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.
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.
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:
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 CRM system does, and a CRM system serves sales and other departments. When integrated, Marketing Automation and 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.
How many opportunities in your world today are decided by a single decision-maker? I suggest that many are not. It also is highly likely that the sales process of your clients is running the same as they work to build a trusting relationship with multiple decision-makers or decision influencers. A recent study found that there are 6.8 people involved in the average B2B buying decision, yet a LinkedIn study reported that 78% of sales professional are connected to either only one person or not connected at all into accounts they’re trying to close. Are account managers communicating with the other 5+ people in the decision-making process? Are they helping all the people involved get the background information they need to help make an informed decision?
Most software ROI calculations are built off of two tenets: sell more or cut cost. The problem that most organizations run into is that they have no solid numbers to address either; “sell how much more”, or “save how much time” are elusive concepts.
I suggest that there are three fundamental business objectives that sales, marketing and service must focus on: find more customers like our best ones, keep the ones we want, and increase profitable transactions. The way to justify a CRM system is to start by asking: "What is the cost of inaction in effectively supporting and measuring progress associated with these three fundamental business objectives?"
The most fundamental requirement for growing a business is having sound sales processes that can be tracked, measured, and audited. Such processes must be written down and followed closely, not shared through word-of-mouth like an urban legend. A documented sales processes allow your clients to create a repeatable blueprint for success.
So where do they keep such data and monitor their results?
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.
Leads can come in many ways; website, referral, trade show, direct mail, email drip and even an account rep prospecting. But if we don’t know the sales return from each or the cost of each, how do we evaluate where to invest a limited marketing budget?
The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the Internet of Things (IOT) world is steadily moving into the sales, marketing and customer service applications. Sentiment and emotion analytics market is set to explode, from $123 million currently to $3.8 billion by 2025 according to a report from the research firm Tractica. (Customer Relationship Management, May 2018).
The report states that the top three use cases for sentiment and emotion analysis will be customer experience, product and market research, and customer service. An example offered of affecting the customer experience would changing the in-store LDC displays in response to the emotions detected on the faces of shoppers walking the aisles.
Some B2B companies run their sales and marketing activities with Excel because it is easy to use and well known by employees. However, to more efficiently manage and profitably use data, other B2Bs use a relational-based CRM (Customer Relationship Management). A CRM consists of a database and a user-interface with which you can easily create, update, manage, process, share, and report data across the organization.
While Excel spreadsheets are great calculators, they are not good as a shareable database. That is because, in part, Excel has no relational tables and limited interface capabilities. Excel becomes cumbersome and difficult to manage with thousands of items.
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.
I am often asked by managers how to improve the user acceptance of their CRM system. In the eyes of the questioner, the answer lies in how to encourage, or even make, users use the platform more, in order for the organization to achieve their established expected benefits of investing in CRM. That’s the wrong focus. The issue is not how do we get the user to use CRM, but rather, is the CRM itself designed to be useful to the user so that they want to use it. Although the difference is subtle it should not be overlooked.
I was reminded this week of how much fun this business can be working with clients. As I met with three different clients on their Dynamics Roadmap for the next few quarters, it reminded me of why I am in this business of strengthening customer engagement.
Each of the clients has been with us for some time and each understand the value of CRM to the organization’s profitability and growth. However, it was good to hear that they also view CRM as a tool to strengthen a deeper relationship with their clients for all the various touch points that they have with the client. CRM is a tool to guide existing and new users in their behaviors while getting everyone in marketing, sales and customer service on the same page with the client needs.
Experience unprecedented productivity by seeing exactly where your best customers and prospects are located in relation to where you are calling, all without leaving CRM.
InfoGrow recently released its most popular CRM mapping solution with enhanced desktop functionality and new mobile capabilities, enabling account managers to schedule more appointments and make more sales.
A well-executed Microsoft Dynamics Implementation will change the way you do business by transforming your relationships with prospects and customers, and by refining and revamping internal processes. But for Dynamics CRM to achieve its full potential, it must be embraced and actively used by all stakeholders.
Resisting change and clinging to what’s familiar are part of human nature, even when such resistance works against us. What can you do to improve user adoption and ensure CRM success? Use value selling techniques to convey CRM’s worth to employees, just like you do with prospects and customers!
Here’s the beauty of integrating Dynamics 365 for Sales with a CRM mapping application: raw CRM data comes alive on an interactive map so you can quickly visualize what would have taken hours to analyze in a spreadsheet.
What value does this have for sales reps? It helps them see exactly where their best customers and prospects are located so they can plan more-productive sales trips and close more sales, all without leaving CRM.
A Tiered Approach to Dynamics CRM
Another way of looking at the issue of overhauling your Dynamics 365 CRM is a three-tiered approach. The first tier is technical. How well is Microsoft CRM actually working in your technical environment? This is often the lowest tier because with most well established CRM systems the technical side is a non-issue overall. However, one spot of concern at this level does linger. How well is Dynamics CRM aligned, technically speaking, with your mobile strategy? Do you have a mobile strategy? Or are your users beating you up to make Microsoft Dynamics CRM work with their tablet or cell phone du jour?
Marketing Automation's False Start
At first sight, marketing automation is a very tempting and enticing tool. A platform that gives you the ability to reach your best prospects with the right message, at the right time, without manually having to kill yourself to do it! Seems like a no-brainer, so you sign up especially when linked to Dynamics 365 CRM. However, once the system gets installed and after a few email blasts are sent, a landing page is built, and the results come back mixed (and they often do), one of two things usually happens:
I have written before regarding the sales growth value of getting your sales and marketing teams on the same page. This is an effort that can’t be left up to sales or marketing alone, it is too important to the organization and must be monitored at the CEO level.
InsideView does an excellence job in the following infographic to highlight what current leaders are doing to get things right. Point number 6 – “Align on Pipeline” is the element I like the most. By emphasizing the sales pipeline you should expect alignment on lead and nurturing campaigns throughout the sales process. This approach will help drive greater cohesion between both team leaders, as well as provide account reps with advanced insight into the contribution of the marketing team.