Dynamics 365-Sales Process Overview

Following is a standard process in Dynamics 365. In case your organization follows some additional steps, those can also be incorporated in Dynamics 365 for Sales as well.

  1. The first step in the process is to create a LEAD. A lead can be a potential sale or a potential customer.
  2. Once the lead shows interest in your product or services and asks for more information, it means they are interested. Once they are interested you can qualify that lead and it becomes an OPPORTUNITY. This process is called Lead Qualification. As soon as you do Lead Qualification two things happen:
    1. Whatever information you have captured as an individual in the Lead becomes CONTACT.
    2. Whatever information you have captured as a company in the lead becomes ACCOUNT.

    This is an automatic process and if existing contacts or accounts are available for the lead then the system is going to pick that automatically.

  3. Once you have the opportunity, it means that you have shared the details with the customer, who ask you for more information, so you add products, price, etc. in the Opportunity and created a SALES QUOTE. When you create quotation, you may have to create multiple versions of it because customer might do negotiations with you. All the previous versions are not deleted but saved for history.
  4. Once the customer is interested in product and services and likes the quote, you can then convert the quote to a SALES ORDER. It means it’s a conformation from a customer and the order is created. In the background, the system closes the opportunity with status Won and created an order.
  5. So, once you have received a Purchase order form the customer and you have created the Sales order, you can now go ahead and deliver the product and service you have promised and once you have delivers the products and services, it is time to send them an SALES INVOICE. It means that the work is finished and you are sending an invoice so that the customer can make a payment.

Dynamics 365 – Sales Important Terminology

Want to get started with Dynamics 365 for Sales? Following are basic terminologies that you should be aware of:

Accounts:

  • Accounts is an organization which includes:
    • Customer
    • Vendor
    • Partner
    • Affiliate or Other
  • So, when you are doing business with any company, you capture those company details in the Accounts entity.

NOTE: An Entity is a place where you can store records.

Contacts

  • Contact is an individual.
  • Contact is also your customer, but an individual person.
  • Contact can be associated maximum with one Account, which is called its Primary Contact.
  • For company, you are doing business with, you will need a person whom you are going to interact with. That becomes your primary contact.
  • Therefore, Contacts and Accounts are your customers, where Accounts are organizations and Contacts are individuals.

Leads

  • A Lead is a Prospect and it can be your Potential Customer or Potential Sale. This means that there is a person who has never done a business with you and you have met for the first time and there is a possibility of doing business. On other hand there can be an existing customer who want to work with you on a new Opportunity.
  • Whenever you meet someone, they give you their business card or they share some information about themselves and that becomes your lead.
  • You capture your lead information in Dynamics 365 Sales module.
  • Every sales process starts with a Lead generation or Leads. You interact with them and you start following up with them.

Opportunities

  • Opportunity is a potential sale, which means that the lead is almost ready to buy.
  • You can create an opportunity manually and not necessarily convert a Lead to and Opportunity.
  • Opportunity is attached to an Account or a Contact, because it is essential to know whom are you going to sell. There you identify the customer needs, what are the pain points they have, what exactly is the solution they are looking for and what proposal you have suggested to them.

Quotes

  • When your Lead becomes ready to buy, that becomes an Opportunity and when the prospect is entrusted in your product & Services they may ask you for a Quote.
  • Quote is a document for Prospect & Customer with all the details, such as the product they want to purchase, the quantity that they are looking at, the price you are offering to them, payment terms you have defined and some other important details.
  • Once the quote is ready, you can send it to the prospect or the customer, based on which they can take a decision.

Orders

  • Orders is a confirmation from a customer that they are purchasing your product or services.
  • It can be created from a Quote, which means that you do not have to manually enter it again and all the information from the Quote will be transferred to the Order.
  • Orders can also be created manually, so it is not necessary that you follow the entire process. So in case the customer has already given an order, you can create it directly in Dynamics 365 for Sales.

Invoices

  • It is a document that you use to bill your customer for using your product and services.
  • It is sent to the Customer once you have fulfilled the order. Sending an invoice ensures that the customer is going to pay you for the product and services that they have used.
  • It can also be created manually so that you do not have to follow the entire process, for example in case you have a repeated customer who uses your product and services regularly.

