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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Review

Last updated: January 2, 2021

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Mike Markus
He is a CRM software enthusiast/analyst and the co-founder of CRMAdvice.org. He studied MC-IT Course from Melbourne University.

Is Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM really “eating other CRM deals alive” as they say?

In this Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM review, you’ll see if they’ve got what it takes for them to live up to that slogan…

…or if they’ll be swallowed by other CRMs.

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM is rated 7 out of 10 on CRMAdvice.org

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is very-very deep and broad in the functionality that it contains.

Howerer, Microsoft Dynamics 365 is NOT so well designed for non-techies, and for people who are not familiar with CRM systems.

(As the setting up process might be a bit complicated.)

Don’t worry though, you can check out other CRMs in the industry – take a look at HubSpot and Pipedrive CRM (new-user friendly solutions).

If not, let’s dive in to see if Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM really is at the top of the food chain in the CRM world.

MICROSOFT DYNAMICS Overview

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pros:

1. Goal Setting
2. Reports a.k.a Report Wizard
3. LinkedIn Integration
4. Charts and Dashboards
5. Relationship Assistant

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Cons:

1. Not New-User Friendly At All
2. Optimization

Ultimate Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing & Licensing Guide
Do I Recommend Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Long Term?
Conclusion

NEW USER EXPERIENCE: Complicated And Challenging, It Takes A Lot Of Time To Set Up
USABILITY: Once Set up – Easy To Manage
CAMPAIGN BUILDER: Simple With All In-Depth Activities Included
MARKETING AUTOMATION: Easy To Use With All Drag-and-Drop Components Included
EMAIL CONNECTION: Automatically Sync Emails To CRM + Easy To Track Emails
EMAIL TEMPLATES AND EDITOR: They Have It All: Global, Personal and Organizational Templates + Easy to Edit
COMMUNITY: Forum, Consultants, Events, Even Virtual Events
REPORTS: Great! If Needed, Add Custom Reports For Specific Needs
SUPPORT: They Don’t Know Enough About The Product
MONTHLY RATES: It’s Complicated…
I Created An Infographic For You
TRIAL: 30-Day Free Trial
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.Microsoft.com

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pros

1. Goal Setting

This one step – choosing a goal and sticking to it – changes everything.

Setting goals help you prioritize things and it can help you move forward faster.

One feature of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is Goals, where you can set up different multi-level goals within your organization.

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A goal can really-truly be against any numeric value, like:

  • How many phone calls specific individual; or a group of individuals have made over a period of time?
  • How many cases user completes?
  • And how many meeting or appointments the users have met?
  • Have you met your sales numbers?
  • Have you met specific product sales numbers?

Example: How To Set Goals With Microsoft Dynamics 365

Let’s say you roll out a new project where you need to sell tickets for a music festival.

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Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM allows you to focus purely on that specific goal you want to push forward.

Now, you as a Manager want to track how many tickets sales rep has sold (=how much revenue sales rep has brought in for the second quarter).

IMPORTANT! With Microsoft Dynamics, the entire Goal must be set for a time frame (i.e. week, month, quarter, etc.)

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Look:

A salesperson may have a target of bringing in $10,000 revenue BUT you can always motivate them by setting up a Stretch Target for $14,000

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If he/she is achieving that there are several types of bonuses.

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Next, Rollup fields are designed to help Microsoft Dynamics users obtain insights into data by monitoring key business metrics.

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Rollup Field -> Actual (Money) – Because you are tracking revenue
Source Record Type -> Opportunity
Source Field -> Actual Revenue – Again, you are tracking revenue for a particular product
Then, Source Record Type Status -> “that” particular product

Record Type is where the value is coming from, Opportunity
Date Field -> Actual Close Date

When working with goals, they will be recalculated every 24 hours. If needed, it can be done more frequently.

Too easy, right?

Next, let’s find out another great feature Microsoft Dynamics is offering.

2. Reports aka Report Wizard

Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows you to customize the default reports and add custom reports for specific needs.

One of my favorite things about it is “Report ownership”.

Which means that system reports are available to all users:

“Individuals who own reports can share them with specific colleagues or teams, or can make reports available to the organization so that all users can use them.”

What else can you do?

  • Add visuals such as charts and tables
  • Run reports from lists and forms of underlying entities
  • Drill-down into the data
  • Group and summarize data

Here Is An Example To Show You How EASY It is:

Creating a common “Top ten accounts” report you may want/need to create in the future

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#1 Select New on the command bar

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#2 A pop-up window will open. In the Report Type drop-down, choose Report Wizard Report. Then select Report Wizard

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#3 Now you’ll see Get Started screen. Keep the default to Start a new report and select Next

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#4 This will launch the Report Properties. Enter a name for your report and the suitable entities you want to report on, then select Next

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#5 Then you’ll select filters for the data presented in the report. For instance, if you wanted only to see results for an entity modified in the last 30 days, you can set the filter on this screen. And if you don’t want your data filtered, select Clear.

