Customer relationship management (CRM) is sometimes like a bucket. New customers represent water going into the bucket, and departing customers reflect water flowing out. The water level—or the number of customers—rises and falls depending on the amount of water flowing into the bucket and the number and size of the holes.
At ServiceNow, we recognized we had a leaky CRM bucket, thanks to rapid customer growth. More complex deals and expanding selling personas added a new layer of difficulty. We needed to scale our operations, better track activity around customer interactions, and improve collaboration within sales.
After debating whether we should fix or replace our CRM system to handle the steady increase in customers, we decided to adopt a new CRM platform: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales. We selected it for several reasons:
The activity management feature supports planning, tracking, and organizing all customer communications in one place.
Dynamics 365 Sales easily integrates with other Microsoft products we use internally, such as SharePoint, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Teams, as well as with the Now Platform.
It offers a more cost-effective integration with our existing middle and back-office systems compared to other CRM products.
Based on defined use cases, we built several real-time integrations with the Now Platform to create bidirectional data syncs between the two platforms, as well as one-way queries. We did this with the help of the virtual entities feature.
Virtual entities enables us to integrate external system data by representing that data as entities in Dynamics 365 Sales. We avoided duplicate data and the need for custom coding, which greatly simplified administration and configuration.
The existing integration allowed us to launch many ServiceNow workflows from within Dynamics 365 Sales. These workflows ranged from simple, such as enabling sales to raise different request types for deal support, to complex, such as enabling sales to initiate quoting from within a Dynamics 365 opportunity record.
Since our global launch of Dynamics 365 Sales in 2020, we’ve continued to work with Microsoft on more platform innovations. We recently launched the use of Microsoft Teams to further enable collaboration in context. This allows our sales team and leadership to collaborate on account- and opportunity-related activities and store important information directly in Dynamics 365 Sales.
The sales feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “I started using MS Teams in Dynamics 365 Sales to set it as my main communication feature for opportunities/projects,” says a ServiceNow sales rep. “It’s helping me quite a lot to be on track with all team members directly in Dynamics 365 Sales.”
A regional sales director added that the integration provides “a great way to better collaborate across the business for account and opportunity management.”
By integrating Now Platform features with Dynamics 365 Sales, the sales team has a single source of truth. This is the system of record for all pipeline management, forecasting, and customer engagements led by the ServiceNow sales team. Workflows and systems of record work together to help the sales team address issues quickly.
The entire Microsoft suite of products makes it possible for us to track omnichannel interactions for sales, resulting in greater sales productivity, efficiency, and user satisfaction.
With Dynamics 365 Sales as our CRM platform, we continue to explore ways to bring more Now Platform features into the hands of our sellers. One exciting new project is integrating ServiceNow Virtual Agent into the sales process to enable self-service for answers to common questions.
“It’s a good feature when you have a question to a sales rep about the specific opportunity to do it directly from Dynamics 365 Sales and start a Teams chat,” says one sales operations manager.
We also plan to give sales the ability to update opportunities using Virtual Agent without having to find a customer record, saving valuable time.
Integrating Customer Service Management case management capabilities will provide the tools to bring another customer 360-degree lens to the sales organization. Sales will be able to check cases from Dynamics 365 Sales to quickly assess customer health and spot any major issues.
Three years into our adoption journey, I can safely say one of the best things we ever did was to replace a leaky CRM bucket. We’ve managed to scale our operations, improve collaboration, and implement a single engagement layer for customer interactions. As our bucket fills with more customers, we can ensure it doesn’t leak a drop.
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