A closer look at Dynamics 365 for Sales

Sales functionality overview

Dynamics 365 for Sales is a sales focused application that is built on top Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement. Whether the focus is on Business to Business (B2B) or Business to Consumer (B2C) related scenarios, Dynamics 365 for sales empowers users to build stronger, longer lasting, and sustainable relations with their customers. Users can easily identify which customers or sales lead to focus on and take actions based on the insights and practices of an organization. By helping to make organizations nimbler, organizations see more overall profits because sales reps can close sales faster.

By leveraging Dynamics 365 for Sales, organizations can efficiently keep track of and manage their accounts and contacts. They can see exactly what is happening with them, and execute sales actions based on what is happening. Organizations can nurture their sales throughout the entire sales lifecycle such as from a potential sales lead to order. They can see the big picture of what is happening with their organizations, and dive deeper into that data to drive business actions.

Dynamics 365 for Sales provides many different features out of the box that support sales functions for organizations of all sizes. It is easily configured to support an organization's specific or changing needs.

Key functionality

Below is a list of the key features that Dynamics 365 for Sales offers:

  • Lead management: Dynamics 365 for Sales offers an end-to-end lead management process, where salespeople can qualify or disqualify a lead based on the sales potential. Salespeople can create leads either manually or automatically from activities (like emails or phone calls), track important information against the lead (like potential competitors or key stakeholders), and seamlessly create an opportunity from the lead once qualified.

  • Opportunity management: After a lead is qualified, it becomes an opportunity. At this point in the sales lifecycle, a salesperson can track product and service details, provide appropriate literature to the customer, track sales activities and interactions, and continue to move opportunities through the sales process workflow.

  • Embedded Intelligence: Embedded Intelligence functionality allows salespeople to customize their interactions by sharing relevant, personalized content with each customer. Salespeople leverage Embedded Intelligence through three features:

    • The Relationship Assistant, which generates specific to-dos for salespeople called action cards
    • Email Engagement, which helps salespeople create effective email messages and tracks recipients' interactions with them
    • Auto Capture, which looks for messages to or from relevant email address and shows sales staff those messages inside of Dynamics 365.
  • Product catalog management: Dynamics 365 for Sales helps organize and manage complex product catalogs to support customer engagement scenarios. Organizations can define products, families, and bundles; create price lists and discount lists; and set up unit groups that define how products are sold.

  • Sales order processing: By setting up sales processes in Dynamics 365 for Sales, organizations can automate their order processing and provide a consistent experience for customers. Salespeople can use Dynamics 365 for Sales to create quotes from opportunities, manage orders, and generate and deliver invoices.

  • Social selling: Dynamics 365 for Sales integrates with tools like Microsoft Social Engagement and LinkedIn Sales Navigator to build personalized, long standing relationships with customers.

  • Sales data analysis: Sales staff can use Dynamics 365 for Sales to leverage multiple analytical options to help drive business decisions based on sales numbers and trends. Charts and views can be configured in the application to drill down into specific types of data. External tools like Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Power BI can generate even more powerful insights about an organization's sales data.

Sales Process Example

The image above shows a typical potential sales lead that has inquired about products and services the organization provides. The details of that lead are captured and logged in Dynamics 365 for sales.

Qualifying a lead

Typically, someone in a sales role, such as an account executive, would research the potential lead and reach out to them to gather additional information to make the determination as to not only if they are a good organizational fit for the lead, but also if the lead is a good fit for the organization. Inside the Dynamics lead record, they can log all the activities and interactions associated with it. Additionally, Dynamics 365's AI for Sales provides organizations with the ability to create custom scoring models based on past experiences to leverage the power of Artificial Intelligence that assists in the qualification process. AI for Sales can even provide suggestions on people inside your organization that might have existing relationships with contacts at the organization to help increase the likelihood that they lead can be qualified. If during this process, it is determined that the lead is not a good fit, it can be disqualified, and the sales cycle ends.

If the organization determines that everyone is a good fit all around, the lead is qualified and moved into a sales opportunity. If the lead is an existing customer, Dynamics 365 will associate the new sales opportunity with an existing account and/or contact record. If the lead was for a new customer, the application will generate new account, contact records and associate them with the opportunity.

Leveraging an opportunity

Once an opportunity is captured, additional details such as the products and services the customer is interested in, the estimated revenue the opportunity will generate, and the sales timelines can be defined for the opportunity. Because every organization has their own sales strategies for working with sales data, sales playbooks can be executed against the opportunity that communicates to sales users any tasks and details that are needed to provide them best chance to close the opportunity. As sales reps work though the opportunity, they can collaborate with other team members to develop a plan to best win the opportunity. Any tasks, events, or milestones related to the opportunity will be directly communicated back to the sales representative within the context of the record to ensure that no deadlines or mission critical dates are missed. As with leads, custom opportunity scoring models can be leveraged using AI for Sales to help determine which opportunities have the best likelihood of being converted into orders.

