Dynamics 365 for Sales & LinkedIn Integration: Playbook Enhancements, Manual Sales Forecasting, and AI-driven Insights

In June of 2016, Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion and ever since, LinkedIn integration with Dynamics 365 has increased efficiency and productivity for sales teams all over the world. With this release of Dynamics 365 for Sales, Microsoft has expanded functionality of tools such as the Playbook feature and their AI driven insights. They’ve also simplified the installation process. Previously, two packages had to be installed. Now the setup is just a simple configuration in the administration settings to get users selling immediately!


Dynamics 365 for Sales Playbook Enhancements 

Previously, Microsoft introduced the playbook feature that enables sales organizations to create a pre-defined set of tailored activities. These activities can be manually triggered or configured to run based on an event, such as an opportunity creation. The playbook capability is a great way to prepare for specific conditions that a sales user may encounter in the course of a sale. With the latest Dynamics 365 for Sales update, sales managers can now provide content to users through a playbook. Sales literature and other types of documentation can be attached to activities in the playbook to provide contextually relevant information to the sales user.

 

Dynamics 365 for Sales playbook feature

Seamless configure-price-quote Experience

Microsoft has partnered with the best CPQ (configure-price-quote) solution providers to bring profound product integration with Dynamics 365 for Sales. Administrative users can now easily discover and install these partner solutions to get sales users quoting quickly and precisely. The process has been simplified by providing these solutions in the Sales Hub and Sales Professional applications for quick configuration. The selected CPQ solution also connects to the CDS (common data service) to easily write back to other Dynamics apps such as Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and Dynamics 365 Business Central!


Dynamics 365 Manual Sales Forecasting Configuration

Forecasting is an important part of any business. Managers want to accurately predict revenue to provide understandings of how a company should manage its assets. For small to midsize organizations, adopting manual forecasting is an important step before upgrading to predictive forecasting. In Dynamics 365, configuring manual forecasting is as simple as creating a forecast definition about parameters that will be used to generate forecast data. From there, a sales user just needs to select the forecast category on the opportunity and this information is used to indicate how many opportunities are committed versus how many are still in the pipeline.

Dynamics 365 CRM manual sales forecasting

Dynamics 365 for Sales AI Driven Insights

Artificial Intelligence is the big innovation unfolding in all industries across the world. Microsoft’s business applications are no different. In 2018 Microsoft introduced AI for Sales to provide AI driven insights. With the latest release, Microsoft continues to deliver AI for sales organizations with an embedded experience and a standalone offering.

Embedded AI Experience with the Dynamics 365 for Sales Relationship Assistant

For the embedded experience, which is in preview, Dynamics 365 for Sales administrators can use the Relationship Assistant enhancements to create their own suggested actions. They can then use specific events and circumstances to customize when the suggestion is deployed. This process gives the sales manager the ability to push relevant information to a seller to help them close deals faster.

Standalone AI Offering with the Sales Insights Application 

As a standalone offering, the Sales Insights application was released in preview in October of 2018. This application gave managers reports that include KPI (key performance indicators) to monitor pipeline and deals. With this critical information, sales managers can generate insights to better coach their sales team members to close deals.

In this latest release, Microsoft introduced into preview Predictive Forecasting. Predictive Forecasting automates the forecasting process using AI-based models to more accurately predict team revenue. This information can be used to salvage deals and providing coaching where it is needed. Microsoft has also announced updates to other features of this application later this quarter, including KPIs, visuals, and reports; Sales Insights; and Improved search experience.

Call Intelligence

Another important update Microsoft has announced is a change to call intelligence. Call intelligence was presented in October of 2018 and this feature allowed users to generate insights from sales conversations by connecting to “call center telephony recording systems” and managers can then see how users are interacting with their customers. Microsoft has plans to enhance this functionality later this quarter.

 

Dynamics 365 CRM call tracking intelligence

Together, these features enable sales organizations to be more efficient, productive, and successful than ever!

Simplified experience with Dynamics 365 for Sales Professional

For the sales organizations that don’t need the full power of Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, Microsoft now offers Dynamics 365 for Sales Professional. This lite version of Customer Engagement contains many of the same features and components at Customer Engagement without the need for more complex customizations. Microsoft put it best when describing Dynamics 365 for Sales Professional, “Sales managers and administrators can quickly configure the Sales Professional application, integrate with Microsoft Office applications, and bring their data to get started.” 

If you are interested in exploring and implementing any of these new features in your organization, contact our CRM consultants!


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