When it comes to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement/CRM, the core sales entities, such as Lead, Account, Contact, and Opportunity, usually get most of the attention. But one of the more overlooked and underappreciated entities that can provide a wealth of important marketing and sales data is the Competitor Entity. This entity is where sales and marketing users can store important information about the companies that your product or service are sold up against every day. Let’s take a closer look at this sometimes-neglected aspect of Dynamics 365 and see how marketers might be able to maximizes its effectiveness.
So what is a ‘competitor’ exactly, as it pertains to Dynamics 365? A Competitor is “another company that offers competing products and services”, according to Microsoft’s developer documentation. That sounds a lot like what a competitor is in the real world as well. However, in Dynamics 356 for Customer Engagement, every Competitor record has the ability to include detailed information that can be helpful for both the sales and marketing teams. This information can include a company profile, SWOT analysis (strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats), win/loss percentages, and any Competitors’ marketing materials, among other things. Competitor records can also include links to applicable information in the marketing encyclopedia or even online profiles, like company performance.
So how do you get started? First, you will first want head to the Sales > Competitors tab. Here you will be able to create the record, including competitor name, address, website, and any other details that you may deem important. At this point, it might be a very good idea to reach out to other people within your organization who you think might help you populate the competitor record fields. Members of your salesforce can be very helpful when compiling records about the competition.
Finding competitors and analyzing competitor marketing and sales strategy is simplified by using the Competitor entity in Microsoft Dynamics—with a few months of data under your belt, you can access average win/loss percentages by specific competitors, which will ultimately give your sales and marketing team invaluable information about your sweet spots and weak points. This functionality allows you to circulate competitive information throughout your organization to ensure that people who deal with an opportunity can compete as effectively as possible. If you’re on the marketing side of the equation, you can use this information to run targeted campaigns against specific competitor lists in digital marketing campaigns.
To help with this, you should make sure you link Competitors to both the Lead and Opportunity forms. You can do this simply by accessing the Competitor subgrid from the Form Editor. When you are on the subgrid, simply click the + button to add an existing Competitor or create a new Competitor that you’re up against—either in the Lead or Opportunity phase.
Pro tip: using the Competitor subgrid on both Leads and Opportunities allows two layers of data—you can find out who your leads are initially comparing you to in the research phase, and the who you are ultimately winning or losing against in the sales cycle.
Remember that Competitor tracking allows you to better compare your organization to the competition by seeing opportunities that have been lost or won against specific competitors, but you’ll have to get your sales team on board to use this feature before you can analyze the data. Have a conversation with sales first so that they understand the value of the data you’re trying to gather.
Remember that you can associate several competitors with an Opportunity (and Lead) or just one. This will give management great insight into the overall success record their sales people are having against specific competitors and allows a deeper analysis into strategic factors that might cause losses or other results.
When the competition does win out against your organization, you’ll want to coach your sales team through the importance of adding who won to the Opportunity record before closing it as lost. Hopefully the prospect lets you know exactly why they decided to go to with the opposition. In this case you can included the reason as you append the Competitor in the Opportunity closing record. Tracking the reasons for not getting a deal provides a great learning experience that will hopefully pay off in future opportunities.
The Competitor entity in Microsoft Dynamics can provide a great deal of competitive sales intelligence that would otherwise go unnoticed. It offers more data points that can be delivered via charts, reports, and dashboards; how the data is viewed is highly customizable and can provide great insight, not only into your competition, but also into the effectiveness of your own organization. And, such information can provide an opportunity to win more deals. And the final bonus? All of this information can easily power those customized marketing campaigns you’ve been thinking about this year…
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The post How Marketers Can Get the Most Out of the Competitors Entity in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement/CRM appeared first on CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365.