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MS Dynamics CRM 2015 Aims To Unify Sales and Marketing
Posted September 19, 2014
MS Dynamics CRM 2015 Aims To Unify Sales and Marketing
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By Jennifer LeClaire. Updated September 19, 2014 10:46AM

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Microsoft is taking its CRM Relevant Products/Services product where it's never gone before, breaking down silos between sales and marketing. The news comes as part of the launch announcement for Dynamics CRM 2015 and updates to Dynamics CRM Online and Dynamics Marketing services, all of which will roll out in the fourth quarter.

As it continues to compete for market share with Salesforce.com, Microsoft is using words like "revolutionize" to describe how the new updates help marketers and sellers unite and collaborate. The CRM updates promise "outside-in" insights for sales and marketing professionals that equip them to understand how campaigns affect customers. The end goal is to give customers more personalized experiences.

"Unlike vendors that want to separate businesses by selling them countless different clouds and solutions, we have designed Microsoft Dynamics CRM to facilitate the kind of collaboration that businesses need to thrive and grow," said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. "This means that marketers and sellers can work more closely together to engage customers, bridging the chasm between marketing, sales and service to truly deliver end-to-end experiences that customers will love."

Closing the Gap

The CRM updates give salespeople visibility to affect campaigns and targeting with what Redmond is calling "unprecedented insight" into marketing calendars and campaigns. On the marketing side of the table, professionals can better plan and execute campaigns -- and then track the results. All the while, synergies between sales and marketing gain strength.

"Closing the gap between marketing and sales is required for a successful customer experience," said Ray Wang, principal analyst, founder and chairman at market research firm Constellation Research. "Organizations need tools to track the customer interactions from marketing to sales and back, collaborate on leads and opportunities, and measure the metrics that matter to both sales and marketing."

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing is built to break down silos between sales and marketing. For example, a new Sales Collaboration Panel lets sellers offer input into campaigns and targeting while giving marketers the ability to streamline the creation of new campaigns and improve segmentation with a variety of tools, including graphical e-mail editing, A/B testing, integrated offers and approval workflows.

Up-Selling and Cross-Selling

Microsoft Dynamics CRM will allow sales to recommend products to up-sell and cross-sell across product families. The new release also beefs up the Guided Sales Processes to help steer sellers to close deals and enforce business rules across all devices. Meanwhile, new mobile sales capabilities across mobile platforms aim to increase productivity with flexible "role tailored" dashboards and analytics, and personalized home pages.

On top of all of this, Microsoft Social Listening is expanding. Italian becomes the sixth native language for sentiment tracking and analysis. What's more, expanded listening capabilities will include news sources.

At the same time, the Dynamics CRM update will have interoperability with Microsoft's productivity applications, including Microsoft Office 365, Yammer, Lync, Skype, SharePoint and Power BI for Office 365. Practically speaking, this will allow marketers to collaborate with the click-to-call feature in Lync and schedule and execute webinars as part of marketing initiatives. And a new Interactive Marketing Calendar helps marketers visualize and manage end-to-end marketing plans.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is available for purchase in 17 new markets in Latin America on Tuesday, bringing the total availability to 65 markets worldwide. The company confirmed that the global expansion of Microsoft CRM Online will continue and is expected to reach more than 130 markets and in 44 languages by the end of the year.

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Aaron Williams:
Posted: 2014-10-03 @ 5:08am PT
This is a feature that, according to me, has been long overdue in CRM software and I am glad that finally a vendor is taking a step in this direction.

It's about time vendors realize that sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin and cannot be as blatantly separated as most CRM solutions presume them to be.

Taking a step towards easing collaboration between these two departments definitely helps productivity and thus makes CRM ever more beneficial for a business.

Xavier Susai:
Posted: 2014-09-21 @ 3:47am PT
Having been in the Dynamics CRM space since version 3, I am somewhat surprised Microsoft hasn't taken the xRM approach more boldly in their hosted model. This is where they truly lose their opportunity to expand the industry marketshare beyond SalesForce's numbers.

I keep wondering if it is a phase 2 approach to their marketing of the tool? Why not just name your tool to Dynamics xRM 2015?

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