Want better insight into where you’re winning or losing your deals? Try leveraging the Competitors entity in Microsoft Dynamics 365.

 

The Competitors entity of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement/CRM accompanies other, more popular entities, like Lead, Account, Contact, and Opportunity. Although it’s not used as often as the other entities, the Competitors function can provide a wealth of important marketing and sales data—all of which you can use to better segment and market to audiences using your marketing automation software and CRM integration.

 

What is the Competitors Entity?

The Competitors entity is where sales and marketing users can store important information about the companies that your product or service are sold against every day. If you’re a Microsoft Dynamics 365/CRM user, you can use this entity to track what competitors you’re up against in the Lead phase and in the Opportunity phase, and ultimately, you can see which competitors you’re frequently winning or losing against.

 

How does tracking my competitors help me with marketing automation?

Segment, segment, segment, marketing friends! This is vital information you can use to:

  • Run targeted email campaigns to Leads (or Opportunities) you lost segmented specifically by the competitors you lost to (and bonus points for talking up your key differentiators)
  • Run content download and paid media campaigns on social media targeted at the accounts you lost to competitors
  • Run PR-like feature releases to deals you lost based on feature set or pricing when/if you update your product or service to match or beat your competition

 

As marketers, you can also use this information to gain insight into what sorts of deals you’re most likely to win—which you can then identify as your “key customer.” This will help you better target ideal accounts in the future.

 

Creating a Competitor Record

In Dynamics, 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. In Dynamics 356 for Customer Engagement, you can include detailed information about your competitors 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 online—like their website or their stock performance.

 

Getting started is easy. Just go to the Sales tab and select “Competitors.” From 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’s a good idea to reach out to other people within your organization who you think might help you populate the competitor record fields, like members of your sales or product teams.

 

Taking Advantage of Competitor Tracking 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 a marketing automation and CRM integration user, you can use this information to run targeted email campaigns against specific competitor lists, pushing that competitive data from your CRM to your marketing automation platform.

 

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 (if you need help adding a subgrid, your Microsoft Partner can assist you).

 

Tracking competitors 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.

 

Closing Opportunities with the Competitor Entity

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. Let me them know that you’re using the information for email marketing campaigns that can help them prospect lost deals or check in with lost opportunities around the same time a contract will be up for renewal with your competitor.

 

Let’s Get Competitive

The emfluence Marketing Platform offers a robust integration to Microsoft Dynamics 365—and we’d love to coach you through the best practices of CRM and marketing automation software integrations. Want to learn more about using CRM to power your marketing automation and digital marketing campaigns? Sign up for our digital marketing newsletters to get fresh updates in your inbox, or contact us using the form below.

 

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