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Neon Smoke

D365 Sales Rollout?

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

CRM apps are a wonderful thing. They can bring new user journeys and customer experiences to life, modernize service and accelerate revenue. But, as Satya Nadella said during Build 2023, there's potential "to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more". In practice, you cannot pressure organizations down a singular architecture which does not champion all of their functional needs long term. Having the right CRM platform matters. You need to choose the right one to modernize your service and accelerate sales, especially with all the wonders AI offers. This is exactly the mission and vision of Dynamics 365 Sales.

I have been at the end-user side for a long time. Initially as an end-user in-house CRM solutions, as well as integrations with Salesforce and Adobe, I observed first-hand how complex implementations can make users' roles challenging to perform. Moving into Change Management, I have driven the adoption of Dynamics 365 Sales globally, for one of the biggest financial institutions worldwide. Over 50 countries and 11K users, a lot of lessons learned. Here are the top areas which drove value for the business but also customers.

  • Don't let legacy systems get you down: Sales processes, in some industries more than others, are complex in nature. There are many handshakes between people, systems and procedures. Rolling out Dynamics 365 Sales means migrating some legacy systems, decommissioning others and of course integrating the rest. It is not a one-size fits all approach. Firstly, you want to address the natural resistance to change. People are not used to doing things differently, and there will be questions; "Why", "Why now", "What's in it for me" etc. Make sure you foster an open communication culture to minimize business disruption from "fear of the tech unknown". Your consumers will need a clear timeline of what is changing, and what they have to do to preserve business operations. Appropriate access to historical records and data cleansing between legacy and new systems will be key to maintain consistency and quality of your most valuable CRM asset; your data. Protect it with a thorough business continuity plan, which will inform your delivery team on the appropriate rollback plan and Production Support on how to best support end users. After all, the show must go on!

  • Reviewing CRUD permissions is not a luxury: Imagine accidentally adding work data into ChatGPT? You just gave permission to OpenAI to train the model! Compromised, just like Samsung. Permissions make or break your app. Start by reviewing your RBAC needs with a change management mapping of roles versus needs and workflows. If you are migrating from a previous solution, have a clear transition plan for entitlement details (BIGP rules apply-Business, Industry, Geography, Product) and where to check for irregularities for self-service. Whilst permissions will vary, two communities need extra love. Number one, app testers. Whether on the QA or business side, they need the right access to the right test data in a stable environment. Sometimes that means multiple profiles to execute different scenarios, but it does not always mean shared credentials (Shared profile Test123 anyone?). Thankfully, Dynamics 365 Sales has robust audit logs, security roles and customization of alerts and retention policies. The other group needing extra care is your Help Desk. Balance the amount of admins, and hyper-automate, so there is no dependency on poor Brad for requests. Even better, allow user access emulation to actually visualize problems instead of imagining them like unicorns.

  • Don't leave your users in the dark: CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. However, if you do not meet customers needs in real time, CRM can stand for Created Rifts Management! How many times have users reverted to legacy systems because you did not bring them on the journey from awareness to adoption? Digital transformation is not easy, as its success heavily depends on buy-in and a meaningful adoption base. So, let's start with the basics; design a system that minimizes the amount of manual admin and data inputs required by the user, whilst causing confusion about the design intent. Dynamics 365 Sales has easy to use functionalities around tooltips (hover-over descriptions of a field), recommendations (longer descriptions, ideal for free-text fields) and general business process flows to guide users through what is needed in a structured, transparent manner. On the topic of user experience, have you thought about integrating learning strategies so users can receive help at any step of the sales journey easily and directly? The guided learning provided in the sales module is a fantastic opportunity for real-time learning to guide sellers to win and close more deals.

  • Inclusivity is a serious responsibility: Building deep relationships is founded on journeys to empower everyone. Work with your Product Team and Change Managers to review the CRM design for 6 scenarios. Firstly, people with disabilities. According to the World Health Organization, ~1.3 billion people (16% of world population) currently have a significant disability. How does your app fare against WCAG standards? Secondly, we have different connectivity standards; internet connection or desktop devices cannot be assumed. Apps must have mobile and offline features for an on-the-go, boundless experience. Thirdly, there are those limited by language; Not just in the strictest of terms, but also with tone of voice, cultural and business norms. Plus, it could lead to regulatory issues and mis-selling in the context of a CRM sales app. The next scenario is race bias; culture is an important differentiator or separator, and we need to be careful with nuances perceived as microaggressions. Similarly, we need to consider ageism and tech literacy. We cannot assume such literacy or preferences when we build an instance of Dynamics 365 Sales. Instead, we can offer different experiences where people can self-serve, or ask for direct help in their preferred channel. This will also improve your sales funnel’s efficiency.

  • Data is the Alpha and Omega: Like Adam Grant said, the best way to contribute more is not to take up more airtime. It’s to increase your ratio of insight to airtime. To transform the way sellers work, invest in a data center of enablement which creates a culture of hygiene and accountability. Simplify and automate task management to personalize customer interactions by leveraging AI to maximize complete records. If you motivate users to be the first line of defence, then your reporting will have more credibility and fuel proactive decisions, tied to business outcomes. This becomes even more important when enabling Sales Copilot, as having a solid data strategy is quintessential to improve seller focus and productivity. Otherwise, you risk skewed reports (yes, even Power BI Copilot will suffer) without meaningful benchmarking and comparisons. This can also be complimented by OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), supported by Viva Sales, to measure success. Either way, your reports need to equip users with clear definitions, dynamic features to self-serve and a security model to maintain confidentiality. Seek role-models in your Change Champions and leaders as accountability can be tied to performance incentives for organic adoption. The best kind of adoption.


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