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Overview of Dynamics 365 for Sales — October 2018 Release

In our previous blog post, we outlined the best picks from the Microsoft Dynamics 365 October 2018 release. Adding up to the previous post, we are going to be looking at the updates of specific Dynamics 365 apps the upcoming blog articles, and Dynamics for Sales in this blog.



 This blog article, meanwhile, will focus on the new capabilities for Dynamics 365 for Sales. The new features Microsoft have outlined is set to roll out between October 2018 and March 2019 with initial public preview. However, the new functionalities are subject to change or may not ship at all.

The following are list of the important updates sales teams can look forward to:
  • Playbook
  • LinkedIn Updates
  • Microsoft Teams Integration
  • Who knows who
  • Talking Points
  • Quick Actions
  • Predictive lead Scoring
  • Relationship analytics now with LinkedIn InMail
  • AI for Sales App


Playbook:

Playbooks is a new feature introduced to Dynamics 365 for Sales to help sales team members to automate repetitive activities and tasks when a particular scenario occurs.

For example, if a decision maker of an organisation leaves the business whilst you have an open opportunity with them thus putting the opportunity at risk. With Playbooks, automation can trigger a series carefully orchestrated tasks and activities for the sales representative to carry out to find out the new decision maker and salvage the opportunity. Playbook is set to release under general availability in October 2018.

LinkedIn Updates:

LinkedIn Insights enhances the LinkedIn Sales Navigator controls by combining it with the power and flexibility of the Dynamics 365 business process flow. Combining LinkedIn Insights to stages of a business process flow allows data driven users to gather information quickly and accurately to drive the process forward.

For example, in the initial stage of a sales process, LinkedIn Sales Insights can gather essential information about companies including size, industry and location as well as information about people; this includes name, company, position, and years of experience. Icebreakers and conversation starter insights can also be leveraged to start a warm engagement.

Like Playbook, LinkedIn Updates is also set to release under general availability in October 2018.

Microsoft Teams Integration

With more and more organisations leveraging Microsoft Teams as part of their collaboration tool, users will now be able to connect any Dynamics 365 record to a Microsoft Teams channel.

The Microsoft Teams integration with Dynamics 365 brings together the capabilities that salespeople need to collaborate more effectively. The key benefits of Microsoft Teams integration include:

  • Users can share and co-author sales collateral seamlessly from Microsoft Teams or Dynamics 365.
  • Users can communicate more effectively through persistent chat sessions across the Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365 records
  • Files get stored in one central location, ensuring the entire team has easy, consistent, and secure access to the latest documents
  • Users can make updates to the connected Dynamics 365 record from within Microsoft Teams


 Who knows who:

This new feature allows staff to identify which one of their colleagues within their organization can facilitate an introduction to their prospect leads or contacts.

Like LinkedIn TeamLink, the feature uses Microsoft Exchange to identify which staff members within the organisation has had previous engagement with a contact or lead and who can provide you with that warm introduction.

These warm introductions increase sales performance to improve lead-to-opportunity conversion rates, extending later to closing the deal.

Talking Points

Like the LinkedIn Icebreaker functionality, using built in AI, Talking Points captures the past communications Sales professionals have had with customers and extract key details about them on topics such as sports, health, family, and entertainment.

These topics help sales professionals with conversation starters or even build relationships with the contact.

Quick Actions (Public Preview)

Quick Actions works off enhanced AI capabilities by analysing past customer interactions and provide contextual suggested next best actions. Also, Microsoft, for the first time, are planning to enable users to speak notes directly into Dynamics from their phone.

Examples of Quick Actions include creating a follow up task, making a phone call or booking in an appointment.

Predictive lead Scoring (Public Preview)

Microsoft is introducing a machine learning model that scores leads on a scale of 1-100 based on likelihood of becoming an opportunity.  It allows sales professionals to priorities their efforts on the deals more likely to close.

The key benefits of Predictive Lead Scoring include:

  • Out-of-the-box machine learning model that considers attributes from related entities such as Contact and Account
  • Ability to select/de-select signals for the model enabling model customization and tuning.
  • Predictive score backed by top reasons influencing the score.
  • Lead score along with score trend and top reasons available on out-of-box-forms and views.




Relationship analytics now with LinkedIn InMail (Public Preview)

The current feature of Relationship analytics helps sales professionals manage the opportunities pipeline by analysing the engagement data from Dynamics 365 and Exchange Online to track trends in a relationship such as positive or negative sentiment. The upcoming LinkedIn InMail integration will make Relationship analytics much smarter in providing the health of a sales deal.



AI for Sales App (Public Preview)

With all the built in AI capabilities Dynamics 365 provides, Microsoft have created a new AI app for sales management to help them managers evaluate and improve the performance of their sales teams.

The new AI app has a home page that provides managers with answers to the most common questions regarding their team’s performance and provides useful insights to quickly allow them to focus on the right deals and activities.

  • Below are some of the features of AI for Sales App:
  • A natural language processing-based Q&A that allows managers to conversationally ask questions and receive reports from the sales data.
  • Lead prioritization leveraging predictive lead scoring.
  • Opportunity pipeline analysis using the relationship health score powered by exchange data.
  • Sales team performance analysis and individual scorecards.
  • Richer sales activity reports using relationship analytics, bringing valuable data from Exchange and Dynamics 365 graphs.


 The aforementioned points are some of the major functional updates Microsoft are bringing to Dynamics for Sales coming this October. Stay tuned for more blog articles that will highlight the updates in other important Dynamics 365 apps.

If you would like to find out how you can take advantage of the latest Dynamics for Sales updates within your organisation, contact us today for a no obligation consultation on 01296 328 689.