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Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Customer Story : CRANE Worldwide Logistics centralised their sales platform with Microsoft Dynamics 365

As it approached its 10-year anniversary and its first billion in revenue, global logistics and freight company Crane Worldwide Logistics looked for a modern platform that brought all its sales tools into one place. With the Microsoft Relationship Sales solution, which brings together LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, its salespeople have the tools to drive more meaningful engagements with customers, convert opportunities faster, and create more revenue.

 

A global sales team

From a startup created in the risky business climate of the 2008 recession, Crane Worldwide Logistics has become a major player in the global transport and logistics industry, on track to hit USD1 billion in revenue in 2019. Created by former Eagle Global Logistics executives and headquartered in Houston, Texas, Crane Worldwide aims to provide customers with full transparency into its supply chains by coupling talented people with game-changing technology.

But with salespeople spread across the globe, Crane Worldwide found itself with a visibility problem.

“We weren’t all working on a common platform, so we were lacking in visibility,” says John Jergens, Vice President of Global Sales at Crane Worldwide. “We knew we had a vast sales pipeline out there, but there wasn’t much data available on it—so we couldn’t see how robust it was.”

From data silos to connected visibility

A key part of the Crane Worldwide ethos is providing customers with meaningful interactions—and that relies on having a customer relationship management (CRM) solution that salespeople can use to build and maintain relationships and convert opportunities more effectively. But, with a seven-year-old siloed CRM system that it had simply outgrown, the company lacked the tools its salespeople needed. “The previous system never had very good adoption,” Jergens adds. “It just wasn’t very functional.” So, the team went looking for a platform that could replace it.

With implementation support from Microsoft Partner Network member PowerObjects, Crane Worldwide deployed the Microsoft Relationship Sales solution, a powerful combination of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales and LinkedIn Sales Navigator, to support personalized, meaningful customer engagements. The team was already using LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Microsoft Office 365, so Dynamics 365 for Sales was the ideal addition to the Crane Worldwide ecosystem.

“We saw how Microsoft Relationship Sales could help us focus on being easy to work with from a customer’s perspective,” explains Jergens. “So this whole deployment was part and parcel of becoming easier to do business with.” Now, just six months into deployment, Crane Worldwide has 300 Microsoft Relationship Sales users in its ranks, including 150 direct sellers along with employees from its marketing and account management teams.

New processes, simpler sales

Using the Microsoft Relationship Sales solution, Crane Worldwide salespeople have already changed the way they work. And they’re reaping the benefits of the visibility they’ve gained into the sales pipeline.

“Once we rolled out Microsoft Relationship Sales, the overwhelming response was that it’s really easy to use, and it doesn’t take much time,” says Jergens. “We created a very simple weekly routine where our sellers spend about 30 minutes adding new data into Dynamics 365 for Sales. That’s just six minutes a day to keep everything up to date.”

With faster processes freeing up more time for the sales team, sellers can focus their energy where it matters most—building the customer relationships that turn into revenue. And, at the end of each week, management can analyze activity through a global dashboard, which combines CRM and customer interaction data into detailed executive reports that show how salespeople are turning relationships into revenue.

“With Microsoft Relationship Sales, we can generate KPIs that tell us what a healthy pipeline should look like. We look at the number of prospects and targets, how long the sales cycle takes, and the time from when we close an account to the time it generates revenue,” explains Jergens. “And if the pipeline isn’t where it should be, we can support the sellers with the resources that they need—it’s more productive all around.”

A centralized sales platform

Because Microsoft Relationship Sales brings together so many sales capabilities, Crane Worldwide sellers have everything they need to do their jobs in one place. Previously, they had to manage a relationship from scoping to sale across disconnected tools and platforms, far from an efficient process.

“It’s difficult to put a number on what it’s like to manage 30 or 40 customers with an email folder and a spreadsheet,” says Jergens. “Now, once the salesperson finds a prospect using LinkedIn Sales Navigator, they use Dynamics 365 for Sales to easily track those conversations. Instead of creating and referencing a lot of notes, they can quickly link activities and discussions through Microsoft Relationship Sales.”

With LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365 for Sales together, salespeople can start building the context they need to deliver a meaningful interaction before the first contact even occurs. Insight into potential prospects’ roles, connections, and priorities through LinkedIn Sales Navigator is fed straight into Dynamics 365 for Sales—increasing conversion chances from the very start. “It’s had a direct impact on the time it takes to develop customer relationships, because we have true visibility into those opportunities now,” explains Jergens.

