Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Sell Your Product Out Of The Box

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While we know Microsoft Dynamics CRM/xRM offers incredible flexibility to enable it to be modified to fit basically any application or industry. Here is a question: What industry could be seen as the best fit for Dynamics CRM right out of the box?

Based on the functionality included within the system, Dynamics CRM could be seen as a strong fit for businesses selling a standard or stock product. A good example might be a stocking distributor.

Why? Because the product includes most of the functionality  distributors would need to effectively sell their products included within the application. And because it is a CRM system, complete customer visibility and integrated promotional functionality for targeted marketing purposes would provide a differential advantage in this intensely competitive industry.

What do a distributors need to sell their products? Let’s start with pricing management.

Dynamics CRM includes a complete product catalog, so all products can be easily imported right into the Dynamics CRM system.  From there, Dynamics CRM includes a multi-level pricing schedule matrix.

First, units of measure can be defined by how the goods are packaged when received and sold.  For example, a product can be purchased by the gross, then sold in gross, carton, box or individually, with the quantities of each type defined and costs tracked through to the sale.  Each quantity level would have different pricing depending how it is packaged.

Products can also have different price structures based on customer, for example, a retailer or wholesaler.  Products can then be priced by actual quantity sold using a pricing schedule. They can also be discounted for promotions or other purposes.

Once the product price schedules have been set up, there are quote, sales order, and invoice forms built into Dynamics CRM.

Creating a quote using the pricing data that has been entered is simple. Selecting the product and entering the unit of measure, customer and quantity will automatically pull all the pricing information into the quote. The quote can then be adjusted at the item level or in total by percentage or by dollar amount. After the draft quote is complete, the quote is “activated” and presented to the customer.

Quotes can be automatically tracked with open Opportunities showing total dollar amounts, likelihood of the sale, and expected close dates to manage the sales pipeline.

Once the quote is accepted, clicking one button converts the quote to a sales order. At this point, there are a couple of options of how to proceed.

Dynamics CRM includes sales order fulfillment to track when the order was shipped and if it was complete or only partially filled.  An invoice can also be generated automatically from within Dynamics CRM and sent to the customer. The invoice would need to be entered and tracked in the accounting system.  A cash receipt would need to be created in the accounting system to receive payment.

Dynamics CRM has integration with the Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP system.  At the time of the sales order entry, it will automatically be sent to the ERP system to generate a work order or pick ticket and adjust inventory. The Dynamics CRM/GP adapter is available at no charge for customers using Dynamics GP. The order fulfillment status and payment status can be integrated back to Dynamics CRM.  The more information that is collected and recorded in Dynamics CRM, the more complete the customer view is to the sales and customer service people using the system.

Another function that is likely to be important that Microsoft CRM does not include is inventory availability. For most distributors, this functionality would need to be an integration point that brings this data into Dynamics CRM using another integration tool such as Scribe or eOne’s SmartConnect.

But for a company selling a product that needs to manage pricing schedules in order to generate fast and accurate customer quotes, Microsoft CRM is ready to go right out of the box.

If you are a company in the Illinois area and you want to schedule a meeting to answer these questions please contact us at Crestwood Associates.

By John Fischer, Crestwood Account Executive, Illinois Microsoft Dynamics GP Partner.

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