The customer is an existing client of HCL and was actively using the Dynamics 365 Sales application implemented by HCL for contact and sales opportunity management. To validate the suitability of Dynamics 365 Marketing and demonstrate the capability of the solution, HCL undertook several workshops and demonstrations with this customer throughout September and October of 2021.
To support them in their business goals of targeting and nurturing new and existing contacts, leads and accounts, as well as consolidate their sales and marketing operations to make business decisions based on insights from their marketing campaigns, the decision to implement the Dynamics 365 Marketing application was finalized. The plan was to pilot the application in the UK before moving on to other geographies. The HCL team was able to leverage the functionalities of Dynamics 365 Marketing and customize the app to achieve an optimal solution for the client.
An initial analysis of the company’s marketing processes and requirements provided a detailed outline of their technology needs, including several necessary customizations to the solution being implemented. HCL’s profound experience, knowledge, and competencies in Dynamics 365 enabled the team to easily make required customizations within the application – such as adding new fields or removing unused ones, developing custom workflows, creating client-specific custom dashboards, re-arranging layout of contact form, renaming fields, viewing the marketing app in a different language, etc. – all part of the out-of-the-box features available on Dynamics 365 Marketing. This helped them avoid more complex and costly customizations and achieve the most cost-effective solutions.
The easy integration of Dynamics 365 Marketing with the Dynamics 365 Sales application and Power BI (implemented later to enable more advanced reporting) provided the business a consolidated view of their contacts and their interactions with the company. The Insights tab in each area within the Dynamics 365 Marketing app provided the much-needed analytics, helping ensure they were making well-informed marketing and business decisions. The system also allowed leads to be captured through their website as well as through email clicks that showed contact interest in a particular product. Lead scores – based on set criteria such as clicks, updating telephone details, registering for an event, etc. – further helped identify hot/sales-ready leads that could be shared with a sales representative or marketing owner for further action.
The Dynamics 365 Marketing application enabled our customer to plan, execute and analyze marketing activities, optimize routine marketing tasks, and gain better visibility into the overall picture of their marketing strategy.
In order to maximize efficiency, the successful implementation of the marketing solution was followed by user training where the functionalities of Dynamics 365 Marketing were outlined through practical and theoretical training.
The Dynamics 365 Marketing application provided an add-on to the client’s existing Dynamics 365 Sales system, helping them streamline their sales and marketing processes, consolidate their data, and enable its marketing team to carry out campaigns based on its active and potential customers and their interests. It provided:
- Significant gains in consolidating their contacts from across disparate systems and platforms, capturing leads appropriately for sales-readiness thus reducing time for sales, allocating the lead to the right salespersons, and reviewing sales and marketing activities through enhanced reporting and analytics.
- Reductions in operating costs through the use of a single system as compared to different automation systems used earlier by different teams.
- Streamlined processing and tighter integration where all their contacts are now under one umbrella.
- Improvements in information dissemination and knowledge sharing pertaining to contacts and prospects.
- Streamlined branding and control over their brand imagery.
- Sales and marketing visibility across all business units in different regions under one umbrella.
- A marketing platform that easily integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales while also helping leverage integrations with other Microsoft modules (e.g., Power BI).
- Control over their data and communication – with the ability to configure role-based access to certain individuals and/or business units.
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance.
- Collaborative working in Azure DevOps.
- Daily online stand-ups with the client (based in the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium) and weekly playback sessions helped ensure smooth project delivery and minimize downtime.
- Transparent communication ensured a high success rate in meeting requirements on time.
- User training for employees ensured knowledge transfer and confidence in using the system.
Key Areas of Implementation
For each category below, the customer needed a solution that provided the ability to:
- Accounts & Contacts
- Use the contacts in Dynamics 365 Sales in their campaigns.
- Use contact information which is compliant with GDPR regulations where the contacts originated from Dynamics 365 Sales.
- Manage their marketing contacts/leads/accounts such that any changes made could also be viewed in the Dynamics 365 Sales application.
- Identify contacts that did not reside in Dynamics 365 Sales (e.g., they reside in other applications or in Excel files) and import them into Dynamics 365 Marketing in an easy manner.
- Register, view, and analyze contact interactions with their content.
- Classify contacts so that they can target them with adapted content.
- Segment their marketing leads against market sector, revenue and annual corrugated spend, etc.
- Create both static and dynamic marketing lists.
- Subscription Management
- Allow their contacts to unsubscribe, view and change his/her subscription to different mailing lists.
- Record and update contact detail changes within the system, including in the Dynamics 365 Sales application.
- Create a list of newsletters provided to which contacts can subscribe.
- GDPR / Consent
- Use contact information which is compliant with GDPR regulations, including for contacts originating from the Dynamics 365 Sales application.
- Through any landing page, request a contact's permission to send marketing emails which is in line with the relevant GDPR regulations of that specific country.
- Register contact information changes for audit purposes.
- Embed forms (e.g., newsletter subscription forms, contact forms, event forms, etc.) on their website/external page and/or form capture from external website.
- Create marketing pages with forms as a way to collect contact information, nurture a lead, and make him/her sales ready.
- Lead Management
- Create and track activities regarding a marketing lead such as tasks, appointments, phone calls.
- Enable leads to be qualified based on specific market sectors and the sales qualified leads to then be assigned to a sales representatives responsible for that particular business unit.
- Lead Scoring
- Score a lead and create rules where a marketing lead transforms to a sales qualified lead, when appropriate.
- Assign the Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) to a specific sales representative based on their lead scores or a vetting team of a respective country who would be able to assign the lead to the sales representatives responsible for that innovation.
- Assign certain contacts based on their interactions with the content to the central or country marketeers (with a defined lead score) even if these contacts do not fall within the SQL thresholds.
- Marketing Emails
- Send newsletters through email.
- Easily create marketing emails by using standard templates.
- Send marketing emails with personalized and dynamic content.
- Format emails easily and would not need a lot of time to format.
- Preview marketing email in order to check for any errors in grammar or display of the email.
- Add a Call to Action (CTA) to emails.
- Check for spam.
- Include a link to refer to videos or blog posts which are on an external website and track contacts’ interactions with these.
- Have the emails present well on any device (desktop, tablet, and phone) and should not require major formatting.
- Create emails with HTML.
- Create their own branded templates.
- Create templates for regularly used customer journeys.
- Customize campaigns with the company branding (e.g., add logo, change color, etc.) in emails, forms, etc.
- Customer Journeys
- Apply an inbound marketing strategy and be able to send information/messages to those persons actively looking for solutions.
- Create different customer journeys for their marketing leads, i.e. different workflows containing automated emails based on a variety of actions.
- Create and track activities regarding a marketing lead such as tasks, appointments, phone calls; assign the lead to a specific person.
- Allow users to schedule tasks and assign these tasks to other people.
- Run automated campaigns on a specific schedule and/or based on particular actions of a contact.
- Send messages via various social media platforms.
- View the analytics and create reports for Contacts/Leads (e.g., contact interactions, leads generated through forms), Emails (email opens, email clicks, email bounce rate, clicks on links, ), Marketing Pages (overview metrics, page submissions, page visits, page views, etc.), Marketing Forms (e.g., form submissions), Campaign analytics (combined analytics view on all objects related to a campaign, e.g.landing page and email analytics when part of the same campaign, including incomplete journeys) and Events (e.g., event registration, event check-in/-out, etc.)
- Event Management
- Host an online event.
- Execute all project planning related activities of a face-to-face and online event (e.g., event registration, follow up emails, assigning tasks, etc.)