Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Training Providers - What You Need to Know
Is Microsoft Dynamics 365 a good choice for a training company that's looking for a future-proofed customer relationship management (CRM) system. Will Microsoft Dynamics 365 put you in control of your data and help your team convert more course enquiries into new sales and/or course enrolments?
What is Microsoft Dynamics 365?
Dynamics 365 is a broad suite of applications that include enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management. It's more of an ecosystem than a single application - there are apps within Dynamics 365 for Sales, Marketing, Finance, Operations, Commerce and HR.
The breadth of Dynamics 365 makes it seem complicated - it can be hard to understand how the different bits fit together. The Sales Professional App in Dynamics 365 is where you'll find most of what you'd call CRM. It's a good place to start if you want a solution to track engagement with new leads and existing course customers.
What does it cost?
There's a comprehensive, but complicated 59 page Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide. You can download it here:
If you just want the Sales Professional App then Microsoft's UK pricing page says that is currently £49 per user per month. Subsequent pricing - if you decide to extend Dynamics 365 with another app - is £15.10 per user per month.
What can it do out of the box?
The best place to start to get a feel for what you can do with Dynamics 365 is this page:
With the Sales Professional App you can create and manage leads, opportunities, orders and invoices. You can use the Sales Professional App to get an overview of all sales related activity with your customers.
This is a useful resource - support materials that will give you a good overview:
You might have a telesales team that talks with potential customers and encourages them to buy your training courses. You could use the Sales Professional App in Dynamics 365 to log calls, record outcomes and generate reports about the courses your potential customers are interested in.
How do I adapt Dynamics 365 to my training business?
A good step towards answering that question is to sign up for a Dynamics 365 free trial and start using it. Play around and get a feel for what you can do.
Dynamics 365 is very configurable - from simple customisations that you can do yourself to more complex adaptations that will take longer and may require help from a third party consultant.
Data entry forms in Dynamics 365 can be configured - you can do the customisation.
You can also customise views - so you can change how lists of records look. Columns, filtering options and the type of records that appear in a list can be modified.
You can also change workflows or business process flows as they are called by Microsoft. That's a bit more complicated than customising forms and list views, but it does give you more control over how your team works with Dynamics 365. For example, you could decide that users need to get approval for an invoice before they submit an order. You can make that customization in the Sales Professional App.
You can build more bespoke features into Dynamics 365 with the Microsoft Power Apps platform. With Power Apps you can create your own bespoke data collection apps that will integrate with Dynamics 365. Power Apps can be developed by someone in your team with little or no software development expertise.
Give me 5 reasons why I should choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for my training business
Dynamics 365 is an enterprise class solution that's only going to get better as Microsoft continues to invest in it. It's a great choice for any training company that wants a scalable, future-proofed data management solution because:
There's comprehensive online support from Microsoft and third party consultants.
It is cloud based - you don't have to install anything and you don't have to host anything.
There's good integration with other common business products like MS Office, Power BI, MS Exchange etc.
You can configure and adapt Dynamics 365 without additional support from a third party Dynamics consultancy. When you need support from a third party then there are plenty to choose from.
You can take it a step at a time, extending Dynamics 365 into other parts of your business when you are ready.
Give me 5 reasons why I shouldn't choose Microsoft Dynamics 365 for my training business
Dynamics 365 sounds great. Why wouldn't you use it as the foundation of your data management solution?
The cost goes up as your business grows.
It's more than you need. You want a simpler, standalone off-the-shelf system to do basic CRM.
You're prepared to invest in a bespoke solution because you want complete control and you want to do something different. You need a bespoke solution because you want a better fit with your business requirements.
You know you can adapt Dynamics to fit your business, but the support you'll need from a third party Dynamics 365 consultancy will push the cost up.
You want to build a commercial offer around an online learning software as a service solution. You want your back office CRM functionality to be part of that wider solution and you don't want to pay for third party user licences as your service grows.
What should I do next?
The best next step if you're interested in Dynamics 365 and want to know more, is to sign up for a free 30 day trial. You don't need to provide payment details and you don't need to install any software.
You could at this stage approach a Dynamics 365 consultancy to get more expert advice, but our view is that it is better to get a feel for Dynamics 365 and the Sales Professional App first. The free trial is only 30 days, but if you've got the time it will be enough for you to really begin to understand how Dynamics 365 might work in your organisation.
The 30 day trial sign up page is here: