Are you at Risk of an Epic Digital Fail? 3 Ways to Avoid it.

You want to get the most out of your business technology investments. But are you at risk of an epic fail? A recent CFO Magazine article focused on just that. The biggest reason for a digital fail: companies neglect the very parts of their business that have the greatest impact on revenue generation — namely value creation and monetizing for that value. Instead, they focus on reducing costs, improving operations, or aggressive pricing to keep up with the competition.

Instead, CFO Magazine says, companies must focus on these three areas:

  1. Unlocking new value
  2. Building pricing power
  3. Improving customer segmentation and sales tactics

Let’s break it down and talk about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales can help in these three key areas:

1. Unlocking New Value to Reach More Consumers and Open New Markets

The CFO Magazine article says digitalization is not just an upgrade to maintain competitiveness or improve efficiency. Most companies overlook how digital technologies can be applied to reach more consumers and open new markets.

In a previous BLOG we talked about how LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be used to further relationship sales. Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn has brought new and exciting integration and opportunities for the sales users within Dynamics 365 via Sales Navigator.  Finding the people/firms that you want to do business with and effectively managing those opportunities within Dynamics 365 is within reach. You can utilize common contacts within LinkedIn to build better relationships with your prospects, and reach more potential prospects. Not only will Dynamics 365 allow you to build relationships, but you can manage relationships at scale without dropping the ball.

2. Building Pricing Power

Digitalization is often accompanied by more intense pricing pressure due to increased competition, price transparency, and customers’ power to negotiate. Companies must have the discipline to refrain from engaging in price wars, which has a detrimental effect on margins.

Don’t get into a price war with your competitors. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales helps you competitively price your products with advanced algorithms, artificial and predictive intelligence, and bots. You can also increase sales by adding related products as suggestions for up-sell, cross-sell, accessories, or substitutes. You can define related products within Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales to help your sales agents with their recommendations to customers.

The related products are displayed as suggestions to your sales agents during opportunity or order management. These suggestions help your sales agents recommend related products and bundles/kits to the customers, and increase product sales.

3. Improving Segmentation and Sales Tactics

To stay competitive, companies must become customer-centric organizations and develop a multi-dimensional and sophisticated understanding of their customers’ needs, behaviors, and most importantly, their willingness-to-pay. More effort is needed to harness digital technologies and behavioral science to support advanced customer segmentation, personalization, and customer experiences that resonate.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales helps you segment customers and prospects to ensure that they receive the right communication from you at the right time. You can better understand the customer journey by composing role-specific visualizations that bring together customer profiles, interactions, metrics, inferences, and predictions.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer segmentation

Segment customers and anticipate customer needs with Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales.

Digitalization can free up the sales force and help them engage better with the right customers.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales lets you manage all your customers and deals right in Outlook. You can prioritize your daily activities and take the right steps to close more sales. Your team can follow up on leads and opportunities from anywhere using mobile apps.

Don’t let your technology projects become a big digital fail at the end of the day. Do you have more ideas about how to avoid an epic fail? Drop me a line on LinkedIn and let me know.


Joe Gulino
Director of Corporate Account Sales, SBS Group

About Joe
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Corporate Account Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.

Stop all of that Typing and Start Connecting

Do you find that your sales and customer service people spend a ton of time typing? Typing contact names, typing notes, typing information. Typing, typing, typing. It’s just not the best use of your people’s time. But with all of the data included in your CRM, email, and team calendars, it can be difficult to keep your customer and prospect records up to date.

What if we told you that your sales and customer service teams no longer need to manually enter data and associated activities with contacts, leads, accounts, or opportunity records? Inbound and outbound interactions and meeting information can be intelligently searched and displayed in an intuitive dashboard.

SalesConnect 365 integrates with Microsoft Dynamics 365

Get Intelligent with SBS Group SalesConnect 365

SBS SalesConnect 365 for Dynamics 365 for Sales searches your company’s email and calendar system to retrieve relevant data about your customers and prospects, and presents that information as actionable insights. SalesConnect365 can create more opportunities, improve close ratios, and drive more revenue.

The SalesConnect 365 Cloud

All documents are searchable on Dynamics 365 records and stored in the SalesConnect Cloud, so you can stay connected from anywhere, at any time. Taking away the burden of (attempting) to enter all prospect and customer data into Dynamics 365 empowers your team to spend more time in front of your customers, actually selling—and with high-potential customers highlighted in your analytics, you can focus your resources on the opportunities most likely to close and create revenue. And servicing the customers who need help the most.

