Get a complete view on Dynamics 365 and what it can do for your business

The Buyer's Guide to Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM

What is CRM software, and why do I need it?

Let's start at the beginning. (You can skip this if you're familiar with the business benefits of a modern customer relationship management or CRM solution!).

Customer relationship management software does the heavy lifting for your sales, marketing and service departments by automating the management of the customer lifecycle and consolidating customer data into one place.

When you have all your data in a single repository, it's easier to organise, manage, and enrich your customer relationships. You can use automated workflows to replace tedious and slow manual paper processes and streamline customers’ applications, claims, support requests and more. And with on-the-spot access to customer information, you can be far more responsive. The result? Happier customers - and happier, more productive employees.

To make sure you stay focussed on improving customer relationships, you'll also have access to inbuilt tools to monitor performance and productivity.

In a nutshell, CRM software provides you with:

  1. Easy access to your customer data. You'll have searchable databases so you can find the information you need while on the phone or in a meeting. Perfect for your sales and customer support teams!
  2. Streamlined processes. You can automate the workflows and processes associated with sales, marketing, and customer support. Suddenly, you're all on the same page, and far more efficient.
  3. Actionable insights. Get to grips with how your business performance and customer behaviour impact one another with customisable dashboards and reports based on customer data. Your marketing team will love being able to segment customers, track revenue, and manage personalised campaigns.

 

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Previously known as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics 365 encompasses Microsoft's world-leading customer relationship management functionality. You can adopt it as a standalone solution, or ready-rolled into Dynamics 365 in tandem with Financials and Operations (ERP).

With Microsoft Dynamics 365, your size, turnover, go-to-market strategy, products and services, or sales model doesn't matter. You get a flexible, personalised, scalable, cloud-based solution that naturally leverages the rest of your Microsoft applications. Best of all, with all your information at your fingertips, you have the insights you need to let you focus on what's most important - your stakeholders.

Comprising a powerful set of cloud-based apps, tools and platforms, Dynamics 365 enables you to optimise business intelligence, social insights, and campaign management. You'll also drive and improve your customer journey, delighting them with personalised and relevant messaging, and creating the opportunity to forge a more vital and enduring relationship.

With predictive analytics based on solid CRM and ERP data, your team is better positioned to anticipate potential deals and projects. And as long as they have an internet-connected tablet or phone, they can work with real-time data wherever they are. Or if at the office, they can simply access it directly from Outlook.

As Microsoft Dynamics 365 is fast and intuitive to learn and use, there's less time needed to get to grips with it, and more time being productive.

 

According to Gartner…

Gartner's 2020 Magic Quadrant for CRM rated Microsoft Dynamics 365 as a leading platform for the second year running.
Gartner's key platform highlights for Dynamics 365 include:

  • Advancing platform: Dynamics 365’s customer engagement offering builds on the same code base as the Microsoft Power Platform, a low-code platform that also spans Microsoft 365.
  • Intelligent customer service: One of Microsoft's focus areas is on bringing AI capabilities like Azure Cognitive Services, Microsoft Bot Framework, and Power Virtual Agents together to provide more intelligent customer service experiences for both customers and agents.
  • Integration and automation: Dynamics 365 Customer Service provides extensive support for the integration of multiple line-of-business applications. Customer engagements are supported by a unified agent view and rich RPA capabilities for end-to-end customer service.

An overview of Dynamics 365 CRM modules

There are five apps or modules in the Dynamics 365 suite, and here's how they will help your business or organisation grow and thrive in these demanding times.

SALES: Drive more sales by empowering your people.

Dynamics 365 Sales empowers your salespeople to build stronger customer relationships, take actions based on insights, and close sales faster. But it doesn't stop there. You can keep track of your accounts and contacts, nurture your sales from lead to order, automate lead management, create sales collateral, marketing lists and campaigns, boost productivity, and even follow service cases by account or opportunity.

MARKETING: Connect sales and marketing, automate and nurture relationships

Dynamics 365 Marketing takes your marketing to a whole new level. Move beyond simplistic email marketing to discover and nurture more sales-ready leads. Ramp up your marketing ROI by connecting sales and marketing, automating processes, and making smarter decisions using marketing analytics. It's a fully integrated marketing management solution for marketing operations, planning, execution, and analytics across all channels (digital, social, and traditional).

