What is exciting about the Dynamics CRM Spring Wave 2015? How do the themes of Productivity and Social really impact the end user? What makes Microsoft stand out from the competition in the CRM market?
I had the opportunity to interview Angela Bandlow, Director of Product Marketing for Dynamics CRM at Microsoft Corp., to get her insights on productivity, differentiators and all things Social.
Q: What excites you the most about the Dynamics CRM Spring Wave 2015?
“I think the most exciting theme of this release is productivity. The
You will see us really taking the lead in thinking about what does productivity mean to the business person – sales person, customer service rep, marketer.”
Q: What are some specific ways end users will benefit from this focus on productivity?
OneNote: “The audience cheered when we talked about bringing OneNote into Dynamics CRM, because people love OneNote. It is a very powerful tool to enable team collaboration and sharing of info. I go into a meeting with a new prospect. I can capture pictures from the whiteboard, I can draw, I can take notes. My team can see them and add to them and collaborate. We have this experience where we are all sharing free form notes that we can all access right from within the lead, opportunity or account we are working on in Dynamics CRM. And I can go further share and them across Office groups. So it really adds the next level of collaboration and sharing.
Excel: “We are creating an immersive Excel experience right inside Dynamics CRM. From within CRM a sales manager can pull up a forecast, do “what if” scenarios on it, save it, and update CRM records right there.
Cortana: “Cortana is our smart assistant on the Windows phone and there is out of the box integration with Dynamics CRM. It acts as voice driven CRM using natural language capabilities. You can either speak into Cortana, or type a natural language query such as “show me pipeline from Q4”, “track activity xyz”, “schedule meeting with this person”. It goes straight into Dynamics CRM and pulls the information and tracks that as a task or activity. To give that type of power to end users is very exciting to us.”
Q: What is Microsoft’s approach to Social?
“The approach Microsoft is taking in Social is unique.
When Social started out you had a group of people in marketing, kind of in a little corner doing all the social monitoring and analytics and sentiment analysis, and coming back with results. Our vision is to enable social for everyone, making social data available to sales, service and marketing people in the context of their jobs. Enabling them to create watch lists, monitor posts, see how well campaigns are running, use the insights to help identify trends or negative sentiment and resolve them, and more. It is about pulling the data and insight into the daily activities. I am really excited about the approach we are taking with social.”
Q: What is Microsoft Social Engagement?
“Microsoft Social Listening has been rebranded as
Q: Can you give a few examples of how companies can use Microsoft Social Engagement?
“If someone blogs about new product and someone else says, “that is cool and I am really interested in that”. I could turn that into a lead or opportunity right from there and track it all the way through in Dynamics CRM.
If someone has a complaint, I can track it as a case and actually get it into my customer service process from an end to end perspective.
As we saw in the keynote at Convergence, if I see an uptick around a certain brand in a certain geography I can run a marketing campaign there.
If I am in marketing and I am running a big campaign I can follow that campaign and see what the sentiment is. Now with our tag clouds you can actually see the words that people are using when talking about a brand and whether they are positive or negative. It really gives people the ability to easily drill into data and information to see what is landing and not landing.
In the service space, many organizations look towards social channels to manage and respond to customer service issues making social engagement s very relevant for a service organization as well.”
Q: How can this information be analyzed?
“We are using the rich analytics capabilities of Power BI and putting that in the hands of business users. From Power BI we have standard out of the box connector integration to Dynamics CRM and Microsoft Marketing. Out of the box there are beautiful dashboards for marketing executives, demand gen managers, sales managers, sales reps and more. Then they can personalize and create their own dashboards from there.”
Q: What else makes Microsoft stand out among the competition?
“The idea of “Customize once deploy anywhere” is a key differentiator. We are looking at that as a theme across the board - within Dynamics CRM apps and across mobile apps. The idea is that you can build and configure once and deploy across any device you have. Sales managers love the idea that they can standardize sales process across the board and it can deployed on PC, tablet or phone. The second element to this is maintaining context. If I am in “Step 2” using the online CRM client, then I am also on the same step when I pull it up on my phone. So you can maintain where you are in the process with that task, regardless of device.
This is a level that no other vendor can offer.”
Q: What is the new Microsoft Sales Productivity Solution offer?
“Looking at this technology as a “One Microsoft” solution, we asked how we could build a solution that is everything a sales person needs to do their daily job, or everything a customer service person needs to do their job. So the first thing we entered into market this year is the “
Going back to that theme of productivity, where we will win with Dynamics CRM is pulling in the full power of the Microsoft offering. The “Sales Productivity Solution” is focused on giving full power to sales persons. It is attractively priced and we see ourselves winning in more competitive deals with the ability to bring that to the table.”
By Anya Ciecierski, CRM Software Blog Editor, www.crmsoftwareblog.com