Dynamics 365 Sales release wave 1: Simplifying the things that matter

Dynamics 365 Sales release wave 1: Simplifying the things that matter

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

Selling isn’t easy. If you were to take five minutes to ask a salesperson what makes selling so challenging, you’d quickly find that you don’t have nearly enough time to cover it all.

One thing is constant for sellerstime is in short supply. In a day, sellers are managing leads, tracking performance metrics, and collaborating with team members scattered far and wide, while at the same, delivering a blend of digital and personalized experiences to customers throughout their journey. Consequently, sellers need their data to work for them and ensure they can focus on their highest priorities.

That’s why for the Dynamics 365 Sales 2022 release wave 1, we are focused on streamlining the seller experience by elevating collaboration tools even more and expanding intelligence capabilities so that every seller can make faster use of their data, reclaim their time, and be more productive with customers.

Our approach targets three areas to improve the sales team’s experiences and empower them to achieve even more than before:

  • Guide sellers with intelligence
  • Make collaboration even easier
  • Thrive with more productive tools

Let’s take a closer look at what’s in store for sellers in the weeks and months ahead.

Guide sellers with intelligence

What if we told you that sellers could take some of the guesswork out of their day-to-day workflows? With this release wave, we’re rolling out updates to guide sellers to connect with the right customers, capture interactions to help sellers focus on winning deals, and provide comprehensive insights into their pipelines and improve the predictability of revenue forecasts.

Guide sellers with predictive analytics and automation. Over the coming months, features for Sales Accelerator will become available thereby enabling sellers (using sales enterprise or premium) to have a single workspace to help them close more deals. New capabilities include enhanced worklist features to prioritize your work, new AI-based models to improve data quality, streamlined sequences creation, and activity management, including sequence templates based on industry best practices. These features will help guide sellers on how to prioritize and connect with the right customer, assist them on executing consistently though out the customer journey, and give them the ability to choose the right engagement plan for their prospects and customers.

graphical user interface, text, application

Capture every interaction with Conversation Intelligence. Get the right insight, at the right time and at the right place with Conversation Intelligence. Sellers will now be able to capture every customer interaction and get real-time business insights on the platform or channel of their choice. They will get real-time content suggestions while on calls and insights to learn how call performance affects call outcomes. These capabilities are in preview now and will be released to general availability in September 2022.

Predictive pipeline scoring. Available now in general availability, sellers can now assign scoring attributes per sales stage and see the number of days since the deal has moved, and quickly understand how the stagnation impacts the score of the deal. This helps sellers determine the right next step to take to move the deal forward.

Enhanced forecasting. Provide sales teams with predictability to their revenue forecasts, and a workspace that provides comprehensive views and insights into their sales pipeline. Now in general availability, sales teams can streamline forecasting workflows by setting the default view. Now teams can quickly access sales projections, freeing up time to focus on customers.

Make collaboration even easier

Let’s face itthese days to sell well you need a hyperconnected team. From customer relationship management (CRM) to email to messaging apps, sales teams rely on a lot of tools to get their jobs done. That’s why we focused on enhancing the connection between Dynamics 365 Sales and Microsoft Teams to ensure teams can collaborate more easily and be more productive.

Tighter Teams experience. Sales teams will now be able to easily associate Teams meetings with Dynamics 365 Sales records allowing for even more productive meetings. Sales teams can capture notes and tasks, as well as quickly access and update records, right within the Teams interface. This feature will become generally available beginning in September.

a screenshot of a computer screen

Embedded Teams chat in Dynamics 365. Now sellers can stay within their CRM workflow while collaborating with their stakeholders with the Teams-embedded chat experience to ensure context remains front and center.

Thrive with more productive tools

Finally, sellers are now enabled to better keep their finger on the pulse of customer relationships and introduce automation into their sales processes that didn’t exist before.

Rich messaging with Dynamics data. Not all sales conversations initiate from Dynamics. Users need a way to bring business context into conversations when and where they are initiated. We now enable sellers to share and interact with Dynamics 365 Sales records directly in the Teams message.

graphical user interface, application, Teams

Discover hidden accounts and contacts. With predictive relationship intelligence, sales teams can query their entire network based on interactions gleaned from Dynamics 365 Sales and Exchange to uncover hidden relationships, obtain introductions, and accelerate opportunities.

Simplify day-to-day sales activities. With the built-in Sales Hub app, sellers can get their ideal selling experience. Sales Hub is designed to simplify your day-to-day sales activities providing sellers vital information in one place, unblocking them to focus on key activities and tasks that require attention.

Learn more

These are just a few features we’re rolling out for Dynamics 365 release wave 1. To go deeper into our newest features for Dynamics 365 Sales, click on the links to these online documentation and video resources.

