Microsoft on Tuesday said it will release Dynamics CRM 2015 and Dynamics Marketing 2015 in the fourth quarter, and it's promising that these integrated apps will help close all-too-common gaps between sales and marketing.
"Marketing tries to keep sales in the loop, but sometimes they're paying attention and sometimes they're not," said Angela Bandlow, director of marketing, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a phone interview with InformationWeek. "Inevitably you get reps saying they didn't know about campaigns, or, worse, they say 'stop spamming my accounts,' which is something you never want to hear."
To close such gaps, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing 2015 will introduce an Interactive Marketing Calendar and a Sales Collaboration Panel that will give both parties an "outside-in" view of how marketing impacts accounts and contacts.
[Want more on Salesforce.com marketing-integration moves? Read Salesforce.com Previews Sales Feature To Promote Pardot.]
"It's the customer's view versus the CMO's view, and you can see all communications and how customers are responding to emails, links, downloads, and other content and offers so you can personalize ongoing engagement," Bandlow said.
If an important account or contact has definitively said no to a cross-sell or up-sell offer, for example, a sales manager or salesperson can use the Sales Collaboration Panel to opt customers out of certain campaigns or messages. Managers can assign this veto power to whatever groups or individuals they deem appropriate. Taking the opposite perspective, Dynamics Marketing 2015 will enable marketers to see the activities of salespeople in Dynamics CRM 2015, and they will be able to assign tasks to be executed on the sales side.
Stepping up competition with its chief CRM rival, Salesforce.com, Microsoft introduced Dynamics Marketing in June, building on a platform gained through its 2012 acquisition of Marketing Pilot, a company that had roughly 100 customers at the time of the sale. Since integrated with Dynamics CRM and relaunched as Dynamics Marketing, the cloud-based app is gaining 15 to 20 customers every 10 days and now has more than 350 customers, according to Bandlow.
Acquired at undisclosed terms, Marketing Pilot was a modest deal for Microsoft compared to the $2.5 billion Salesforce.com spent to acquire ExactTarget, a 14-year-old company that had more than 6,000 customers at the time of its acquisition.
In other moves to broaden its footprint and better compete with Salesforce, Microsoft acquired Parature early this year to power Dynamics CRM Customer Service and Unified Service Desk (call center) offerings introduced in June. And in 2013 the company bought social-analysis vendor NetBreeze, which brought capabilities since turned into Microsoft Social Listening.
Other upgrades in Dynamics Marketing 2015 will include:
- A graphical email editing tool for developing rich HTML campaigns
- Improved segmentation capabilities with A/B testing, multivariate analysis, and multipath analysis across customer-interactional channels
- Integration of Microsoft Lync click-to-call capabilities for scheduling and executing Webinars
Upgrades to expect in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 include:
- The ability to bundle and recommend products for up-sell and cross-sell across product families
- Enhanced Guided Sales Processes to steer salespeople toward desired outcomes and enforce business rules across devices
- New mobile sales capabilities including role-tailored dashboards and analytics and personalized home pages
Dynamics CRM has experienced 40 consecutive quarters of double-digit sales growth and now has some 4.25 million users from among more than 40,000 customers, according to Microsoft. Salesforce says it has more than 100,000 customers. A key differentiator for Dynamics CRM versus Salesforce is that it can be deployed on-premises, hosted in private clouds, or consumed as a multi-tenant service as Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.
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