By William Marchesano, Technology Advisor & Evangelist
The sales world we once knew is disintegrating as the way your customers once bought has changed.  There’s no reason for concern though, just awareness.  In one of our earlier articles we discussed how marketing is driving sales as buying habits continue to evolve.  Your customers are doing more research prior to engaging with a sales person now than they ever have before.  This means, in most cases, the sales cycle has started before you are even aware of it.  This may be a shift for your sales team whom had become accustomed to being the driving force for initial customer engagement in the past.  They may have lost a great deal of power in what had been their traditional sales process.  But just like their customers, the sales person must evolve as well.
Businesses are investing more in their marketing departments today so they can keep ahead of their competition.  Since the sales cycle is now starting with customers doing their research, it makes sense to increase budgets for creating educational content about how your products or services can address a need.  You’ll also focus on “getting found” so that the great content you created can be consumed.  Though these are two important components for effective marketing, they can be very time consuming and are just the start.  Understanding how your customers are interacting with your content is crucial for guiding them down their purchasing journey.
One of the best ways an organization can set their marketing and sales departments up for success is providing them marketing automation tools.  Years ago, marketing automation almost exclusively dealt with direct mail or email marketing automation.  The rise of the social media channel added a new complexity and opportunity for how you are able to nurture a prospective customer into a client.  With it also came additional tasks and manual processes to take advantage of this new channel.
Using a Customer relationship management (CRM) system such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help simplify these processes and improve your marketing effectiveness.  Dynamics CRM lays the foundation for connecting your marketing, sales, and services team, providing them transparency, and ultimately a higher level of collaboration.  It also delivers your client a complete engagement experience from marketing to sales to services.  Though there is a lot that you can do with the native Dynamics CRM platform from a marketing perspective, sometimes you can use additional functionality.
To augment our marketing automation capabilities, Managed Solution leverages an add-on solution from one of Microsoft’s top marketing partners, ClickDimensions.  Our organization relies heavily on our marketing to drive new business leads to our sales team.  Email campaigns, creating forms for our webpages, creating web content, and designing nurture programs are just a few of the ways we use ClickDimensions to simplify our marketing efforts on a day to day basis.  Since it sits right inside Dynamics CRM it keeps everything in a single pane of glass which makes it much more intuitive than other email marketing and marketing automation systems.  If you are already using Dynamics CRM in your organization and are looking to enhance your marketing experience even further, I’d suggest looking at ClickDimensions.  Here’s a short video highlighting some of the latest features:
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As always, I encourage you to reach out to me to discuss these topics in deeper detail. I hope you enjoyed and found this week’s article informative. If you’re interested in some how-to related CRM material, check out blogs by my colleague Ben Ward here. Till next time…
About the author:
Will has over 16 years of experience in business development, team management, and project management. Will has worked at Managed Solution for over four years and is currently advising businesses on best CRM practices and implementations. Will’s focus is on process improvement and analytics specializing in Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Will is a Microsoft Certified Professional, with certifications in Presales Technical Specialist – Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Sales Specialist- Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Application, Sales Specialist- Office 365, Sales Specialist- SMB Infrastructure and Sales Specialist- Datacenter.
For information on deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM in your organization, please call us at 800-257-0691.
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Other articles by Will Marchesano:

How to connect Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Microsoft Dynamics Marketing

Synchronize your Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Dynamics CRM data with the Dynamics Marketing Connector for CRM. This deep-dive video guides you through downloading and installing the connector into Dynamics CRM Online. Initial synchronization and creating custom mappings is also covered.
For information on deploying Microsoft Dynamics CRM in your organization, please call us at 800-257-0691.

Microsoft acquires Adxstudio Inc., Web portal and application lifecycle management solutions provider

adxstudio managed solution

Organizations today are looking for new and different ways to better connect, support and engage with their customers. People increasingly rely on channels like Web portals to make sure their voice is heard – in fact this year, Forrester research uncovered that for the first time, Web self-service is now the most popular channel customers use to find help. Microsoft is committed to delivering intelligent customer engagement solutions to empower people and organizations to use these new channels to more effectively connect with their customers online.
Today we took another step toward fulfilling this commitment. I’m pleased to announce that Microsoft has reached a definitive agreement to acquire key product and technology assets of Adxstudio Inc., a provider of Web portals, online engagement solutions and application lifecycle management solutions for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. With this acquisition of our long-time partner, our customers will immediately be able to take advantage of new and exciting ways to engage with customers online.
Packed with compelling features that extend Dynamics CRM to the Web, Adxstudio Web portals are built natively on Dynamics CRM, allowing our customers to easily connect and extend their key sales and customer services business processes online. These portals work with the CRM application easily and naturally for both online and on-premises customers, who can take advantage of this offering right away. Adxstudio portals can also be used along with our Parature Service thanks to native integration with Parature’s rich knowledge management solutions.
This acquisition also delivers pre-built engagement solutions including partner relationship management for organizations who sell through partner channels; technical support solutions for high tech and software development organizations; and online citizen engagement for public sector organizations. Each of these solutions will be available for all Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers and can be used both on-premises and in the cloud.
Finally, this acquisition will empower our own customers as well as our strong partner ecosystem as it will accelerate our efforts to enable customers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to build their own CRM Web engagement solutions on Microsoft technologies. These Adxstudio capabilities enable any business process to become Web-facing.
We are dedicated to giving companies intelligent customer engagement solutions so they can deliver customer experiences that are personalized, proactive and predictive. We’re constantly looking at ways to deliver value to businesses and organizations around the world. Adding Adxstudio team members and technology components is another important step in this effort to deliver great value for our customers.

Source: http://blogs.microsoft.com/blog/2015/09/28/microsoft-acquires-adxstudio-inc-web-portal-and-application-lifecycle-management-solutions-provider/

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