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Microsoft Dynamics CRM Review

Product Snapshot

Technology

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is available as both an on-premise and SaaS solution.

Customer focus

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is geared towards small and midsized businesses.

Select Customers

The Linc Group, Data Reduction Systems, Reed Smith, Pathology Associates Medical Laboratories, Plante & Moran, Profiles International, Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, Jones Lang LaSalle, MCF (Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift).

About Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Microsoft Dynamics CRMMicrosoft Dynamics CRM is a top CRM marketing solution that is flexible, easy to use and engineered to fit your business. Using the top CRM solution, you can transform every touch point into a marketing opportunity and harness the undiscovered potential within your customer base. With familiar and intelligent marketing capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you can market more effectively, improve productivity and gain actionable insight into your marketing efforts.

About Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is a veteran software company renowned for developing the ubiquitous Windows operating system and Microsoft Office suite of productivity tools. In 1980 Microsoft partnered with IBM to sell Microsoft software with newly manufactured IBM computers. Microsoft has expanded its reach beyond software to include hardware products like the Xbox gaming system and the Zune music player. The company’s Web presence revolves around the MSN portal and Bing search engine. Microsoft was founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, and is headquartered in Redmond, Washington.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Key Features

Sales Force Automation
Planning
  • Set up territories and teams to improve organizational efficiency
  • Create price lists, discounts and unit groups to streamline offer management
  • Post sales best practices and tips in a resource center
  • Role-based and group based permissions provide easy distribution of information

Leads

  • Improves coordination with marketing by tracking leads in a centralized system
  • Automatically associate email messages with relevant leads or opportunities.
  • Assign leads and tasks automatically based on predefined rules.
  • Instantly light up the most promising leads with conditional formatting.
  • Use guided dialogues to streamline the qualification process.
  • Streamline lead scoring and conversion.
  • Instantly segment your customer database to identify new leads.

Opportunities

  • Close deals faster by centrally tracking key deal information.
  • Enable more effective team selling with team-based ownership.
  • Create and monitor customized offers and pricing for each opportunity.
  • Effectively position against the competition with seamless competitor tracking.
  • Better identify and leverage extended relationships, like lawyers and consultants, in the sales process.
  • Streamline proposal creation with embedded document management capabilities.
  • Establish a consistent sale processes across the enterprise with predefined workflows.
  • Track revenue with out-of-box order and invoice tracking.
  • Use leading sales methodologies like Miller Heiman, SPI and TAS

Accounts

  • Track activities and interactions for each contact and account.
  • Identify influencers, constituents, allies and roadblocks for each account.
  • Quickly identify cross-sell and up-sell opportunities with embedded analytics.
  • Automatically track contract renewal dates and details.
  • Understand complex organizational structures with hierarchical relationship tracking.

Timesavers

  • Use Microsoft Dynamics CRM within Microsoft Outlook.
  • Instantly find the information you need with preview panes, personal views, record pinning and Most Recently Used lists.
  • Improve communication and team collaboration through seamless integration with Microsoft Office products.
  • Promote Office Outlook contacts and email messages to Microsoft Dynamics CRM with a few clicks.
  • Reduce wasted cycles through data import and data de-duplication features.
  • Ensure sales people are working on the most current data with bidirectional data sync between Microsoft Office Excel and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Pipeline

  • Track sales pipeline for improved financial planning.
  • Increase accuracy of revenue projections with individual or roll-up forecasting.
  • Track revenue goals by dates, financial periods or other predefined criteria.
  • Instantly track sales quota versus attainment at individual or the group level.
  • Identify key trends for deals won or lost and optimize sales process.

Workflows

  • Improve productivity with personal, teams and organizational workflows.
  • Leverage guided dialogues across the sales organization to reduce training and ramp-up time.
  • Automatically create and assign tasks pr activities as rules are triggered.
  • Automate simple or multilevel approvals with predefined workflows.
  • Automate scoring and distribution of leads.
  • Set alerts for key events or milestones.
  • Define and enforce consistent sales processes to be used across the enterprise

Mobility

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM includes mobile options to provide 24/7 access to leads and opportunities.
  • Provides sales forces with real-time access to customer data from any web-enabled device.
  • Prepares sales teams for customer meetings with real-time account details.
  • Rapidly respond to customer requests while on the road.
  • Discover new up-sell and cross-sell opportunities right.