Improve Customer Interactions

SalesConnect 365 identifies customer buying behaviors and measures the strength of your customer relationships, allowing your team to better understand their preferences and create a more engaging experience—therefore improving your relationships and ultimately creating and converting more opportunities.


Today’s customers are more informed and have higher expectations than ever before. Dynamics 365 for Sales enables you to better understand customer needs, engage more effectively, and win more deals. Dynamics 365 for Customer Service gives your team a  single, unified experience that delivers end-to-end service across every channel—earning customer loyalty and empowering agents. When combined with SalesConnect 365, your CRM experience is enhanced to drive more business.

Learn more about SalesConnect 365 or request a free evaluation today.


Joe Gulino
Director of Corporate Account Sales, SBS Group

About Joe
Joe Gulino has spent 30 years growing and running mid-sized ERP and CRM consulting organizations. Recently, he has focused his career on helping large and mid-sized services companies select, procure and implement ERP and CRM solutions. He has experience in several industries including manufacturing, distribution and professional services.
Today, Joe serves SBS Group customers in his role as Director of Corporate Account Sales where he helps customers solve business problems using Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. Joe holds a B.A. in Business Administration and Computer Science from Rosary College, and is based in Naperville, Illinois.


4 Keys to Building a Stellar Sales Team

In 2001, Cahners Research determined the average cost of a B2B personal sales call was $329, or about $440 in 2014. With the costs of managing a sales team continuing to rise, it is crucial to ensure time isn’t wasted on inefficient staff or practices. Here are 5 ways to help build a stellar sales team:

1. Invigorate the Sales Staff: The sales team needs to be motivated. Those bad days can quickly build into long droughts of frustration and stress. Keeping the environment relaxed, but competitive, will help ease those droughts and prolong periods of success. The best way to keep employees motivated is to ensure they find value in the products or services offered. When they believe in the organization and the products, the sales team turns into advocates. The best people to sell a product are the most loyal customers. Of course, you can’t just begin to blindly sell without…

2. Keeping the Sales Process Organized: All organizations have individualized sales plans, based on sales history, industry cycles, and available resources. Every procedure needs to simplify the sales process and make sense to the staff. New employees will understand the benefits of automation software, but will they understand the value of tedious database maintenance? Training on company policy and process is as important as product/service training. A cohesive sales team is critical, especially when it comes to

3.  Activity Management: With the role of the traditional “salesman” long gone, more responsibility falls on the team to act as subject matter experts, customer relationship managers, and sales educators. With a cohesive team in place and a clear sales process, executing the daily and long-term sales responsibilities become much easier. That tedious database management will help to provide lead scores, which can drive new opportunity identification. Automated workflows that provide maintenance reminders and client anniversary dates help keep the team ahead of schedule to provide excellent customer service. With all of these activities taking place more time needs to be spent on…

4. Accurate Reporting: Managing goals and activities need to be accurately reported to ensure the sales team is effective and those $440 sales calls are working toward closing deals. Through customizable dashboards, managers can easily track pipeline progress and utilization. When the sales team can view their challenges and successes, it makes it easier for managers to figure out where additional training is needed and what strategies are working. With easy evaluations, managers can focus on making necessary changes to…

Invigorate the Sales Staff

If you’re ready for a modern CRM system for the best sales, marketing, and customer service experience, contact one of our CRM specialists here.

The Eight Necessities in Distribution Software – An Inside Look

SBS Group has been providing software solutions for nearly 30 years and the distribution industry has been a major area of focus throughout our history. After sorting through questions and concerns from distributors over the past few years, we were able to identify 8 features that distributors find critical in a software solution. These data includes organizations of all sizes throughout the United States, and primarily cover the consumer goods and retail distribution industries.

8. E-mail Marketing (14% cited as major concern)

As more organizations take the approach to cross-train employees, software solutions are adding more and more interdepartmental features to ensure all needs are met. Experienced distributors want more control over their marketing campaigns and insights towards where marketing dollars are being spent.

7. Specific User Rights (21%)

With the wide-ranging features throughout modern ERP distribution systems, certain employees only need access to a specific tool or view in the system. Cutting down on the unnecessary clutter, and keeping sensitive information out of the reach of the entire organization are increasingly popular requirements. Specific user rights allow each employee authorization over their responsibilities and nothing more.