If you are not yet a Dynamics 365 Sales customer, check out our Dynamics 365 Sales webpage where you can take a guided tour or get a free 30-day trial.

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Microsoft: A Leader in hybrid work solutions across 22 analyst reports

Microsoft: A Leader in hybrid work solutions across 22 analyst reports

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

The last two years have proven that every organization needs a digital fabric that connects the entire organization—from the boardroom to the frontline, and from internal teams to customers and partners. No company is better positioned to help organizations meet the demands of hybrid work than Microsoft. As the future of work unfolds, industry analysts…

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Microsoft: A Leader in hybrid work solutions across 22 analyst reports

Microsoft Viva Goals brings purpose and alignment to the employee experience

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

Today, we are excited to announce Microsoft Viva Goals, a new module for business goal setting and management, is now available in private preview. Viva Goals brings purpose and alignment to Viva customers—alongside culture and communications, wellbeing and engagement, growth and development, as well as knowledge and expertise.

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3 ways to turn your field service operation into a revenue-generating machine

3 ways to turn your field service operation into a revenue-generating machine

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

For decades, companies have relied on skilled technicians to repair equipment and engage with customers in the field. While these technicians were often the only representation that the customer would see, their skills, processes, and systems were seldom seen as critical aspects of the company’s revenue cycle. Until recently, many field technicians or field service teams were merely thought of as necessary cost centers. But like other parts of the organization, even the cost centers must learn to innovate and discover additional revenuegenerating opportunities.

Field service is the process of organizing and managing work tasks that need to be completed at a particular location, usually a customer site. The field service process often includes many variables and can be quite complex. It encompasses dispatching, scheduling, skills matching, and route optimization, to name a few. Many people have been in a situation where they’re expected to wait all day for a technician because they’ve been given a broad arrival window time between the hours of 8 AM and 4 PM. Well, that’s field servicealbeit, a rather inefficient model.

As the field service domain evolves, companies are learning their inefficiencies in the field can quickly cost them revenue as customer satisfaction is negatively impacted and the lifetime value of their customers decreases. And while companies across all industries are realizing the extended costs of inefficient field service operations, those that are innovative have begun to understand how to also leverage field service to generate more revenue. Cost reductions by becoming more efficient can be great, but reducing costs while increasing revenue is pure gold.

Here are three ways to drive revenue through your field service operations and how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service can help create efficiencies.

1. Lead generation

This may sound odd primarily because lead generation has always been a staple of marketing and sales operations. But who else gets to know your customers better than your field technicians? Here’s a quick personal story:

After a recent move, I called several internet service providers. For starters, I selected the provider that could deliver service in the least amount of time. Upon arrival, the technician asked about other services, particularly mobile phone service. Since I had a different mobile phone carrier, he said they have specials and asked if I would be interested in hearing them. Shortly after confirming my interest and completing my internet installation, a field salesperson knocked on my door and converted me over to their mobile plan. A lead generated and a sale transactedall originating from the field technician’s simple question.

Field technicians are skilled workers that often have a series of tasks needed to complete the service. By simply including a question or by noting a specific item on their task list, a Microsoft Power Automate flow can be triggered to automatically create a lead and route it to the sales team. This creates a qualified lead for the sales team and a cross-sell revenue opportunity for the company.

2. Expanding business units: Field Service-as-a-Service

To truly turn your field service operations into a revenue generator, the current operation must become efficient. Efficiency requires innovation; that is, innovation of processes, system platforms, and people. When it comes to field service operations, it’s safe to say not all organizations innovate at the same pace and some prefer not to innovate at all. This is where your innovation and efficiencies can become a revenue-generating asset.  

For example, a large healthcare facilities provider began as a facilities management operation. They provided facilities management services to the vast and growing network of healthcare providers. Continuing to innovate and drive efficiencies with Dynamics 365 Field Service, the healthcare facilities provider quickly recognized the value they could bring to other healthcare provider networks and began offering their services to other hospitals. By leveraging their efficiencies, they were able to provide great value to more than 160 hospitals which allows their customers to create better patient experiences. The healthcare facilities provider is a great example of how field service efficiencies were used to create a revenue-generating business unit.

3. Connected Field Service: leverage data

Connected Field Service leverages IoT data collected from device sensors and integrates with Dynamics 365 Field Service to create a new revenue-generating service model. Connected Field Service allows organizations to graduate from the traditional break-fix service model to a proactive and predictive service model. This shift creates opportunities for organizations to market and sell new service offerings that yield greater revenue and increase margin.

