To say there is wide choice in CRM software is an understatement. The CRM market has seen huge growth in recent years, with numerous new players bursting onto the scene, as businesses level up their tech arsenal in this rapidly evolving digital world. Many of you reading will likely agree that CRM software is no longer a nice to have, but a critical tool in today’s digital and data-driven world. It can be the key to success if selected and applied correctly. However, it’s also a significant investment in time, money and people, so implementing any CRM, whether it’s an off-the-shelf solution or a customer-built system like Dynamics 365, it’s a job that you want to get right!
Dynamics 365 as a CRM solution
Microsoft has been involved in the world of CRM since early 2003 and has been evolving its online CRM offering (Dynamics 365) ever since. It is now widely seen as one of the slickest and easiest to use cloud CRM products on the market. Since it integrates seamlessly with Office 365 and other Microsoft products, Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform is consistently placed amongst other big players in the market, holding its own against the likes of Sale Force, HubSpot and Zoho. But what makes Dynamic 365 different?
When evaluating any CRM software solution, it makes sense to assess them on specific features and benefits. You’ll be looking for a software solution that helps you manage your sales function and sales funnel more effectively, so features that help your team work more efficiently are paramount.
Is Dynamics 365 a good sales CRM?
With Dynamics 365 for Sales, your sales team will have every tool they need to take control of their sales pipeline. With full pipeline visibility, they can nurture their leads and drive productivity. And thanks to seamless integration their monotonous admin tasks can be automated, removing that burden and freeing up their time to focus on activity that generates sales. A universal frustration of the sales team is that they get bogged down doing the paperwork and admin instead of getting the activity that will lead to sales; calls, emails, research and reports.
Another hugely beneficial feature is its seamless integration with other Microsoft solutions like Outlook, Office and Teams, driving even more efficiency and keeping everything on ‘one central data hub’. And from a sales management perspective, this visibility and unified data approach mean managers can monitor and then ideally support and empower their team to drive sales productivity.
What about customer service CRM?
Many ambitious companies, set on growth, will also be looking for features that improve customer service delivery and customer retention. Its widely accepted that acquiring new customers cost three times more than generating sales from existing customers. So sense says, that a robust sales strategy should include a customer retention strategy of some sort.
Let’s look at how Dynamics 365 fairs in the area of customer service CRM features.
For one, it works in seamless synchronicity with the other Dynamics 365 modules, giving your team a 360 view of customer interaction with your business. This customer journey insight can unlock further sales opportunities but also enable your team to resolve issues and anticipate them before they escalate and risk customer dissatisfaction or even loss.
Dynamics 365 for Customer Service also offers businesses the option to create knowledge hubs with Knowledge Base, so that customers can self-serve, and find the answers to their questions quickly and easily without having to be put on hl or wait for a callback. Again, this has massive productivity benefits for your team, as this channels off a good volume of enquiries away from your customer service call handlers times.
How good is Microsoft’s marketing CRM?
In today’s competitive world and with the availability of easy to use marketing software, many businesses are leveraging the power of their data with digital marketing tools that enable them to execute slick and professional customer and sales nurturing emails. Integrating web analytics and social media activity, so that their CRM works as central control and evaluation hub for all digital marketing activity.
And in terms of marketing automation, Microsoft Dynamics 365 excels in this area. Not only is there the option to add on the Dynamics 365 for marketing module, but users can also opt for ClickDimensions; a natively built marketing software solution built specifically for Dynamics 365 users. With seamless integration, it empowers sales and marketing teams to deliver personalised and meaningful communications to their audiences.
In short, ClickDimensions offers marketers the tools to drive growth and engagement such as email marketing, landing page builders, social integrations, web analytics and powerful reporting and insights, for results-focused and data-driven marketing. Find out more.
What about licensing?
Dynamics 365 works on a multi-tiered licensing model, with several options. And although this can seem a little complex on the face of it, it works in your favour as it offers unrivalled flexibility, value and simplicity. Broadly speaking there are three types of licenses; single app, additional apps and team members. It pays to have a Dynamics 365 specialist t help you navigate through these options so that you get the best value and ROI from your CRM investment.