6. Customization (29%)

Customization is key to running an ERP system. There are dozens of features and add-ons to make a system work better for your organization. One of the most difficult challenges for distributors is the high cost of implementing and consistently maintaining a customized solution. Distributors are taking advantage of competitive pricing from Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) that focus specifically on their product, which leads to more reliable support.

5. Reporting (36%)

No organization can stay away from “big data”. Business Intelligence and data mining are increasingly popular demands in the distribution industry. Organizing and analyzing information is a time consuming task, with distributors calling for easily transferable data and reporting functionality. The top reporting priorities for distributors are inventory trends, financial statements, and logistics.

4. Real Time Visibility/Mobility (43%)

Although less than half of the distribution organizes specifically requested an improvement in real time visibility and mobility, this was one of the primary concerns of smaller organizations that relied on Excel sheets or QuickBooks. As distribution organizations grew and began to reach the “next level” we found that more and more of these organizations were no longer getting their information at a quick enough pace. With warehouses growing and orders constantly in transport, it quickly became crucial to spot any irregularities in real time, including out in the field.

3. Inventory Tracking/Management (57%)

More than half of our customers cited significant problems with the lack of inventory management, specifically tracking items and orders. The major complaint is that inventory is not precise where the “count is always off” and if there is any breakdown in the communication process, employees have a difficult time tracing inventory back to orders. Current technology provides distributors of all sizes with affordable access to accurate inventory, warehouse, and transportation tracking systems.

2. Automation (79%)

The feature at the heart of a distributor’s ERP system is automation. Manually processing orders or taking stock of inventory are problems that distributors should not have to face. Nearly 80% of our surveyed distributors are making the move to an automated solution for their employees, warehouse orders, financial statements and customer data. With the additional of automated workflow, the right people are notified when stock is running low, customers need a renewal, or a shipment is delayed – all without any manual input.

1. Centralized Application (93%)

Organizations using multiple, independent tools find themselves jumping from screen to screen and manually inputting/interpreting data. Having a centralized system with the ability to easily integrate additional solutions was the top priority of distributors. The ~7% that did not cite needing a centralized application as a major concern did not yet have any ERP software in place.

As technology continues to grow, distributors focus on adopting at a big-picture level, seeking significant improvements. Tools that support supplementary features, such marketing and reporting, are important but not as crucial as implementing a centralized, fully automated tracking system. The purchasing trend seems to be moving toward simplicity and reducing the number of steps it takes to complete previously tedious processes.

Five Keys to Providing Amazing Customer Experiences

The main focus behind Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is in delivering amazing customer experiences. Customer Relationship Management tools/software of the past focused around managing customer orders in one centralized location. With so much information available and customer needs varying wildly, a true CRM system should be able to support more than just the sales process. Managing customers’ needs to be more than just a strategy or process; it begins before the purchase. Take a look at 5 keys toward proving amazing customer experiences:

  1. Listen: Everyone loves to talk. Whether it’s about business, family, or hobbies, take the time to listen to your customers. You may learn trivial things that could end up helping your business. Once you learn their thought process, you can start learning their business needs, which is why it would also help to…
  2. Understand the Client’s Industry: In a B2B arena, knowledge always prevails over charisma. The best sales teams learn about, or come from, the industries where they focus their attention. Customers expect a solution to their problem, which means we now need to have advanced knowledge of the product, problem, and solution. Once you understand the client you can…
  3. Provide Excellent Support: With so many product choices, customers expect simple and convenient support. In fact, quickly resolving issues is the most important factor for great customer service. With 83% of customers needing some form of support throughout their journey, this can be a significant differentiating factor. With so many customers needing support, it’s crucial to…
  4. Provide Easy Access with Quick Answers: Over 70% of customers expect help within 5 minutes of visiting an online store. Almost half of visitors (48%) will abandon their search if help is not received in their expected timeframe. The majority of customers (56%) expect a resolution with just one interaction. This also means that…
  5. The First Interaction is Key: The first person in the line of customer service needs to be friendly, helpful, and most importantly, available immediately. Nearly 1/3 (31%) of customers expect help to be immediate and 48% of customers are more likely to return to a website if live help is available. Even when someone is constantly monitoring a live chat, support inbox, or phone line, the information provided needs to be accurate or quickly transitioned. This is why the best way to handle customer support in real time is to…
  6. Listen

If you’re ready for a modern CRM system for the best sales, marketing, and customer service experience contact one of our CRM specialists here.

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