Announcing Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration GA, it’s a game changer

Announcing Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration GA, it’s a game changer

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

In engaging customers today, we need to be heard above the noise, and we need to deliver creativity and uniqueness to each customer in the moments that matter. Customers are looking for value and for companies to address their needs on their terms. Companies now can start with a deep understanding of their customers and then act on this information to engage them and make them feel like they have a one-to-one relationship with the company. This approach is going from competitive advantage to expectation. The old segment-based approach to marketing automation is no longer adequate. In today’s marketing world, we need event-triggered communications to engage customers with personalized experiences. This extends well beyond traditional marketing practices and permeates deeper into your company beyond marketing teams.

After months of anticipation, we are thrilled to announce that thenew real-time customer journey orchestration capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing are now generally available to all businesses, beginning in select regions and rolling out worldwide in the months ahead.

Dynamics 365 Marketing is transforming the way both marketers and business users alike can elevate customer experiences, win customers, and earn their loyalty faster through personalized, real-time, customer-led interactions, all on a unified adaptable platform by making every interaction count.

Creating an enterprise-wide common conversation that meets customers in their exact moment of need is core to a successful growth strategy. This is exactly what makes Customer Journey Orchestration in Dynamics 365 Marketing a compelling and important addition to the Dynamics suite. It is an intuitive solution to one of CX’s greatest challenges: learning from signals and responding beyond expectations,” Liz Miller, Vice President and Principal Analyst of Constellation Research.

And Dynamics 365 Marketing experiences get even better as you also use Microsoft’s customer data platform, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. Dynamics 365 Customer Insights makes it easy to unify customer data, augment profiles, and identify high-value customer segments. You can use profile and segment data in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights to fine-tune your targeting and further refine your journeys to drive meaningful interactions.

We’ve partnered with Forrester Vice President and Principal Analyst, Rusty Warner, to create a webinar titled Customer Journey Orchestration: Make Every Interaction Count to frame this modern marketing landscape. It’s a must-see overview that lays the foundation to understanding changing customer expectations and how marketing technology must evolve to meet these needs.

We have several customers that are already using these capabilities to elevate experiences for their customers and transform their businesses. Here are some of their stories.

Starting with a deep understanding leveraging the power of data and AI

European Forum Alpbach

The European Forum Alpbach (EFA) is a platform that drives ideas for an empowered and democratic Europe. It brings together young people, leading scholars, thinkers, scientists, policymakers, business people, and civil society actors from Europe and from all over the world to engage and contribute to its mission of shaping a stronger Europe. EFA is an incubator of ideas and an initiator of action for the European continent.

Like many organizations, disconnected tools and processes inhibited EFA from interacting with members along the customer journeys they had envisioned. By using Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration EFA was able to bridge the gap between their onsite and online customer experiences by pulling together those unconnected systems (i.e. CRM, payments, registrations, etc.) to create a complete end-to-end experience for their members.

“It’s fairly simple with this tool where we can trigger the communication to the user based on the actions they are taking such as processing a payment. We get data from different sources and based on this data, we can trigger actions in real-time. This is something that we couldn’t do before.” Mario Nurderscher, CRM Architect & Development Partner, European Forum Alpbach.

Using real-time event triggers and AI-powered channel optimization, EFA was able to orchestrate and automate ticket purchasing for their members. When a member purchases a ticket, a journey is triggered that orchestrates that member’s experience, including confirmation emails, real-time updates, and offers during the conference, etc. It was easy to create one journey with individual outcomes based on the actions of each member.

Triggering journeys based on events to respond in moments that matter

Leatherman, the originator and category leader in high-quality multi-tools, pocket tools, and knives, sought a solution to meet their growing D2C (Direct to Consumer) communication needs. With the objective to curate a more personalized customer journey and to create user experience continuity with their online store, Leatherman leveraged Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration to deliver an end-to-end welcome journey for their new customers.

Leatherman “[the Journey designer] is straightforward and easy to use, with an intuitive workflow layout. We have flexibility to trigger our journeys in multiple ways from our website and our other Dynamics products, and products from other vendors. The journey can also react to customer activities in real-time.”Liz Lee, IT Director, Leatherman Tool Group.

