Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement for Professional Services Firms

Learn how Dynamics Customer Engagement extends the value of D365 ERP. Plus discover alternative ways to bring CRM functionality into the Professional Services stack.

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    Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CE, for short) is Microsoft’s family of customer relationship management (CRM) apps. They’re designed to streamline business processes, provide AI-driven insights, and drive growth by helping orgs manage and nurture customer relationships.

    Naturally, finding the right CRM is a critical priority for professional services firms, given that relationships are the driving force behind this business model.

    In this article, we’ll look at all four Dynamics CE apps and how they extend the value of D365 ERP. We’ll also touch on alternative ways to bring CRM functionality into the Professional Services stack.

    What are Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Apps?

    Dynamics CE consists of the following four apps —Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and Field Service.

    Essential Guide for the Modern Professional Services FirmEssential Guide for the Modern Professional Services Firm

    Sales. Of the four CE apps, D365 Sales is probably the most similar to a “traditional” CRM, used to help sellers nurture and track customer relationships, gain real-time sales insights, and manage the leads and opportunities in the pipeline. Users can leverage predictive insights about customer priorities, sentiment, and market conditions to improve conversations with clients and prospects. AI-driven guidance also helps reps prioritize the right actions and deals to accelerate revenue and close deals faster.

    Microsoft Dynamics 365 Buyer's Guide for Professional Services

    This guide will provide an overview of the entire platform and answer questions about features, selection, purchasing, implementation and support of the Dynamics 365 suite of solutions.

    Marketing. D365 Marketing takes data-driven marketing to the next level. It unifies all customer data and makes it easy to track behaviors and actions like email opens, event sign-ups, and how people engage with your content. Built-in features allow marketers to engage with customers in real-time – across all channels, create personalized experiences, and use AI-generated suggestions to create more engaging content.

    Customer Service. Dynamics 365 Customer Service automates customer service tasks, streamlines case management and knowledge sharing, and enables personalized customer journeys. Users gain access to 360-degree visibility into customer behavior, communication records, and can create self-service portals that help customers help themselves.

    Field Service. Field Service builds on the capabilities of D365 Customer Service – with a suite of features that help field technicians deliver proactive service during client visits, and make it easier for dispatchers and project managers to streamline service operations. Inside, you’ll find self-service scheduling, AI-powered scheduling optimization, remote collaboration tools, and a 360-degree view into all customer records, assets, and more.

    D365 Field Service works seamlessly with Finance and Project Operations – offering several tools that make it easier to manage and schedule resources with the same real-time insights used across the entire business.

    Technically, D365 Customer Engagement apps can function as standalone solutions — in that, you can install them and start “engaging” customers. But, professional services firms rely on specialized accounting and finance tools, as well as project management, and scheduling features that don’t come out-the-box with D365 CE. Meaning, you’ll need to bring ERP and CRM capabilities together — in one platform — to unlock the relationship-building potential of D365 Customer Engagement.

    D365 CE Isn’t the Only Way to Bring CRM into the Professional Services Stack

    It’s worth pointing out that Dynamics 365 CE isn’t your only CRM option, nor is it always the best choice for professional services firms.

    Now, you’ll often see D365 Sales featured alongside the ERP apps, D365 Finance and Project Operations. The idea is, that because managing the sales pipeline has a direct impact on activities like resource planning, forecasting, and estimation, it only follows that you’d want to put together a stack that combines these three critical areas.

    Many times, however, an ISV solution may be a better fit.

    Let’s say you’re a smaller firm using D365 Business Central. If you’d like to add CRM functionality to the core ERP, your only options are Sales Professional and Customer Service Professional. There’s nothing specific to project-based work, marketing, or field service – beyond what’s offered out-of-the-box with BC.

    In that case, you might look toward something like Velosio’s Advanced Projects for Business Central, which builds on D365 BC and doesn’t require integration with 3rd-party apps to deliver a complete business solution. Users gain access to advanced project management, accounting, and CRM functionality, detailed analytics and forecasting capabilities, and more.

    Alternatively, if you’re after a solution that focuses specifically on marketing or customer experience, you might look for an ISV partner with experience in those areas via AppSource.

    Ultimately, your choice here should be driven by your firm’s specific needs. You’ll want to make sure there’s a proven use case for most of the features in the app (without excessive customization) before committing to additional licenses.

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    Final Thoughts

    D365 Sales, Service, and Marketing allow users to personalize customer experiences, orchestrate unique journeys, make AI-driven decisions, and nurture client relationships at scale.

    They’re powerful solutions that can help you get more from your core ERP and deliver more value to clients – whether that’s by streamlining project management and operations, creating personalized experiences, or providing proactive service in-person.

    At the same time, it’s important to make sure that D365 Customer Engagement is the right fit for your firm. It doesn’t make sense to invest in additional licenses if you only need one or two features – or if you’ll need a lot of customizations to make the platform work.

    If you’re not sure where to start your CRM search, our Microsoft experts can help.

    Velosio’s professional service solutions extend the existing capabilities of Dynamics 365 to help clients manage complex projects, deliver more valuable services, and make faster, smarter decisions in the face of constant change. Get in touch to find out more.

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