Dynamics 365 CRM phone integration

We published a post recently regarding all the ways Dynamics 365 CRM connects with Outlook to greatly improve efficiency and accessibility to key information in the world of emails. But what about phone calls? As you might expect, Dynamics 365 CRM also provides ways to integrate your outgoing and incoming phone calls with your CRM data.

Phone calls often contain the most important information related to interactions with our current or potential customers. Yet phone call data is the most difficult data to capture due to the spontaneous nature of calls and the general “black box” nature of phone-based communication. 

Phone calls are in the ether, here for a moment then gone the next. When I worked in the retail car business, it was a pretty common practice to record phone calls for “training purposes”. 

This is one sure way to capture call information, but it is not that easy to work through hundreds of calls and glean the most important information. If you were super-serious about phone calls, you would hire a company to listen to them, grade them and put the results on a dashboard. This kind of gets my inner micromanager all excited but it is probably not realistic for many businesses.

The good news is that the technology exists today to create some common-sense connections between our phone call activity and our CRM data. Phone call integration is a bit more complicated than email integration because there are so many phone system providers. 

To accomplish phone call integration with Dynamics 365 CRM, you need a cloud-based connection to your phone system. This can be an app that accomplishes this (see Microsoft AppSource), or you can also use a cloud-based phone system such as RingCentral with this type of integration available. 

I will not attempt to address the various phone system options here, but the odds are good that there is a solution to get you connected. Microsoft has a dialer feature for Microsoft Teams that connects to Dynamics 365. This feature is currently in “preview,” but it will be interesting to see how this develops over time.

Here are a few benefits of connecting phone call activity with CRM data:

Outgoing Calls

One of the biggest benefits of email integration with the CRM is that we can collect and organize them by the person or project that they relate to. How do we get this same kind of benefit with our phone calls?

Dynamics 365 CRM offers “Click to Dial” functionality to initiate an outgoing phone call. As you initiate this call, the CRM also connects an activity with the phone call and pops-up a form that makes a record of things like the start time of the call, end time of the call, disposition of the call, and of course who the call was to. 

This same activity record is then used by the user to make notes regarding what was discussed on the call. This activity record is what provides a permanent record of this conversation and its relevance to current business opportunities.

Once this data is captured in the CRM, it can be used in many ways. The activities can be tracked on a dashboard showing important metrics such as: number of calls this month, minutes per call, and connection percentages. This data can also be used to find and highlight exceptions in your CRM data (show me all active CRM contacts who we have not reached out to in the last 90 days).

Outgoing phone calls are a great indicator of proactive sales efforts. Turning calls into CRM activities gives us the ability to measure and improve.

Incoming Calls

Dynamics 365 CRM phone integration can also provide benefits with calls coming into your business. When a call comes in, the number is matched to data in your CRM and a pop-up form appears showing CRM information related to the caller. 

This immediately identifies the person and provides some context to the call. After the call, this same form can be used to log notes about the call and automatically add an activity in the CRM. For calls that do not match a contact in the CRM, you can choose to add the contact to the system and record the conversation as an activity related to this new contact. 

As discussed above, when phone calls are turned into CRM activities, we can track them and benefit from the information in the future as we work to move potential customers through the sales pipeline or support current customers. 

Sales Team Efficiency

Capturing phone call information is important and helpful, but this type of phone integration can also create significant efficiency improvements in the sales department. This can be illustrated well by my own habits. My normal practice when I take an incoming call or make an outgoing call is to pop open a notepad file and take notes during the call. 

Once the call is complete, I open my CRM and either attach the file to the appropriate record or I copy and paste the information into a CRM note. With call integration, I can allow the system to get me to the right record in the CRM automatically and I can take notes in the activity record and be done with it. More importantly, the information transfer to the CRM gets done. 

I must admit there have been notepads from phone calls that never made it into the CRM in the past.

Summary

Dynamics 365 CRM offers a powerful way to integrate outgoing and incoming phone calls into your CRM system and process. This integration captures critical information and can also improve the efficiency of the sales staff.

About the author: Brian Busscher is CEO of Thesis Technologies which pursues a mission to “help you get your systems right.” If you would like to learn more about how Dynamics 365 CRM can have an impact on your business, please contact the Thesis team at 888-705-7253.

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