My journey into Dynamics 365 started with CRM 2011, working within an organisation that had what I would call a traditional sales process. Leads come in, they are qualified or disqualified, then on to an Opportunity and ideally you win the deal! So much has changed in the past decade with wonderful additions to the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement product suite such as Sales Insights and integration capabilities with Microsoft Teams. In this article, I am going to highlight some of the features that exist in the Dynamics 365 Sales Hub app that provide ways for your sales team to focus in on the right Leads and Opportunities, keep on top of editing those records quickly, and know who to follow up with and at the right time.
One question I’ve been asked a lot over the years is about forecasting. How can we get a fairly accurate prediction of how much revenue should be coming into the organisation over a specific period of time? Each member of the sales team can be given their targets for a month or quarter. The forecast category assigned to an Opportunity defines the level of confidence the owner has that the deal will be closed as Won. With this simple process, the forecast grid will be updated with revenue falling in to buckets such as best case, committed and pipeline. Forecasts can be set up based on users, rolling up to a Sales Manager, or set up based on Territory.
It might be the Sales Team who are the only ones who own Opportunities, but forecasts can also be used to track quantities of ‘things’. So consider your Business Development Team who may have targets for number of phone calls or appointments completed in D365. Setting up these as forecasts can help provide even more pieces of the big picture for your sales predictions for the quarter.
With Sales Insights, premium forecasting features are available providing AI-powered forecasts with predictions calculated for you based on historical data. You will also have the ability to create snapshots of your forecasts, giving reference points to go back to. Finally, Sales Insights will provide trend charts and flow charts, rounding out the premium features for forecasts.
Assistant in Sales
The assistant is functionality I used to love when I was an end user. It is also functionality that gets overlooked and not used by so many, even though it can be one of the most helpful tools for those in sales. It was formerly known as the relationship assistant and provides actionable insight cards letting users know what is going on with their Opportunities, Accounts, Contacts and so much more. It comes with a set of out of the box cards such as showing an Opportunity that is going to be closing soon, or an Account that has not been contacted in x amount of time. The Assistant can be added to forms so you can see related cards directly on the Opportunity for example, or it can be added to Dashboards to provide a full overview first thing when a user opens D365.
Although a premium assistant is available with Sales Insights, giving you the ability to using Power Automate directly from the assistant studio, you can still create flows to generate your own custom cards using the standard assistant. This means you can have cards generated for your own custom entities or your own specific processes and have those added to the Assistant for specified users. It’s a great way to provide notifications to your Sales Team in real time.
I think most users know they can download data from D365 into Excel. This gives them the ability to review data, in a familiar spreadsheet and create ad hoc reports as needed. Perhaps a lesser known feature is the ability to open up a list of records in Excel Online, and then make changes to the data in bulk, which then updates the records in the background for you. You must have an Office 365 subscription in order to do this, or to SharePoint Online or Exchange Online. Once the user makes the changes and saves, it’s submitting those adjustments which can be tracked to see the progress. It’s such a quick way to make changes to data in one go, and often forgotten about. Consider your sales team getting ready for their monthly review; they can review their Open Opportunities view, then open in Excel Online, make any changes quickly and get them updated all in one go. Simple!
Dynamics 365 App for Outlook
I have heard it time and time again…. We live in Outlook; I want to do stuff in Outlook! Well, if that is the case, you can certainly do that with the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook. This connects to your D365 Sales environment and provides insights in to your D365 Contacts, Leads, Accounts and Opportunities directly from Outlook itself. If you receive an email from someone known in your system, you can link it to their record, creating an email activity which can be reviewed by others in D365. Get an email from someone new and you can create their new Contact or Lead record directly from Outlook. The email templates and sales literature you have got set up in D365 can then be added directly to emails you send out from Outlook, tracking the email directly to the correct D365 records as you send it out. Appointments and tasks can also be tracked and updated, making the same updates back in D365 as you update records in Outlook. It is a great tool for your Sales Team to use!
If you do not need or want to use Outlook every time you send an email, make sure you are sending them from D365 to use Email Engagement. Many users are surprised about this feature, the ability to view email interactions from within D365. You don’t need the Marketing app for this level of insights, just to have email engagement turned on. This provides you with the ability to see when someone has opened an email, clicked links, opened documents and get alerts when this all happens. You can even schedule your emails to be sent at the best time, based on the time zone of the recipient. Users can take advantage of specific views providing an overview of followed emails with opens, last opened time, attachment views, link clicks and replies.
I think this is one of the coolest features in D365 Sales, and often overlooked or not even known about. Playbooks are designed to help guide a salesperson through a specific process, or to understand how to react to specific situations or events. Consider a new member of your team, whom you wish to get up to speed as quickly as possible about the various stages they need to go through when working through an Opportunity. A playbook can be created using a template which defines your best practices and necessary activities. Tasks, appointments and phone calls can be added as a Playbook Activity, determining when specific activities should take place.
Playbooks can also be used to help guide users through processes that don’t occur regularly, such as contract re-negotiation, or an annual client review. Providing a Playbook that the user can follow means all steps should be followed without critical stages being missed. Consider setting up a Playbook today and see if it makes your users lives easier!
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This post has been written by our guest blogger Megan Walker. Megan is a Microsoft Business Applications MVP and a Power Platform consultant, you can follow her on Twitter here.