A built-in assistant also sends prompts to help sellers accelerate the sales cycle, reminding them to contact a lead that might go cold or nudge an opportunity as it approaches its estimated close date.

A roadmap for integration

In businesses the world over, sales and marketing teams struggle to communicate and collaborate effectively. As the sales team adapts to Microsoft Relationship Sales, Crane Worldwide is already adopting more of the solution’s capabilities to help sales and marketing stay on the same path.

“The marketing teams are able to work in tandem with the sales team to help them understand how marketing activities can help nurture their prospects,” says Jergens. “They’re really starting to get up and running, using Microsoft Relationship Sales to communicate with the customer base and help convert contacts into leads and then into opportunities.”

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Dynamics 365: 2020 release wave 2 plan

The Dynamics 365 release plan for the 2020 release wave 2 describes all new features releasing from October 2020 through March 2021. You can either browse the release plan online or download the document as a PDF file. The PDF file also includes information about Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agents, Power Platform governance and administration, and Common Data Model and data integration.

The Microsoft Power Platform features coming in the 2020 release wave 2 have been summarized in a separate release plan as well as a downloadable PDF.

2020 release wave 2 overview

The 2020 release wave 2 for Dynamics 365 brings new innovations that provide you with significant capabilities to transform your business. The release contains hundreds of new features across Dynamics 365 applications including Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Finance, Supply Chain Management, Human Resources, Commerce, Fraud Protection, and Business Central.

Marketing

  • Dynamics 365 Marketing improves the customer journey canvas experience and adds integration with Microsoft Teams for virtual events. Segmentation is enhanced with a new natural language experience to create and consume segments, helping eliminate the specialized skills needed to build complex segments.

Sales

  • Dynamics 365 Sales continues emphasis on simplified experiences, app integrations, gamification, a new mobile experience for quick access to customer information, and new enhancements to forecasting to natively create and manage bottom-up sales forecast processes.
  • Dynamics 365 Sales Insights continues investments across multiple areas: sales acceleration, conversation intelligence, relationship intelligence, and advanced forecasting and pipeline intelligence with predictive lead and opportunity scoring to help sales teams uncover top deals.
  • Dynamics 365 Product Visualize empowers sellers and accelerates complex sales processes by showcasing and customizing products in their real-world environment. Sellers can place a 3D digital twin of a product in their customer’s environment and make detailed notes about their requirements.

Service

  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service expands agent productivity capabilities enabling agents to engage in multiple sessions simultaneously. Omnichannel for Customer Service is enhanced with additional extensibility options to enable integration with mobile applications, Microsoft bot framework, and outbound messaging channels.
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights adds new capabilities to help agents using similar case suggestions to resolve customer issues quickly and easily. A new analytical view for customer service managers helps them focus on key support areas that need attention. These highlights will also be included directly in the core Customer Service Hub app so that users can get insights in context without having to switch between applications.
  • Dynamics 365 Field Service continues to add intelligence capabilities including a new Field Service dashboard for monitoring key KPIs and work order completion metrics. There are many user experience enhancements to enable proactive service delivery. The Field Service mobile app is enhanced with capabilities such as push notifications and real-time location sharing. This release wave also includes scheduling enhancements such as multiday manual scheduling and enhanced skill-based matching.
  • Dynamics 365 Remote Assist expands its range of scenarios beyond calls, allowing technicians to perform activities such as capture service and repairs data, perform surveys and walk-throughs independently, and derive service insights from their service operations.

Finance and Operations

  • Dynamics 365 Finance continues to focus on automating common tasks to reduce the number of manual processes and add insights and intelligence in Finance. Asset leasing enhances the core capabilities of Finance and the global coverage for Finance continues to expand in this release wave.
  • Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management expands planning optimization for Manufacturing to perform supply and production planning in near real time with in-memory services. Enhancements to Product Information Management include engineering change management and product versioning capabilities. Cost Management includes new features that will enable global companies maintain multiple cost accounting ledgers by allowing dual currency and dual valuation. Enhancements to the job card device include a new user experience and a new feature to enable reporting serial numbers.
  • Dynamics 365 Guides is focusing on intelligent workflows in this release wave. By taking advantage of data and AI innovations, work instructions can be configured to adjust on the fly based on operator inputs. In addition, insights will make it easier to use time-tracking data and connect that data to your business.
  • Dynamics 365 Project Operations unifies operational workflows to provide the visibility, collaboration, and insights needed to drive success across teams from sales to finance. Project Operations connects your sales, resourcing, project management, and finance teams within a single application to win more deals, accelerate delivery, empower employees, and maximize profitability.