Using customer journey orchestration and Power Automate, the team at Leatherman was able to create a multi-touchpoint journey which allowed them to engage their customers across their commerce and marketing solutions using real-time custom events. This journey was executed every time a customer signed up or started to check out on their website. This allowed Leatherman to seamlessly activate new customers and to create opportunities for continued engagement along the way.

Hyper personalizing communications at scale to drive better outcomes

Team Rubicon logo“When I first heard about CJO, I immediately thought about the potential efficiencies the product would offer. To say that I was exhilarated, would be an understatement. CJO in Dynamics 365 has allowed me to build significantly fewer segments and has automated deployments that used to take my team and I hours to do. Instead now, I get to spend that time focusing on what matters; mentoring volunteer leaders and getting our volunteers into the field.”Dustin Lynch, Team Rubicon Sr. Associate, Operations Support Mobilization.

Team Rubiconis a veteran-led disaster response organization that serves communities before, during, and after disasters and humanitarian crises by mobilizing their network ofnearly150,000volunteers who largely consist offirst responders andveterans.In addition to responding to natural disasterslike hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes,Team Rubicon has beenleading vaccination efforts to help combat the COVID-19 crises.

The impact that nonprofit Team Rubicon has made in hundreds of disaster relief operations is life-changing for the people and communities they serve. The Microsoft stack and Dynamics 365 are at the core of their operations, and over the past three years, they have continued to innovate tech to support, scale, and drive their missions. Their latest tech innovation comes from the work they’re doing with Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration.

The ability to communicate with our volunteers based on detected changes in our data and based on their actions in real time provides a huge boost to our volunteer experience. Having these notifications orchestrated reduces staffing requirements and allows our mobilization and communications teams to focus on more important tasks.” Ed Glover, Team Rubicon Technology Analyst.

By using real-time customer journey orchestration, Team Rubicon can not only re-confirm deployments, they can keep volunteers up to date with changing details such as meeting location, date or time updates.With CJO, they were able to reduce the overall number of segmentsmaintainedby35 percent and reduce the human effort to build,sendand monitorthese notifications byas much as8 hours per week. Team Rubicon is excited to expand the use of CJOto coveradditionalelementsof their overall communications strategy.

Orchestrating journeys that go beyond marketing to deliver a congruous experience to customers

One of the existing Dynamics 365 customers that have been evaluating and using real-time customer journey orchestration since its preview release is HP. The team at HP clearly knows that customer care goes beyond support. It’s about connecting the various customer interactions into a single, holistic experience that delights customers.

To achieve this, HP wants to provide both enterprise customers and home consumers with exceptional customer service. The company is working to enhance its support experience with Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration. By providing a more personalized experience, HP keeps the customer experience positive and builds lifetime loyalty, while also reducing support call times and lowering operational costs.

HPWith customer-led journey orchestration in Dynamics 365 Marketing, our agents can gain a real-time, 360-degree view of each customer and their support experience.” Jibu Mathew, Project Manager, HP Inc.

With end-to-end journey orchestration, HP’s goal is to keep each customer informed throughout the customer support lifecycle. This is achieved by delivering a highly personalized and context-aware experience using multiple channels including SMS and email. As the customer’s support case proceeds towards resolution, the customer plus the case data are orchestrated in a unified, end-to-end journey. By bringing the customer and case data together, HP is able to deliver a consistent and highly integrated experience to their customers.

These are just a few examples of how businesses are evaluating and implementing solutions based on our new customer journey orchestration capabilities and how we are empowering customer experience-focused organizations to unleash the power of data and AI to deeply personalize customer communications so that every interaction counts in the moments that matter. When you build on our trusted and adaptable platform, the creativity and experience design possibilities are limitless and you can start using them today.

Learn more and get started

Join me over the next few weeks for a three-part blog series that will give us a deeper look into how businesses are already using customer journey orchestration and driving business value.

Until then, to learn more about how your organization can elevate your customer experiences, visit the Dynamics 365 Marketing webpage and sign up for a free trial to explore real-time customer journey orchestration and the other rich capabilities offered in Dynamics 365 Marketing.

The post Announcing Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey orchestration GA, it’s a game changer appeared first on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog.

