How to ensure that the main entities of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CRM) interact to meet the operational needs of the business? It is an issue that has been at the heart of many discussions and is all the more relevant to current business needs and practices. Following the issue raised by Steve Mordue, we would like to present you with a new model that will allow your marketing team to optimize its practices by merging the “marketing pipeline” with the sales pipeline.
Indeed, more and more companies now share the data they have gathered throughout the years across different departments. Account and contact information used by the sales teams are also used by the service and marketing teams. The service team enriches the information on customers by documenting activities and support inquiries. The marketing team no longer just generates leads for the sales team, they also utilize the information from current and past customers to bring their business back into the company.
That is why we are presenting a new model that better meets current needs.
In this current article, you will see:
- how the formerly used pattern between lead, contact, account and opportunity used to work
- a new design pattern more adapted to today’s reality and how it works
- the main configuration details for the new proposed pattern
1- How does the original pattern work?
The original pattern which has been applied in previous versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, places the lead at the beginning of the process:
What was a lead in the original pattern?
A lead was defined as someone that may be useful or could represent the generation of a potential customer or business opportunity. The marketing team would load their purchased list or enter their list of newsletter subscriptions within the system as lead. Then the marketing team would work and measure these leads until they became qualified for the sales team. Then, only then, would the account/contact information be created and an opportunity would appear in the sales funnel to be nurtured.
|Scenarios||How they work in this pattern|
|Load of purchased list, newsletter subscriptions or event participants.||Most of the purchased lists would be loaded as part of a lead as to not taint the “real” list of contacts. When a lead qualifies, a search would have to be done in the existing contacts as to not create duplicates.|
|Manage newsletter subscriptions for customers and non-customers.||Subscriptions to newsletter would be managed either within the lead or the contact. If a lead and a contact were the same, the marketing team would need to ensure that the information on both files be updated.|
|Allow marketing team to identify the people that need to be targeted by the campaigns||The marketing team needs to manage and generate two lists; one for contacts and one for leads. They must also remove any duplicates between contacts and leads.|
|Reuse the information of current and past customers||Touchpoints and activities would be recorded against the contacts or the contacts would be deactivated and re-created as a lead, thus losing the data history on the current contact when working on the newly created lead.|
|Manage Duplicates||Duplicate detection rules need to be configured for the leads and the contacts. Cross entities duplicate detection rules are required, the conversion of a lead to a contact must be managed carefully.|
|The service team needs to address an issue with a person that is not yet a customer; e.g.: a prospect that has difficulty when trying to purchase the proper product on a website.||The service team would create a contact in the system to link the support inquiries because the cases cannot be linked to leads.|
This pattern currently works for many companies and is still compatible with the newer versions of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CRM). However, it has major flaws when it comes to having the marketing team manage their lists of individuals to contact or reuse the information of current and past customers.
2- How does this newly presented pattern work?
Companies must provide their marketing team with a centralized location that will enable them to manage their lists and implement processes that will support the utilization of data coming from all types of people (suspect, prospects, customers, old customer, etc.). Companies must also introduce a lead generation process that includes a customer retention which no longer focuses solely on customer acquisition.
What would happen if a lead was now considered to be an opportunity, an action that might be useful or could represent the generation of a potential customer or business opportunity. The lead would no longer stand alone at the beginning of the process, it would now be assigned to a person/company:
Account and contact information must be shared between departments and be documented in a way that allows the sales team to work with people/companies that are qualified and are part of the sales funnel. The marketing team can now have a centralized location to manage the individuals they need to focus on during their processes. An opportunity is still part of the sales funnel and is being worked on by the sales team to ensure its progress within the sales cycle. A lead becomes the object to follow as part of the “marketing funnel”. It is being measured/scored by all the interactions and touch points that the associated individuals have with your business. Once the lead has reached maturity, it can be qualified as an opportunity and appear in the sales funnel to be nurtured.
|Scenarios||How they work in this pattern|
|Entering purchased list information, newsletter subscriptions or participants at an event.||Most of the purchased lists would be loaded as part of a suspect or prospect contact category. The contacts in, the “real” contact list would all be marked as customers and therefore be distinguished from individuals who are registered on the marketing list. When a lead qualifies, the type of contact would then have to be updated from suspect to prospect.|
|Manage newsletter subscriptions for customers and non-customers.||Subscriptions to the newsletter would be managed in a single location being the contact file.|
|Allow marketing team to identify the individuals that need to be targeted by the campaigns||The marketing team needs to manage and generate a single list of contacts, limiting the chances for any duplicates.|
|Reuse the information of current and past customers||Touch points and activities would be recorded against the contacts; keeping the history of interactions regardless of the contact type.|
|Manage Duplicates||Duplicate detection rules still need to be configured. But the information would be managed in a single place being the contact file regardless of its status.|
|The service team needs to address an issue with a person that is not a customer yet; e.g.: a prospect that has a difficulty with trying to purchase the proper product on a web site.||The service team can relate support cases to any type of contact.|
Many digital marketing tools like Hubspot, Marketo and the newly released Dynamics 365 for Marketing are designed to work with a person concept and use a single entity as a source (i.e. contact). This newly presented pattern is aligned with these digital marketing solutions that only allow activities to be recorded on contacts and no longer on leads.
3- What are the configuration details of this new pattern?
The implementation of the new proposed pattern would give leverage to the features available in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CRM).
- Use the field Relationship Type (customer type code) to type each contact with the following values:
|Suspect||Person that has not been addressed as part of any qualification process. Is often the result of a purchased list or digital visit.|
|Prospect||Person who was identified as part of a marketing process and has been identified as a potential follow up for the marketing team. These individuals generally have an open lead associated to them.|
|Potential Customer||Person that was qualified with a potential business opportunity. These individuals generally have an open opportunity associated to them.|
|Customer||Person that has a signed contract with the company. These individuals generally have ongoing activities until the signed contract has come to term.|
Note: Former customers could fall under the “prospect” or “potential” type depending on the business process implemented for customer retention.
- Types like Competitor, Partner, Supplier, etc. should be kept under a different field since all these types also have the potential of becoming a customer.
- Leverage the current fields Parent Contact for lead (parent contact id) and Parent Account for the lead (parents account identification) to manage the relationship between the lead and the existing contact/account.
- Use the Rating field (lead quality code) to measure the marketing qualification of the lead.
- Streamline the qualifications of a lead to an opportunity using business process flows
- Remove any fields that are related to the gathering of company and people information
- Keep and add fields that will help further qualify the opportunity
- Create a system overview to distinguish the “Sales” accounts and contacts from the rest of the accounts/contacts.
- Add plugins that will change the Relationship types of an account/contact based on the presence of a lead or an opportunity. Establish an automated process to change the Relationship types for former customers based on the customer retention rules.
If you have any questions on how to implement this pattern in your own company, do not hesitate to contact us. We have developed a preconfigured implementation solution as well as a set of Power BI dashboards to help your teams use it daily.