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Delight the customer and you have a customer for life: this mantra for sales and marketers is a recipe for success in today’s business environment. No longer limited to sales and marketing, it is now even more predicated on a company’s ability to deliver highly differentiated products, services, and exceptional experiences to the customer during the buying journey.

The term “Customer Delight” is an interesting concept. For purposes of this discussion, let’s assume that it’s the process of totally blowing away a customer’s expectations by giving them more than they could have ever hoped for and in the process making the customer say “WOW”.

How does a manufacturer or distributor make a customer say “WOW”? Well…it’s not a single thing. It’s actually doing a lot of little things better than the competition. It can be through providing a superior product quality or simply a better return policy. Maybe it’s a quicker turn-around time on deliveries or if design-on-the-fly capabilities are important, having a way to modify production to meet special needs may win customers. It can even be a simply offering customers a one-stop shop for everything they might need related to the core items being offered including a service offering for installations on the products. The combination of these activities and deliverables to the customers add up and gradually build a value proposition separating you from the competition.

All too often though, companies excel at only one or two of these areas…what originally seem like good individual ideas end up being siloed activities that don’t work together cohesively. Somewhere along the line the customer is let down and inevitably doesn’t have a good experience. In a competitive marketplace you can’t afford to have too many of these low value business interactions.

To resolve this challenge businesses need to make customer delight a core part of their value statement and must build a strategic approach to ensuring it happens.

To resolve this challenge businesses need to make customer delight a core part of their value statement and must build a strategic approach to ensuring it happens. Businesses need to ensure that processes work together in a connected and streamlined approach that builds value throughout the customer interaction. They need a solution that connects each of these business functions together…a solution that follows the customer journey from Marketing to Sales and through Service.

We at Microsoft and our entire Microsoft Partner Ecosystem are innovators, problem solvers, and great tool builders. When we see problems like this, we build solutions. In November 2014 we announced our work on the Industry Templates for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 release. These industry templates leverage xRM and include data models, key business processes, industry specific business rules, automated workflows, and even sample data for the specific industry related scenarios.

One of the key industry templates we’ve provided for Manufacturers and Distributors is the Connected Marketing, Sales and Service Template for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

This template provides a blueprint for organizations to maximize effectiveness by engaging the marketing, sales, and service departments in a single solution environment. It’s ideal for manufacturers and distributors or any organization with separate marketing, sales, and service departments. Imagine a scenario where the marketing department sees a sudden uptick in social interest in an item, they are able to proactively analyze the market opportunity and then define and execute on a new campaign. The sales department is then able to monitor this new campaign, manage the new pipeline and close more deals faster. Finally, customer service is able to proactively monitor, assign, and then escalate cases to ensure world-class service.

Included in the template are predefined dashboards, demo data, and process flows for the following roles:

  • Marketing Account Manager and New Business Development Manager
  • Area /Territory Sales Manager and Sales Representative
  • Customer Service Manager and Customer Service Representative

The scenarios that we’ve leveraged within this template include:

  • Campaign Management Process
  • Consumer Products Sales Process
  • Design Win Process
  • Proactive Service Process
  • Case Resolution Process

What do these templates mean to businesses? It means that you no longer have to customize your CRM solution to match up with industry specific business processes. Now you’ll have functionality that matches standard industry requirements with little need for lengthy implementation and business process analysis efforts. You now have standardized industry best processes in place within your systems ad a roadmap to success.

We are working on other scenarios as well that will be released in Phase 2 of this effort. One of the key areas that I’m excited about personally is how we incorporate the Internet of Things (IoT) into this connected business scenario. Imagine an environment where sensors in customer products are communicating with your own systems telling you information about how the customer is actually using the product or identifying potential service opportunities in advance of a breakdown. Now consider the value you can build if you could take information being shared through digital channels and digital devices and make decisions and even adapt business operations based off this digital interaction and listening. This is a level of connecting that has been previously unachievable…but as they say…the times, they are a changing.

We're always looking for feedback and would like to hear from you. Please head to the Dynamics 365 Community to start a discussion, ask questions, and tell us what you think!

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