Over the last few years, Microsoft has been steadily developing their CRM software into a powerful modern business application. A score of new features enable organizations to jump right into digital transformation. Now, Dynamics 365 for Marketing has many features to help you manage your customer journey – find out how!
Last spring, Microsoft introduced a fresh new user interface. They also added plenty of new applications and built-in integration tools. Dynamics 365 now consists of Sales, Field Service, Project Automation and Marketing applications, among others. Let’s look at what you can now do with the new Marketing app.
What is Dynamics 365 for Marketing?
Dynamics 365 for Marketing is an Azure-based application that goes far beyond basic email marketing tools. You can deploy it as a standalone subscription, or more importantly, integrate it with another Dynamics 365 Customer Experience subscription, such as Sales.
Both Marketing and Sales applications work on a joint platform. Contact, Accounts, Leads and processes can be easily shared between the applications.
Both apps, when connected, makes this tool as the first step in your sales cycle. It allows you to strengthen the relationship with the customer and generate qualified, sales-ready data for your salespeople.
What are the big changes?
The user experience of this dedicated application is more complex than that of the marketing module included in the Sales app.
The marketing tools included in Dynamics 365 for Sales are limited compared to the app that’s built for marketing processes.
Second, it may take you a while to adapt to the new user interface, especially for those who have been using Dynamics 365 over the last few years.
With the spring 2018 update, Microsoft introduced a whole new approach to navigation, called Unified Interface. It feels modern, intuitive. The user can easily customize their experience by ordering and choosing the navigation elements that they access frequently.
Marketing app’s Unified Interface view
Switching between the two main sections of the app – Marketing and Events – is also simple and intuitive:
Event section in Dynamics 365 for Marketing
The main capabilities of the app
The application consists of diverse marketing automation tools. Features that your marketing team can benefit from include:
- Customer journey – this process is somewhat similar to Campaigns you might know from the marketing module in the Sales application. You can use a visual, drag-and-drop journey modeller to quickly set up automaton flows. A fully defined process actually looks like your lead’s journey: from discovery to qualification, based on their engagement.
- Marketing pages and effective email messages – content creation using Dynamics 365 for Marketing is quick and simple. The user can create customized email messages and marketing pages with a drag-and-drop editor or jump into a more complex configuration using html editor. Messages can, of course, contain personalized information, dynamically filled in from the Contact page stored in the database.
- Event management – this is a powerful feature that allows the marketing team to manage every aspect of an event. There are also tools for online participant registration, tracking logistic issues, agenda building, and many more.
- Marketing team KPIs – using a built-in dashboard and insights will enable marketing managers to track team performance.
All these features are hosted in a single application that makes work easier and saves time on not having to switch between different applications and environments.
Content creation pages are done using drag-and-drop editors, enabling non-technical employees to easily customize processes and content.
Moreover, intuitive navigation saves time on getting familiar with the marketing tools.
Automate email campaigns
Microsoft called their email campaign automation tool Customer Journey.
The connotation with journey is strong, because a marketer using this tool is able to create a multi-step workflow. This workflow is the actual journey that your customer will take by engaging with your marketing content.
You can start with a blank process or use one of the included templates.
Built-in workflow templates
First, you have to specify a targeted group. Each journey starts with a segment (list of potential customers) or a landing page.
The example of customer journey flow
Typically, the second step is a marketing email that sends a message to everyone in the segment. This message can include links to an event portal or a marketing page.
Here you can also start with a blank email or use one of the many templates available in the system.
An example email template
Next, you can include triggers. These are branches in the process pipeline that interact with customers based on their actions. An example of a trigger can be opening a message, selecting a link, or visiting a related marketing page.
Dynamics 365 tracks many customer interactions within a journey. This includes email opens, email clicks, event registrations, and survey responses. Depending on what the contact does with the message, you can schedule an appropriate follow-up action.
Scheduling a follow-up
Generate and score leads
With Dynamics 365 tools you can create a process where your potential customer is identified and verified. You can generate leads using:
- Email campaigns
- Landing pages
- Events (e.g. webinars)
- LinkedIn integration
- Appointments and phone calls.
The above features are easy to customize and can drive multiple sales approaches.
The resulting data requires prioritizing. You need to pay special attention to customers who are ready to buy your product. This is where we discuss lead scoring automation! You can now design lead scoring models that track and score leads based on the type of engagement with your campaign content.
Lead scoring automation tool
Creating or editing a lead scoring rule is done using drag-and-drop editor. In order to set it up, you must define two factors: condition and action.
In the condition block you can verify the conditions, such as: demographic details, contacts/account details or actions taken by the recipient.
With the action block you provide a rule on how a lead’s score will change when a condition is met. The scoring model also includes a threshold for a lead being sales-ready. When the score is over this value, it is marked as sales-ready.
This event can be used to generate detailed and qualified metrics for your Sales team. They will use this data to further engage with the customer.
An example sales-ready lead
Plan and promote events
Want to plan and manage an upcoming event from just one application? The event management feature in Dynamics 365 helps you plan and execute each step needed to organize an event.
The feature is quite elaborate and includes a separate working area to simplify navigation.
This tool covers the entire process of event management. From initial planning and budgeting, to promotion and registration, to final analytics, lead generation and follow-up. It is all included.
With Dynamics 365 you can:
- Contact potential attendees
- Manage sessions, speakers and agenda
- Arrange and plan the area where the event will take place
- Organize logistics, e.g. registering hotels, room allocation and reservations
- Track sponsors
- Follow up with attendees after the event.
Here is the real game-changer: you can now build and deploy a fully functioning event portal. All data will be dragged directly from Dynamics 365, including event name, venue and agenda. If event-planning records are changed in Dynamics 365, it is automatically reflected on the portal.
A view of the event portal
Be GDPR compliant
Dynamic 365 for Marketing includes tools for EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliance. It has multi-level marketing communication consent forms stored in a Contact entity. When setting up marketing automation you will be able to only include customers that have given a level of consent.
Moreover, using Marketing Portals that are part of Dynamics 365, and the customer journey pipeline, you can build automation for a Data Protection Officer. This topic is so vast that I will have to leave it for my next article.
Take it away!
Now that you’ve seen what Dynamics 365 for Marketing is capable of, you can go ahead and try it out for yourself. It will streamline your customer journey, make it easier to manage your leads and help you organize your events. You’ll also be able to track all important marketing KPIs. All of this–from one application!
If you’d like more information, don’t hesitate to contact me – I’ll gladly answer any questions!