Coordinating actions of your sales teams can be difficult. With no insight into ongoing communication, it’s easy to duplicate efforts or even to send competing offers to the same customer. Luckily, Microsoft prepared a simple solution for Dynamics 365 which will make managing your sales process much easier. We’re focusing on the hospitality sector, but we could tailor a service for you, too, so read on!
Microsoft has developed a number of services dedicated for the hospitality industry, which are becoming increasingly popular. One of them is Dynamics 365 CRM geared towards hotel chains. Today we’ll focus on how it can help your organization grow and plan its strategy based on clear information.
Who is the solution for?
The solution is of particular importance to directors of sales or operations, as well as marketing.
Your Sales/Operations directors will want to know what kinds of offers your salespeople are sending out – what is their value and how does it translate to actual usage.
The Marketing department will want to plan mass communication with the customers through email and text, and be able to track the brand image by gathering social intelligence.
You can really benefit from Dynamics 365 if your company has a scattered sales structure, e.g. a minimum of 5 hotels and each hotel with a separate sales team.
Can you give me an example?
We had a client whose customers were B2B organizations. They were large corporations who wanted to book a set number of room nights over the course of the year.
The client uses Office 365 mainly for email. They’ve been sending a lot of emails!
All this communication and numerous spreadsheets meant that no one knew what another person sent and to whom. Consequently, salespeople could lead negotiations with the same customer, not knowing about it.
What’s worse, the hotels would then send multiple offers or quotations to their customers – and they could be competing offers!
There was also no insight into the sales process or its effectiveness. The salespeople created reports manually, instead of generating them automatically, which led to inaccuracies.
We have implemented Dynamics 365 to alleviate these pains and make sure these situations don’t happen anymore!
So, what happened?
The client’s sales process has been streamlined considerably. Now all the steps are much easier to take and there’s a clear path to follow.
Negotiations and offers
The client can assess their potential customer based on their company information, and estimate how many room nights in total they might be able to book over the course of the year. They can also determine how many of those room nights they would like to be booked at their hotels.
The solution allows them to segment their client list to have a clear view of their customers’ buying potential.
The system also provides a single repository of quotes and offers. It records who has proposed the offer, whether it’s still valid and what are the prices, as well as stores all versions for an easy view of how the prices were negotiated.
It is possible to add company documents to the system to create offers automatically. For instance, the client can upload their price list along with any seasonal discounts or offers. Then the salesperson can generate their offer instantly by choosing a template and selecting the applicable discount.
The solution can be configured to generate discounts automatically per season or a predetermined markdown.
A single repository of offers and prices also means that the client only needs to update their price list and service descriptions in one place. That way all sales teams are able to use the same, consistent information.
What’s key for sales directors is that they can use the system to get a clear view of sales activities. Reports are generated automatically with information that’s always up to date. Customer communications are transparent, which means that the client can view which customer a salesperson talked to and how often.
All sales information is pulled together, thus generating insights into how many room nights were sold per month and/or per customer, along with their average price. This also allows for sales forecasting.
Moreover, the solution can be integrated with the hotel’s transactional system. Consequently, the client can collect the data on room nights which were actually booked by each customer.
This integration means that the client can note the actual bookings relative to contract. For instance, if a customer declares that they wish to book 300 room nights over 10 months, the client can review actual usage in Dynamics at any point in time. Consequently, salespeople are able to create dedicated offers and generate upsales.
This functionality also gives salespeople the opportunity to react if the agreement isn’t being fulfilled as expected. Thus, they can motivate their customer to make the most of their contract or make additional purchases. They can even renegotiate current or future contract terms if required.
This sounds great, tell me more!
The solution also has a number of useful features that makes coordinating sales team’s efforts much easier!
The solution is usually deployed in organizations using Office 365. O365 has native integration with Dynamics 365, which makes collaboration very simple.
All contacts are synchronized, which means that salespeople can use a single global address book with all the contacts in one place, instead of them being spread out across locations or individuals. This also means that each contact only needs to be added once, and then all authorized users have this information.
Your team will no longer need to add the same contacts over and over to separate systems. Plus, a deduplication system based on email address or telephone number means that the CRM will consolidate duplicate contacts.
Microsoft designed O365 integration for it to work with Dynamics seamlessly and with minimum effort. Actions taken in Office 365 are automatically synchronized with Dynamics. This means that you can view any scheduled appointments, calls or sent emails directly in the CRM.
Moreover, thanks to the Live client for Outlook, you can view a contact’s data and actions taken directly in the inbox. This saves the sales team time on going back and forth between programs and gives them an instant view into ongoing communications.
The solution follows a standard CRM sales process. It will lead your quotation through the appropriate steps until it becomes a contract. That contract is linked to a specific account, and available with the appropriate attachments.
Because all scanned documents are stored on SharePoint, you can view all current and historic offers and agreements that relate to a specific account. This allows for easy collaboration and helps avoid sending duplicate offers or entering negotiations with an already signed client.
Another useful feature is a mobile application. Because your salespeople are always on the move, it’s important that they can access emails and view appointment lists directly on their phones.
Single data source for marketing
Your marketing team will also benefit greatly from this integration. They will have a complete contact base at their disposal. A single repository will allow them to segment their recipients as required, create marketing lists, and coordinate their email communications.
In light of the GDPR regulations, it is also worth noting that the system offers a consent management feature. You can read more about how it works in my previous article.
OK, I’m in. How do I implement it?
If you already use Office 365 at your organization, it’s very easy to get started with Dynamics 365. It has a low entry point – as you’re already using the cloud, all you need to do is add a new service!
Deployment is fast and easy. Implementation for 10 users takes approx. 10 days. We use this time to add your hotels to the system, configure their parameters and train your staff on using the service. That’s it!
No O365? No problem! The solution will still work with most of the major email clients. In that case, it will, however, lack the Live feature, but it will still synchronize all contacts and communication.
The main function of Dynamics 365 for hospitality is helping with negotiations and the decision-making process when it comes to planning further cooperation with your customers.
It allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of the sales process and give you insights into agreement execution. Having this information in one place can help you design future contracts more accurately.