Microsoft Dynamics CRM is on a roll! We’ve just concluded a strong fiscal year with amazing growth and influencers are sitting up and taking notice with analyst reports and industry awards that confirm our market leadership. While the recognition and accolades are nice, what gets me most excited is the impact we are making on our customers – particularly in the area of productivity.
At Microsoft, we are committed to reinventing the way companies think about productivity and business processes and we build our CRM capabilities so they work seamlessly with productivity tools. Through our Sales Productivity solution (Dynamics CRM Online, Office 365 and Power BI) we are helping our customers achieve more. For example, O’Neal Steel, the largest privately owned metals service in the United States, leverages Dynamics CRM Online and Office365 for its salespeople so they can accurately track relationship building and flag prospective customers. The Sales productivity solution has enabled O’Neal Steel to manage customer relationships centrally, giving all employees access to complete, up-to-date information no matter where they are, using software that is familiar to them. With this increased productivity, they have seen lead conversion rates skyrocket from about 2 percent to 30 percent—resulting in consistently higher sales. Other businesses like Pyrotek, a privately owned, international organization specializing in high-temperature materials, and Kennametal, a leading material science and manufacturing company, are getting more done with our Sales Productivity solution.
We’re thrilled to see these successes and we’re just getting started. Today we announced that we will be releasing our next version of our customer engagement solution — Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 — in Q4 of this calendar year. This is our most comprehensive CRM release and a milestone in the company’s efforts to reinvent productivity.
We have designed Dynamics CRM 2016 to allow customer-facing employees to manage their daily activities in a single experience. We are eliminating the distractions people inevitably encounter when they bounce from application to application in the course of doing their job by taking away the need to export or switch applications, and by automating fundamental tasks. This reduces the time it takes to get things done and allows people to focus on what matters — the customer. We enable this with the following new capabilities:
1) An enhanced Excel experience within CRM, including new Excel templates to automate many core tasks. This helps our customers across the board but particularly in the sales as it allows them to do things like calculate commissions or manage a sales forecast. They get analysis and insights directly in their sales processes, without the need to export or switch – just easy toggling to reduce countless steps and eliminate the complexity.
2) The next generation of our CRM app for outlook enables people to track emails, add contacts from within an email or even create new records to track emails through the browser on PC, Mac or mobile browser on a phone.
3) Delve functionality to surface trending content that is most relevant to what a person is working on and what is trending around them. For example, Delve might show popular presentations or proposals to help our customers with their opportunity or account.
4) Contextual documents across SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, and Office 365 Groups for any CRM record. Our customers can now seamlessly open various Office apps within CRM or the CRM mobile app. We’re making it easy for people to open a document in the CRM app using different application on various devices like Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad or Microsoft Word for iPhone. After reviewing the document, they can return back to the CRM app simply by just tapping on the “back” button.
5) Personalized sales documents based on CRM data are now easier to build with Document Generation. People no longer need to manually extract CRM data for documents such as account summaries, quotes/orders/invoices, product sheets in Word. Automation of this core sales task is another way we’re saving people time.
6) Next generation Cortana integration. We’re taking our Cortana integration to the next level by embedding sales activities, accounts and opportunities into Cortana to surface what’s most relevant to salespeople at any time – across both personal and professional sources.
Seeing is believing, so I encourage you to check out this video demonstration of the new features that are helping our customers prepare, collaborate and execute on the go with personalized sales document, an enhanced excel experience, CRM app for outlook and Cortana integration. These capabilities are also on full display in this Sales Productivity video which highlights how we integrate Delve and contextual documents all in their Dynamics CRM system.
Beyond productivity, Microsoft CRM 2016 will change the game in other areas as well, including intelligence, mobility and service. We will talk about each of these more in the coming weeks, but let me touch on some of the highlights now.
- Intelligence: With CRM 2016, we’re delivering intelligent processes for sales, service and marketing with the power of the Cortana Analytics Suite. We’re introducing capabilities like intelligent product suggestions (for cross-sell), and recommended cases to resolve customer service issues. We’re harnessing the power of Azure Machine Learning for sentiment analysis in Microsoft Social Engagement. We’re also baking intelligent and contextual guidance into CRM throughout the entire customer journey — this will be a real game changer for organizations looking to reduce cycle times and win deals faster.
- Mobility: In CRM 2016, we continue to invest in mobile for tablets and phones with full offline mobile capabilities, the ability to create task-based mobile apps, Mobile Application Management with Microsoft Intune and next generation Cortana integration that surfaces CRM data to drive proactive interaction and voice-driven CRM.
- Service: We began our journey in customer service with native CRM capabilities for case management. We expanded this with knowledge management and self-service capabilities when we acquired Parature in 2014. In July, we announced the acquisition of FieldOne to add field service capabilities to our customer service portfolio. In Dynamics CRM 2016, we will bring all of this together. Stay tuned for more exciting information on how we are changing the game in service.
Beyond these areas, we’re also investing in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Social Engagement. We’re adding SMS as a marketing channel to our multi-channel campaigns, increasing the sources and sentiment languages for social, and introducing the concept of Intelligent Social with social selling, automated triage and adaptive sentiment.
As you can see, this is our most comprehensive Dynamics CRM solution ever. You can find out more about the exciting new capabilities of Dynamics CRM 2016 in the Release Preview Guide. Again, stay tuned for more information and details as we march toward the release of this great new offering!