CUSTOMER SERVICE: Maximise the value of your customers

With Dynamics 365 Customer Service, you'll convert your customers into lifelong brand advocates. Respond to every query with quick, relevant answers on any channel, even on the go. And with its built-in intelligence and a 360-degree view of the customer, you'll deliver faster, more personalised service and make every interaction a great one.

FIELD SERVICE: Delight your customers with a seamless, end-to-end service experience

With Dynamics 365 Field Service, you'll resolve issues before they happen, drive down operational costs, and make every onsite experience a positive one! Minimise the cost and time taken to despatch a technician by improving remote resolution rates. Provide your customers with self-service portals so they can log issues and check on progress.

PROJECT OPERATIONS: Make every project a success

Up the stakes with Dynamics 365 Project Operations. Provide an outstanding project experience and build new levels of trust with your customers. Deliver profitable, on-time and within budget projects every time while maximising employee productivity.

 

How do you know if Dynamics 365 CRM is right for your business?

When it comes to CRM, there are a lot of choices out there - you only need to enter CRM into the search bar to see that. So how do you determine if Dynamics 365 is the right platform for you?

First, is your business evolving now, and do you plan to keep on your transformation path? If yes, then configurability and extensibility are essential - you don't want to paint yourself into a corner when it comes to your CRM implementation. You need a platform that you can enhance and update as your business needs change.

Second, do you already use Office 365 in the business? If you are already a high-level user of these tools, then user adoption of Dynamics 365 will be a lot easier than other CRM solutions. You can leverage your familiarity with Microsoft's other technologies and become immediately productive.

Third, and this is a big one - how important is it you have a 'single pane of glass' between all your systems? The modules within the base Dynamics 365 solution share information share from a central repository. No integration required. And as Dynamics 365 is built using .net, a common programming language, it is readily connectable with your other applications.

What makes Dynamics 365 different from other CRM solutions?

Unlike other CRMs, you can adopt Microsoft Dynamics 365 either as a standalone platform, or rolled into the one fully integrated Dynamics 365 core solution which includes Finance and Operations. This enables you to leverage the shared financial data to supercharge your customer attraction, nurturing and retention strategies without having to spend money on securely integrating the CRM and sales functions to other line-of-business applications.

Dynamics 365 is part of a much broader ecosystem which spans workday productivity tools through to Microsoft Azure. When you use Microsoft solutions together, you amplify the value of each.
And if you invest in Microsoft Power Platform, you can develop complex business solutions, analyse, and draw data visualisations, automate business processes, or build virtual agents for communication without the need to code.

In essence, you become a citizen developer, reducing the need for IT in your organisation, and addressing the high cost of developing custom apps and virtual agents to enhance the value of your Dynamics 365 solution. For example, you can develop flexible chatbots that can interact with your customers and help reduce shopping cart abandonment and streamline service and support.

 

What's stopping you from adopting Dynamics 365?

If you're still unsure about whether Dynamics 365 CRM is for you, we'll run through some common objections.

 

We're only a small business; it's going to be too expensive for us and have functions we don't need.

If you are worried about size, then don't be. Dynamics 365 offers professional and enterprise-level licensing that provides smart, right-sized functionality for the large, mid-level and small businesses. And you can start with a modest implementation and add more functionality as and when you need it.

And unlike other solutions like Salesforce, Dynamics 365 licensing is flexible. You can minimise costs by mix-and-matching the licensing tiers while allows you to buy 'lightweight' licenses for everyday users, and only investing in 'power' licenses for superusers.

If you don't need any of the specific modules that are within Dynamics 365 (for example, the sales or customer service process) then there's no need to implement that app.

 

We don't want to pay a fortune for customising our CRM or building apps.

The good news is that you don't have to.
If you buy licenses for the underlying Microsoft Power Platform, you will have all the tools at hand that let you securely build your own CRM apps using code-free drag and drop. If you're not sure where to start, there are free training resources on Microsoft Learn (or ask us about our citizen developer initiatives like App in a Day). There's also a massive user community where you can ask for advice or look for inspiration.

