Organizations can automate repeatable sales activities and respond to external events by standardizing best practices using the playbooks feature in Dynamics 365 for Sales. Playbooks can include guided actions and contextual sales materials that sales representatives need for closing deals and can be triggered manually or automatically based on entity record events.
Let’s look at the basic expectations of sales managers and sales representatives.
Playbooks help your organization meet the expectations of sales managers and sales reps and drive sales efficiency, productivity, and consistent outcomes.
Here are some scenarios where your organization could use playbooks:
- A sales representative working on an opportunity suddenly learns that the key decision maker and top champion of the product has left the organization in the middle of a deal. This event could possibly jeopardize the entire commercial transaction. With playbooks, automation can trigger a “play” that creates a set of tasks and activities needed to mitigate the situation. A task to reach out to current contacts at the customer account and identify the new stakeholder could be immediately followed by an introductory phone call to better understand the new stakeholder’s priorities. This carefully crafted orchestration of activities ensures that the new decision maker is successfully identified and turned into a new champion for the product so that the deal can be salvaged.
- A seller receives multiple leads from the marketing team, which they must follow up on. The seller knows from experience that many of the leads will turn out to not show any true interest and are a waste of the seller’s time. With playbooks, organizations can automate the sequence of activities to effectively communicate with the potential customer and involve the seller only when a connection is initiated.
- After closing an opportunity, there might be certain products, industries, or regions for which the seller must provide some postsale deployment support. Playbooks can help automate a set of defined tasks or activities that would help the customer get up and running and potentially adopt the product or solution faster.
- Contract renewal is a key process that helps sales teams to boost their recurring revenue. Playbooks can provide a guided set of best practices when contracts are nearing renewal. These can be based on contract types, such as license, support, and maintenance agreements. You can configure tasks like checking any open customer issues and the latest Net Promoter Score (NPS) as part of the information the playbook gathers to assist sellers in achieving their planned revenues.
Authoring and launching playbooks
Sales managers can author playbook templates without any dependency on the system admin, in a few simple steps as illustrated here.
Sales professionals can launch playbooks manually or these can be triggered automatically via a workflow or business process flow when a certain scenario occurs. Sellers can work on the activities of the launched playbook.
Learn more about how to create and use playbooks, including links to step-by-step instructions, by going to Enforce best practices with playbooks.
Playbooks and business process flows
Playbooks can be powerful tools when used in conjunction with business process flows to guide sellers through event-based or complex scenarios in the sales lifecycle. A business process flow guides users through the processes their organization has defined for interactions that need to be advanced to arrive at an outcome or goal. For sales scenarios, the business process flow spans various stages, from lead to cash. While a business process flow sequentially structures the set of checklists or things that need to be done in its stages, playbooks can be used to summarize the detailed set of activities that need to be accomplished at a particular stage in the business process flow, providing guidance to the seller working on a deal.
For example, a sales manager could create a playbook template to be launched every time an opportunity reaches a certain stage in the business process flow. To trigger an automatic launch of the playbook, the admin can create a workflow to launch the playbook and add the workflow as a step in the business process flow, which can be triggered when the business-process-flow stage changes.
See Add an on-demand workflow to a business process flow to learn more about how to trigger a workflow from a business process flow.
Playbooks are a great way to automate repeatable processes and respond to events, thereby improving sales reps’ efficiency and productivity, and helping to ensure more consistent outcomes for your organization.
Dynamics 365 for Sales is making strong investments toward helping sellers automate their work and guiding them on their next best action. The playbooks feature is the initial step in that direction. Stay tuned for future innovations from our product in this area!