For a start – what does CRM even mean these days? People have different views on what it is for and when it’s appropriate to use it.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is always one of the modules that is often up for discussion - do you implement a dedicated CRM such as Dynamics CRM (Dynamics 365 for Sales, Field Service and Marketing) or use the built-in functionality in Dynamics NAV or Dynamics 365 Business Central?
The good news is that Microsoft has made great strides in making the Relationship Management functionality in Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central more accessible and focused for users, taking what is already a very capable CRM and giving it the user interface and experience we thought it always needed.
The reasons for choosing a dedicated CRM over the built-in functionality can come down to a number things - where the master data is held, the size of customer base, the complexity of sales cycles, the size of marketing/sales teams and so on. These reasons are always very specific to a customer. For those who need to integrate Dynamics NAV to Dynamics CRM, Microsoft have worked on improving the native integration between the two – however, in this article we’re going to explore why we think Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central is all you need!
Why Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central is still a great tool for CRM
We think that if you are reading this then you either already have a vested interest in Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central or you want to. On that basis, it’s important to show what they offer in CRM.
Firstly, we’ll talk about what is new in the way Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central manages Relationship Management, or more accurately, the way it is simplified, then we’ll focus on the three main uses for CRM - Sales Force Management, Marketing and Customer Services.
Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central has, for a long time, had comprehensive functionality around managing contacts, managing segmentation for marketing communications, profiling and classification, opportunity management, campaign management and managing interactions. However, there are several reasons why people chose not to adopt it. The key reason being that the user interface feels like you are doing CRM in an ERP system rather than having a dedicated interface for the CRM.
New CRM Role Centre for Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central
Recently, Microsoft has added Web Client access but now we have a specialised Sales and Relationship Role Centre which is designed to work on the Phone & Tablet Clients. We think it’s pretty cool and can obviously be extended using our nHanced Panels and Tiles to customise properly.
Sales Force Management
One of the major needs for any CRM system is to manage your Sales Force, Leads, Opportunities, Quotes and Customer or Prospect Interactions. We can confidently say that Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central is pretty damn good at that…
So, let’s start with the Sales Cycle. Some think that to properly manage the lead-to-close Sales Cycle you need a bona-fide CRM. Nope - Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central inherently manages the entire process from start to finish, which is in many ways better than using a dedicated CRM because you can manage all the proper master data such as Customers, Items and Prices lists in Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central. You can then convert your quotes directly into invoices without having to worry about passing data between systems.
Sales Cycles & Opportunity Management
When setting up Sales Cycles we need to think about the Sales Cycle Process itself as well as Close Opportunity codes.
- You can have different Sales Cycles for your different businesses
- Each Sales Cycle exists out of different stages and can represent stages in progression in the cycle
- You can identify that at a certain stage a Quote is necessary and you can also skip any stages as you need to
- You can also link to-dos to each stage of the Sales Cycle
- When you create Opportunities, they reflect the sales opportunities you have with your contacts. Opportunities can be linked to either a salesperson, contact, or a campaign. You can also easily create and manage opportunities with the wizard
- With The NAV | 365 People, the management of opportunities can be extended using nHanced Workflow to notify other users, management or customers or to control approvals
- When the Opportunity is at the right stage in the sales process, a Sales Quote can be created. This can be completely driven from the opportunity card which then makes a link between the sales document and the opportunity itself
- For the Sales Cycle there are also probability calculations – these are used to calculate the probability of the opportunity completing this sales cycle. The probability calculation is based on values in the Chances of Success (%) and/or the Completed (%) fields located on the Lines FastTab of the opportunity card
- To help us track success or failure in our sales process we then register Close Codes against the opportunity which allows us to identify why you won or lost a deal
- Within CRM we can also manage all of the interactions between our business and the customer. Interactions can be templated and are used to manage document exchanges, attachments or simply phone and email communications
- The other great benefit of using the built-in CRM is that the sales people have access and visibility to the order progression, invoicing and full customer status without having to go to a separate system
- Imagine rather than having to chase up an order or a quote, you could just ask nOra!
Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central CRM for Marketing
People often think that they need a dedicated CRM as they want to have proper Marketing automation, campaign management, profiling, segmenting and integration to emailers like Dotdigital (formerly known as Dotmailer). Guess what? Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central can do all that too!
Contact Management, Profiling, Segmentation & Marketing
Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central CRM is driven by contacts. The regular Contact Card contains information like the name, the address, job responsibilities and the phone number as well as relevant business information that helps you improve and personalise your business relationship with your Contacts, such as information about the company's size and the ownership.
If you need more information about a Contact we can use Profiling and Classification to hold additional information about the Contact.
Once you have Contacts and leads, you are going to want to segment them properly to market to them.
- We can use ALL Contact information to create and split segments in order to decide who we are marketing to – for example making a segment for all companies in an industry group, business relation or business type. This information can be inherited from the company which the contact is related to
- Creating segments is very easy and can be done by filtering contacts by pretty much any criteria
- These segmented lists can then be exported to create marketing and mailing lists.
