It’s almost like the natural progression of the spreadsheet: Having a database that stores, manages, and tracks everything related to your contacts. No wonder Microsoft is also a player in the CRM space.
In terms of tech, Microsoft can really be considered the granddaddy of all. Around since 1970, you encounter one or more of its offerings in the office environment. Its CRM is no exception. If you’re already using Microsoft in your work space, you’ll feel right at home with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
This suite of tools will help you manage and streamline your business operations and customer relations. Obviously, its central piece is the sales part, where your sales personnel find all the tools under one roof to go about their jobs:
- Manage tasks and appointments
- Communicate with contacts
- Plan the user journey
When they see that a prospect is ready to convert, aka buy, Microsoft Dynamics helps you with quoting, purchase orders, and invoices – the ERP side of your business.
- Pros and cons of Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Who is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for?
- How easy is Microsoft Dynamics 365 to use?
- Key features
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrations
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer support
- Microsoft Dynamics 365 pricing
- Is Microsoft Dynamics 365 the right tool for you?
Pros and cons of Microsoft Dynamics 365
Microsoft Dynamics is a suite of cloud-based tools that include both customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). This means it will consolidate all the tools and services you need to share data across your organisation as well as conduct and streamline all your business processes across your entire business. It’ll connect and keep track of your activities with all your contacts – suppliers, partners, retailers, customers…
As part of Microsoft’s ecosystem, its CRM has strong integrations the other applications such as Excel and Word, and particularly with Teams.
- The AI is a far cry from Clippy – it helps with all sorts of tasks from auto-filling fields of contacts to making suggestions for your sales teams to taking steps in advancing a contact
- Price – it can add up if you need more modules, also, it’s quite hard to understand what plan you should subscribe to
- A huge range of tools and features contribute to the learning curve
- The interface looks and feels a lot like the traditional Microsoft Office application with the endless submenus
- It has multilevel authentication and so feels like you need to authenticate endlessly
Who is Microsoft Dynamics 365 for?
If you basically just want to organise and manage your contacts and lead data, you may find you can do it with spreadsheets. With a dedicated CRM, you can connect with contacts, customers, and leads and the application records and tracks their interactions with you.
Even better, if the application can help you get more out of your data. And that it helps you determine your next best steps to advance a prospect in the sales pipeline.
You may have guessed it, but your business’ data is very valuable, if not the most valuable asset and with Dynamics 365 you can get more out of it. It’s a no-brainer to add if you’re already steeped in the Microsoft eco system.
BUT, if you take a look at its price, you may feel it may work much better for larger organisations with deeper pockets.
How easy is Microsoft Dynamics 365 to use?
If you’re swimming in Microsoft’s world, you’ll find it has a familiar interface and so can ease you in much faster.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a suite of many different tools. Perhaps it’s this plethora of tools and features that contribute to its complexity.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is CRM and ERP rolled into one (given that you’ve subscribed to the right plans). With that, you get a 360-degree view of all interactions your contacts have with you. It ensures continuity and you don’t need to ask your customer what happened.
The database recording all these interactions is a given. Built around it are Microsoft Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and Customer insights modules all of which draw their data from the contact profile in the CRM including
- communication histories (what time of day and which kind of device they use to get in touch)
The marketing module helps you design customer journeys tailored to the individual contact. Thanks to the touchpoints it collected across channels, Microsoft’s AI gives recommendations for content, channels, and customer segmentation. Needless to say that you get all the shenanigans for email marketing such as email templates, A/B testing, automations, and a click map to see how customers are interacting with your content.
Having a CRM can help you gain better insights so that you close deals faster and more efficiently. Microsoft uses AI to conduct real-time predictive analytics with a customer’s historical data to understand how best to help them. Your sales staff can talk to them through the channel the customers prefer.
The sales module helps your sales team to improve the relationships with their accounts. It’ll suggest the next best actions or point out areas that need attention
With the service modules, your help desk staff can view open and resolved cases as well as write help emails. Since it draws its data from the CRM, your team doesn’t have to second guess or ask what happened. Lastly, you get AI-powered virtual agents to quickly resolve issues, acting like the first line support and so giving your agents more time to solve more complex issues.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 integrations
Microsoft Dynamics in itself is already feature-rich. Of course, it works with its own office suite. Microsoft has deepened the ties between Dynamics and Teams which means you can now
- get real-time contextual and suggested chat options
- capture customer sentiment
- Work with your clients or team members in Teams
Aside from the many integrated apps to third party services, Microsoft provides a REST API for several of Dynamics 365 applications.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer support
The support you get when you subscribe to Dynamics 365 subscription includes
- self help knowledge bases
- community forums
- service dashboard
- ticketing system
Microsoft Dynamics 365 pricing
Figuring out what plan or which suite of tools can be quite challenging. Different business areas need different plans. Marketing or sales have their own plans. The Professional plan is meant for sales and comes at $65 per month per user. Its main features are
- social media analytics
- sales automation
While sales plans are based on user count, marketing plans are priced per tenant and how many marketing contacts you’ll be storing in your CRM.
To clarify, for Microsoft, a tenant is the organisation buying. Also, know that prices start from $1500 a month.
Is Microsoft Dynamics 365 the right tool for you?
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is quite impressive as it comes with a helpful AI assistant. It also integrates neatly into the existing applications already on offer, especially Teams.
It’s a great addition if you’re already using Microsoft’s offering, have the deep pockets to get all the modules you need, and have the time to train your staff in mastering them. This means Microsoft Dynamics is better for larger and more established businesses.