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Honest answers to all your CRM questions

Bread Crumb

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is targeted at small and medium sized companies. Microsoft Dynamics CRM includes important functionalities like basic marketing, customer support and Sales Force Automation functionality.

Microsoft CRM works best with Office and Outlook keeping all contact info in one place.  It offers greater security than online programs tracking customer data, as they grow.  It is very customizable and easy to migrate data to.   Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Microsoft CRM is one of the newest fastest growing CRM software on the market.  MSCRM has an impressive list of features and is one of the most flexible products on the market because you can use Microsoft’s CRM on your own computers, and servers, or hosted in the cloud, on Microsoft’s servers, or hosted on partner servers.  Once Microsoft’s CRM is set up users quickly understand it because it works very similar Outlook.  Management reports are extensive because they integrate with all the Microsoft office tools like e-mail documents excel spreadsheets into one central system.   One weakness if you do not have the Microsoft environment setup already it can be very costly to set that up internally so people often opt for the hosted version to get started for smaller teams.  At less than $50 per month per user Microsoft’s CRM is gaining market share and is quickly growing the number of technical people able to support it.  Some IT managers have felt with early versions of Microsoft’s CRM that they drank the kool aid.  This is often because a lot of work has to go into setting up correctly and unless the system is simplified because of the many features often users do not really get it.  That points to the importance of planning your CRM correctly.  Microsoft CRM normally requires three servers, web, SQL, and Active directory server.  It is very customizable and scores ok on the ease of use, and scores higher than average on initial cost when purchased.  Because with Microsoft’s CRM many IT people or consultants have limited or no experience to really make it work for end users this is a costly mistake forcing people to redo their CRM implementation.  Microsoft dynamics CRM does not guarantee success in and of itself, it’s how it’s done that makes the most difference.


History

Microsoft entered into the CRM market in 2003 with Small Business CRM 1.0 release. As the name implies this release was designed for small business houses to help them manage contacts and accounts. Actually it was an extension for Microsoft Outlook client and offered alternative to contact management software ACT! and Goldmine.

In the late 2005 Microsoft released version CRM 3. This version included services and marketing modules with many features. This version also offered customization capability to the entities and attributes. It allowed users to define and manage events and rules for business process automation. This release offered powerful integration with Microsoft Outlook.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 further improved functionality. This version also allowed customers to select Software as a Service model.   In this model many companies share a central database hosted by Microsoft or its partners. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 also gains benefits of improved version of Microsoft SQL Server platform. It supports WWF (Windows Workflow foundation) and WCF (Windows Communications Foundation). It offers improved reporting capabilities by using SQL Server Reporting Services.

 

Features

Microsoft CRM suite offers the following main functionalities.

Sales Force Automation

Microsoft Dynamics CRM in its earlier release allowed users to convert contacts into Sales Leads, Sales Opportunities and Sales Orders.

There are many new features included in the Microsoft CRM 4.0. Some of them are listed below:

  • Support for multiple currencies and convert them into the base currency.
  • It supports many languages.
  • You can convert email activity into contact or sale opportunity.
  • You can define de-duplication rules at the contact level and also at the company level. This feature helps to search duplicate companies by website address or account name.


Marketing Management

Marketing management is very important aspect of any CRM solution. Companies want to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and based on that they want to promote products into media and channels. Marketing management offers collecting data, integration with SFA and analysis to promote right product for the right customers at given time. It helps to increase in sales.

  • You can create marketing campaign and manage it and define one or many distribution lists.
  • You can define third party suppliers and assign activities to them.
  • For better campaign analysis, you can assign cost per contact and for each activity.
  • Quick Campaigns.
  • Support for multiple marketing lists.

 

Customer Support

Customer Support is an important aspect of business to maintain customer relationship and get repeat sales orders.

  • Maintain service contracts.
  • Linking of agreements with the sales orders and linking of service levels with contracts.
  • Create a calendar for whole entity.
  • Create a knowledge base repository, FAQ Documents.