How simple is Dynamics 365 to use?
Granted Dynamics 365 and Power Platform is a powerful cloud-based software solution used by some of the biggest global brands, but it works extremely well as a simple CRM solution too. As a no-code custom-built CRM, the system can be built to whatever requirements you require. Say, for example, you’re a small business with growing ambitions, you’ll want to start with low-cost ‘bobby-basic’ simple sales CRM. Then as you’re business grows you can choose to adapt and add new features and modules to your existing system. Scalability and flexibility are the major benefits of Dynamics 365 and even the most simple build still gives businesses powerful features.
This custom-built intuitive approach means your team will have a system that makes sense to them and so is easy to use. This is a big advantage, as you’re system has a greater chance of being used to its fullest if the system is built to work with your team, not against them.
Why custom-built CRM can give you the edge
In a fast-paced and digitally evolving world businesses are increasingly looking for software that helps them compete and level up their sales and marketing presence. With custom-built CRM software, this is very possible. By opting for a system that is built around your businesses’ unique structure, operations and processes, you can drive efficiency and productivity across functions. And a system that is built around processes and your people is going to make their lives a lot easier and the ship sale smoothly! A team that feels empowered and supported to succeed will remain focused, motivated and loyal, which can only benefit your business in the short and long term.
Custom-built CRMs like Dynamics also deliver much-needed agility to businesses- as you can adapt the system as and when you need. Scale it up as you grow, add on new features, new users with ease. And this ability to adapt to ever-changing conditions is what delivers that competitive edge.
Training your team on Dynamics 365
As with all new software systems, training is a must to ensure the tools are used to their full. You don’t want your shiny new kit just sitting there looking good, you want it to deliver results. CRM can power up your sales and marketing, BUT, only if your employees are using it correctly.
As you’ll work with a Dynamics 365 Partner who will build your system for you, they will also deliver the CRM training. And training delivery can differ wildly. Ideally, what you’ll want is one to one remote or in-person training rather than self-serve solutions that many off-the-shelf CRM providers offer.
This training is not only essential but ongoing training, refresher training and new features training are essential if you are to ensure your system continues to be used properly in the future. Training should also include data management and system administrator training.
And when you’re up and running with your Dynamics 365 you’re also going to need ongoing support.
Dynamics 365 requires ongoing support through a managed service. The nature of the software and the complexity of CRM, means you need specialists to be on hand to iron out any issues, help your team to use the system to its fullest and ensure that the system is always working the way you need it to.
This managed service will probably look like fix and break support, checking in to see how you’re getting on with care calls and consultancy hours, to help you look at the bigger picture in terms of how the system is working overall.
So, if you are comparing Dynamics 365 against other CRMs, think about the level of support you’d get with the other vendors and whether that would suit the needs of your organisation and team. We find that business cultures vary massively in terms of tech capabilities and their ability to embrace change. If you believe your business will need support with significant cultural change then roll-out, training and managed services are going to be important things to consider.
Summarising the merits of Dynamics 365
In short, flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness are some major benefits of using Dynamics 365. It’s designed to be a tool that unlocks growth potential by allowing businesses to harness the power of data and in today’s digital world, that can only be a plus point. There are endless CRM solutions out there and the big players like Hubspot, Salesforce, Monday.com do offer compelling solutions to some businesses. What we’d say is, if you want a flexible, scalable and powerful solution, then talk to a Dynamics 365 expert, who will be able to demonstrate its capabilities in more detail. This will be especially important if you are looking to grow and scale your business.
Speak to us for Dynamics 365 advice
As Microsoft Dynamics and Power Apps experts, we’re on hand to help businesses with their CRM comparison work. We’re not going to force software onto businesses, we’ll simply answer your questions and give you the knowledge to make an informed decision in your own time. If you choose Dynamics 365 over another system, then great! And if you choose to work with us as your preferred partner even better. But we don’t ever pressure people into choosing us. That’s not our style.
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