How Dynamics 365 Aligns Sales and Marketing Teams to Solve These 4 Frequent Challenges

A woman using laptop with Dynamics 365 Marketing dashboard on screen

In many organisations, sales and marketing have traditionally operated in silos. But, as customer buying processes have evolved and become more complex, it's no longer possible for each team to work independently and expect to consistently delight customers and boost lead generation.

Both teams must collaborate to develop messaging and content, share data and insights, and focus on goals that put customers at the centre of their strategies. According to MarketingProfs¹, organisations with tightly aligned sales and marketing functions experience 36% higher customer retention rates and 38% higher sales win rates.

But it’s easier said than done. So, in this blog post, we’ll look at how Dynamics 365 aligns sales and marketing teams to solve four common challenges organisations face.

1) Incomplete view of the customer journey

When sales and marketing data are managed in siloed systems, teams lack a coherent view of the customer journey. Imagine marketing teams creating content without knowing what resonates with their prospects? Or sales teams engaging with leads with no view of how they interacted with the business across different channels.

Or worse, when marketing content on a website says one thing, and salespeople say something different. According to a Gartner report², 53% of B2B buyers received different information from their website and salespeople. Both sales and marketing teams struggle to provide value to their customers when their processes are not tightly integrated.

Solution:

Dynamics 365 breaks down the barriers to collaboration by bringing sales and marketing together in a single unified platform and giving shared visibility of the customer journey. Users can get a 360-degree view of their audience by tracking every interaction with contacts, leads and customers across channels in a unified timeline view.

Although Dynamics Sales and Marketing apps may appear to be distinct, data is centralised in Microsoft Dataverse and accessible across the Microsoft Power platform, making collaboration simple and effective.

Marketing interactions are now more accessible for sales teams, thanks to a new feature that allows them to view data, such as email opens and clicks in the timeline view for each contact record, alongside sales and customer service communications.

This lets sellers quickly see what an individual has been reading on your website, which e-book they have downloaded, and which email they opened. As a result, it enables them to be more proactive and personalise their communications with prospects.

Similarly, marketing teams can see if the sales have followed up on a qualified lead to understand how the conversation is progressing or if they need to be nurtured further.

Examples of unified timeline in Dynamics 365 that includes recent marketing interactions for email deliveries and opens

It’s not just about viewing data. It’s essential that teams ‘meet’ and talk to each other often. Microsoft has made collaborating between teams in a remote world easier with the embedded Teams chat within Dynamics 365 applications. Share any sales or marketing contact records, bring data into conversations and discuss what is working and what is not, all within Dynamics 365 or MS Teams.

2) Lack of personalisation

Customers nowadays expect personalised service at every step, but many organisations are not geared up to deliver this. They often don’t adequately use the CRM data or segment their audience profile and instead send out generic emails with content that does not resonate with their target audience. A one size fits all marketing strategy can't be relied upon to generate sales-ready leads.

Lack of personalisation is not just sending an irrelevant message, but could also involve sending the right message at the wrong time. Sending timely communications is possible by triggering messages that nurture prospects. According to Forrester Research³, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. But, how effective are your nurturing strategies?

Solution:

The challenges faced by each customer segment differ, and you can’t talk to them in a common language. The segmentation feature in Dynamics 365 Marketing allows contacts (and soon, leads) based on simple or complex criteria such as demographics, behavioural trends, industry, location and other considerations.

For example, suppose you are launching a free product trial. You can target contacts who have previously shown interest in the product, but this segment can be further refined by targeting only those who visited the product page or opened emails related to the product.

This exercise shouldn’t just be limited to the marketing team. Collaborate with sales teams to consistently check the CRM data quality and define the segmentation criteria based on their interaction experience with the customers.

After creating segments, use your data to ensure your communications are highly personalised. That's no longer limited to addressing a recipient by their first name. Using no-code dynamic content capability, Dynamics 365 Marketing now enables marketing teams to quickly create hyper-personalised emails, for instance, by editing the image to reflect a recipient's age group or job role.

With Real-Time Marketing capabilities in Dynamics 365, customer journeys can be launched with targeted messages sent at various stages in response to individual interactions that nurture prospects and encourage action.

Emails and other messages can be immediately triggered by any customer and prospect actions tracked in Dynamics. These triggers can cover multiple channels, such as prospects registering for an event, clicking an email link, or simply updating a field in a Dynamics contact record.

