2020 came and went—we're now on the back half of 2021. As the world continues to change, your organization finds itself in the market for a tool to manage and scale a sales team that might just be busier than ever.
Maybe your team operates with email and Excel, or perhaps you have a homegrown sales solution that’s ready to be replaced with something a little less work to maintain. Perhaps you find yourself looking at an ERP upgrade and thinking now might be the time to also look at a better toolset for the sales team.
Whichever scenario you find yourself in, if you're reading this article, you likely need to understand what tools Microsoft has to offer your organization. We’re here to help!
Adopting the Right Solution for Your Organization
First off, congratulations on taking the time to acknowledge the need for more advanced sales tools. There's a lot of great products on the market that likely fit your current needs.
If you managed to narrow down your list, and it includes Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, you will find multiple offerings from Microsoft. Why so many? What do they all mean? And how do you decide what's best for your business? These are all great questions, and the right ones to ask at this stage in your journey.
Microsoft adopted the concept of solution selling around 2010, and the software offerings available today are a direct result of this strategy. Over the past several years, Microsoft listened deeply to its customers, and as a result, there are now four separate Sales solutions that have been developed.
Microsoft continues to evolve these while also looking at other tools to enhance the solution set. This is Microsoft's response to the ever-changing and ever-growing needs of customer sales teams. There's Professional, Enterprise, Premium, and now this thing called Relationship Insights.
How do you know which one you need? Each offering fits different use-cases, so let's take a look to understand the details and why one might be a good fit for your organization. We also provide insight into the types of organizations that benefit from each solution.
This is a great solution for businesses looking to provide basic sales capabilities. The application supports lead and opportunity management, and there are basic product, price list, quote, order and invoice workflows you can use.
You want this module if you need minimal or no changes at all to the out-of-the-box software. Sales Professional is a great offering in that it takes very little project time to set up but still gives your team base sales functionality. Organizations that are smaller in size, new to sales software, or who have limited sales feature needs will benefit from this solution.
This offering provides the key sales capabilities found in Professional paired with a more customizable environment and more advanced and proven sales tools—such as sales goals, forecast management, and complex product hierarchies. The platform also leverages the latest and greatest sales tools from Microsoft.
Additionally, the extensibility of this platform allows for custom tables, forms, and views, which are more limited in the Professional offering. Organizations with a more established sales team will find Enterprise an easy tool to adopt. It’s also a viable solution for organizations looking for ongoing feature enhancements; Microsoft continually releases new features as customers dream them up.
With the introduction of Sales Premium, Microsoft has given customers an option that provides native artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. This offering builds on the features available within Enterprise and takes things a step further—turning the data collected into a more meaningful sales experience.
With AI on forecasts, pipeline analysis, and product analysis—combined with tools like phone dialer—you can simplify the data collection process and maximize the value of the data outputs. This is exactly what organizations need that have determined AI is no longer a want but a real requirement. The solution provides all the capabilities of Enterprise along with meeting the demand for AI to play a key role in the overall sales strategy of the business.
Last, but certainly not least, from the Microsoft portfolio is Microsoft Relationship Sales. This offering gives you the capabilities of Enterprise paired with LinkedIn Sales Navigator and is aimed at supporting the needs of organizations that grow via connections and relationships.
Because you can plug Relationship Sales into LinkedIn, you can improve lead generation. Additionally, insights—such as when a contact switches an organization—can play into your overall sales strategies. Anyone who puts heavy emphasis on building relationships to support sales will benefit from this offering as it puts LinkedIn capabilities like InMail within the capable hands of your sales team.
Ask the Right Questions to Find the Right Answer
As you can see, there are a lot of Microsoft Sales options aimed at meeting the needs of different types of organizations. How do you decide on what works best for you and your team? This isn't a simple question to answer.
In short, to decide what's best for your business, consider the following questions:
- Why does your business need a new solution for managing your sales environment?
- What are the most important features of a sales tool?
- What is your organization's timeline?
- Do you have the right players for a software project?
- Is your organization in a discovery phase?
- Are you only budgeting for a possible solution change for next year?
- Do you need to move before another year of licensing renews on your current toolset?
- Do you have someone who could be a project manager?
- Do you have time available from your SMEs to provide business-process education to a consultant?
- How much time per week can your team commit to an implementation project?
Question 1 is the first key…without your why clearly defined, you will spin and spin and look at more solutions than necessary. #2 is also vital—are you looking for a quick implementation time, low implementation costs, ease-of-use, ongoing feature development, or a combination of all four?
The list could go on and on. But before you meet with anyone or start asking for a product demo, figure out your list. All these questions and more come into play when you get to the point of making a decision on software. And forming some idea of the answers will make your software search and future implementation that much better.
Taking the Next Step
At the end of the day, as you journey through your search for the ultimate solution to meet the needs of your sales team, you've got a lot of options. Microsoft has several to fit your unique requirements.
After reading through this, you should have a good sense of the different offerings available and the types of businesses that might adopt them.
And while reading is always the best place to start for growing your knowledge, the next step is to get in touch with someone who can show you the software. Reach out to our Western Computer team for a guided discussion of your business needs as well as a tailored look at how one of these Sales offerings could work for you and your business.
About the AuthorMore Content by Kayla Rohde