Dynamics 365 for Sales is an application created and managed by Microsoft that gives Sales departments capabilities to manage Leads and Opportunities, right through to Invoices. This post gives a basic introduction to the capabilities of Dynamics 365 for Sales.
Dynamics 365 for Sales can be summarised into these core components;
- Create and Manage Accounts and associated Contacts
- Track Activities against your records like Tasks, Emails, Appointments (Manually of via Outlook Integration) (This feature isn’t exclusive to this App)
- Create and Qualify Leads
- Create Opportunities, Quotes, Orders and Invoices
- Create Product Definitions within the Product Catalog (not inventory management)
- Create Goals
- Link Competitor and Sales Information
Dynamics 365 for Sales comes in two different types, professional and enterprise. Professional is the application this blog post will be referring to. Enterprise includes additional entities and features, such as Cases, which is not covered in this post. In addition, Dynamics 365 for Relationship Sales and Dynamics 365 Sales Insights are two additional types of applications which offer different features, which will be covered in upcoming posts and linked here when live.
Accounts and Contacts
Accounts and Contacts are entities which actually come standard with the Common Data Model. They are core to many things within the Dynamics 365 products but also as concepts within organisations. How an organisation defines what an ‘Account’ and ‘Contact’ represents can be dependent on the industry, type of organisation (e.g. Industry) and also other applications they have as part of their architecture and what they sell or do.
That said, and whilst they provide the capability for organisations to define what they are, Account and Contacts have core standard functionality it would be helpful to review and define here to assist in organisations making those decisions.
- Contacts are traditionally defined as a person and they are related to a single email address. The email address is important as this is how the Microsoft Outlook Integration links people you email to the Contact record.
- Accounts represent groups of Contacts where the native functionality allows a contact to be associated to an Account.
- Accounts can have a hierarchal relationship with each other where Accounts can be parents to other Accounts, creating a Parent-Child structure. This is especially useful for linking companies through ownership and invoicing for public bodies.
The relationships available between Accounts and Contacts are:
- The one I described above where a single Contact can be associated with one Account
- An account can have a single Contact associated with it as the ‘Parent Contact’. A Contact can be set as the Parent Contact for Many Accounts
Activities are a feature which is not exclusive to Dynamics 365 for Sales but performs an important part of the interactions and communications you have with your customers.
Activities are ‘action’ records which can be associated with every entity switched on for Activities. It means the entity would have the ‘Timeline’ view which is a list of all the activities to happen upon that record, such as emails, tasks, phone calls and appointments.
Standard, out of the box activities link to Microsoft Outlook and those familiar with appointments you will have a reduced learning curve to get to grips with these. An added bonus is if you have the Microsoft Outlook integration setup, they are automatically syncronised between Outlook and Dynamics 365.
Activities that occur at the Contact level (communication type activities, like those out of the box) rollup to their associated Account, providing a single view at the Account level of all the communication occurring at that company or organisation.
Lead to Invoice
Dynamics 365 for Sales allow users to capture Lead information and then qualify that lead into an Opportunity by selecting a single ‘Qualify’ button. Similar to Accounts and Contacts, a Lead needs to be defined as to what it means to the organisation using Dynamics 365 for Sales. A lead historically was an unqualified Contact, however in modern communications, where a Contact can be interested in many different options, and with marketing touchpoints, it’s become a way to log an ‘expression of interest’. Those expressions are scored using other features (or customisations) in other applications. which can help direct the impact of marketing efforts, and drive qualification where it matters most to person and increase the chances of getting multiple sales.
The ‘Qualify’ button on a Lead automatically qualifies the Lead, closing it as Won and creates a new Opportunity, ready for product association and quoting. This action of qualification as a concept needs to be defined with the Organisation so users know when they qualify (this is often described as a credit check or accounts have approved selling to this customer).
Opportunities have multiple quotes associated to them, which can be revised through the revision process of ‘Activation’ and ‘Revise’.
Once a quote has been won, ‘Create Order’ is pressed in the application which closes the Quote and the related Opportunity, creating a new Order.
Quote, Order and Invoice are presented as standard in almost the same form and fields, except they have slightly different information on them, such as:
- Quote has shipping Information
- The order has the ability to create multiple Invoices
- Invoices represent a record of payment – often integrated to other systems
Product Definitions in the Product Catalog
Similar to some of the other features, I have written more detailed posts, videos and even covered the product catalog extensively in my book, ‘Dynamics 365 Essentials’, however I felt it was appropriate to include it here as a general overview. The product catalog contains product definitions only – it is not an inventory management system, for which you would be more suited to look at Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. It can manage different representations of that product through the quantity you sell and the price you want to sell at in that quantity. This information is held on a price list, which is associated to an Opportunity:
- Users then would define the products they wish to sell on an Opportunity from those which are contained within the selected price list.
- Users have the ability to override the price set if they have the role to do so, and discount can be added at line or quote level.
- Properties can be added to the Product definition and users complete this extra information on the product line out at time of quote e.g. Colour of the Car product
- Suggestions on the Product Definition show up to the user at time of quoting which can indicate good opportunities to cross sell and up sell different products
Goals in Dynamics 365 for Sales allow sales managers to set up quantative goals for their sales team. They use the standard metric which is Revenue, but other metrics can be defined which are relevant to your organisation, providing the relevant fields are in the Opportunity or added using configuration. The standard Goal metrics provide an easy way of measuring the number of opportunities a salesperson has won, the associated revenue and how many are in progress.
These targets can be sliced on fiscal years or custom periods, meaning you can see if your department are meeting their goals
Dynamics 365 for Sales provides powerful capabilities for a sales team to manage core information such as Accounts and Contacts. It then enables them to manage the people they meet and qualification of those people to quoting for products associated with an organisation thorugh the product catalog. I hope this overview post has helped understand the core concepts of Dynamics 365 for Sales.