Engage Your Distributor Network Using Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform

By Matt Van Dyke | January 18, 2024

Dynamics 365 Power Platform

Capitalizing on capabilities in your Dynamics 365 environment, with the help of the Microsoft Power Platform, can help your team enhance the quality of engagement with your distributors.

As a manufacturer, actively engaging distributors and resellers is essential to ensuring peak performance. In this blog, we will help you identify specific organizational opportunities and explore the digital transformations in three Dynamics 365 products:

Additionally, when you combine those capabilities with the Power Platform, you give yourself a powerful suite of products to enable key collaborators, improve the overall user experience, and make substantial gains in the overall success of your business.

Drive Success and Growth with Dynamics 365 and Power Platform

The first step in this process is understanding that your business will be undergoing a digital transformation process to create a great experience for everyone who works with or within your organization.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new - or modify existing - business processes, culture, and customer experience to meet changing business and marketing requirements.

Why It's Important to Gain a Holistic Understanding of Your Collective Experience Landscape

A critical first step in this process is understanding the ever-evolving collective experience of your employees, distributors, and customers and effectively identifying improvement opportunities to achieve the most substantial impact.

Here is a practical list of recommendations for you to consider. They can identify potential issues and work to create a positive and evolving experience for employees, distributors, and customers by focusing on communication, collaboration, process optimization, and consistent service delivery.

  • Survey Your Distributors and Resellers:
    • Identify pain points and gather feedback to enhance their working experience.
  • Foster Collaboration and Improve Communications:
    • Review communication tools and explore ways to enhance them for improved collaboration and results.
  • Utilize Business Process Intelligence:
    • Consider implementing a process framework for distributors and resellers to leverage, improving performance and reducing inefficiencies.
  • Streamline Processes:
    • Address inefficiencies and repetitive tasks within business processes to enhance overall performance.
  • Provide Efficient Tools:
    • Brainstorm potential systems and tools that eliminate any manual processes. ensuring distributors and resellers have an efficient and positive experience.
  • Extend Company Services:
    • Ensure you extend the same services provided to customers and employees to distributors, ensuring access and consistency across all interactions.

Now that you have a more comprehensive understanding of your organizational landscape, and specifically the distributor experience, let’s delve into leveraging the Dynamics 365 suite to enhance their experience and improve performance.

Dynamics 365 Sales: Build your Sales System for your Distributors

By modeling your distributors into your Dynamics 365 Sales systems, you enable your sales team to work smarter to increase efficiency. This helps them focus on driving sales growth and maximizing revenue potential. This could be executed in a variety of ways, including:

Dynamics 365 Power Platform sales benefits

  • Account & Contact Management:
    • This forms the foundation of your sales system, and modeling your distributors in this area is crucial for effective understanding and communication.
  • Register Product Lines and Industries:
    • Tailor your sales approach by modeling specific product lines or industries sold to distributors, enhancing targeted engagement.
  • Sales Team Alignment:
    • Involves modeling distributors to align internal sales teams effectively, ensuring seamless collaboration and support with distributors.
  • Territory Management:
    • Align distributors based on territories, acknowledging regional variations, and optimizing sales strategies accordingly.
  • Drive Distributor Analytics:
    • Utilize analytics and modeling distributor data needs to gauge distributor performance, providing valuable insights to enhance collaboration.
  • Manage Distributors' Contract Details:
    • Model distributor contracts by capturing and managing essential contract details to facilitate smoother business operations.
  • Automate Lead Assignment:
    • Build a systematic lead assignment process to efficiently notify and involve distributors in potential opportunities.
  • Streamline Pricing Approach or Discounts:
    • Improve efficiency by automating approval processes, involving modeling distributor-specific pricing approaches and discounts.

This integrated sales approach using D365 Sales, through modeling your distributors, ensures a smarter and more informed operational framework.

Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform: Build External Systems to Support Distributors

Once you have established your sales foundation with your distributors in mind, you can further enhance it with the Power Platform, which is a low-code platform for rapidly building customized end-to-end business solutions. It consists of five product areas: Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI, Power Virtual Agents, and Power Pages.

One of the most common ways to extend support to distributors is to build a distributor portal. Through the use of power apps and power pages, you can create a variety of tools and processes to enable and support your distributors, including:

Dynamics 365 Power Platform power portals

  • Lead Assignments:
    • Publishing lead assignments and getting them out to distributors.
  • Quote Creation:
    • Once you get to a certain point in your sales pipeline, you can create quotes on a portal to be reviewed by internal staff on your finance or product teams.
  • Submit Orders/See Order History:
    • Streamlines the quote-to-order process and allows you to track recurring orders and customers.
  • Access Knowledge Base:
    • Keeping resellers, distributors, clients, and others informed is a huge advantage for you. They can leverage a knowledge-based portal to learn how to fix products or address other issues.
  • Chat with Engineers:
    • Your clients can check in with product experts who can give them insights on what they are working on. One additional feature here is that everyone in your system has an authenticated login, so your customers know who they are talking to.
  • Contracts:
    • You can publish contract details through Power Apps or Power portals.
  • Warranty and RMA Management:
    • You can create an RMA, have it approved by a manager, and then automatically create a work order from that.

