New Features in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring 2014 Release

April 29th, 2014 No comments

Focusing on the customer, check. Continuing to enhance cloud computing software, check. Working with industry leaders to enhance social and mobile functionality, check. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is undergoing many changes that keep the software at the helm of CRM solutions while continuing to win top industry awards.

The spring wave of updates is a promising cluster on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Roadmap (pictured below). Updates in marketing, sales, customer service, social, and platform will revolutionize business practices and create a new level of functionality for your CRM use. The Microsoft team kept the following three goals in mind when investing in updates for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013:

  • Smarter marketing—the ability to create engaging campaigns and review results.
  • Effective sales techniques—salespeople must focus on important items to close more deals, faster.
  • Universal customer service—businesses must provide responsive, relevant customer service everywhere.

Source: “What’s on the 2014 Roadmap for Microsoft Dynamics CRM?”

The functionality being released in the 2014 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring Wave focuses on helping customers market smarter, sell effectively, and provide customer service everywhere.

This summary of the Spring 2014 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Release Preview Guide highlights the key features and upcoming functionality of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Marketing

Changing consumer behavior has marketers working to build campaigns and programs that address fluctuating needs. Marketers must be able to engage customers, build pipeline, and demonstrate impact—all possible with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The design and layout is very intuitive to any person who has worked with Microsoft programs, like Excel and Outlook, in the past. New features in campaign management, lead lifecycle management, email marketing, etc. make planning, executing, and analyzing campaigns a breeze. Microsoft Dynamics Marketing is also fully integrated with Microsoft Office 365—one sign-in can be used on all services.

Scalable email marketing and Power BI reports help marketers to personalize their outreach to potential and current clients, and then analyze the data in a visually pleasing and easy-to-understand way. Email marketing now features tracking results within Microsoft Dynamics, a scalable platform to send millions of emails to customers each day, and cross campaign rules that control how many emails each client receives. Power BI reports use Excel based reporting tools to measure the effectiveness of a campaign, including Campaign ROI reporting.

The ability to visually analyze marketing data enables companies to better evaluate marketing spend and results, leading to more effective and cost-efficient marketing strategies.

Sales

Microsoft Dynamics CRM on tablets help sales and customer service representatives access customer and prospect data any time, in any place.

CRM tablet app enhancements provide for some much needed developments in making Microsoft Dynamics widely available on any device. Notes, tasks, contacts, accounts, and lead data can be updated anytime, anyplace, with the swipe of your finger. Wireless connectivity is not even required to access data, as it is cached for offline viewing.

Insights, a feature available through a partnership with InsideView, helps sales and account management professionals engage with prospects by providing real-time company and contact information from a database of 30,000 sources. Company and contact profiles, breaking news, and social profiles can all be accessed through Microsoft Dynamics CRM, minimizing research time and maximizing engagement with leads and prospects.

Customer Service

It is absolutely necessary to put in a considerable amount of time and energy to provide the highest quality of customer service, considering that 86 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Microsoft Dynamics CRM alleviates some of the pressure of customer service management via new features designed to link customers to the appropriate departments and customer service representatives to ensure satisfaction and retention.

New case management features allow customer service reps to more effectively organize and oversee cases. For example, a customer service rep can easily coordinate the work on a case that requires multiple teams or affects multiple customers by opening a primary case (called the parent case) and then creating a secondary case (called the child case).

New features in enterprise case management include updated case forms that allow users to merge cases, jointly review parent/child cases, review entitlements, and add a Timer to manage Service Level Agreement’s. Entitlements can provide guidance to service representatives as to how much support to provide for particular customer requests. Of course, this is all fully functional on tablet devices as well, so you can monitor high priority Cases and Queues or route items on the go.

Parature

The Parature Portal enables companies to provide customers with 24/7 support, offering an in-depth, searchable Knowledgebase for customers to access, and the ability to submit a help ticket if they need further assistance.

Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Parature in January has launched Microsoft Dynamics CRM software well into the realm of cloud computing for customer self-service. Distinct features such as 24-7 support and mobile self-service ensure consumers are always able to access company information and customer service features. This makes closing hours virtually non-existent, as even real-time chat options allow customers to make contact at their convenience.

The Parature Portal integrates with your current company website to deliver answers to customer’s most common questions through its web-based help center. Additionally, the Parature Knowledgebase is easily customizable to organize information by importance and relevance during searches. This self-service solution provides answers to common questions and support issues, as well as downloads including forms, how-to videos, and more.

And if a customer still needs additional help after using the Knowledgebase, they can simply submit a help ticket that informs them of the progress made on their question or request, and then sends them an email once an answer is available.

Social

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is growing to match the rapidly evolving social media landscape—and it’s doing a pretty good job at keeping the pace. Since most customers are already 70 percent of the way through the sales cycle before they make any contact with a retailer or distributor, it is imperative for a business to monitor its social media presence.

Microsoft Social Listening tracks products, brands, competitors, and campaigns across various social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. This tool not only tracks your brand or product to learn its global footprint, it also compares your product with its competition. Alerts can also be set up for when posts receive more or less impressions than expected.

A Social Dashboard within Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides social media analytics and insights most relevant for the user’s role.

Social Insights is another tool that can be added to you CRM dashboards and forms. Social Insights include charts and graphs that represent trends and information regarding customers, campaigns, and competitors in the realm of social media.

Implementation

The new features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM are designed to allow users to pick and choose which ones are best suited for their individual needs. This can alleviate some concern around having to learn to use a whole set of new features that are mainly applicable to certain departments.

Ignify’s implementation team is skilled at determining which functionality is most practical for your business needs. Ignify’s trained team members can implement a software solution based on your sales, marketing, and customer service needs. Please email CRM@ignify.com for more information.

Brianne Schaer is an Assistant Copywriter at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of CRM, eCommerce, ERP, and Point of Sale software solutions to organizations. Ignify has won the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year Award in 2013, 2012 and 2011. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing businesses in North America for seven years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine from 2007 to 2013.

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