Teams and Dynamics 365 – They go together like PB & J!

Teams and Dynamics 365 – They go together like PB & J!

Teams and Dynamics 365 – They go together like PB & J!

And that’s just part for the lunchbox of new tech reveals at Microsoft Inspire 2021.

Microsoft recently held its annual Inspire conference – the tech giant’s annual release of all that’s new and innovative in the world of Microsoft. Here’s a quick rundown of 2021’s biggest announcements.

They go together like PB & J: Teams and Dynamics 365

You never know, but “What was life like before Microsoft Teams?” is a question your kids just might ask you someday! With hundreds of millions of daily users around the globe, Microsoft Teams has rapidly established itself as the number one way to keep connected.

To ensure this nifty tool continues to lead the way in business, Microsoft recently announced new innovations and integrations to make Teams even more powerful … along with some other great tech updates that make its product suite one of the most comprehensive and versatile around.

PB and J. Tea and crumpets. Chips and tomato sauce … Some things just go better together. You know it’s true, and Microsoft knows too. That’s why, in 2021 and beyond, Microsoft’s major goal is to support the future of hybrid, collaborative work with Teams.

Going forward, Microsoft Dynamics 365 will work even better together, delivering new ways to exchange ideas and information. Thanks to looser licensing restrictions, Dynamics 365 users will now be able to invite anyone in the company to collaborate on customer documents within a Teams channel or chat. Sales teams will be able to share key info across sales opportunities, customer relationship health, customer history, and more. Users of Dynamics 365 will also be able to add Teams meetings when creating appointments, allowing access to information within a Teams call.

In short, all Teams customers will now receive access to Dynamics 365 data in Teams at no extra cost! The integration will boost productivity for customers and eliminate silos between collaboration and business processes for easy, intuitive way to do business.

Opening the doors to new partnerships: collaborative apps

At Inspire 2021, Microsoft also announced that new apps from companies like SAP Sales Cloud, Atlassian Confluence, ServiceNow, Salesforce, and Workday are coming to Teams. That will mean new opportunities for powerful integrations as well as simplified experiences for IT admins to purchase subscriptions and apps from the Teams admin centre directly. Welcome to a whole new world of functionality from some great ISVs.

Did you say Windows 365?

Inspire 2021 also saw the announcement of Windows 365 – yes, you read that correctly. The solution will give users the ability to connect data, apps, and settings from any endpoint and device. This will mean you can bring collaborative apps, Dynamics 365, Microsoft Teams, and security or identity credentials with you wherever you go. 

Viva, Microsoft Viva

Microsoft also announced new upgrades to Microsoft Viva, including the arrival of Viva Partner Integrations, with a host of content providers to choose from, including Qualtrics, Workday, and many others. Viva Learning APIs will also be available later this year to allow developers to integrate content from learning providers, as well as assignments and due dates.

Empowering partners

In 2021, Microsoft is also empowering partners with new security offerings to improve sustainability, accessibility, and inclusion. For example, Microsoft 365 Lighthouse is now entering preview to provide managed service providers with a central location for security management, while add-on app governance functionality has been added on to the App Security environment.

 

From new ways to use Teams to opening doors to partnerships with new software providers, Inspire 2021 is paving the way for a new age of digital transformation and hybrid work. We’re super excited by the changes and looking forward to seeing what comes next.

Empower your business today.

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8 key benefits of marketing automation

8 key benefits of marketing automation

8 key benefits of marketing automation 

In a nutshell, marketing automation refers to all the digital tools that help marketers reach customers more efficiently, effectively and scalably. But what are the real differences between business that use marketing automation and those that don’t? We broke it down.

 

  1. Lower staff costs

Marketing automation means fewer people can effectively do the work of more. How? By helping marketers to be more efficient. The reason: with marketing automation software, almost no time is spent on repetitive “busy work” such as manually creating emails or responding to certain triggers. Imagine a world in which one employee has the same output and effectiveness as a team of 25.

 

  1. Faster, more effective targeting across multiple channels

One of the most powerful benefits that marketing automation offers marketers is the ability to reach customers in a personalised way – both online and offline – at scale.

