Microsoft Dynamics – Sales in a digital world

crmSales, marketing & customer service people often utilize a CRM (customer relationship management) system for tracking contacts, interactions, appointments, opportunities, etc. This “electronic rolodex” is integral in the day-to-day activities of a salesperson. There are many platforms on the marketplace such as Salesforce.com, Sage CRM, Maximizer, Act, Goldmine, etc. that can be accessed locally on a PC or via web browser (software as a service). With today’s mobile workforce, there is an increase consumerization of IT with the average worker having 3.3 devices. There is also an increase in BYOD (bring your own device) in today’s workforce as people want to use their own tablets or smartphones.
With a mobile salesforce, the need to stay connected is even more important. Salespeople can showcase products to clients on a tablet, generate quotes on the fly, view past invoices, and even collect payment and even capture a digital signature for an agreement.

Being in sales and having tried various CRM platforms, I realized they are not created equally and each one has their own distinct list of pros & cons. Some interfaces are intuitive while others seem counter intuitive. After navigating around a specific CRM for a while you train yourself what buttons to click and where to find certain pieces of information.

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Microsoft Dynamics and Office

We are all familiar with the Microsoft Office suite – most notably Outlook for our e-mails, calendar, tasks, & reminders. The ability for a CRM system to integrate with Outlook is an important feature since we are accustomed to utilizing Outlook on a daily basis. Microsoft’s version of a CRM is called Microsoft Dynamics CRM and is an extension of their Dynamics ERP system (enterprise resource planning). Dynamics CRM has an integration tool that allows you to seamlessly integrate CRM/Outlook. This will synchronize both systems together so there is no duplicate effort in entering data.
The benefits of integrating CRM/Outlook include:

  • Tasks can be flagged within CRM that align with Outlook tasks
  • Track emails in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and automatically receive and display email information along with all related records
  • Sync all contacts
  • Create contacts directly from your inbox, accounts or leads in Microsoft CRM from emails
  • Convert mail into a case or opportunity

Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be run on an iOS, Android, or Windows Phone device by installing an app. This provides the freedom and flexibility of accessing Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the field and not be bound by a traditional desktop PC.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be deployed on premise locally on a network or in the cloud and accessed via web browser. The cloud version is a subscription service (monthly or annually) and can be bundled with Office 365 so that you have the Office suite & Dynamics together under one subscription instead of managing multiple subscriptions.

Curtis Kieres – Northern Computer