Microsoft today announced it will release a more user-friendly version of its Dynamics CRM system sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. New are plans to enable salespeople to do sales forecasts, email-tracking, and presentations using simple interfaces with Office 365 and Word.
“Microsoft is pulling all of its assets together to make it easier not just to understand the customer from a number of different perspectives, but more efficient for companies to act on that understanding to create better experiences and outcomes for them,” says CRM Essentials analyst Brent Leary.
One of the banes of the sales experience, Excel spreadsheets, gets an assist in Dynamics CRM 2016 with templates suited to many core tasks like calculating commissions and managing sales forecasts. Analyses and insights can be obtained with easy toggling, according to Microsoft, with no need to export or switch programs.
The new CRM app will let people track emails via computer or mobile browsers. The Delve function will be fine-tuned to surface trending content that, for instance, could alert account managers to what presentations or proposals might be most relevant for a given account.
“Self-service knowledge management via communities is a transformative component of the 21st Century customer’s experience with a company. Microsoft is taking the initial steps toward that,” says Paul Greenberg, president of The 56 Group and author of CRM at the Speed of Light.
The noted consultant said the release should mark a significant juncture for Microsoft’s CRM business. ‘Microsoft is not only aligning its messaging with the market’s movement and the thinking of businesses, but it is starting to build the appropriate ecosystem for customer engagement,” Greenberg says. “Note the operative word here is ‘starting.'”
Microsoft’s Cortana personal assistant will also be transformed in an integration with Dynamics 2016, accessing both personal and professional sources to surface what’s most relevant to salespeople at a given time.
“Like [Apple’s] Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, Cortana is great with natural language commands, but the potential it has to handle CRM questions about a contact, an account, or a lead is a potential game-changer,” comments Leary.
Forthcoming from the company will be new investments in Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Social Engagement, according to a blog published today by Bob Stutz, corporate VP of Microsoft Dynamics. “We’re adding SMS as a marketing channel to our multi-channel campaigns, increasing the sources and sentiment languages for social, and introducing the concept of Intelligent Social with social selling, automated triage, and adaptive sentiment,” Stutz wrote.