A connected field service example is a Pacific Northwest mechanical contractor company. The organization specializes in developing energy-efficient buildings. However, by capturing the data from IoT sensors, their connected field service solution enables them to offer post-construction optimization services. IoT sensors capture a building’s energy levels and proactively dispatches a service technician prior to failurethus, ensuring operational efficiency within their customers’ facilities. Building on their efficiencies, they can conserve and reduce travel costs by performing remote inspections and service with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist. Such efficiency creates opportunities to sell more advanced support offerings thereby increasing revenue and profitability.

Learn more about Dynamics 365 Field Service

The good news is that becoming more efficient in field service operations can be extremely valuable to your organization. The better news is that through innovation, field service operations can even be transformed into a revenue-generating machine.

Read the complete MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions story.

Read more about Dynamics 365 Field Service.

Read more about Dynamics 365 Remote Assist.

Read more about Microsoft Azure IoT.

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Knowledge search enhancements improve agent productivity and customer satisfaction

Knowledge search enhancements improve agent productivity and customer satisfaction

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

A comprehensive knowledge base that helps customer service reps and customers find answers to the most common issues quickly is key to improving agent productivity and increasing customer satisfaction. Dynamics 365 Customer Service 2022 release wave 1 introduces Dataverse search for Power Apps portals, an improved knowledge search experience in Customer Service workspace with admin configuration, and richer analytics for managers.

These improvements and new features help you make sure your agents are productive, customers are happy, and brand loyalty is improved.

Use Dataverse search for knowledge base searches in Power Pages

With Dataverse search, knowledge bases in portals can take advantage of the same search service that model-driven apps use. Deliver fast and comprehensive search results, sorted by relevance, with filters such as modified date, rating, and products, and the ability to enforce content access levels.

Screenshot of knowledge base search results.

Improved knowledge search experience in Customer Service workspace with admin configuration

With this release, knowledge administrators have more power to configure the knowledge search control in the app side pane (formerly known as the productivity pane) in the Customer Service workspace.

Screenshot of the knowledge search settings panel.

Administrators can configure automatic search (using text from a selected field to provide search results automatically) and actions that agents can perform on a record:

  • Link and unlink the article and the record
  • Copy the article URL
  • Link the article to the record and then send the article URL in an email
  • Link the article to the record and then send the article content in an email
  • Set the default email recipient for the record when sending the article URL or content in an email

Get insights with rich article analytics

Knowledge managers and authors can get greater insights on the knowledge articles they create. Knowledge authors must keep their knowledge bases relevant, accurate, and easy to access from different channels. The built-in historical view of knowledge article usage and related metrics helps knowledge authors and managers understand the effectiveness of knowledge content and identify opportunities for improvement.

Screenshot of knowledge base article analytics dashboard.

Analytics include detailed reports that provide historical trends for key metrics, such as:

  • Number of views
  • Number of visitors
  • Average feedback rating
  • Number of links to cases
  • Number of shares

Next steps

To learn more about knowledge management in Dynamics 365 Customer Service, read the documentation:

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3 ways to turn your field service operation into a revenue-generating machine

How to foster customer loyalty through personalized experiences

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

These days, customer experience is everything. Happy customers are loyal customers, but, as a group, they can be an elusive audience. Three quarters of consumers have tried new shopping behaviors since the pandemic started and 73 percent expect to continue to incorporate different brands they’ve tried into their routines.1 As we see a slow, but continued return to normal in 2022, the path to customer loyalty remains uncertain. 

It’s likely not a surprise to most marketers that keeping a customer involves far less investment than acquiring a new one. Studies show, driving customer loyalty is worth the effortincreasing retention rates by as little as 5 percent could increase sales by over 25 percent.2

How do you know which customers are likely to stay and which ones are on their way out the proverbial door? And, if you can keep their attention, what’s the best way to ensure they have a positive experience?

Let’s look at three actions you can take to understand and engage customers who may be at risk of abandoning your brand and how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights can help companies foster customer loyalty

Understanding churn

In the U.S., even the most loyal customers won’t tolerate a bad experience, with 17 percent saying they will walk away after one negative engagement. In Latin America, the risk of losing customers is even higher, with 49 percent saying they will walk away from a brand after just one bad experience.3

Knowing which customers are likely to churn can help your marketing efforts be more successful. Predicting which customers may abandon your brand allows you to focus your retention engagements on desired and higher-value customers and on increasing their loyalty. Machine learning models and AI-driven analytics can speed up the process of predicting if, and when, a customer is likely to stop using your service or product.

