Intro to Marketing Automation with Dynamics 365 CRM

Marketing automation with Dynamics CRM solutions can increase your marketing efficiency and personalization, as well as give you much greater visibility into the effects of your efforts.

In this article, I’ll explain what marketing automation is, what your main options for it are with Dynamics CRM solutions, and how to get the training you need to leverage those solutions.

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What Is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation software is designed to help your team personalize and analyze marketing efforts at scale.

The software may automate and assist with tasks like sending emails, scoring leads, tracking website visits, and managing social media campaigns.

Your marketing automation solution should also share its data with the rest of your business software. That way, your sales, marketing, and service teams can share an understanding of the customer’s experience all the way from first website visit to customer with recurring revenue.

The Top 2 Dynamics 365 Marketing Automation Tools

The top two marketing automation tools we recommend to Dynamics customers are Dynamics 365 Marketing and ClickDimensions. Both of these share data and even an interface with other Dynamics 365 CRM solutions.

Dynamics 365 Marketing: A bigger, more flexible solution. It’s generally the right choice for larger companies and larger marketing departments. You should engage a Dynamics 365 Marketing Partner like us to tailor the system to your business needs.

ClickDimensions: A simpler, less expensive solution. It’s generally the right choice for smaller companies and smaller marketing departments.

For a detailed comparison on price, functionality, and more, read Dynamics 365 Marketing vs ClickDimensions.

Note: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing is one of five Dynamics 365 solutions that meet different CRM needs.

Important Marketing Automation Functionality

Depending on your business needs and strategy, the most important features in a marketing automation solution will usually be

Marketing analytics: Visibility into the effects of your marketing efforts. You can see, for instance, how many people clicked on each link in an email. Or for events, you can see how many registrants and attendees came from your website vs a social media campaign.

Workflows: You and your solution partner can set up automatic emails, text messages, or other actions based on user behavior or date & time. So, for instance, if a user fills out a certain form on your website, they could immediately get a confirmation email.

Audience segmentation and identification: You can target each email or other marketing campaign to the correct audience.

Your team can create lists based on multiple criteria, like “customers in Washington state who opened our email about a local event.” And the system automatically maintains those lists — so your team doesn’t have to manually recheck each lead or contact to ensure they still fit the criteria.

Lead scoring: Your system can assign a score to every lead based on what pages of your website they’ve visited, what forms they’ve filled out, what emails they’ve opened, and so on. And for leads that reach a high enough score, your system can automatically forward them to the sales team.

How to Build a Marketing Automation Plan

Before you implement, configure, or customize a marketing automation solution, take time to plan ahead. Work together with your solution partner to map out the business processes and needs that the software will address.

  1. Decide on lead stages and lead scoring rules: What would a “hot” lead look like for your company, in terms of form submissions, or email opens, or other actions? When should a lead be passed from marketing to sales? Decide these issues in broad strokes before you begin implementation.

    Make sure to include the sales team in big-picture decisions about lead scoring.

  2. Prepare to roll out in phases: Your solution partner should help you prioritize and implement the software in stages. Your first phase should focus on your most important channels for acquiring new leads. Usually, that’s events or emails.

    Later phases can focus on the details of lead scoring, secondary channels, and Real-Time Marketing.

    Also, as you roll out each phase and start seeing your analytics, you will find opportunities to optimize your marketing automation based on what works best for your team and your customers. Stay agile.

  3. Organize your content assets: If you have content assets you plan to reuse in campaigns, like emails, infographics, or recorded webinars, document those before you implement. Make sure you have the right version of each one. That way, when it comes time to leverage those assets in the automation, you and your partner can find what you need quickly.

Dynamics 365 Marketing Automation Training

For training resources giving a general overview of D365 Marketing functionality, explore Microsoft Learn’s modules on Marketing.

For in-depth support and training focused on your business needs, talk to a Dynamics 365 Marketing partner.

Make sure the training from your partner will fit to how your business gets leads that deliver revenue. If your best customers come from in-person trade shows, your partner should probably focus your training on events management, not the finer points of LinkedIn–D365 integration.

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At Encore, we offer training, support, and implementations for Dynamics 365 Marketing as well as all other major Dynamics CRM and ERP solutions. To learn more, read about us.

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