The logistics of running a business gets complicated, and keeping it all down on pen and paper has become unrealistic. Customer relations information is essential for retaining buyers and clients, keeping track of leads, and knowing when and where to approach customers. More than ever, it's essential to have software that helps you manage your company's financials, including sales, inventory, purchasing and analytics.
There are tons of customer relationship management systems (CRM) on the market. But for those already familiar with Microsoft's range of business programs, the company's all-in-one package of applications called Dynamics 365 could be for you. It can handle all these aspects of running your business from a CRM point of view.
Like Microsoft's Office 365, this is a software as a service (SaaS) application that you pay a monthly subscription for and can be accessed through a web browser. It shares data between the different applications, allowing for seamless movement through programs and sharing with other users. It integrates with Office 365, and both come with their even more comprehensive package, Microsoft 365 Business.
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Dynamics 365 comes in two main varieties: the Business Edition for small to medium-size businesses and the Enterprise Edition for larger companies. A user license for the Business Edition costs $40 per month, which grants you access to the main three applications and their functionality: Sales, Marketing and Financials. This is also accompanied with team member licenses that cost $5 per month per user. The team member license grants employees light access to applications like the customer service module and read-only access to most applications.
The Enterprise Edition gives you full access to all Dynamics 365 applications. The user license is $210 per month, with team member licenses costing $8 per month each. There are cheaper packages focused on operations or customer engagement, and you can get individual applications a la carte.
Customer relations management
If your business thrives on longstanding relationships with clients or customers, then CRM software is great for maintaining those relationships and nurturing new ones. Dynamic 365's CRM application organizes customers' contact information, but it does much more by fielding key information and helping you make sales decisions. When reviewing the leads you want to convert into sales opportunities, you want as much information as possible about their needs, behavior and other consumer intelligence.
CRM also plays a role in your company's marketing and customer service. Marketing teams use the stats generated by CRM to make decisions on materials and campaigns, then to track the results. Customer service reps use it to look up critical information about a customer when assisting them. Dynamic's customer service interface allows reps to quickly pull up information, such as customer history, trending issues and past interactions.
The most important aspect is that information recorded from any team, such as customer service, can be shared with the other departments, such as sales. This information-sharing can not only assist other employees in your organization but ultimately improve customer retention. Dynamics 365 allows you to customize how data is gathered and displayed, with graphs and other visual representations.
Financial management and operations
Any business owner is likely familiar with organizing their business's expenses, revenue, inventory and other assets. Dynamics 365 can make this task easier with its financial management applications that help you keep track of budgets, make projections, plus it offers other bookkeeping functions.
The inventory manager allows you to track your supply chain and lets you know what's in stock at any given time. Dynamics 365 extrapolates trend data to predict when you'll need more of a certain item and will advise you when it's time to order. This ties into a purchasing application so you can be sure that you're staying on budget when ordering new inventory. Invoices and orders are saved and organized. Other expenses, such as equipment, labor and leases, are factored in as well.
Another logistical aspect Dynamics 365 can help you with is human resources. The talent module allows you to organize potential new hires, track of employee performance and set goals.
Here's the complete list of applications in the Business Edition:
- Dynamics 365 for Sales
- Dynamics 365 for Marketing
- Dynamics 365 for Financials
Applications in the Enterprise Edition include:
- Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights
- Dynamics 365 for Customer Service
- Dynamics 365 for Field Service
- Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation
- Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations
- Dynamics 365 for Retail
- Dynamics 365 for Talent
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a powerful suite of tools that can help you organize and run your business, with applications to handle nearly every aspect of your business. Even the Business Edition, by itself, is a good CRM program and operations tracker. You can sign up for individual modules to fill your business's needs; however, the seamless sharing of data allows all modules to work better cohesively and allows you and your employees to better collaborate.