Visual Segmentation and eMarketing
While the built-in segmentation is pretty logical we have a brand-new product to enhance this process. We have built a BI-driven visual segmentation tool, which allows you to create segments on the fly by looking at data rather than just filtering by criteria. This can then create the segment in Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central and automatically integrate into the market-leading email marketing platform Dotdigital (oh, and by the way, we have got an integration for Dotdigital too).
Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central CRM for Customer Service
At The NAV | 365 People, we take pride in taking an amazing ERP system and making it even better! Customer services is always one of the areas where this is very true. Standard Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central does a great job here but there are a couple of areas we have breathed on, such as adding nHanced Cases, to really make it sing!
Sometimes there are things that just need to be dealt with! nHanced Cases allow a user to record information into the system that may be related to a customer query or issue.
Relevant information such as SLAs, priority, etc. can be recorded against these Cases to ensure that they are processed as efficiently as possible and to make sure they are resolved on time. Cases can be categorised into areas such as Sales, Support Query, etc. so users can identify what the record is about when deciding who best to assign it to.
Cases can be assigned to users of the system so they can access their assigned Cases from a Panel on their Role Centre (for example by creating a “My Open Cases” Tile). Any files relevant to the Case can be assigned to the record to ensure that whoever has to handle it has all of the information that they will need.
The Case Log can be used to maintain and to update the Case with any comments, time spent on it, etc. as it is being processed. For example, if someone has investigated the issue and is awaiting the customer’s feedback, they can record this in the Case Log so users know this is with the customer, how long it has been with them for, etc.
Native Dynamics CRM Integration
So we have been coming at the whole CRM process from Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central as our source of master data, and let’s face it, the centre of the universe! But if you already have Dynamics CRM or have a good reason to want to implement it, Microsoft has got you covered.
With the advent of Dynamics 365, Office 365 and the inexorable move to the cloud, there is a need to ensure the different applications in the Microsoft Application stack work properly together. While there are solutions available to write bespoke integrations between Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central and Dynamics CRM, Microsoft has now made it easier than ever to have a seamless link between the two applications.
If you have made the decision to implement Dynamics CRM for customer engagement and Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central for order processing and financials, a direct connection enables a seamless lead-to-cash process. This means that the user can work in the product that best suits their role.
With this synchronisation, you can view Dynamics CRM data within Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central as well as seeing Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central data in CRM. For example, seeing CRM leads, opportunities, quotes and cases in Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central or perhaps seeing order statuses, balances, invoices in CRM. You can also couple and synchronise certain selected entities between the two.
Dynamics CRM Synchronisation
What’s pretty cool is that the integration is designed in a way that allows the user to navigate between the two applications quickly.
- A user can be in the account page in CRM, see the factbox information held in Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central, but also visible on the CRM page. Then if more information is needed they just click the Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central link and the relevant card is presented to the user
- In reverse they can sit in Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central looking at the Customer record and view CRM data in the Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central factbox, but can quickly navigate to the CRM for opportunities, quotes or cases. The data is still in CRM it’s now just easily accessible from the record in Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central. Nice.
CRM Sales Orders
You can also manage Sales Orders in Dynamics CRM. Prices and items can be updated in Dynamics CRM by using the mapping and you can synchronise currencies, units of measure, items, and resources, to create a Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central pricelist Dynamics CRM. The Sales Order can be created in CRM then fulfilled and have the pricing done in Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central. Posting the Sales Order in Microsoft Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central will update the status in Dynamics CRM.
Easy to setup
Another nice thing that Microsoft has done is to utilise the new assisted setup wizard to manage the connection, so instead of spending thousands on a custom integration the setup is done very quickly and easily.
From the connection setup, there is a very simple card which takes the CRM connection URL and credentials. It then provides a solution for import to CRM using the Dynamics NAV | 365 BC web client. Next there is a simple default mapping page which allows integration mapping for Contacts, Customers, Items, Resources, Units of Measure and Currencies.
So this is exciting too! Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central already knows who bought what, where and when. We can use segmentation, including via BI tools like Power BI or Qlikview to target the specific customers, create a mailing segment and then ... send to either Dotdigital (a well established e-marketing tool) or Dynamics 365 Marketing, which is a real revelation!
Which is for me?
Now finally to the tricky question! Which product or combination of products is best suited to me? Well, as we alluded to earlier, there are reasons why a customer might plump for implementing Dynamics CRM. If you are looking for a complete Sales Force automation application, with advanced lead management, holding prospect data without creating master data records, with integration to marketing lists, business process management and native business process workflows then Dynamics CRM is one of the best out there. What’s great is that the possibility to manage both brilliant products seamlessly is now a reality…BUT…like it often is, the big ‘BUT’ is price. You need to offset the dedicated CRM functionality with the cost and time of implementing another system.
We think it’s certainly true that for the majority of our customers there are very few circumstances where Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central isn’t a great fit in terms of managing CRM requirements around managing Contacts, Opportunities, Campaigns, Customer Care and Service Management. All of that, combined with a new role-tailored, multi-client experience and The NAV | 365 People’s nHancements like CRM Logs, Workflow, and Incident Logs, is a very compelling offering indeed!
A final thought - if Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central is the centre of your world, like it is ours, then Dynamics NAV | 365 Business Central is the perfect fit for CRM. We use it and think it’s great. We think you should too!