Human Resources

  • Dynamics 365 Human Resources expands leave and absence and benefits management capabilities to transform the employee experience. Employees and managers will be able to manage leave and absence directly from Microsoft Teams. This release wave enables streamlined integrations to recruiting and payroll partners, thereby building a Human Capital Management (HCM) ecosystem.

Commerce

  • Dynamics 365 Commerce continues to expand capabilities enabling non-developers to easily design and manage digital commerce experiences. Customers can increase lift online and in store with “Shop similar looks” for recommendations. Customers can discover and deploy third-party services, connectors, modules, and themes from Microsoft AppSource.
  • Dynamics 365 Connected Store adds a number of new capabilities such as integration with Dynamics 365 Commerce, front-line worker task assignment and tracing with Microsoft Teams, integrated workflows with Microsoft Power Platform, intelligent command center, store analytics, and store insights solutions such as anomaly detection, inventory recommendations, and shift management recommendations.

Fraud Protection

  • Dynamics 365 Fraud Protection adds integration with Dynamics 365 Commerce and a new “manual review” capability that allows customers to use the Fraud Protection rules experience to flag transactions for review, and then allow expert human agents to consume and adjudicate those transactions.

SMB

  • Dynamics 365 Business Central investments for this release wave include service enhancements to meet the demands of a rapidly growing customer base, improved performance, handling of file storage, geographic expansion together with support for Group VAT, top customer-requested features, and deeper integration with Microsoft Teams.

Customer data platform

  • Dynamics 365 Customer Insights enables every organization to unify disparate data—be it transactional, observational or behavioral sources—to gain a single view of customers and derive intelligent insights that drive key business processes.
  • Dynamics 365 Product Insights enables organizations to understand their customers’ journey, usage, and experience across all channels of their products (web, mobile, and connected devices).

Dynamics 365 Customer Voice

 Note

Starting in July 2020, Microsoft Forms Pro is renamed to Dynamics 365 Customer Voice.

  • Dynamics 365 Customer Voice is the next product evolution from Microsoft Forms Pro. Dynamics 365 Customer Voice is an enterprise feedback management application, powering simple yet robust feedback capture, an integrated customer data platform, and built-in insights tools to enable timely followup actions to close the loop with your customers.Dynamics 365 Customer Voice includes ready-to-use feedback solution templates that preconfigure survey questions, workflow, and reports including a customer feedback solution template based on customer experience (CX) best practices from Forrester Research.

Industry accelerators

Industry accelerators are foundational components within Microsoft Power Platform and Dynamics 365 that enable ISVs and other solution providers to quickly build industry vertical solutions. The accelerators extend Common Data Model to include new entities to support a data schema for concepts within specific industries. This release wave includes enhancements to the following industry accelerators: nonprofit, education, financial services, media and communications, healthcare, manufacturing, and automotive.

Key dates for the 2020 release wave 2

This release plan describes functionality that may not have been released yet. Delivery timelines and projected functionality may change or may not ship (see Microsoft policy).

Here are the key dates for the 2020 release wave 2.

KEY DATES FOR THE 2020 RELEASE WAVE 2
Milestone Date Description
Release plans available July 8, 2020 Learn about the new capabilities coming in the 2020 release wave 2 (October 2020 – March 2021) across Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform.
Release plans available in 11 additional languages July 23, 2020 The Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Power Platform release plans published in Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish, and Swedish.
Early access available August 3, 2020 Test and validate new features and capabilities that will be a part of the 2020 release wave 2, coming in October, before they get enabled automatically for your end users. You can view the Dynamics 365 2020 release wave 2 early access features now.
General availability October 1, 2020 Production deployment for the 2020 release wave 2 begins. Regional deployments will start on October 2, 2020.

Just like the previous release waves, we continue to call out how each feature will be enabled in your environment:

  • Users, automatically – These features include changes to the user experience for users and are enabled automatically.
  • Admins, makers, or analysts, automatically – These features are meant to be used by administrators, makers, or business analysts and are enabled automatically.
  • Users by admins, makers, or analysts – These features must be enabled or configured by the administrators, makers, or business analysts to be available for their users.

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