CRM “for Dummies”: Demystifying Microsoft Dynamics 365
JOVACO Solutions implements Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Customer Service since their launch under the name Microsoft Dynamics CRM in 2005. But even today many people still don’t know what a CRM is. As Business Development Director at JOVACO, I wanted to take the opportunity to explain, in my own words, what a CRM really is.
So, what’s a CRM?
Let’s go back in time. Sales representatives used to have binders full of business cards, notebooks, Excel spreadsheets, and a quaint little phone on their desk. At the time, each rep had their own way of doing things. Retrieving and sharing information could be difficult as it was usually in different locations. Moreover, many would forget to follow up on leads and clients due to a lack of organization. Finally, when a colleague would leave their post, it was very hard to trace their contacts as they would often leave with their address book. Everything had to be done all over again.
A CRM solves all these problems. The term “CRM” stands for Customer Relationship Management and describes the management tool of the sales team. It’s also used as a database as it stores contacts, accounts and notes. However, CRM solutions can do a lot more than this nowadays.
Today in 2020
As technologies evolve, so does the vision of the CRM. It’s no longer a solution exclusively used by sales reps. The CRM can now be used to standardize and centralize information within a single system that all users can access. It lets you manage client accounts, contacts and potential future clients (leads), all from the same platform.
Here are some of the main benefits of a CRM solution.
The client at the heart of your business
The vision behind Dynamics 365 is to make the client the core of the solution. As such, clients are at the heart of products, activities, and processes. Moreover, the platform can integrate departments other than sales, for example customer service and finances. These other modules offer even more visibility on the operations and activities of your organization, which means that all data is available directly from the client’s account. Users can then obtain a global view and review the purchase habits of each client, their support requests, complaints and invoices, depending on their needs. It’s no longer necessary to make 4-5 calls to obtain these details.
Optimizing the performance of your sales team
By giving your sales team a platform specifically designed to meet their needs, you give them the tools needed to accelerate the sales cycle and improve their performance. Members of the sales team can create custom lists to contact leads and dashboards to better review their tasks. They can then focus on the best ways to contact leads and win opportunities. The CRM also provides all the tools needed to work on a team strategy to meet your annual objective and lose fewer contracts to competition.
Better business decisions
The evolution of the CRM also means it can not only be used by sales, but also by management. Business intelligence and predictive analysis tools offer a better understanding of client behaviour and needs. The more information is included in the solution, the more advanced the resulting statistics will be. Management can then easily obtain and share information, and use it to put in place an efficient sales strategy. Business rules and custom automations also facilitate processes to let managers focus on priorities.
What’s the difference between the various systems on the market?
Now that organizations are seeing the benefits of a CRM, several systems are available on the market. Some are free and are others are paid, so there is something for all types of organizations and budgets. Free CRM solutions offer basic functionality, usually with very few customization possibilities. This means there’s a good chance you will hit the limitations of the system as soon as your needs evolve. The implementation of a new solution and the resulting change management can be quite expensive afterwards. As such, it’s important to know right off the bat what your needs are and choose a solution that will meet your long-term vision. The CRM should be adjusted to the practices and realities of your organization and not the other way around. For more information, read our article on Free vs. Paid CRM Solutions: Which Is Better for Your Organization?
How to leverage the full potential of your CRM
While teams used to work in silos, the arrival of CRM solutions has improved opportunities for collaboration. Different departments and teams now have to work together more than ever. This is why integrating sales to operations is almost essential now. Microsoft Dynamics 365 now goes beyond sales by offering modules for marketing and customer service, as well as several integration possibilities.
This means you can connect your CRM to your Microsoft Dynamics ERP system and other Microsoft solutions, for example Microsoft Office 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform. The resulting solution provides all tools required by each member of your organization to help fulfill its goals.
I hope this gives you a better idea of what a CRM is and of its main benefits. To find out more, read our article One Size Does Not Fit All: Finding the Right CRM Solution for Your Organization. And don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions!
About the author
Jonathan Chatel is Director of Business Development at JOVACO Solutions since 2017. Thanks to his various professional activities, he has since deepened his knowledge of Microsoft technologies and business solutions, a world that evolves so quickly it can be hard to keep track. He is now sharing his knowledge of Microsoft products in everyday language to keep you informed about this fascinating universe.