Generating a quote

After the details around the opportunity are finalized and a proposal is ready to be delivered to the customer, a quote can be generated directly from the opportunity record to represent the formal offer that is being presented to the customer. As the organization negotiates the terms with the customer, a history of all changes that have been made to the quote are stored so they can be leveraged as needed for historical and reporting purposes. Products and services that are attached to the quote can come from Dynamics 365 or from potential integrations with other applications such as Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.

Orders and invoices

When the customer has agreed to the quote, a sales order can be automatically generated. Additionally, the quote as well as the associated sales opportunity it was associated with can be closed. If integrations with other systems such as Finance and Operations are being leveraged, current inventory levels can be taken into consideration and if necessary purchase orders can be generated or requested in the supporting application to ensure that all included items can be available when they are needed.

Finally, after the customer's order has been fulfilled, an invoice is generated to bill the customer.

Because of the configuration-based architecture of the application, the example process that was described can be tailored to meet the needs of any organization, regardless of industry.

Dynamics 365 for Sales demo

Customer profile - HCL is a commercial lending company that specializes in lending to large corporations or real estate investment trusts (REITs). Most of their profit comes from originating and servicing loans. Most of the loans that they service for their customers are either for buying an existing property or for building new structures. When a customer is purchasing an existing property, they might need to perform extensive renovations to ensure that the property fits the specific needs. When customers are building new properties, the property can be built to suit the individual needs of the property.

Current situation - Many of their daily processes are manual and can involve multiple systems that are not linked together. This may cause relationship managers to make intake errors that can result in processing delays. They believe that they have an opportunity to better leverage technology and provide a central system that will allow them to better manage their customers' experience throughout the entire process of securing funding for real estate investments.

A key factor to the success of HCL's business is getting a potential new customer to secure their first loan. The lending business has grown increasingly competitive with the emergence of startups whose innovative products and services pose significant threats to incumbent financial institutions. They are finding that smaller more agile companies are forcing HCL to rethink their processes and innovate with ways on how to do business faster and offer their customers new ways to stay connected to HCL.

Over the years, HCL has developed a successful business strategy that it uses for working with accounts. They have named this process their '2Lend' strategy.

The '2Lend' strategy focuses on three common scenarios they encounter.

  • New construction
  • Existing property
  • Lease referral

They have found that when this strategy is being followed by their relationship managers, they have one of the highest win rates in the industry. However, when this strategy is not being followed, their win rates decline substantially and not only are errors being made, but their win rates drop by almost 70%. This seems to be most common with new employees who are not being trained properly.

The following table explains the steps that are needed for each customer scenario.

Process Steps 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
New Construction Site Selection Architecture & Design Construction Loan Approval Construction (Build, Distribute Payment) Loan Conversion Approval Loan Closing Servicing
Existing Property Site Selection Property Due Diligence Loan Application Info Collection Loan Approval Loan Closing Servicing
Lease Referral Site Selection Agent Referral Customer Satisfaction Servicing
New construction Site Selection Architecture & Design Construction Loan Approval Construction (Build, Distribute Payment) Loan Conversion Approval Loan Closing Servicing
Existing property Site Selection Property Due Diligence Loan Application Info Collection Loan Approval Loan Closing Servicing

They want to ensure that relationship managers have access to all of the information that they need directly from a customer record.

This would include access to the following:

  • A detailed account profile overview.
  • Access to current property loans that are being serviced by HCL.
  • Access to all current loan opportunities that they are working on. In addition to overview information, this would include:
    • The ability to generate and log sales activities against the opportunity.
    • Detailed visibility into where each sales opportunity is at in the sales lifecycle.
    • A detailed list of contacts at the account and their role at the company.
    • The ability to generate new sales activities.

Business scenario - Jacob is a relationship manager who works for HCL and focuses on corporate lending opportunities for organizations that are looking to add business offices in new cities. One of the primary accounts that he manages for HCL is Microsoft. One of his primary contacts at Microsoft has reached out to him and has some questions on one of the current properties that they are financing with HCL and would also like to discuss several projects that they are currently working on.

By leveraging Dynamics 365 for Sales, Jacob is going to do the following:

  • Review all his accounts and determine current activities that are related to potential sales opportunities.
  • Identify the property that his contact mentioned and review some of the basic terms and create an action plan.
  • Generate a new sales opportunity based on input he received from the customer.
  • Populate the appropriate '2 Lend' business strategy based on the opportunity property type.

Next, you will learn how Dynamics 365 for Sales can help HCL as an organization have deeper and simplified access to customer data, and easily track related sales data.

As you can see, Dynamics 365 for Sales provides organizations with a powerful and configurable tool that can be easily tailored to meet the specific needs of any sales-based organization. It lets organizations design customized business process that will assist sales-related staff in more easily identifying and qualifying prospective buyers and assist them in closing deals faster.

With Dynamics 365 for Sales, organizations can:

  • Provide detailed insight into current and prospective customers regardless if the organization focuses on business-to-business or business-to-consumer sales scenarios.
  • Easily identify tasks or important events related to sales data such as leads and opportunities and act on those tasks.
  • Identify and qualify sales leads based on the organization's qualification criteria and practices.
  • Easily add custom entities to support the industry or business needs of the implementing organization.
  • Create consistent, repeatable, and flexible sales methodology for all sales staff to follow.