Competitors

  • It is a place where you capture all your competitors
  • When you are bidding for any project and if some other company is also bidding for the same project then you should know what they are good or bad at, what are their strengths and weaknesses, what is their product offering, what kind of quality they offer, etc. So you can record all kind of information about your competitors and keep track of them by attaching it in your sales process.

Sales Literature

  • It is a centralized repository for sales related documents such as Brochures, Product guides, Competitor Information, Pricing & Discounts, etc.

Product Catalogue

  • A product catalogue is a collection of products and their pricing information.
  • When you have product and services, you can created it under Product,
  • You can define a Unit Group, which means how do you sell and purchase a particular product, for example PCs can be sold in numbers and for training you can charge your customers on hourly basis.
  • You can define the Price List based on the Segmentation of your Customers. So you can define multiple price lists.
  • You can define Discount Lists, for example if a customer buys from 0-10, he may be eligible for 1 0 % discount, if he buys from 11-20, he may be eligible for 20 % discount, etc.

Goals

  • Goals are used to keep track of progress on achieving target revenue that you have planned for a particular period (Quarter, Year, etc.)

Goal Metrics

  • Goal metrics explains how the goal number or figure is measured.
  • It is important to define what the goal metrics is, i.e., is it a Count or an Amount. For Sales, it is going to be Amount and say if you want to see how many calls a salesperson has made in a day then that becomes your Count.
  • Actual revenue is calculated through rollup fields, so you can define those rollup fields for calculations for example, whether it is going to be sum of all opportunities that have status 1 or sum of all the Opportunities which are closed.

Now you can dive deeper into the Dynamics 365 Sales process. Cheers!

Opportunity Management

When we say Opportunity Management in Dynamics NAV, we mean sales opportunities.

Opportunity Management Setup

Sales Cycle

A sales cycle is:

  • The course of time between the initial contact being made with a customer the transaction that completes the sale.
  • A measure of the efficiency of a sales department.
  • A breakdown of what happens in our sales processes in our sales cycle.

We can track the lifecycle of our opportunities in Dynamics NAV by using the sales cycle functionality.

You can create as many sales cycles as you want. You should leverage it with what you really do in your sales process.

To create a new sales cycle or to view an existing one, click Departments/Sales & Marketing/Sales/Setup/Opportunity/Sales Cycles.

A sales cycle exists out of different steps, and we call them Stages. To create stages for a sales cycle or to view stages of an existing sales cycle, selected the sales cycle and click on the Stages under Navigate tab.

Each of the stages represent percentage of completion of your sales cycle, specified in Completed % field. For instance, when we have initialized the sales process, we are 2% complete, when we understand the needs, it is 35% complete, and so on. These completed percentages can be later on used to calculate the value of your sales cycle.

You can also attach Activity Code for each step of the sales cycle, which represents a corresponding task. For example, set of to-do for specific representative. You can use the to-dos in combination with date formulas, so you can really plan when a to-do needs to be executed. These date formulas also serve a purpose for the Opportunity Details Report, where it displays planned activities on certain dates.

For some of the stages quotes are required. It means that in Dynamics NAV there is a sales quote for an opportunity available. If the Quote Required field is selected for a particular stage, you will not be able to proceed to the next stage, without first making a quote and assigning it to the opportunity.

If the Allow Skip field is selected, you can immediately jump to the next stage.

We can plan these stages with Date Formula, however if we already have Date Formulas specified in activity codes, we would prefer that, else we can use it in the sales cycle stages.

NOTE: You can Block a sales cycle, which means that you will not be using it anymore.

Closed Opportunity Codes

We use closed opportunity codes when we are closing our sales cycle, and usually that happens because we have either won the deal or we have lost the deal.

Closed opportunity codes are used to identify why we are closing an opportunity. Is it because we have won or lost a deal?

These codes will help us later to track the success factors of opportunities and we can measure our sales success.

Click Departments/Sales & Marketing/Sales/Setup/Close Opportunity Codes.

You will see a list of potential codes that we can use to close our opportunities and you can make as many as you want.

You have to divide them in either a Lost or a Won type and then you can give reasons, why we have lost or why we have won, for example, won because of a strong presales work, best price, best product, or lost because ineffective presale work or poor customer relations, and so on.
So these codes later on will give you an idea why we have won or lost specific deals.