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

Exceed customer expectations with seamless and unified commerce experiences

Exceed customer expectations with seamless and unified commerce experiences

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

Today’s consumers want the flexibility to buy and fulfill where, when, and how they choose. As retailers have expanded on purchasing options for customerslike buy online pick up in-storethey have quickly gone from value adds or differentiators, to baseline customer expectations. For many retailers, enabling omnichannel experiences is not only a means to grow; it is critical to surviving in a modern sales environment. Over the last year, retailers have moved quickly to meet customers on new and emerging channels to drive customer conversion and sales growth. Improving front-end experiences were often prioritized over establishing connected back-end systems that powered these new purchasing experiences and as a result, many retailers failed to deliver on a promise of seamlessly connected shopping for their customers due to siloed and disconnected data including cross-channel transactions and customer visibility.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Commerce is built on a modern, intelligent, and headless platform that natively connects commerce systems, such as payment processing, fraud protection, along with easily extending to 3PL logistics. By looking across all facets of the customer journey, businesses can enable true omnichannel commerce across traditional and emerging channels, through a unified commerce platform. This ultimately allows retailers and consumer goods organizations to meet customers where they are, allow them to pay however they want, and make returns through whatever channel they choose to offer. It also provides managers and sellers with complete visibility of customers and business data. This connected data platform can help fuel your business for future innovation and growth across all relevant purchasing channels.

Let’s take a closer look at how data has transformed the way we perceive, power, and drive innovation across customer purchasing experiences.

Seamless journeys

Consumers expect seamless and frictionless experiences and have seemingly endless options of products and places to purchase. This means that even a single broken step in the customer journey can lead customers to move to another brand or retailer. In a recent PwC survey of 15,000 consumers, they found that one in three people will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience.1

Savvy retailers understand the value of a seamless journey and are making investments to make this a reality. They know that consumers will continually evaluate their brand experience against the best they’ve ever had, not against their idea of what their average experience has been. For example, consumers see no issue comparing smaller and medium-size companies against the most successful e-commerce and omnichannel retailers.

To help businesses compete effectively in this climate, Dynamics 365 Commerce can connect all the steps and touchpoints across the customer journey, from payments to returns, both online and in-store. It empowers retailers to drive a connected commerce experience, providing increased cross-channel visibility, improving customer retention rates and helping businesses gain the necessary insights to offer increasingly personalized experiences.

Retail shop owner working on Microsoft 365 Business Premium a mobile phone and a Surface. Female, retail, artwork, small business

Personalized experiences

Considering consumers’ low tolerance for bad experiences, businesses of all sizes, even small to medium-sized, must create outstanding customer experiences across platforms, from social to in-person, to check out and returns. Customers spend up to 40 percent more,2 when they consider the experience highly personalized. Moreover, these types of integrated, seamless journeys lead to positive customer experiences that can also increase spending by as much as 140 percent.3

Truly connected systems

Achieving unified commerce requires integration across all systems and databases utilized in making omnichannel commerce a reality. Let’s consider payment systems to understand the benefits of integrating back-end systems.

Many businesses continue to use traditional payment gateways that route payments through a separate risk management system before passing them to another third party for payment authorization and completion. Typically, these legacy systems rely on numerous payment processors and processes for each different channel and region.

This type of disconnected system is inefficient and costly for businesses to operate. When systems are disconnected in this manner, it limits improvements to customer experiences because of a lack of insights and visibility. In addition, users will often have to run dozens of reports to stay on top of sales information from all channels and payment providers, and worse, these reports remain disconnected from ERP and CRM systems.

Curbside order pickup from a restaurant or coffee shop. Order in Excel and OneDrive. Microsoft 365 and Surface. Small Business Male, food, restaurant, coffee, Covid, pandemic, masks, car, order.

Integrated payments

Integrating payments is about more than consolidating all payments with one provider. It’s about ensuring all of your payment systems are integrated with other systems, including ERP systems, the point-of-sale platform, and the customer relationship management system. If businesses could integrate payment systems, they can enable the level of visibility necessary to provide more personalized customer experiences and move one step closer to true omnichannel retail.

