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Whether you’re using D365 for Sales, D365 CE, or even a more tailored version (e.g., D365 for Field Service) if you’re in sales or marketing, chances are excellent that you’re using D365 to build and send sales quotes.
While there are a handful of tools built in to Dynamics (and Office), competitive companies are extending their D365 solution with quote-to-cash applications that have one purpose: the creation, sending, and tracking sales quotes. (Learn more here.)
If you’re not yet using a quote-to-cash solution (a.k.a., configure price quote, or CPQ), you’re in luck, because there are dozens of extensions to choose from. But which is right for you?
Some of the D365 extensions for quote-to-cash may have enterprise-grade functionality, but that may come with an enterprise-grade price tag and enterprise-grade complexity.
Others may be simpler and cheaper, more like extensions of Word or Excel (and deliver results that look like they were made in Word or Excel, which is often less than ideal).
The challenges are in finding an extension that 1) fits your business needs and tech stack — as well as your tech “know-how” — that 2) creates quotes that engage customers, and 3) won’t break the bank.
Here’s what to look for when choosing a quote-to-cash solution to extend D365.
Keep it simple
Don’t be dazzled by the bells and whistles. The features most any sales professional needs in a quote-to-cash solution need not go too far beyond the basics:
- Sales proposals templates you can quickly customize (and the ability to add your templates)
- Product and pricing configuration engine: the ability to centrally administer and control your configurations is critical
- Analytics and reporting: you’ll want quote-level reporting to help optimize your closing processes across all quotes and reps
Keep it supported
As mentioned, you want any extension you add to Dynamics to be a good fit not just for your existing hardware and software, but for your people, too. As new tech ALWAYS has a learning curve — especially for people outside IT, such as sales reps — ensure that part of your process when you’re evaluating the best CPQ for Dynamics 365 is assessing how it’s supported, too.
Does the vendor support every stage of implementation, or do they just work with you at a systems-integration level? What training programs do they offer? What about after implementation? Will they support you in your daily use?
For example, though creating dynamic product and pricing configurations sounds easy, it can get complicated quickly: the best quote-to-cash solution providers will work with you to build and deploy your Dynamics extension at this level as well.
Keep it in Dynamics
Seamless integration with Dynamics is central to success for any extension, quote-to-cash or otherwise. As with any D365 extension, the more it’s a part of your Microsoft solution, the more likely it is to be adopted. So look for a solution that is single sign-on.
We’ve discovered (from working with countless clients who’ve integrated Dynamics with quote-to-cash) that adding sales proposal automation to Dynamics can sometimes increase use of Dynamics as well.
Why? Because sales reps live and die by the quotes they have in circulation. They may not be accessing Dynamics every time they need to track an activity or otherwise update an account, but when you make Dynamics the central repository for sales quotes, you can rest assured your reps will be in there every day.
And that’s always good for business.