Example showing Dynamics 365 Marketing customer journey

Triggering an automated journey upon updating a contact field can be particularly useful for sales teams. Suppose you add a field to your Dynamics contact record once a prospect has attended a sales demo. Once the seller finishes the presentation and updates this field, an email journey could be automatically triggered in Dynamics to send messages that share further information, request feedback and promote the next steps.

This way, Dynamics 365 marketing increases engagement and generates more sales-ready leads by allowing anyone to send the right sequence of messages at the right time.

3) Poor lead quality

When sales and marketing are not on the same page, the lead qualification process becomes inconsistent. Sales teams can easily waste time on low-quality leads referred by marketing teams if there is no shared understanding of what constitutes a good quality lead.

At the same time, marketing teams don’t have the same view and understanding of what a sales-ready looks like. They cannot modify strategies or redefine targeting unless they know how many qualified leads result in a sale.

When should marketing refer a lead to sales? What qualifies as a high-quality lead? What happens when qualified leads don’t respond to sales?

These pertinent questions must be answered as the next step of sales and marketing team alignment.

Solution:

Sales and marketing teams should first jointly define what a sales-ready lead is and create a scoring model. Dynamics 365 Marketing allows you to identify and qualify the right leads using an automated lead scoring model based on the contact's demographic, firmographic information or other actions.

You can track activities such as who opened a mail, clicked a link or subscribed to a webinar and assign a score to a record.

You might not want to pick someone with a high score when their last activity dates back a few months ago. If there is no recent engagement, create a process to decrease their score. This way, only active leads are picked up for qualification.

Scoring leads in Dynamics 365 Marketing based on customer's actions

Collaborate with sales and agree on the score for each activity and the threshold to qualify each prospect. When a prospect's score passes this threshold, the system will mark this as sales-ready. This can be followed up with a process in Dynamics to trigger an email campaign or a flow to assign the lead to a salesperson for their attention.

Dynamics makes this process more efficient by automating the handover of qualified leads to sales teams. Sales activities such as tasks and phone calls can be triggerred within the flow of a customer journey when prospects display buying signals which ensures leads receive personalised attention at the right time when people are most likely to engage.

This shouldn't be a one-way process. Once the lead moves to sales, marketing can ensure they are followed up on since data is tracked in the same system. If a lead isn't yet sales-ready, sellers can assign the contact back to marketing for further nurturing.

4) Lack of insights to measure your success

It becomes challenging to align both teams if sales and marketing measure different KPIs or the same KPI differently. Many teams have started to recognise the importance of aligning themselves with sales on revenue-based metrics by measuring leads that get converted to calculate the marketing ROI.

But is the data connected to the sales system to determine where the leads came from and which lead types generate the most business? Without having access to the same data, teams may struggle to track these metrics that matter.

Solution:

Dynamics 365 Marketing addresses these challenges by bringing disparate sales and marketing activities together in a single system. An integrated approach can provide valuable insights into the effectiveness of your sales & marketing investments that benefits both teams.

Connected data enables you to track a customer’s journey from the first touch point on your website to deal closure. Marketing can calculate ROI by tracking which leads turn into sales and which content performs well.

Or, sales teams can feed actionable insights back to marketing on how leads are progressing, which lead types convert frequently, and why a deal was won or lost. These details can help marketers in modifying their strategies or creating new campaigns.

Power BI built-in dashboards and insights in Dynamics 365 help everyone analyse how customer journeys, content and channels drive more engagement and contribute to more revenue.

You can keep track of information such as the source and medium through which they found out about you and which content resonates with them the most.

A new out-of-the-box analytics dashboard in Dynamics 365 Marketing will further help analyse these joint KPIs more easily. Use these insights to measure your content and campaign effectiveness to focus on activities that gain results.

This is not a one-time activity. With data-driven insights, constantly evolve your strategy to stay relevant in an ever-changing landscape.

Integrated dashboard in Dynamics 365 Marketing showing leads generated, campaign and content effectiveness metrics

What’s next?

Aligning sales and marketing teams can only benefit your organisation and, ultimately, your customers. If these are your priorities, there should be no reason not to take the right steps towards building closer collaboration between both teams.

We are here for you if you want to get started with Dynamics 365 Marketing or fully utilise an existing deployment. Fill out the form below with your requirements, and we'll be in touch.

References used:

By submitting this form, you agree to Preact's privacy policy and the processing of this data.

Join our mailing list icon

Keep up to date! Subscribe to our blog

Join our mailing list to receive our emails about what's new in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.

Subscribe now