Businesses can integrate payments in three ways: create a custom integration, use a plugin, or use a native integration. Custom integrations can be expensive due to integration and ongoing maintenance costs, pushing many retailers to opt for prebuilt plugins if a native integration was unavailable. Using plugins carries risk, however, as it means relying on yet another third party to build and maintain a vital link in your commercial processes. Native integration is a superior option as it reduces reliance on an additional third party and is also more affordable and reliable.

With Dynamics 365 Commerce, we offer the ability to work with a variety of payment providers, but we have invested in natively integrating payments to Adyen. Adyen (AMS: ADYEN) is the payments platform of choice for many of the world’s leading companies, providing a modern end-to-end infrastructure connecting directly to Visa, Mastercard, and consumers’ globally preferred payment methods. Adyen delivers frictionless payments across online, mobile, and in-store channels.

Because this integration is built and supported by Microsoft, you can depend on it to be an always up-to-date, seamless working solution while also delivering faster implementation for new businesses. For example, a retailer who recently chose Adyen on Dynamics 365 started accepting and testing payments within 38 minutes, compared to weeks with other providers.

Learn more about the Microsoft and Adyen partnership or check out our free Payments Webinar.

Build connected and seamless experiences today

Businesses across the globe have been challenged to adapt rapidly to changing customer needs and demands accelerated by the pandemic. Consumers and business-facing organizations are embracing digital transformation on a massive scale to compete and thrive in complex commerce environments. Dynamics 365 solutions enable retailers and consumer goods organizations to combine the best of digital and in-store to deliver personal, seamless, and differentiated customer experiences. With Dynamic 365 Commerce, businesses can streamline business processes, turn data into insights, and take advantage of dynamic, agile systems that adapt to customer needs on a proven and secure data platform.

Ready to take the next step with Dynamics 365 Commerce? You can take advantage of a free Dynamics 365 Commerce trial or check out our webinar, Get Full Control of Your Payments with Adyen and Dynamics 365.

1- “Experience is everything. Get it right.,” PwC

2- U.S., Business Impact of Personalization in Retail study, customer survey, Google, 2019

3- The true value of customer experiences, Deloitte

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Automated lead routing (preview): Right salesperson, right time, more sales

Automated lead routing (preview): Right salesperson, right time, more sales

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

The lead routing capability (preview) in Dynamics 365 Sales automates the distribution of incoming leads to sellers and teams, ensuring that leads are consistently assigned based on repeatable rules and configurations defined by your organization. Automated lead routing creates process efficiencies, so the right prospect reaches the right salesperson at the right time, eliminating errors from manual routing, and creating a balanced workload for global sales teams.

Dynamics 365 Sales lead routing (preview) is based on an easily configurable, rule-based assignment engine that automatically distributes leads using various commonly used parameters, strung together in a simple rule framework.

Shorten sales cycles and improve conversion rates

Customers are looking for quick solutions. In this digital age, they are aware of their needs, and know how to fulfill them. If customers don’t get a quick and satisfactory response to their query, they can easily reach out to a competitor.

It is critical not only to assign the correct seller to a lead but also to ensure that leads are assigned immediately. Lead routing in Dynamics 365 Sales assigns it to the seller as soon as a lead is either created or updated. The system detects a change, and if it fulfills the rules conditions then the lead gets assigned to the seller. The assignment is also expedited with the use of target segments within the rules, which helps in improving the lead conversion rate.

The right people for the right job

Sellers have different skills and competencies, they speak different languages, they’re located in different geographies, and they have different levels of selling experience. Assignment of incoming leads should be based on these characteristics, to make sellers more effective in their engagements and improve the overall customer experience, resulting in overall higher conversion rates.

Lead routing in Dynamics 365 Sales can be configured using detailed seller attributes and business rule configurations. The lead routing rules provide the flexibility to support the simplest of matching to complex ones, based on business needs.

Lead routing rules support:

  • Direct matching of attributes between seller and lead, for example the geographic location of the lead matches where the seller is located.
  • Indirect matching of attributes between seller and lead, for example the lead’s parent account territory matches the seller’s territory.

Seller attributes used in a rule can come from two different sources:

  • General seller attributes, which come from within the master data form in Dynamics 365.
  • Specific seller attributes, which are used only for routing rules.