You can also find here a calculated field with a number of opportunities that we closed because this or another reason.

Create New Opportunity

Open the contact card and click Opportunities on the Navigate tab.

Click Create Opportunity, to open a wizard.

Example: Create a New Opportunity

Use the wizard to create opportunity:

  • We have an opportunity not only to sell Tables but also to sell Chairs to the contact A. Gibson’s Law Firm.
  • Let’s say that the current data (work date) is the date for the opportunity.
  • The priority is normal.

  • Click Next.
  • The contact involved for this opportunity is specified.
  • We can link the salesperson involved with this opportunity, say Annette Hill.
  • Let’s say that this is an existing customer, a small one, so we apply the relevant sales cycle code.

  • Click Next.
  • You could also say that this is linked to a campaign, but in this case, we say it is not.

  • Click Next.
  • We can immediately activate the first stage or we can do it later on. Let’s say we activate it.
  • We need to give it a certain value, say 1000.
  • Specify the percentage of success, say 50%.
  • Specify an estimate closing date, say we need to close this by end of the month.

  • Click Finish.
  • You will notice that we have two opportunities, out of which the new one is about the chairs, that we just created.

Example: Update an Opportunity

  • Now, let us assume that a couple of weeks later, we want to update the opportunity because we have executed new steps in the process.
  • So select the opportunity, and under Actions tab click Update, which will open the Update Opportunity wizard.
  • Click Next.

  • Here we see that we are bringing this opportunity now to the second stage. Depending whether or not you are allowed to skip, you can select other stages if applicable.
  • The date of this change is today for example.

  • Click Next.
  • We might have new information that the value of this opportunity is higher (1,250) and probably our chances of success have increases as well (65%).
  • The estimated closing date can be a little bit later, may be couple of weeks.

  • Click Finish.
  • You will now notice that the opportunity is in the second stage of the sales cycle.

Linking Sales Quotes to Opportunities

In Dynamics NAV, a sales quote can be created completely driven from opportunity itself. So the link between the sales documents and the opportunity is established and guaranteed.

This means that sales quotes for opportunities can directly be created from the opportunity itself. So we can have a sales quote created in the process of updating the opportunity, and that means that we also have at the same time established a link between both.

To be able to create a sales quote for an opportunity:

  • This opportunity must have the in-Progress status and no other sales quote is assigned to it already.
  • In case that you are using contacts that are not synchronized with customers, you also need to have customer template set up.

Example: Update Sales Quote for an Opportunity

Let us check the A. Gibson”s Law Firm contact.

Navigate to the Opportunities.

In this example, we have two opportunities (from previous steps), and Chairs is the most recent one. Let’s say that we want to update this opportunity and bring it to the next stage.

  • Click Update on the Actions tab.

  • Click Next.

  • Now, in this example if we wanted to bring it to a new stage, it will be the third stage, which is dedicated to a proposal.
  • Click Next.

In this case, Dynamics NAV will warn us, saying that we need to assign a sales quote. This is because of the configuration that we have done on the sales cycle level, here we have made a quote necessary for this stage.

So what can we do? well, from the opportunity window itself, we can assign a sales quote, by clicking Assign Sales Quote action.

  • You will see that we get a sales quote with a certain number for this contact, A. Gibson’s Law Firm.
  • You also see that in this sales quote, you have a field which is called opportunity, which is automatically filled up with the opportunity number because we started this process from the opportunity window.

So now if we close the sales quote, we will be able to update a bring our opportunity to the next stage.

  • Let’s say our chances of success are a little better (75%)
  • Maybe the amount has also changed after making the sale quote (1,750.00/-)
  • Click Finish.

Now you see that the update to the third stage was successful.

At any time, we can always ask and check the quote which is in the system and is related to this opportunity, by clicking on Show Sales Quote action.

Note: You can assign opportunity to sales quote manually, by going to the sales quote, however, you need to make sure that the opportunity is not already assigned to any other sales quote.

Opportunities Overview

Click Departments/Sales & Marketing/Marketing/Opportunities.

Here you can have an overview of all the opportunities in the system, instead of accessing opportunities from individual contacts.

You can select one of the opportunities and then start working with the same views & actions that you have available as if you would start from an individual opportunity.

