The entire CRM team at Stoneridge is very excited about what is coming in the Dynamics 365 (CRM) Fall Release. Because it’s a 245-page document we wanted to give a summary of some of the key new features and improvements we are most excited for in D365 (CRM) for Sales and Marketing.
We’ve been keeping an eye on the new D365 for Marketing that Microsoft released earlier this year. Initially, it focused on marketing to Contacts but shortly after Microsoft also added the ability to market to Leads. With the fall release, they are focused on Account-based marketing. This makes perfect sense because many companies that use CRM are Business to Business (B2B) and need better Account-based marketing functionality in D365. These new features will empower an account-based sales organization – allowing you to prioritize strategic and high-value accounts, view interactions (activities) in a timeline view or by category per account and create account specific content. The insight and analytics in D365 will allow you to better optimize your content.
Another new feature we’re looking forward to is reusable content blocks. These allow marketing team members to set up branded content that then any user can access and use in read-only mode. Users can then drag and drop in additional features like a header, call to action button or an event countdown timer. Videos will also soon be added as a feature that can be included in these content blocks.
We’ve been hearing requests for a Marketing Calendar for a long time and now it’s finally coming. This new feature allows marketing to have a joint calendar showing all the marketing activities and events in one easy-to-use interface. The calendar is mobile friendly so if marketers are on the road they will still be able to easily view and create items for the calendar.
The LinkedIn integration is being improved in a variety of ways. LinkedIn submissions will be able to be used as triggers in the marketing and sales journey. And based on those LinkedIn submissions, Marketing Users will be able to generate leads on an account level. Additionally, they can update information like company size, industry, job title and years of experience – all from LinkedIn data.
The “who knows whom” Connection Graph and connection lists will provide more opportunities for warm introductions and will build connection recommendations based on first, second, and LinkedIn TeamLink Connections. I saw the Connection Graph at Summit last year (it was under NDA at the time) and it’s something that I’m very excited to see released.
Predictive Lead Scoring uses a machine learning model predictive scoring mechanism to score leads on a scale of 1 to 100. The machine learning model will consider attributes from the lead as well as related entities. Lead scoring will be able to use LinkedIn form submission interactions and you’ll be able to see the top things influencing the score. From there, members of the marketing and sales team can prioritize scores based on the prediction or manually change specific leads.
Playbooks are a new feature that will provide a way to automate repeatable sales activities and respond to external events. These days the buyer does a lot of research online and evaluation of a company, product, or service before ever wanting to interact with a salesperson. Because of this, the salesperson needs to become more proactive, providing timely and meaningful information up front. That can be achieved by utilizing a system that can use predictive analytics and can suggest the next best steps based on the actions of the buyer. The Playbook is intended to help salespeople be more proactive and to move in this direction of selling. Each Playbook housed in the CRM library will address a particular scenario, giving each salesperson the tools he or she needs to close the sale. After the sales cycle, the user can track the lead and evaluate whether the playbook was successful or not. From there, the sales organization can adjust their process and strategy.
These are just a few of the new features and improvements for Dynamics 365 for Sales and Marketing in the upcoming October 2018 release. Now is a great time to start considering D365 for your sales and marketing team. We have several webinars diving into CRM coming up – make sure to register to learn more!