As a national sales manager, I have a full-time job already. While recognizing that using a CRM is an evolving tool where users need to be given direction and and behaviors that I want must be monitored, I am just not finding the additional time in my day. I tend to only focus on how Dynamics is working just before each quarterly sales meeting. In that sales meeting, I bark out directives on how we are going to start using the tool more effectively. What should I be doing different?
Your first step is to change your mindset about how you and your team use Dynamics CRM. It is not an add-on task for you or your team. Rather it is your primary sales process and management tool.
We deployed Dynamics CRM about four years ago, and frankly I don’t think we have moved the needle in the last few years to get enough value out of the tool. What should we be doing different?
Deploying and using CRM is a moving through a maturity process. The first step is understanding that you need a phased plan – a roadmap. Your plan must have measurable milestones. With everyone in the organization having the ability to visualize the key KPIs en route, and make adjustments in the roadmap as needed.
Is there a way in Dynamics 365 connect a survey tool to our CRM contact data and use a workflow to send out an email survey in follow-up to customer service calls?
- Mary Ann
Dear Mary Ann,
Absolutely, in fact there is a better way. Your Dynamics 365 Online application delivers with a module that you can use not only for case follow-up but other surveys that will help you understand customers’ needs and if you are measuring up to their expectations. Dynamics 365 Customer Voice is a much overlooked, but highly effective application that ingrates with your CRM contact data.
What questions can you use to help determine if a client needs their CRM Refreshed?
A good starting point for a conversation is asking the CEO/Owner how well is their current CRM system telling them:
Covid-19 has amplified inequalities in our communities and around the world. As the demand for nonprofit services grows significantly, resources and funding are tightening up. For many nonprofits, there has never been more pressure to find ways to do more with less – increase the scale of your operations, improve efficiency, and protect your beneficiaries’ and donors’ data. During a period when many organizations are still struggling to overcome the challenges of the pandemic, some cloud providers are reducing their cloud grant for nonprofits. For example, AWS is currently offering $1,000 (USD) in cloud grants, down from $2,000 (USD).
Microsoft is positioned to play an important role in addressing this pressure and unlocking new opportunities for nonprofits. Microsoft offers a $3,500 USD annual Azure grant to eligible nonprofit organizations – currently more than 3x what AWS offers. Microsoft Azure helps nonprofit organizations reduce costs, manage infrastructure constraints, enhance your organization’s security posture, and scale up or down based on your needs.
In addition to the grant, there are several tools and offers that can help nonprofits make the most of Azure:
Get started with your Azure grant today.
I need to flush out the details of our customer's sales process with their team, how do I get started?
Jack, National Sales Manager
It is great that you are thinking about getting everyone rowing in the same direction. Establishing sales stages and writing out clear definitions of what is expected to happen in each stage provides everyone with a common language for discussing opportunities in the pipeline. It will cut down deals getting lost and account managers “blowing smoke” about closing statuses.
We have been so focused on getting Dynamics right for our sales process that we have neglected our service side. What is the best way to bring their calls, request for returns and quality issues, tracked in a separate system, into a company-wide view of the customer?
It’s good you are thinking along the lines that there is value in having one-view of your relationship with a customer. Too often I see account managers needing to chase down customer services issues before a client call, or that service is fixing an old product, or worse yet, a competitive product, that if sales knew they would want to replace
Our clients don’t have time to waste in today’s fast-paced marketplace. To stay agile, with your help, they are adopting new business models, enabling remote work, and looking to you for solutions.
You can help their sales and marketing teams optimize processes, transform insights, and enable remote collaboration with Dynamic 365 CRM and InfoGrow’s guidance.
What Customers Are Saying
New capabilities available now in Microsoft Fundraising and Engagement
I am excited to share new capabilities available now in Fundraising and Engagement, part of Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofit, to help nonprofits across the globe exceed their fundraising goals, serve more beneficiaries, and deliver more effective programs.
I keep seeing notices about Power Apps and really not grasping what value they might add to our use of Dynamics. Might you explain and provide some examples?
Microsoft has provided a suite of apps, services, connectors and data platform that all make up the bundle called PowerApps. These apps are part of the Microsoft Power Platform, that includes PowerApps, Power BI and Power Automate.
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.
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:
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 in it for them” is all about giving the end-user what they need to be more productive. Dynamics 365 CRM can’t be laid on as more work. It must cut down work and make it easier for the end-user to do their job. You reduce their daily tasks and deliver in one place the information that they have been scrambling to collect from other sources. You achieve this first principle and you will have a CRM system that can’t be pried away from users in six months.
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.
Some examples of smarter bots that might apply to your business:
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.