Read here How Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps in Sales, Read 6 strategies to boost sales productivity.
Read here How Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps in Sales, Read 6 strategies to boost sales productivity.
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.
Just by getting the team using the platform, we’ve seen an uplift in activity in all areas. We’ve had record growth since implementing Microsoft Relationship Sales—the last quarter was excellent for us.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
It turns out what you don’t know as a manufacturer can and will hurt you. For too long, manufacturers have settled for siloed and inconsistent information, as well as manual processes, to understand and manage their supply chain. Why? Because for a long time, these systems were good enough to keep production going.
But plenty of manufacturers don’t want to settle for good enough. IDC predicts that by 2019, 50% of manufacturing supply chains will have benefited from digital transformation, and the remainder will be held back by outdated business models or functional structures. Smart manufacturers understand that supply chain transformation is necessary. They are connecting assets across their factories, gaining visibility into their supply chain, and acting on insights from increased visibility to address inefficiency, as well as increase customer satisfaction and margins.
Supply chain management is complex, so doing it right requires a solution that simplifies and consolidates disparate information, while retaining flexibility. Data from the sales process, suppliers, order fulfillment, product performance, and customer service all matter for a full understanding of the supply chain. The core tools for accomplishing this fall into three categories: IoT-enabled visibility and services, powerful analytics, and cloud-delivered data visualizations.
Like many aspects of manufacturing, IoT is the starting point. The best way to lower production costs is by using a single IoT-friendly platform to integrate back and front office processes. Using IoT-based modeling to create digital twins, manufacturers can understand in real-time the amount of wear and tear on parts and adjust designs in response. This insight can help identify simple inefficiencies like sourcing a part from the company that’s always supplied it, rather than buying a similarly-performing part at a lower cost from another supplier.
Powerful analytics is the next step in transforming your supply chain. A truly intelligent system for supply chain management dynamically adjusts distribution, as well as production, to accelerate the speed of delivery. By using built-in analytics and machine learning, public data like weather conditions can be used to create richer, more accurate schedules and delivery forecasts. On top of that, opportunities to consolidate or expedite shipments can be automatically identified using artificial intelligence—passing lower shipping and order fulfillment costs on to customers.
Finally, consolidating all this information won’t completely optimize your supply chain without the ability to easily visualize and manage it. That’s why a real-time and mobile-delivered view is so crucial. Understanding how to solve problems is hard enough; there’s no need to complicate it further by using different systems to identify where problems are occurring. Decision makers on the factory floor or in global headquarters need instant access to relevant information, and the collaborative power to communicate with or work alongside employees anywhere in the world. These investments in operations put manufacturers in position to embrace new technology and adjust to whatever business challenges they may be facing.
The power of a supply chain management and operations platform that combines all these capabilities at cloud speed and scale is obvious. Companies positioned to digitally transform their supply chains will see accelerated time to market and reduced cost to enter new markets or scale new lines of business. Microsoft supports flexibility in deployment, enabling you to leverage existing investments while expanding with either a cloud or a hybrid model that includes both on-prem and cloud systems. That can shorten deployment from months to days and ensure security and analytics capabilities are consistent across every location and tuned appropriately for every team.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 ends the artificial separation of ERP and CRM and makes it easy for employees to collaborate and even role-switch to engage customers or address supply chain issues. Only Dynamics 365 unites the front office and the back office with a single end-to-end system for managing every aspect of your business, all backed by industry-leading enterprise cloud. That means manufacturers can develop at the pace and scale that’s right for them, while taking advantage of current investments such as existing productivity and technology stacks. With Microsoft, consistent development practices and R&D investments combine to offer manufacturers rich analytics, embedded intelligence, partner-created applications, and the ability to collaborate worldwide.
4 ways technology can help businesses thrive in a digital world. The good news is that the tools that help businesses capitalize on this
digital transformation are more accessible than ever before. The cloud is removing barriers like high up-front costs, ongoing maintenance, and IT dependency.