Analytics

  • Gain business insight with flexible dashboards and in-line data visualization.
  • View key performance indicators in real time with prebuilt dashboards.
  • Built-in sales reports provide detailed analyses without IT assistance.
  • Use robust data cubes for insightful trending analysis.
  • Employ predictive analytics to identify key selling scenarios.
  • Report Wizard quickly creates ad-hoc reports.

Customer Service
Accounts

  • Boost agent productivity with a familiar user interface that is natural and personal.
  • Create business connections across CRM activities and entities.
  • Build teams with users from multiple business units to own records and assigned roles.
  • Audit changes to business data with automatic notification.
  • Enables role-based access and permissions to accounts and data.

Analytics

  • Track and measure the performance of organizations, business units, teams, and individuals.
  • Use in-line visualizations for ad-hoc drilldown into KPIs.
  • Stay current with dashboards of customizable real-time analytics.
  • Import and export Microsoft Office Excel spreadsheets in real time.

Cases

  • Respond to cases faster with access to complete case and customer data.
  • Use guided business processes and scripted dialogues to deliver fast and precise service.
  • Manage cases across individual and team queues.
  • Users can personalize data views, dashboards and navigation and pin favorites to workstation.
  • Manage cases across channels for customer convenience.

Contracts

  • Simplify contract management to develop and revise customized customer contracts.
  • Workflows trigger activities to help agents consistently deliver the right level of service.
  • Gain actionable insight to help agents sell more service and support contracts.
  • Give agents real-time access to views of service eligibility for each customer.

Knowledge

  • Improves first contact resolution with built-in knowledge repository.
  • Streamlines case handling by making the information easier to find with familiar tools.
  • Avoid duplicated efforts by using cross-channel knowledge and collaboration.
  • Use familiar and graphical tools to track and monitor the flow of knowledge.

Mobility

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM delivers notifications and alerts through mobile devices.
  • Manage and update service schedules and appointments through mobile devices.
  • Access and send CRM customer service data through any web-enabled device.
  • Drag and drop configuration and forms design specifically for mobile devices.
Scheduling
  • Schedule services and resources to serve customers effectively.
  • Save time with familiar scheduling tools.
  • Connect teams across the enterprise with a centralized view of service calendars and resources.
  • Includes familiar tools to set up and manage reoccurring appointments in CRM.

Workflows

  • Save time and money by allocating items to queues based on inquiry type or any custom entity.
  • Automatically assign activities to agents or teams and define role-based and security-based views.
  • Establish rules-based approvals and escalation to route cases to the right person.
  • Personalize workflow with point-and-click tools; use conditional branching and nesting.

Marketing
Data

  • Import data from other sources into Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
  • Use predefined data-mapping rules or create new rules to organize data.
  • Automatic e-mail notifications confirm data import status.
  • Clean data to eliminate duplications and decrease your cost per engagement(CPE).

Segmentation

  • Natural-language queries instantly segment customers or prospects.
  • Create targeted lists and associate them with campaigns.
  • Set up personal or public views to reuse.
  • Share target lists with colleagues and vendors.
  • Export lists into multiple formats for bulk email or direct-mail communications.

Planning

  • Plan and track activities, tasks, budgets and details for each marketing activity.
  • Set up product catalogues, price lists and discounts for optimal offers.
  • Create specific messages and offers for each targeted lists.
  • Reusable campaign templates save time and money.
  • Predefined workflows streamline processes and approvals.
  • Create landing pages for campaigns without any coding.
  • Create marketing plans with embedded document management capabilities.

Execution

  • Initiate and distribute campaigns and communications instantly.
  • Track and manage events and customer details in a central platform.
  • Use embedded Mail Merge capabilities to instantly send mass communications.
  • Assign marketing tasks and leads either manually or automatically.
  • Create on-the-fly campaigns with the Quick Campaign Wizard.
  • Create rules to trigger responses based on customer interest.

Response

  • Centrally capture and track responses for marketing campaigns.
  • Automatically capture and categorize responses from campaign landing pages.
  • Score responses using predefined rules.
  • Instantly assign responses to most qualified resources for follow-up.
  • Convert responses to leads.