Whether via phone, text, push notification, email and more, marketing automation makes it easy to deliver targeted messages to your customers at the right time, with zero hassle.

Without marketing automation, running targeted, multi-channel campaigns at scale is almost impossible.

 

  1. Continual A/B campaign testing

There’s only so much time in a day. That’s why, traditionally, marketers test assets such as emails and landing pages only a handful of times before deploying them – and then leave it at that.

Marketing automation tools change everything. Suddenly, you can easily run ongoing A/B tests. That means constant feedback on performance and the ability to constantly iterate, change, and tweak, for optimal performance.

 

  1. Accurate reporting end to end

When using fragmented tools and platforms, reporting on marketing campaigns’ effectiveness can be time consuming and error-prone.

With marketing automation software, everything is simplified – summarised in a single place, no matter the channel. Suddenly, insights are available at a snap of the fingers.

Better yet, marketing automation platforms provide a bird’s-eye view of the entire marketing process.  That helps reveal areas of drop off and complication easily, so you can fix problem spots quickly.

 

  1. Intelligent segmentation and a 360-degree view

Do you know who your customers are? Do you fully understand their wants, needs and desires?

The best marketing automation tools use clever analytics and AI to break down your customers more granularly than would ever be possible otherwise. No matter how many customers you have, you can understand each of them individually, to provide them with the most effective, tailored messaging possible.

 

  1. Better data management

When your business has thousands or tens of thousands of leads, keeping track of engagements can be a daunting task. Marketing automation simplifies and streamlines the process, so that no interaction data is ever wasted, lost, or unaccounted for.

 

  1. Scalable processes and a platform for growth

As your company expands, your marketing activities need to keep pace. Manual processes are difficult to scale. But automated processes scale instantly to fit as many customers and leads as they need to.

 

  1. Better lead nurturing

Sales take time and leads need nurturing. With marketing automation software, you can track campaigns’ effectiveness and respond to your prospective customers’ needs effectively at every stage of the buying journey.

 

In short, marketing automation makes marketing more effective, more reactive, more proactive, more scalable and more personalised. It frees up marketers’ time, so they can focus more on creative, ambitious ways of moving business forward. Finally, it primes companies for growth, as scaling is instant and automatic. No lags and no delays.

All this and more is possible with Dynamics 365 Marketing. Want to learn more?
Chat to us today to learn how to put these new features to work in your business. 

Win customers and earn loyalty

Don’t miss more articles by The CRM Team

 

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POPIA Explained: Your 5-Minute Guide to SA’s New Data Privacy Law

POPIA Explained: Your 5-Minute Guide to SA’s New Data Privacy Law

Has your inbox suddenly been flooded with mails all about POPIA, privacy and new legal changes? Ours certainly have been!

Now that the dust has settled a little, we’re posting to clarify any remaining questions you might have, and give you a helpful recap about what POPIA is, and what it means going forward.

Intro to POPIA

On July 1st 2021, South Africa’s new Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) came into force. With it, data, privacy and record-keeping requirements changed for thousands of organisations around South Africa. Not only for government entities and large corporates, but SMB’s, too.

In brief, the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) is South Africa’s new data protection law. It’s aim is to protect individuals from harm by ensuring the their personal data is always handled correctly, prudently and with their consent.

To do this, the Protection of Personal Information Act lays out a number of specific conditions for when and how it is lawful for someone to process someone else’s personal information. It also places strict requirements on how that data is safeguarded and used.

What do the requirements include?

The POPIA requirements cover factors such as accountability, processing limitations, information quality, openness, security safeguards, and data subject participation, among others.

Some of the basic principles include:

  • Personal information may only be processed in a fair and lawful manner and only with the consent of the data subject.
  • Personal information may only be processed for specific, explicitly defined and legitimate reasons.
  • Personal information may not be processed for a secondary purpose unless that processing is compatible with the original purpose.
  • The data subject whose information you are collecting must be aware that you are collecting such personal information and for what purpose the information will be used.
  • Personal information must be kept secure against the risk of loss, unlawful access, interference, modification, unauthorised destruction and disclosure.
  • Data subjects may request whether their personal information is held, as well as the correction and/or deletion of any personal information held about them.