Close Opportunities

When the negotiations are over, opportunities can be closed. While closing an opportunity, you need to specify the reason for closing it and to be able to specify this reason, you must first of course set up the closed opportunity codes.

You can also delete closed opportunities, for example, after you have concluded a deal or when the opportunity list window is overloaded with closed opportunities.

So, basically, we have two actions:

  • Action: Close Opportunity
  • Batch Job: Delete Closed Opportunities

Example: Close Opportunity

Open the contact A. Gibson”s Law Firm and Navigate to the Opportunities.

On the Opportunity List, select the opportunity (Chairs in this case), and click Close under Actions tab.

This will open a wizard, where you can specify why you want to close the opportunity? Let’s say we Lost.

Click Next.

Now specify the reason for closing the opportunity. Let’s say we have done ineffective presales (Choose PRES_L code from the list).

You have the option to cancel any of the existing open to-dos that might still exist.

Click Finish.

Note that the opportunity is now closed and the status is Lost.

If you now go to the overview of all opportunities, you will see the closed opportunity here as well. You can sort and filter on this.

Also, when you open the opportunity card, you can see all the details, such as:

  • The last action that was carried out.
  • The opportunity is closed.
  • The opportunity is Lost.
  • Percentage complete is now 100%.
  • Calculated Current Value has become Zero.
  • etc.

Delete Opportunities

In your organization, opportunities will be closed all the time, which means that at a certain point in time you will have a lot of closed opportunities in your overview, and it is possible to think that you want to get rid of these closed opportunities.

So you need to do some data deletion or data clean-up. In Dynamics NAV you have a Delete Closed Opportunities batch job for this purpose.

Click Departments/Administration/IT Administration/Data Deletion/Marketing Activities/Delete Closed Opportunities (or search for Delete Closed Opportunities and select the relevant link).

You can bring in a number of filtering, for example you might not want to close all opportunities, but maybe opportunities from a certain date range, etc.

When you click Ok, the opportunity will be deleted.

Opportunity Statistics

You can view opportunity statistics from various places in Dynamics NAV:

Contact Statistics

On the Contacts list, select the contact and click Statistics.

Salesperson Statistics

On the Salespeople/Purchasers list, select the Salesperson and click Statistics.

Campaign Statistics

On the Campaigns list, select the campaign and click Statistics.

Sales Cycle Statistics

On the Sales Cycles list, select the sales cycle and click Statistics to view opportunity related statistics.

Sales Cycle Stage Statistics

On the Sales Cycle Stages, select a stage and click Statistics to view opportunity related statistics.

Combining Direct Debits with Recurring Sales Invoicing

One of the options in NAV is that you can combine direct debit with recurring sales invoicing.

For more information on how to setup and work with Direct Debit Collections, please refer to one of my previous article here.

Setup

Standard Sales Codes

Let us say for example you have an agreement with a customer that you do a monthly maintenance and the customer will pay the maintenance with direct debit.

You can do this based on standard sales codes. For example, in this case we have setup a standard sales code for maintenance where the currency is in Euro and we have specified that this code is based on resource Mark, where he is performing 8 hours of work.

Customer Card

Now this sales code will be assigned to customers who are interested to use our maintenance services. So, open the customer card (for Libros S.A) and click on Std. Cust. Sales Codes. What you will see is that you can combine this with direct debit information.

So now you can Create Recurring Sales Invoices.

Process

Create Recurring Sales Invoices

Click Departments/Financial Management/Receivables/Create Recurring Sales Invoices.

Fill in the fields on the Create Recurring Sales Invoices window and click OK.

System will create invoices.

Open the sales invoice created. You will notice that NAV created a sales invoice in which you are invoicing 8 hours of Mark as maintenance expenses.

Also, on the Invoicing tab, you will notice that Payment Method Code and Direct Debit Mandate ID are automatically populated, which means that in your next direct debit collection run (once the invoice is posted of course), the system will retrieve the invoice and offer it to the bank in order to get the payments using the SEPA direct Debits.

So you see that it could be interesting to combine the recurring invoicing. In this example it is October 2018, we will run it for November 2018, and so on.

In this way you can prevent manual data entry by using standard sales quotes, assign them to customers in combination with direct debit, so that the complete process can be managed automatically.