Leads

  • Improves coordination with sales by tracking leads in a centralized system.
  • Automatically assign or score leads based on predefined workflows.
  • Instantly identify the most promising leads with conditional formatting.
  • Use guided dialogs to streamline the lead qualification process.
  • Ensure marketing staff are working on the most current leads with bidirectional data sync with Excel.

Timesavers

  • Use Microsoft Dynamics CRM within Microsoft Office Outlook for improved productivity.
  • Instantly find the information you need with preview panes, personal views, record pinning and Most Recently Used lists.
  • Eliminate redundant email tracking through Office Outlook synchronization.
  • Better collaborate with co-workers with embedded presence feature.
  • Streamline mass mailings with built-in mail-merge capabilities.
  • Add Office Outlook contacts to marketing lists with a few mouse clicks.

Workflows

  • Improve productivity through personal, team, or organizational workflows.
  • Dynamically assign tasks to the most appropriate resource through configurable rules.
  • Accelerate approvals using predefined workflows.
  • Automate follow-up with predefined triggers.
  • Set alerts and reminders for campaign milestones.

Analytics

  • Measure your marketing success with KPIs.
  • Gain business insight with flexible dashboards and in-line data visualization.
  • Follow key marketing objectives with comprehensive goal-tracking capabilities.
  • Track key campaign indicators with built-in reports.
  • Identify trends and allocate resources through predictive analytics.
  • Data cubes help with trending analysis.

Extended CRM
xRM Framework

  • Point-and-click customization of data management, workflow, user experience, access and security, analytics, and reporting.
  • Ability to deploy customizations either in your data center or in the cloud.
  • Application integration is based on industry standards.
  • Extension of familiar and scalable technologies like Microsoft Office System, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Visual Studio, the Microsoft .NET Framework and Windows Server.

Solutions Management

  • Ability to add or remove programs and features.
  • Supports secure code on the server.
  • Includes intellectual property protection.
  • Change management and versioning.

Workflow

  • Provides point-and-click customization and configuration of personal, team, or organizational workflows.
  • Ability to build processes with conditional branching and nesting.
  • Automated actions triggered based on events, time or business logic.

System Management

  • Includes multitenancy for multiple concurrent applications.
  • High availability, load balancing and clustering.
  • Currently has 100,000 concurrent user with virtualization.
  • Reduces power consumption, rack space and management overhead.

Partner Networks

  • Provides expert help to deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
  • Education, training and support.
  • Hosting and management of your Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution by service providers.
  • Partner add-on solutions tailored for specific business needs.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace

  • Users can find, download and deploy applications.
  • Includes both application and professional services listings.
  • Provides new and optimized search logic.
  • Solution ratings and reviews.
  • Direct integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.

Microsoft Azure

  • Companies can move their mission-critical Microsoft Visual Studio applications to the cloud.
  • Integrate Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Azure through Azure App Fabric.
  • Simplify the way businesses connect with customers, partners and vendors in the cloud.
  • Leverage Windows Azure Data Services solutions to extend the reach of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Screenshots


Pros
  • Offers strong capabilities in sales force automation, customer data management, marketing automation, customer service, and analytics
  • Improvements include a new user interface (UI) and custom dashboards
  • New UI requires fewer clicks and has better visualizations
  • Provides role-based views to personalize the user experience
  • Multi-tenant architecture and is offered in both on-demand and on-premise deployments
  • Excellent desktop integration
  • Decent offline system utilization via an offline sales version with automatic synchronization when online connectivity resumes
Cons
  • Does not deliver sandbox environments with SaaS subscriptions
  • Sandbox test beds are extremely useful for testing, quality assurance and trouble-free upgrades and roll-outs
  • Microsoft does not provide Dynamics Online coverage for several prominent countries, such as Argentina, China, and Taiwan
  • CRM does not provide ubiquitous browser support. Only runs on IE 7, 8, or 9. With Windows XP or later
Overall

Dynamics customers frequently choose this product for its native Outlook user experience, quick deployment, flexible tools and affordability. Dynamics has historically met the business needs and IT constraints of small and midsized businesses, however the CRM solution is clearly moving up market, is very scalable and Microsoft now touts several customers with over one-thousand users.

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