Here are a few common ways seller attributes can be used:

  • Territory and geography (country, state, district, pin code)
  • Specialization
  • Availability and/or capacity of seller
  • Product of interest
  • Lead score

Automation keeps focus on strategic activities

Kitchen automation tools were invented to help cooks focus on critical cooking activities and bring relief from mundane tasks. The cooks’ focus was directed toward making a delectable dish and efficiencies were gained to be able to serve more dining guests within a limited amount of time.

Similarly, lead routing features can help those responsible for lead assignments focus on strategic and mission critical activities and bring relief from time-consuming lead assignment and distribution. The Dynamics 365 Sales lead routing is flexible and easy to construct.

The distribution can happen in the following ways:

  • Round robin
  • Load balancing

Lead distribution can take into consideration seller capacity and availability. Capacity can be set for each seller and availability is maintained by the seller in the availability calendar.

Lead routing is a critical factor of sales success. Accurate and timely distribution of leads can significantly impact the top line of the organization. Lead routing in Dynamics 365 Sales provides an automated, rule-based routing process.

Next steps

Learn more about lead routing in the Administrator guide, and try out the lead routing capability in Dynamics 365 Sales.

The post Automated lead routing (preview): Right salesperson, right time, more sales appeared first on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Blog.

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

Automated lead routing (preview): Right salesperson, right time, more sales

Microsoft acquires Suplari to strengthen business insight for finance and procurement leaders

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

In a world where efficiency is more important than ever, companies are turning to new ways to unlock actionable insights to improve their businesses from the massive amounts of data they manage across their many data silos. This move to a new breed of “data-first” applications, which we introduced for other business processes through apps like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, is now coming to the supplier spend domain.

For most companies their financial data is locked in silos, making in-depth analysis difficult. With many companies facing rising costs and deteriorating margins, access to actionable insights for finance and procurement leaders is critical. They want to be able to bring down costs and manage their spend. For most companies, supplier spend represents a significant percentage of their revenue, yet most do not feel they are managing it strategically. But this has started to change, and Gartner* forecasts that by 2022, 50 percent of all legacy spend analysis software will be replaced by AI-powered, cloud-based solutions, and by 2024, 50 percent of organizations will have near-real-time procurement analytics.1

Today, Microsoft is announcing the acquisition of Suplari, a leading provider of supplier spend insights that enable companies to proactively manage supplier spend by transforming data from multiple sources, such as contracts, purchase orders, invoices, expenses, and supplier risk, into valuable insight. By bringing Suplari’s spend intelligence insights together with the existing Microsoft Dynamics 365 capabilities, Microsoft is further helping organizations become insight-driven and enabling business leaders to take strategic action.

Suplari currently helps mid-size and large enterprises continuously manage costs and cash flow using unified, cleansed data, automated insights, and predictive actions. Together with Dynamics 365, the Suplari Spend Intelligence Cloud will help customers maximize financial visibility by using AI to automate the analysis of current data and historical patterns from multiple data sources. It will also help customers enhance financial decision-making by predicting the best spend management actions moving forward. The Suplari Spend Intelligence Cloud remains in market with no change for existing customers.

This acquisition will further empower Microsoft to help our customers turn data into actionable insights, including:

  • Making comprehensive enterprise spend data and insights accessible to all. Customers can have a shared view of supplier spend everyone can use regardless of skill level. The simple, intuitive, and interactive user experience provides a single source of truth and insights for all users.
  • Unlocking new financial insights to help with strategic procurement decisions. Microsoft is committed to helping customers transform data into immediate action and now with Suplari’s AI-powered library of over 175 insights, teams are empowered to manage demand, spend, and cash flow on a daily basis.
  • Getting up and running with predictive insights in weeks, not months. Suplari’s data requirements are simple and flexible. Quickly access clean spend and operational data that includes your internal data sets as well as your external supplier data. Make better decisions faster, leading to stronger financial performance with measurable outcomes.

Today’s announcement also signals our continued commitment to enabling organizations to move beyond transactional financial management to proactive operations that enhance decision making, mitigate risks, and reduce supplier costs through our data-first approach. Learn more about getting started by visiting the Suplari website or request a demo. Learn more about Dynamics 365 by visiting our Dynamics 365 product page.

1- Gartner, Inc., Boost Supplier Management by Integrating Use-Case Driven Spend Analytics, Koray Kose et al, January 25, 2021.

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

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Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.