 

We've been caught out with end-of-line solutions before. Why is Dynamics 365 any different?

Microsoft has a far-reaching roadmap for all their products. They make a significant investment in continually refining and redefining how their solutions can add value to your business. This approach minimises risk, safeguards your investment, and makes sure that you are always on the latest technology.

Whereas if you choose a 'unique' or bespoke technology, then you risk being locked into not only outdated technology, but the same partner for the life of the solution. When it comes to Microsoft partners, you're not stuck in a corner with only one choice for ongoing support and development.

The benefits of a technology partner for Microsoft Dynamics 365

The fastest way to achieve a return on investment and maximise the benefits of Dynamics 365 is by engaging a Microsoft partner to guide you through your implementation project.

But when the time comes to choose from the 67,000 current Microsoft partners worldwide, it's challenging to know where to start. So, let's start with what matters to you. Is it knowledge and experience? Success and support? Cultural alignment? Innovation and thought leadership? Or value?

We believe you deserve it all, and here's why we're putting our hands to be your partner.

1. You can count on us. We're a Microsoft Gold Partner, so we're recognised for our high level of care for our customers, our collaborative relationship with Microsoft, and our leadership status within the partner community. As a Gold Partner, we've proven our commitment to excellence by evolving Microsoft technologies, and focussing on ensuring our clients benefit from our innovative solutions and our best-in-class approach to implementation and deployment.

2. We offer superior support. Fusion5 has invested in the Microsoft Premier Support program. Our Premier Support Agreement gives us, in effect, a big red telephone which connects us directly with our Microsoft Technical Account Manager (an actual human, not just a generic support email or AI bot). So, if we log a support ticket, and it needs escalation into a higher service level category, we can resolve your issue more quickly. But we don't just rely on Microsoft to help you when you need it - we have a dedicated team of in-house Microsoft experts available to you, 24/7.

3. We have a close relationship with Microsoft. This means we can offer you the competitive advantage of knowing about product updates and licensing changes before anyone else. We can also take your product feedback to the source of Microsoft innovation, to help design and develop solutions that make a difference to the customer community.

4. We have awards. While great for us, awards are also great for you! It means that you're working with a Microsoft implementation partner who is recognised for their outstanding performance by both Microsoft and our peers. So you have surety we are amongst the best of the best. Current and recent Microsoft partner awards include being named to the prestigious Microsoft Inner Circle for four years running.

5. We help you save money. We read and absorb hundreds of pages of Microsoft licensing documentation, so you don't have to. For buying or renewing Microsoft application or Microsoft Azure licenses, we can often help you reduce your costs by a considerable amount.

6. We have a history of success. When you choose us as your partner, you're in good company. Our Microsoft customers include well-known organisations including Barnardos, Cavalier Bremworth, Lincoln University and Plunket.

7. We know what we are doing. We work across almost the entire stack of Microsoft solutions including Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Power BI, Microsoft Power Platform, Microsoft Power Apps and Modern Workplace. We can lift and shift your technology environment from on-premises to Azure, offer specialist solutions for education and sports - and more.

 

Getting started

Fusion5 offers a range of competitive and affordable packages to ensure that you start your project off with success firmly in mind as your end goal.

Our scoping and discovery exercises (followed by roadmap and strategy workshops if required) establish and align your drivers for change with your required business outcomes. Your upfront drivers may include the desire to reduce your cost of service, improve efficiency, or just provide a better experience for customers as they engage with your people across your organisation.

The discovery exercise translates the intangibles into tangible benefits. Through a structured approach to the implementation, we're able to identify with the priority areas should be, and any constraints. This may include maximising what we can deliver within your available budget by focussing on what will provide you with the most' bang for your buck" and scheduling lower priority needs until further down the track.

The discovery process also clearly identifies upfront the complexity of the project, data migrations and integration tasks, and required internal and external resources. And most importantly, the discovery stage ensures that your expectations align with those of your partner.

We also prepare a project canvas, so that when the project is complete, you know what it should look like, what improvements you can expect, and how it meets the KPI milestones. In other words, you can measure success.

See Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM in action

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