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Expanded Marketing Functionality in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

Microsoft has built significantly on the marketing functionality that Dynamics CRM offers with the release of Dynamics CRM 2015. The online, social, mobile world has changed the focus of selling and marketing – it’s widely accepted now that as much as 57% of the buying cycle is completed without a customer ever contacting a supplier. Marketing has thus become a far more important component in the sales cycle.

The base marketing functions available with the standard system have been improved and augmented, but there is also a new additional module called Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, which adds substantial campaign execution and management ability.

This allows users’ marketing department staff to own and drive a larger part of the customer journey, and work in synchronisation with sales as soon as their customer actively wants a conversation.

Multi-channel marketing

The shift to more online, social, and mobile working has resulted in the need for marketing departments to be able to spread incisive messaging across a whole mix of channels, in a coordinated manner, and measure the feedback very quickly.

Dynamics CRM 2015 contains functions that enables users to:

  • perform better segmentation,
  • streamline multichannel campaign creation and approval processes,
  • use powerful BI tools for instant campaign analytics,
  • improve b2b marketing and lead scoring,
  • use graphical email editing (simple drag & drop as well as HTML and CSS for advanced users),
  • execute A/B and split testing, plus a flexible way to blend in special offers.

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In addition, by using the Microsoft Social Listening module, marketing managers will be able to get great insights into brand awareness and sentiment, which feeds directly back into the various multi-purpose campaigns that CRM 2015 supports. Answer questions like “What are people saying about our organisation or brand on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, videos, and in the news?” and “How does this vary by country or region?”

Marketing calendar

There is a lot more central control and visibility of the overall marketing calendar and activity streams, available not only to marketing staff but across the wider user base.

Dynamics gives staff unprecedented insight into the marketing plan with the new Marketing Calendar, and enables far better collaborative working of marketing and sales teams with click-to-call capabilities using Lync. Teams can work far more effectively.

Email Editor and click tracking

Dynamics CRM users in the past had to use external applications (such as DotMailer, ClickDimensions, and many others), to cover emailing, social, and SMS now have the choice of using a Microsoft-originated tool directly integrated into the heart of Dynamics CRM, with all the advantages of closed-loop reaction tracking that this brings.

There is a functionally-rich Email editor which provides marketers with the ability to select from pre-defined templates or create an email from scratch, using an interactive drag and drop build process or an advanced editor for the CSS & HTML experts. Marketing users can now build beautiful, intelligent emails.

Powerful Marketing Campaign Process Automation

Multi-stage campaign steps, and approval gates, can now be set up and controlled centrally, via a console which helps you to track their status to ensure your team is on target to meet deadlines.

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Improved B2B marketing

Unlike most wide-channel marketing products, the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing module bridges the gap between B2B and B2C marketing as well as traditional (mostly offline) and digital marketing campaigns.

Like almost all email campaign management tools of a certain class, it can easily target B2C However, as it is integrated within Dynamics CRM, Microsoft have created a product for B2B marketers pursuing Marketing Resource Management (MRM) and demand generation activities.

Specifically to help marketing drive more of the early stages of the buying cycle, there is a significant increase in support for activities such as webinars as well as the normal multichannel marketing mix.

Added to this, Microsoft have enhanced the lead scoring mechanisms, using various rules models that are easy for users to set up. This brings a new dimension to Dynamics users’ abilities to vet and pinpoint exactly which leads should be passed to the ideal sales team or individual.

Campaign Management Console

The Campaign Management Console has been enhanced to include complex multi-condition triggers to fine tune responses, embedded cross campaign offers and A/B testing. A/B testing provides marketers the confidence that their efforts will deliver the desired impact by easily setting up and running A/B tests that are multi-objective with results displayed via in place real-time analytics.

Integrated Social Listening

Using Microsoft Social Listening gives integrated transactional and social insights and enables Marketing staff to positively impact on your brand by acting on the results of sentiment analysis.

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Closer working between marketing and sales

As marketing departments take more of a role in driving customers and prospects down the buying cycle, it is important that sales teams have excellent visibility into marketing activities, particularly where it concerns their own customers. The new Sales Collaboration panel in the Contacts Seller portal will enable them to see what is happening, control messaging to their own contacts, and setup up and receive alerts based on any interactions from their accounts.

BI and Analytics

There is now even better close integration with the Microsoft PowerBI and Excel toolset. These easy to use tools enable very powerful insight into all parts of the Dynamics CRM 2015 database, giving stakeholders in each area the information they need to manage their operations both tactically and strategically.

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Marketing managers will get much improved campaigns management and analysis, allowing them to get a far better handle on the ROI of various activities throughout the lifecycle, so that good campaigns can be extended or cloned, and underperforming campaigns can be refocused.

Summary

Microsoft has a clear vision of combining new functionality and leveraging the power of the Microsoft Office product suite, to give an extremely productive system to CRM users.

CRM 2015 is a major step further along that road. It recognises the changes in the social and online landscape and gives Dynamics users the combination of tools to manage their organisations, staff and customers very effectively.

For more information on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 and how it can apply to your industry, please go to http://www.imgroup.com/expertise/relationship-management/

By Steve Sydee

Steve was one of the first people involved with CRM in the UK, and since 1994 has built and/or led a number of successful CRM practices to become #1 Pivotal CRM partner in Europe and Microsoft #1 UK CRM partner as well as being Microsoft Partner of the Year on three occasions. Much of that time has been in the media, publishing, finance and membership space, with clients including The London Stock Exchange, United Business Media, Red Letter Days, Pearson Group and The Gambling Commission. At IMGROUP, Steve works primarily in developing customer propositions around BI and CRM to create intelligent systems which help their users make the best business decisions as effectively as possible.