A while ago, I posted a (speculative) overview of Microsoft’s acquisition of Marketing Pilot, and what this might mean for Dynamics CRM going forward. Now, we have more information on what’s included in what is now known as the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring Wave. I will focus on the added functionality in Dynamics Marketing, Microsoft Social Listening, and Customer Service (Parature).
As speculated, Microsoft’s acquisition of Marketing Pilot has given them the technology to release a full featured marketing automation suite, which they have titled Dynamics Marketing. This adds some awesome functionality to Dynamics CRM such as e-mail marketing, campaign management, behavior tracking, lead scoring and nurturing; marketing resources and asset management; as well as marketing analytics and ROI analysis.
The two features I was most anxiously anticipating have been included, those being automated e-mail nurture marketing and behavior tracking/lead scoring. Now, the vast majority of your new and returning customers’ online interactions with your organization are recorded and stored in CRM. I have been lucky enough to take a look at some of the lead scoring and e-mail nurturing processes in the Dynamics Marketing Beta, and am excited to start using it! As mentioned in my last post, one of the core strengths of Dynamics Marketing appears to be it’s “operations” capabilities; if these are anywhere near as well conceived as the lead scoring functionality, then Dynamics Marketing will offer some great value.
A Dynamics Marketing user will be located in the fifth “price bracket” of seven, just above Social Listening and just below Parature in terms of cost.
Microsoft Social Listening
You might know that social listening allows you to gauge your brand’s perception from public postings on sites such as Twitter or Facebook. By monitoring and analyzing social media for postings that reference your brand or company name, Dynamics CRM 2013 can now generate reports that indicate your customers’ sentiments across time. This is a great way for those that aren’t dedicated to social media within your organization to get a feel for perceptions and interactions at a glance.
What’s really great about Microsoft Social Listening this Spring is that if you already have 10 PRO level CRM users, then it’s totally free!
Parature: Customer Service and Support
The last major added functionality to Dynamics CRM 2013 in the Spring Wave is customer service and support. This is a truly cutting edge approach to customer support, including features such as knowledge management, customer portals, surveys, mobile self-service, mobile ticketing, live web chat, and even social ticketing/case creation. If you’ve ever reached out to Microsoft Support on Twitter (@MicrosoftHelps), you’ll know that they have their act together, and now you can too! You’re now able to fully support your customers from within Dynamics CRM, and continue to engage with them in a positive way well beyond the purchase.
Overall, I think that these releases are a great step forward for Microsoft Dynamics CRM as they reflect the changing landscape of customer engagement and relationship management, which have moved online and gained a large magnitude of importance when it comes to developing ongoing, future-oriented relationships.
Here’s a look at Microsoft’s Spring Wave Release Preview Document
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