What is “personal information”?

For the purposes of the act, “personal information” means information relating to an identifiable, living natural person and, where applicable, an identifiable company or other similar legal entity.

Information about age, gender and race, identity numbers, telephone numbers, location information, online identifiers, and personal opinions and preferences are all included in the definition. Personal data on disabilities, physical or mental health, financial, criminal or employment histories are also included.

Who is affected by the act?

Any natural or juristic person who processes personal information – including large corporates and government – are affected. Currently, SMEs are also included.

What steps do companies have to take to comply with the act?

There are various requirements placed on companies by POPIA. Among them are the need to:

  • Appoint an information officer
  • Draft a privacy policy
  • Raise awareness of POPIA among employees
  • Report data breaches
  • Only share personal information when they are lawfully allowed to

At The CRM Team, we’ve always been committed to the strictest client confidentiality and data security protocols. You trust us with your personal data, and we work hard to keep that data secure. With the passage of POPIA, we’re doubling down on that promise, to ensure your personal information is always used appropriately, transparently and in accordance with the applicable laws.

If you have any further questions about POPIA or want to get your business compliant, feel free to get in touch.

Get POPI compliant now!

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Customer Insights and why you need them

Customer Insights and why you need them

In the competitive world of business today, customers expect a lot from businesses. Not only do they demand high-quality goods and services but they want high-quality experiences to accompany them.

Customer insights are the tools forward-thinking businesses use to make sure every aspect of their business delivers on customer expectations. This spans everything from core products and services to the sales cycle, after-sales service, marketing activities and more.

What are customer insights?

At a basic level, customer insights are the ways companies use and interpret customer data, behaviours, and feedback to improve product/service development and enhance customer support.

They are crucially important because they not only help businesses serve their customers better, but they help businesses understand customer behaviour when it comes to purchasing decisions. By understanding how customers think and feel, what their goals and preferences are, and what they’re looking for in the brands they use, companies can make a genuine difference in customers’ lives and be rewarded with loyalty and growing revenue.

At a practical level, customer insights can help brands answer key business questions such as:

  • How is our brand perceived by customers?
  • How can we serve our customers better?
  • How can we better anticipate our customers’ needs?
  • How can we effectively introduce a new product or service to our customers?
  • What can we do to increase the conversion rates of marketing campaigns?

Can customer insights make a difference to the bottom line?

Gallup research shows that organizations that leverage customer behavioural insights outperform peers by 85 percent in sales growth and more than 25 percent in gross margin. And according to Microsoft, “A moderate increase in customer experience generates an average revenue increase of $775 million over three years for a company with $1 billion in annual revenues.”

Benefits of using customer insights

By using customer insights to inform strategic and tactical decisions, you can develop deeper relationships with your customers, better understand the connected customer, and generate meaningful and quantifiable results. Other benefits of using customer insights include:

  • Improved customer lifetime value
  • Reduced customer churn. With the right data, you can identify areas where you can improve customer service to better satisfy your customers
  • The ability to leverage promotions specifically targeted to your customers who are most likely to buy
  • Better optimisation of your product pricing, through better market understanding
  • The intelligence necessary to expand into new markets or leave underperforming markets

Tapping into Customer Insights

With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, you can leverage leading technology to better understand your customers and drive your business forward.

Customer Insights allows you to:

  • Measure customer behavior on your digital platforms
    • Track engagement using web analytics
    • Track engagement using mobile app analytics
    • Build custom reports for your specific business needs
    • See how customers progress through the journey
  • Connect data for deep audience insights
    • Bring together all your customer data using prebuilt connectors
    • Streamline data standardization to create comprehensive profiles
    • Enrich profiles with interests and preferences
    • Augment profiles with customer feedback
  • Predict customer needs using built-in AI
    • Identify high-value and at-risk customers
    • Recommend relevant products and services
    • Discover new audience segments
    • Track business performance
    • Extend and customize for advanced insights

And more.

 

If you’d like to find out more about how to leverage Dynamics 365 Customer Insights in your business, get in touch with us and we’ll show you how.

 

Win customers and earn loyalty

Don’t miss more articles by The CRM Team

 

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