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#6 At this point, you’re going to design the layout of your report

#7 Select Click here to add a grouping. Now you can choose how you want your data grouped

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#8 Now select the record type and the column for the data you want to have grouped in the report. Then select OK

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#9 Now you’ll add columns of data related to the record type you chose in the previous #8 step. Select Click here to add a column. This will present a pop-up where you can pick the data you want to have displayed for that column.

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#10 Now you simply repeat this step for additional columns UNTIL you have all the data you want in your report.

#11 At this point, you’ll be able to choose how to format your report. Choose your desired format – Table only or Chart and table – select Next.

#12 Review the summary of your report and select Next. Doing so will the report in your report view.

#13 To run the report, 1) go to your report view; 2) select the report you just created.

And you’re ready to go.

3. LinkedIn Integration

Since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn back in 2016, a big plus for Microsoft Dynamics 365 users is that the data from 500 million LinkedIn users can be easily integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365’s apps.

That said…

LinkedIn data is natively built into Microsoft Dynamics 365 via Microsoft Relationship Sales, which helps users find and build relationships with the right people on social media.

What it all means?

The integration of LinkedIn has made the collection of Sales Analysis much easier.

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Plus, it has accelerated the ability to find references and presentations for new businesses trouble-free.

Good job, Microsoft team.

IMPORTANT! Many LESS successful sales teams have not yet to reap the benefits of the integration.

Here are a few benefits, which Microsoft Dynamics 365 integration with LinkedIn integration, brings to the market:

#1 Benefit

All the activities you are doing in LinkedIn are now possible with Microsoft Dynamics.

Activities such as sending a connection request, InMails, searching for prospects or getting the account and profile updates, etc.

In fact, you can do all of this through Microsoft Dynamics.

No need to toggle between two screens anymore.

#2 Benefit

Single application – following the mobile-first and cloud-first strategy by Microsoft Dynamics, the CRM application is accessible via mobile apps.

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For example, if the sales team is on the go out in the field, they can get direct and integrated access to LinkedIn and CRM while not losing any lead-opportunities.

#3 Benefit

Let’s you improve relationships.

(And gets tons of happy customers in your business)

ALL the information and emails are in sync.

Next, the tool shows you a direction to work on the prospects by facilitating a smooth introduction through the network and predefined communication templates.

What else?

You’re getting all the detailed information and updates about the prospect’s profile.

Nice!

4. Charts and Dashboards

After using Microsoft Dynamics Charts and Dashboards for years I can say these are one of the most powerful features in Microsoft’s CRM solution.

You can see the 360degree view of your business and efficiently display all the data that allows you to understand key-performance metrics in real-time.

It’s much like a dashboard in a car; it provides you all the information on what exactly is going on with various functions at that precise moment.

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Again:

By better understanding of how you are performing, you can make immediate changes in two ways:

  • Change any aspect of your business that is struggling,
  • Or double down on areas that are proving to be successful.

Very helpful.

Take a look at the variety of ways your data can be played:

  • Funnel,
  • Bar graph,
  • Pie graph,
  • Stack bar graph

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Bonus! Each chart can be customized to display data in the way you prefer.

Want to create a personal 3-Column Dashboard?

No problem.

Step 1:

Choose and then select Layout

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Step 2:

Select which Record Type; View; Chart you want to add to the dashboard

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Step 3:

Be sure you repeat the steps to add additional charts on to your dashboard. After the dashboard is finished; you can share or assign it to your colleague or team; you can set it as your default dashboard if needed.

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Pretty cool.

5. Relationship Assistant

Have you ever missed an important deadline?

Or let a sales opportunity slip through your fingers?

Don’t you wish you had a personal assistant to help keep you organized?

Now:

If you can hire a personal assistant, you should try that, as missing important sales opportunities may cost you even more…

Want to know the even better part?

With Microsoft Dynamics 365, you could get some of the same benefits.

What I do love about Relationship Assistant is it monitors your daily actions and communications.

And by doing so, it makes your life easier.

Tracks All Your Deadlines

You can set up the system so it keeps track of deadlines and sends notifications to you when needed.

Pretty cool, huh?

Plus, it will analyze your deals, checks the dues dates and notifies you in your mobile app or Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Shows You Those Opportunities That Need The Most Attention

As a sales manager, you are responsible for evaluating which deals are getting the most attention; and which are getting the least attention from your sales team.

Based on the information you collect you are able to decide what can be done to save the customer relationship.

On the other hand, doing it manually you need to analyze all types of communication – meetings, calls, emails, and tasks…

The complicated part, this needs to be done for each customer individually.

It is very hard to collect all this data.

Plus, it takes too much of your time.

Now, to make this process EASIER for you, Microsoft Dynamics’ Relationship Assistant has a special card that shows ‘No activity with Opportunity’.

What is means?

For example, if you set “14” as the number of days of inactive…

…then the system activates monitoring of all records of all potential deals with the customer.

On the 14th day of no communication you will RECEIVE a notification, so you know the issue and can take necessary action.

