Spend more time selling—new sales capabilities in 2023 release wave 1

Update on 7/18/2023: Viva Sales is now Microsoft Sales Copilot.

The role of the seller is evolving. Buyers expect a blend of digital and personalized experiences throughout their journey. To achieve this, sellers must be efficient and effective—prioritizing who to engage, identifying how and when to connect, and spending more time becoming trusted advisors to their customers. Sellers can’t be overwhelmed trying to make sense of too much data and information; rather, they need the data to work for them by providing value in every customer interaction.

With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, sellers can improve their sales by prioritizing their best bets, collaborating with their sales team in the moment with Microsoft Teams built-in, knowing when they should engage with prospective customers, and then seeing how it went after ending the call. Sellers are given the gift of time, plus intelligence, so they can close more deals faster than before.

For years, customer relationship management (CRM) systems have asked sellers to enter data so sales managers could forecast revenue and assess seller performance. With Dynamics 365 Sales and Microsoft Viva Sales, we have put the applications to work for you—using AI to simplify data capture and recommend in-the-moment interactions whether selling from Dynamics 365 Sales or in Microsoft 365 productivity tools. Starting today, we will begin to roll out new capabilities for Dynamics 365 Sales and Viva Sales that use the power of AI to help sellers:

  1. Prioritize your work to land more deals faster.
  2. Stay productive and collaborate in the flow of work with Viva Sales.

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

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2023 release wave 1 for Dynamics 365 Sales and Viva Sales

Learn about the new sales capabilities helping sellers with the power of AI.

Prioritize your work to land more deals faster

The sales accelerator in Dynamics 365 Sales helps sellers to sell with intent by building a prioritized worklist and surfacing automated activity recommendations to speed the sales process. Sequences enable sales organizations to automate these processes, tailoring them to their unique sales approach and best practices. Sequences are powered by our common customer journey orchestration engine shared across Dynamics 365 applications. We are enhancing the sequence capabilities to support account-centric selling with multiple sequences to a record, improve effectiveness with actionable AI-powered suggestions, and analyze performance using sequence insights.

Time with customers is precious, so every sales interaction matters. Conversation intelligence helps sellers make the most of their sales calls by transcribing the dialog and using AI to detect sentiment, questions, and actions to ensure no follow-up is missed. In this release, we have enabled text message as an additional channel for sellers to engage with customers and added additional AI capabilities to redact sensitive personally identifiable information (PII) data from phone calls and provide in-the-moment suggestions to guide sales conversations.

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Sellers are routinely managing many deals at the same time. As sales engagements progress and sellers learn more about their customers, they need to regularly adjust and review this data while, at the same time, keeping an eye on how they are performing. Sellers can easily maintain the various stakeholders for an account with the new org chart capability, identify and analyze the activity of key decision makers, and ensure they stay on top of their performance and update their pipeline with the new opportunity management experience. The new opportunity experience eliminates many processes that sellers would normally need to do and streamlines everything into a single workspace.

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New pipeline view to manage opportunities in Dynamics 365 Sales

Stay productive and collaborate in the flow of work

Not all sellers spend all their time in a CRM system. Many spend much of their time in productivity tools, emailing, calling, and collaborating with colleagues and customers. In October 2022, we launched Microsoft Viva Sales. We are empowering salespeople with AI-driven insights and data automation right in the flow of work—in the productivity and collaboration tools millions are already using every day: Microsoft 365 and Teams.

Selling is a team sport. ​Enabling sales team members to collaborate with each other effectively with the right tools is key to their success. Collaboration spaces bring together the right users, contextual insights, and productivity apps to boost seller collaboration in Teams. Collaboration spaces makes internal and external collaboration take center stage. Sellers can use sales templates to create a collaboration space. Sales templates speed up structured team/channel creation with predefined channels, pre-pinned apps, and integrated access to CRM data.

For sales teams, the adage “time is money” is more relevant than ever before. Sellers are busy people who find it challenging to balance the time and effort required to respond to customer emails with their other responsibilities. Pain points include: ​

  • Pulling data from a CRM system is time-consuming with complicated navigation and menus​.
  • Keeping track of customer opportunities and the history is difficult and increases for sellers managing many accounts​.
  • Responding to a high volume of emails can be overwhelming and might cause the seller to miss important details​.

With the help of Copilot in Viva Sales, alongside the context of the email or meeting and CRM data, we will now generate suggested email content for a variety of scenarios—such as replying to an inquiry, creating a proposal, or summarizing the action items from meetings. Viva Sales brings together Microsoft 365 data and CRM data to help sellers quickly generate responses using the power of Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service.

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Organizations have taken pride in the customization of their CRM systems, considering it to be critical to their business success. These customized experiences allow sellers to engage and capture customer data effectively within their CRM system. In October, we introduced Viva Sales, which lets sellers use Microsoft 365 and Teams to automatically capture data into any CRM system, eliminating manual data entry and giving more time to focus on selling.

In February, we released the ability for CRM administrators to customize CRM forms, fields, and behavior in Viva Sales for accounts, contacts, and opportunities. With this release, we will add the ability to configure additional out-of-the-box entities as well as custom entities using queries defined in the CRM system. CRM administrators will be able to add or remove relevant custom and out-of-the-box entities to Viva Sales forms and control filtering and sorting behavior of lists using CRM-defined queries. Sellers will be able to see custom and out-of-the-box entities in the Outlook side pane in Viva Sales, share custom entities with colleagues in Teams, search for custom entities in the Teams messaging extension, and connect Outlook email and meeting activities to custom or out-of-the-box entities.

Learn more about 2023 release wave 1 for Dynamics 365 Sales and Viva Sales

These are just a few of the new capabilities that we are rolling out for sellers in 2023 release wave 1. To learn more about these new capabilities in Dynamics 365 Sales and Viva Sales, click on the links below.

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.

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!