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Due to the COVD-19 pandemic, corporate remote working policies in 2020 drastically evolved from “some people only under certain circumstances” to “anyone can work from wherever they want.” One of the biggest enablers of productive remote working was the cloud-powered collaboration features of chat, messaging, and meetings companies gained by using Microsoft Teams solutions. What the sudden shift to 100% remote working for many companies did was expose that while Microsoft Teams had good integrations with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer relationship management (CRM) solution, there were some minor yet frustrating gaps in the user experience. Specifically, entrepreneurs who invested in both Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Teams solutions expected to seamlessly access, share, and collaborate on information in Teams for Dynamics 365 without ever switching apps. But features that Teams users took for granted were unavailable to Dynamics 365 users in 2020.
In early 2021, Microsoft announced that all of those key integrations between Teams and Dynamics 365 companies want are happening. Amaxra consultants have seen a preview of the Teams-to-Dynamics 365 integrations in action and are sharing our views on the three new features that mid-sized enterprises will find most valuable: embedded chat messaging, tracking sales/marketing opportunities, and click-to-call voice and video calling.
Embedded Microsoft Teams chat experience inside Dynamics 365
Salespeople often “live” in Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM and some find it distracting to switch between the CRM experience and the Microsoft Teams app. It’s revelatory to see the embedded Teams experience inside Dynamics 365 CRM because it’s truly a time-saving feature. For example, when one of your salespeople look at an opportunity in the Dynamics 365 CRM Sales Hub, they see a Teams pane on the right-hand side of their screen. All of the chat in the context of the record in Dynamics, and salespeople can have multiple chats and Teams Channels associated with the opportunity record.
The embedded Teams experience in Dynamics 365 does not lose any of the features and functionality users expect in the full Microsoft Teams app. So, you can bring someone into the chat with an “at mention,” attach documents to a message, reply using emojis, react with GIFs, and all the fun things we’re all used to with chatting in Microsoft Teams.
Secure and AI-enhanced “@” mentions for greater context
Bringing someone into the embedded Teams chat inside Dynamics 365 CRM is as simple as adding the @ symbol in front of their name. Tagging someone with “at mention” inside a CRM record starts a contextual conversation about the opportunity with others in Teams. What makes these at mentions valuable in Dynamics 365 is the artificial intelligence (AI) enhancements. Thanks to the billions of dollars Microsoft spends every year on adding AI to their global cloud infrastructure, an at mention in Dynamics 365’s embedded Teams experience will suggest relevant people from your contacts, related conversations in other chats, and other information that can give you holistic context to the opportunity. To minimize switching between apps, Dynamics 365 CRM records mentioned in a Teams chat can be edited by authorized users directly from within Teams. Also, the cloud-based AI also enables a time-saving feature that can scan through those chats to automatically capture contextual data about the opportunity (e.g., date/time when a prospect was first contacted, what marketing collateral was shared, etc.) that’s being shared in Teams and add them to Dynamics 365 CRM records.
Some may read the prior sentence and be concerned about data leakage. However, security is never an afterthought with Microsoft, so even if the relevant contacts include people outside of your organization—even those who are not using Dynamics 365—they can still interact with you in Teams chat, but they will not see any of the data from the Dynamics 365 CRM record. Even though Teams and Dynamics 365 are better connected, whatever data permissions and protections related to these two separate apps are still managed by your company’s IT team.
The genius of integrating Teams telephony into Dynamics 365
The one feature Amaxra consultants were the most excited about was the ability to make Teams phone calls from within Dynamics 365. Since converting our business to 100% remote working in August 2020, our consultants have relied on the cloud-based telephony features of Microsoft Teams for voice calls. These must-have business telephony features in Microsoft Teams are now integrated with Dynamics 365, enabling users to instantly make a phone call from inside a CRM record.
What makes this telephony experience in Dynamics 365 CRM so valuable is that it can be part of intelligent sequence of actions when working a sales lead. For example, anyone familiar with how sales leads work in Dynamics 365 CRM knows the sequence for following up on a hot lead involves:
- Calling the prospect
- Sending the prospect a call summary email
- Following up on any action items generated by the call.
With the integration of Teams telephony into Dynamics 365, the call can be made by clicking the “call” icon embedded in the sales lead’s record. Because the phone call is made using the Microsoft cloud, built-in AI will automatically transcribe the call for you, analyze the transcript for specific business-critical keywords mentioned during the conversation, then provide you with actionable sales insights. Not only does this save time from the standpoint of automating some of the administrative tasks for a salesperson, but it also empowers the managers and executives with rich data on customer sentiment, buying trends, and other analytics that can be used for strategic planning.
Amaxra can help boost collaborative digital selling at your business
Amaxra’s mission is to help businesses deliver the experiences that both their employees and customers deserve. We are a certified Gold-level Microsoft Partner, with over a decade of successful cloud-based technology deployments for businesses large and small. Our consultants are experts at deploying both Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions that enable you to collaborate and engage with customers.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425 749 7471 if you have any questions or comments on this blog.
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