Trusted solutions like Dynamics 365 Customer Insights help companies leverage machine learning and AI-driven insights to predict customer behavior, allowing you to learn from human interactions at-scale using predictive data. The easiest way to start with predictive data is to use pre-defined models. Out-of-box models like the ones available in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights give you the benefit of speed. You can train your models quickly and start learning about your customers now, rather than starting model development from scratch.

Pre-built solutions don’t block you from customizing your models later. With Dynamics 365 Customer Insights you can customize the AI or bring your own with Azure Machine Learning. Train a customized model, schedule models to run on a regular basis, and integrate the output as an attribute of a customer record. You can also set your model to retrain itself regularly so that you are continuously improving your results. For custom predictive insights, you can use Azure Machine Learning and Azure Synapse Analytics, which combine customer data with enterprise data to develop, train, and fine-tune machine learning models.

With an out-of-box model you may learn customers have a stronger likelihood of churn based on the time since their last purchase in a particular product category. Adding an additional factor to that model such as the type of device used for online purchases could help your teams spot opportunities for improving customer engagements. For example, you may learn customers who shop on their mobile device for a more complex product have a higher need for support services if you want to reduce their product return rates. Learn more about how Dynamics 365 Customer Insights leverages AI and machine learning to predict data and customer behaviors.

Making room for improvement

Customers have more channels and platforms than ever before to express their opinions and share their experiences. Today’s customers expect high quality products, services, and brand experiences and they’re not shy about telling other shoppers, and you, when you’ve missed the mark.

Using Sentiment Analysis to synthesize customer feedback with business aspects can help you better understand and respond to your customers’ needs and wants. Whether it’s a comment made online about an order arriving later than expected, or a heartfelt thank you to a service rep who created an exceptional in-store experience, these inputs are valuable insights.

The challenge is in making sense of increasing volumes of customer data without lowering accuracy and increasing labor costs. Natural Language Processing is a type of AI that gives machines the ability to understand text in a way that is similar to how humans do the same. Natural Language Processing powers sentiment analysis by quicky assigning a sentiment score to each comment and then associating that feedback with aspects of your business. This automated process can help you make valuable insights actionable ones with less effort and at a lower cost. Quickly understand not only what your customers are saying, but why. Find out what’s working well, and which business processes or customer touchpoints may need attention.

Some examples of how you can improve your customers’ experiences using Sentiment Analysis are:

  • Identifying customers with negative sentiment, and using that insight to focus your campaigns and engagements and optimize them for higher satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Learning about touchpoints with issues and opportunities that are pointed out by customers and working to optimize underperforming processes or aspects of your business.
  • Segmenting customers based on their sentiment and running personalized campaigns with targeted sales, marketing, and support efforts such as rewards for happy customers delivered through your loyalty program.

The more you understand about if and how your customers’ expectations are being met and the faster you can act on your findings, the more likely you are to drive higher levels of customer satisfaction and reduce churn. Customers today are more engaged than ever. Listening to them, understanding what they want, and then meeting, or exceeding their expectations, is key to earning their loyalty.

Creating unique experiences

Customers often churn because the experience you crafted didn’t deliver on their expectations. A positive customer experience can lead to a 10 percent to 15 percent boost in sales conversion rates, but consumers not only want a positive experience, 80 percent want it personalized.4

Customers want to feel valued. Remember the last time your favorite barista had your perfect drink order ready by the time you reached the counter? Imagine scaling out that feeling at hyper scale, making each one of your customers feel just as special as you did while walking out of the coffee shop.

Hyper-personalization leverages the immense amount of value already within your customer data, using AI to help you deliver the right message, through the right channel, at the right time. While personalization isn’t necessarily a new concept, traditional methods of generic segmentation will no longer hold your customers’ attention.

By combining transactional, demographic, and behavioral data, and creating 360-degree views of your customers you can deliver targeted, personalized journeys. Customized engagements informed by past interactions along with individual insights such as customer lifetime value and brand affinities reduce the effort required to deliver what customers want now. Delivering tailored, next best recommendations minimizes friction points in the purchase process by helping customers quickly find what they actually need.

Learn more about Dynamics 365 Customer Insights

When customers get what they need, they become your loyal and raving fans. To learn more about how your company can drive customer loyalty through personalized experiences, visit the Dynamics 365 Customer Insights webpage. Sign up for a free Dynamics 365 Customer Insights trial to experience how you can deliver personalized customer experiences with the ultimate 360-degree view of your customers.


Sources:

1- The great consumer shift: Ten charts that show how US shopping behavior is changing, McKinsey & Company

2- Prescription for Cutting Costs, Bain & Company

3- Experience is everything: Here’s how to get it right, PwC

4- Personalizing the customer experience: Driving differentiation in retail, McKinsey & Company

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