Dynamics 365 Power Platform portal example

Dynamics 365 for Customer Service: Support your Distributors

Empowering your team with Dynamics 365 for Customer Service is crucial for improving satisfaction levels and enhancing the overarching service experience. By leveraging this solution, you can foster an open and optimized communication space for you and all of the partners in your network with Omnichannel.

There are several ways you can leverage Dynamics 365 for Customer Service to foster ongoing communication and collaboration with your distributors. You can then extend those service offerings not only across your organization but to all partner networks with Omnichannel, This could include:

Dynamics 365 Power Platform customer service

  • Support Ticketing:
    • Extend your ticketing system directly to distributors, customizing it for their specific needs. Utilize deflection and a tailored distributor knowledge base for enhanced support.
  • Open a Voice Channel:
    • Provide a dedicated voice channel for distributors, offering quick answers while they are on-site, facilitating efficient deal closures.
  • Distributor Virtual Agent:
    • Implement a virtual agent equipped with a knowledge base to efficiently address distributor inquiries, leveraging past cases and product information.
  • Open SMS or Live Chat Lines:
    • Utilize D365 for Customer Service's Omni-Channel capabilities to open SMS or live chat lines, providing multiple channels for distributors to seek immediate support.
  • Knowledge Base:
    • Establish a comprehensive knowledge base tailored for distributors within the ticketing system, offering valuable information for quick issue resolution.

Dynamics 365 Power Platform create distributor communication channel

Using your existing Dynamics 365 system, specifically Customer Service, in these applications allows you to make doing business with your distributors easy, efficient, and a positive experience.

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights - Journeys: Keep your Distributors Information and Educated

Dynamics 365 Marketing seamlessly merges the worlds of customer experience and marketing automation, fostering positive relationships and customer loyalty. Here are just a few examples of how D365 Marketing can support your distributor network:

Dynamics 365 Power Platform marketing enhancements

  • Right Message, Right Time, Right Person:
    • Utilize D365 Marketing to deliver personalized messages to distributors at the right time, ensuring a tailored and timely communication strategy.
  • New Product Announcements:
    • Leverage D365 Marketing for effective communication of new product launches, using custom emails or website pages to track distributor engagement and respond accordingly.
  • Trade Journal Content:
    • Disseminate trade journal content through D365 Marketing, tracking distributor engagement to tailor responses and ensure effective communication.
  • Real-Time Marketing:
    • Implement real-time marketing strategies using D365 Marketing, reacting to distributor actions and responding promptly to website visits, ticket logs, or chat interactions.
  • Events Management:
    • Plan and organize conferences or regional sales meetings with D365 Marketing's events management capabilities, allowing distributors to register and providing insights into participant interactions.
  • Distributor Engagement:
    • Leverage real-time analytics within D365 Marketing to drive distributor engagement, understand product preferences, identify educational needs, and enhance overall communication strategies.

Dynamics 365 Power Platform organize distributors

Dynamics 365 Marketing provides a comprehensive approach to inform, educate, and enable resellers. From delivering the right message at the right time to tracking distributor engagement with new products, trade journal content, and events management, the platform ensures effective communication and heightened distributor engagement using real-time analytics.

Dynamics 365 Power Platform events management

Overarching Benefits of Building a Positive Distributor Experience in Dynamics 365 with Power Platform

Dynamics 365 Power Platform benefits of distributor experience

While each distributor and reseller model is unique, this development platform offers ready-to-use building blocks that, with the expertise of Stoneridge Software, can be assembled to align with your specific operational needs. By embracing this digital transformation, you can reimagine partnerships, communication, and growth strategies, positioning your business for continuous improvement and success.

Stoneridge Software Can Help You Create an Optimized Network for All Key Stakeholders

Gaining an understanding of why it's vital to set up and maintain a healthy network where your key players are taken care of is an important first step in making sure they are happy and continue to do business with you. Stoneridge Software can help you set this up and maintain and optimize it so that your business interactions and perceptions remain positive.

To learn more about how to engage your distributor network using the Dynamics 365 suite of products, please reach out to us.

Related Posts

Under the terms of this license, you are authorized to share and redistribute the content across various mediums, subject to adherence to the specified conditions: you must provide proper attribution to Stoneridge as the original creator in a manner that does not imply their endorsement of your use, the material is to be utilized solely for non-commercial purposes, and alterations, modifications, or derivative works based on the original material are strictly prohibited.

Responsibility rests with the licensee to ensure that their use of the material does not violate any other rights.

Start the Conversation

It’s our mission to help clients win. We’d love to talk to you about the right business solutions to help you achieve your goals.

Subscribe To Our Blog

Sign up to get periodic updates on the latest posts.

Thank you for subscribing!