Qualitative Methods

  • When a product is new, however, or when data are lacking for one reasons, you have to rely on judgement and intuition. In such cases, you are best advised to find the most experienced, market-savy, objective person – or better yet, group of experts – and rely on them for a rough estimate of likely demand.
  • A dose of intuition from a reliable source can be helpful even when working with plentiful data.
  • Five major types of qualitative forecasting are discussed here:
    • Personal insight.
    • Sales force consensus estimate
    • Management estimate (panel discussion)
    • Market research
    • Delphi method

Personal Insight

Forecasts may sometimes be based upon insight of the most experienced, most knowledgeable, or most senior person available.

Sales Force Consensus Estimate

  • The sales and marketing area (or areas) brings special expertise to forecasting, because they maintain the closest contact with customers. While they may participate in gathering data for quantitative forecasts, their special contribution comes at the qualitative level. Even when there is a quantitative forecast, the sales force should be given a chance to review it to see if it is consistent with their knowledge of the marketplace.
  • Bringing the entire field sales force together to create a consensus forecast provides the firm – and, at least indirectly, its supply chain partners – a view of the whole market, including all sectors or geographic regions. Demand, obviously, can vary greatly in different market segments.
  • Like all functional areas, sales and marketing may bring a special bias to their demand forecasts, generally an optimistic – sometimes an overlay optimistic – one.

Management Estimate

The management estimate relies upon a consensus of panel members. Generally, the panel of management-level experts conducts a series of forecasting meetings, with the results of one meeting providing the basis for the next until the panel reaches a consensus. In the process, the panel may rely upon various techniques, including pyramid forecasting and forecasting by historical analogy.

  1. Pyramid Forecasting

    Pyramid forecasting, or rationalizing high- and low-level forecasts, enables management to review and adjust forecasts made at an aggregate level and keep lower-level forecasts balanced. In the process, item forecasts first are aggregated by product group. Management then makes a new forecast for the group. The value is then transferred to individual item forecasts so that they are consistent with the aggregate plan.

  2. Historical Analogy

    When there are no data on a new product or service, forecasters may instead study past patterns of demand for a similar product or service.

Market Research

  • Market research (also known as marketing research) is the systematic gathering, recording, and analyzing of data about problems relating to the marketing of goods and services. Such research may be undertaken by impartial agencies or by business firms or their agents.
  • Agent as one who acts on behalf of another (the principal) in dealing with a third party. Examples include a sales agent and purchasing agent.

Market research includes the following approaches:

  • Market analysis, including product potential studies, which seeks to determine the size, location, nature, and characteristics of a market.
  • Sales analysis, or sales research, which undertakes the systematic study and comparison of sales data.
  • Consumer research, such as motivational research, focus groups, questionnaires, and other methods used to discover and analyze consumer attitudes, reactions, and preferences.
  • Test marketing, which introduces a product or service in a limited pilot area.

Note that when collecting information with questionnaires or surveys the number of responses compared to the number of nonresponses or incomplete answers should also be tracked to determine if the data are statistically valid.

Delphi Method

  • The Delphi method, like sales force and management estimate forecasting, relies upon a panel of experts in the field being studied. Also like other panel based methods, it relies upon the experience, wisdom, insight, and even the intuition of disciplined observers acting in concert.
  • In Delphi method, questionnaires are generally submitted to the individual experts for their anonymous responses in successive rounds. After responding to the questions in one round, the experts comment on replies from the previous round. After hearing replies and responses, the experts have a chance to revise their own previous work. This iterative process aims to reduce differences in thinking as the answers of experts converge, round by round, upon an increasingly accurate consensus forecast.
  • A key feature of the Delphi method is the maintenance of anonymity throughout the process. Instead of meeting face to face, the experts submit their responses, comments, and revisions to a panel director, who is empowered to delete irrelevant information. This reduces the defensiveness that can cause group members to resist changing mistaken views when challenged in person. It also reduces or eliminates the opposite problem: the “groupthink” effect that can cause even a collection of independent thinkers to become emotionally committed to an unrealistic forecast. This is especially likely to happen when a charismatic, opinionated member takes over leadership of the group and steers it in a mistaken direction.
  • The Delphi method suffers the mixed results as it is based on human judgement (like other forecasting systems).
  • The Delphi method can be time-consuming and is best for long-term forecasts.