Monitors Your Incoming Emails for Specific Criteria

On average, professionals check their email 15 times per day…

It’s like a never-ending task.

BUT, at the same time, you need to do it so don’t miss something important.

This Relationship Assistant offers a tool ‘Email cards’.

Once you activate it, it will start checking your emails.

When it finds an email that meets the criteria you’ve set, right away, you’re getting a notification.

Pretty amazing, right?

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Just to give you an example, you could receive a notification when:

  • A specific issue is mentioned
  • A file is requested
  • A customer is asking a question
  • A competitor’s name is mentioned

With this system, you won’t miss these IMPORTANT emails and you can respond faster.

Fun fact from my experience: Once you start using these, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without them.

Seriously.

Next, let’s look at things that are not that awesome about Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Cons

1. Not New-User Friendly At All

You as a new user on Microsoft Dynamics 365 should be ready for a VERY LONG learning curve.

Especially when you’re not familiar with CRM systems.

Why?

It’s because it has a lot of functionality and sometimes it is difficult to find the exact one you are looking for.

For example, access to a particular section of the tool can be restricted for some users by main admins.

This can be frustrating as not all team members have access to the same information.

It gets worse:

This means that the main admins must teach others and build more strategies around how the tool will be used.

I would change that…

On the other hand, maybe in your company, this is the exact feature you’ve been searching for.

What I mean is that some users have limited access to features.

2. Optimization

This one is short but important.

The problem with Microsoft Dynamics is that this CRM tool is optimized with other Microsoft applications.

What does it mean?

It works BETTER on Microsoft application and for some users, it is one of the top-selling points, when:

  • Outlook tracks emails to Microsoft Dynamics 365,
  • Data connection to Excel for refreshing data exports,
  • Power BI analyzes and views your sales across a variety of metrics to gain actionable insights,
  • Flow builds workflows that automate time-consuming business tasks without relying on IT departments and developers,
  • And PowerApps, which helps users, build their own custom line of business applications using little-to-no-code.

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These are Microsoft’s tools.

I know it’s fascinating.

(Microsoft is a $ 100 Billion company they can do so as all these applications are under their wing.)

If you are NOT using applications that are under Microsoft’s wing…

…and instead, you use multiple other applications.

The situation might be a bit problematic.

But don’t worry at all, there are other CRM tools on the market.

Take a look at a list of top-rated CRMs.

(Where you find HubSpot and Pipedrive CRM tools which both have hundreds of integrations.)

Ultimate Microsoft Dynamics 365 Pricing and Licensing Guide

Look:

The pricing part of Microsoft Dynamics is reasonably complicated…

It’s because they’re having different licenses and core applications.

Here’s a simplified guide for you:

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Do I Recommend Using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Long Term?

Hard to tell…

Their name can be Microsoft and it may seem they know it all.

But at the end of the day, you only need one CRM.

And there are too many holes to overlook with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Let me explain.

Now, if you’re a company with more than 250 employees, and have previous experience with CRM tools, go for it – YES!

But, if you are a small- or a medium-sized business…

Easy NO – using Microsoft Dynamics 365 could be tough.

Find more new user friendly services here.

Note: Be aware, setting up process might be very complicated for a non-tech person.

Now:

(Since writing this review I was getting a lot of questions about onboarding.)

Well, after speaking with companies who jumped on board they’ve said the starting stages took months.

IMPORTANT! Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales Professional offers a 30-day free trial. However, if you really know and feel*** that you’re a non-tech person, consider some other CRM tool, which has an easier setup process. You can find those from this list here.

For the most part, there are only positives using Microsoft Dynamics.

(This with businesses who had previous experience with different CRMs and Microsoft wasn’t so-called “first” one they’ve been using.)

Conclusion – Would I Say That Microsoft Dynamics 365 Beats Other CRMs?

Microsoft Dynamics, for the price, has some wonderful features that you can expect out of a good CRM.

Although, getting started with Sales Professional ($65 per user/month), which is used by businesses without a complex sales organization — looks not so expensive…

Adding there a LinkedIn Sales Navigator tool ($135 per user/month) makes it a total of $200 per user per month.

Now it starts adding up, the cost of services increases.

Their customer support, on the other hand, was MOSTLY informed, timely, and helpful with any questions I had.

I would recommend this CRM to anyone who is already using Microsoft’s large category of different software solutions, looking to integrate these with Microsoft Dynamics 365.

But if you’re still not sure about using it, don’t worry though.

You can check out other companies in the industry – look at HubSpot and Pipedrive CRM (our top-rated providers + they’re cheaper as well.)

Our CRM Software Review Process:

  1. Using Each CRM Software for 5+ Years.
  2. Ran Businesses With All of Them.
  3. Attended their Events.
  4. Tested for Consulting Industry,
  5. Business or Life Coaching,
  6. Authors,
  7. Blogging,
  8. E-commerce,
  9. B2b Marketing & Sales,
  10. Offline Business,
  11. And for Pipeline Based Sales Model Business.
  12. Compared Usability, Cost & Value.