics 365 CRM tools enhance each other, resulting in even more and better-qualified leads and, ultimately, more sales and satisfied customers. If you have one of these productivity tools, here are reasons to have both, in a single, centrally located, easy to use, integrated system.