Disruptions in global supply chains have significantly increased over the last decade, fueled by a myriad of triggers ranging from trade wars, demand surges from social marketing, natural disasters, and most recently, the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Updates to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management in the 2020 release wave 1 help organizations proactively transform every aspect of manufacturing and supply chain operations to reduce disruptions. These new and updated capabilities drive automation and reduce downtime using IoT and mixed reality, and provide the agility to re-plan production in real time to dynamically changing demand. In fact, the agility enabled by Supply Chain Management is currently being leveraged by a consortium of major UK industrial, technology, and engineering businesses from across the aerospace, automotive, and medical sectors that has come together to produce medical ventilators for the NHS.
As the threat of disruptions increase, companies are pressured to ask if the supply chain is ready for the next event, pushing them to build a more resilient supply chain to ensure business continuity for them and their customers in the most cost-effective manner. More companies will start buffering for risks and move from a “Just-in time” mentality to a “Just-in case” mentality. Factories will need to transform rapidly to adapt to change, serving a wider range of products produced in smaller batches with lower set up time, faster throughput, and the ability to quickly respond to fluctuating demand and customer expectations. Companies are likely to move from single supplier to multi-supplier and single location to multi-location models for mission critical parts even if it is cost prohibitive in order to reduce the impact of supply chain disruptions.
To reach this optimal state of agility and delivery speed, manufacturers need to adapt every aspect of the supply chain to enable tools, equipment, and people to become instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent—a state of persistent adaptive learning and optimization as more data is available to tighten links between manufacturers, suppliers, and customers.
The latest release from Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management enables customers to reach this optimal state by proactively transforming their manufacturing and supply chain with predictive insights and intelligence from AI, IoT, and mixed reality—across planning, production, inventory, warehouse, and transportation management—to maximize operational efficiency, product quality, and profitability.
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is now integrated with Dynamics 365 Guides to help mainstream mixed reality for manufacturing. Companies can deliver a faster ROI by getting the workforce trained sooner with fewer trainers and with an interactive learning experience. Workforce efficiency can skyrocket with step-by-step instructions that guide employees to the tools and parts they need and how to use them in real work situations, available at a glance on a Microsoft HoloLens device that keeps their hands free to do the work.
Dynamics 365 Guides can not only eliminate costly errors in production but also improve workforce safety. Companies can significantly reduce asset downtime by making asset maintenance skillset-agnostic and avoid costly waiting time for a specific expert to perform maintenance on an asset. The guides are extremely easy to author and do not require any coding. A guide can be authored by simply writing the step-by-step instructions on a PC followed by picking and placing the holographic parts and inbuilt icons on the machine where the work is happening.
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management is now integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service. Customers can significantly reduce downtime of geographically dispersed mission critical assets by automating field service operations so that the right resources—workforce, machines, parts, and tools—are available at the right place, at the right time, to proactively maintain them.
Companies can improve the overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) of their geographically dispersed mission critical assets by performing predictive maintenance based on real-time performance data from IoT and field data from Dynamics 365 Field Service. Traditionally, disparate systems hinder the ability to accurately forecast demand for critical and expensive parts frequently used in both service and new production. Due to lack of forecasting for service demand, companies constantly take parts from production to fulfill the service demand, and vice versa, to deliver good customer service. This often creates a shortage for new production and significantly impacts on time delivery to new customers. As a result, the company is unable to deliver a delightful customer experience on both fronts. This integration will eliminate the need for disparate systems and significantly improve the forecast accuracy of these mission-critical parts due to real time tracking in the service supply chain.
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management now offers out-of-the-box IoT capabilities that leverage Microsoft Azure IoT Hub to connect signals from mission-critical assets with business transaction data. Manufacturers can improve uptime, throughput, and quality by proactively managing shop floor and equipment operations with a real-time view of their entire production and stock. This will significantly reduce costly downtime of business-critical equipment by performing predictive maintenance before disruptive failures occur. There is no coding required to implement these out-of-the-box IoT scenarios on your manufacturing floor today.
The Planning Optimization Add-in for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management enables companies to improve on-time delivery by performing production planning in real time, accounting for dynamically changing customer demand, material availability, and capacity constraints across multiple sites and warehouses. It also enables customers to improve inventory turns by right-sizing inventory levels based on dynamically changing customer demand and capacity constraints. This helps eliminate excess and reduces slow moving inventory. Planning Optimization Add-in for Retail and Distribution is available and Production planning is currently in preview.