A Quick Guide to Dynamics 365 Sales Sequences

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A Quick Guide to Dynamics 365 Sales Sequences

An efficient sales process is the cornerstone of streamlined, scalable growth. However, process inconsistencies can occur when sales teams grow or because of gaps in training or documentation.

To address these challenges, sequences in Dynamics 365 Sales provide sellers with contextual guidance for what should happen next to progress a deal.

Join us in this article to explore how sequences help optimise sales outreach and support consistent messaging to reach successful outcomes.

What are Sales Sequences in Dynamics 365?

Sequences enable sales managers and sellers to create a series of predefined actions, such as prompts to send emails, make calls, or schedule tasks.

These are automatically triggered in the specified order to guide sales representatives through each process step. This not only improves seller productivity by reducing admin but also standardises sales journeys to drive consistency and increase the effectiveness of customer interactions.

Within a sequence template, branches can be defined, helping sellers nimbly react to customer responses. Branches can also be personalised to reflect the type of prospect and the business process flow stage.

How are D365 Sales Sequences licenced?

Sales sequences are part of the sales accelerator feature for D365 Sales. This is available with Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise, Dynamics 365 Sales Premium and Microsoft Relationship Sales.

For Sales Enterprise licences, up to 1500 records can be connected to a sequence each month.

What security roles can manage Sequences?

Sales sequences can be configured by users with System Administrator, Sequence Manager, or Sales Manager roles.

Optional: LinkedIn Integration setup for LinkedIn sequence steps

Creating Sequences

In the Sales Hub, access the Sales Insights Settings on the bottom left of your interface:

sales insights settings menu

Then, navigate to Sales Accelerator > Sequences on the left menu.

To get started, select an existing sequence or click New to begin creating your own.

You can start from blank to create your unique sequence or adapt one of the Microsoft-provided templates.

create a sequence in Sales - templates

In this example, we will select ‘Follow up when contacts do not respond’ template.

The pop-up window will also provide information on the overall configuration settings for that sequence. This will include the step count, duration and which entity is involved in the sequence. Currently, sales sequences allows you to target Contacts, Leads, Accounts and Opportunities.

Once you’ve decided on your configuration, it’s time to add/remove steps and configure actions in your sequence.

Sequence Designer Interface in Dynamics 365 Sales

By selecting a ‘+’ icon on the sequence builder, you can define steps, such as sending an email or completing a task.

Adaptive Sales Sequences

Conditional steps are added to a sequence to define the next action if a condition is either met or not.

Within these adaptive sequences, you can branch or end a sequence based on the yes/no result of the condition.

Conditions are available for email, phone call, field value and business process stage.

For instance, how a sequence proceeds could depend on whether a customer has opened an email or not. Using a field value criteria, the process could only continue if a record matches defined attributes for an address or job title.

add an action to the sequence designer

Sequences also offer the option of using commands to advance to other sequences and apply updates that will be displayed in the work list and ‘up next’ widget.

Lastly, you have the option to integrate with LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

This provides the capability to add a LinkedIn activity to a sequence. Examples include sending an inMail, making a connection request, asking for an introduction or completing research.

These commands contribute towards helping sellers to better understand customers before engaging and moving to the next step.

You can select each existing step to refine the process to match your needs. When selecting a step, a panel will surface on the right hand of your interface, allowing admins to customise further, such as adding conditions to proceed or selecting an email template.

Set advanced email conditions in the sequence

Administer your Sequences

The top menu enables Sales admins to review the overall configuration of the sequence. Under properties, you can update the description and who the sequence is assigned to, such as the record owner.

You can also set the sequence exit criteria from the top menu. For example, disconnect a record from the sequence when there has been a reply to any email message. This would be useful for scenarios where the seller wants to receive communication from the record and doesn’t want to proceed further with unnecessary steps such as text messages, which may overwhelm the prospect.

Exit a sequence settings

Once the sales administrator is satisfied with the configuration setup, they can save and ‘Activate’ from the top menu.

A helpful feature is version history. When sequences are edited and saved, a record will be created, and the previous versions can be selected. This enables sales admins to manage variations without needing to create a whole new sequence and preserve a record of every version.

Linking Sequences with Your Sales Records

The next step is to connect records to the sequence, which can be performed in two ways.

Firstly, connections can be completed manually by selecting the specific record. Alternatively, by selecting a segment, a record will begin the sequence when a criterion is met.

Connect segments to the sequence

When a record is added, you will see them appear in the list above, which displays their progress, current step, the owner, and more by default.

Using the work assignment feature, you can create segments of records based on conditions and connect these to sequences that perform actions on matching records.

Segments are a group of records that meet your defined criteria. For example, you could create a segment of leads for a specific product or service.

To create or edit a segment, navigate to ‘Work Assignment’ on the left menu panel. Additionally, you can set the priority of which segment will take precedence over another and set assignment rules.

Work Assignment - List of segments in sequences

By clicking an existing segment or creating a new segment, you can choose the criteria of how records are brought into the segment.

Segment builder for sequences - Dynamics 365 Sales

You can choose which fields are used and the conditions to meet the criteria. For the example above, our lead segment definition includes the estimated value and country fields.

You can choose if multiple conditions are all required for the criteria to be met. Alternatively, you can select ‘Or’, where if any of the individual conditions are met, they’ll be added to the segment.

To preview the segment query, select ‘simulate results’ to check the accuracy of the segment according before this is published.

Sales Sequences in Action

Once sequences are configured and activated in your Dynamics environment, sellers can pick up these actions by navigating to the sales accelerator work list.

Work lists to help sellers focus time and effort by prioritising assigned tasks to ensure that essential actions aren’t missed.

Sales sequences for sales teams - view sequences for records

For each sequential item in the work list, sellers can quickly apply actions, such as Mark Complete, Snooze or Skip. Depending on the next defined step, they can perform their action, such as making a phone call or sending an email.

The sales form will appear when selecting a record from the work list. Here, sellers can perform the previously mentioned tasks and view previous steps taken. It also provides deeper contextual information about the sequence and allows adding extra notes at each step.

Sequence Insights

Sales teams will want to understand the performance of each of their current sequences. How many calls have been generated? Has there been many email clicks? You can view the analytics of each individual step in the sequence to understand at a granular level where people are engaging and dropping off of the sequencing process.

Sequence Analytics for Phone Call Step

If you aim to review the overall performance of a Sequence, with Leads or Opportunities you can see the success rate with a snapshot view, providing Sales teams a starting point to refine sequence processes going forward. 

View the success of sequences in a list view

Working with Sales Sequences

Sequences bring automation to minimise the laborious task of organising and carrying out standardised communications and processes. They are an ideal solution to support seller onboarding programs, standardise processes and focus on priority tasks to help everyone sell efficiently.

Previous iterations in the Sales Hub were often tricky to use and maintain or required deep knowledge of complicated flows and technical skill sets. By contrast, sequences arm sales managers with accessible tools to help their team prioritise daily activities and focus on selling to speed the sales process.

As the adoption increases, we see sequencing as a core Sales Hub feature to increase productivity and better align seller activities with organisation processes.

Sales Sequences Video Demonstration

Watch our video below to get an overview of sale sequences. It explores the seller’s perspective and how they can be more productive by using a consistent, organised sales process when managing leads, contacts, accounts, and opportunities. The video also covers the administration perspective and how to use the designer to build these workflows and connect them to records.

Video Transcript

​Sales Sequences help sellers reach positive outcomes by following your sales processes and best practices. Working with Sales Accelerator helps provide sellers with clarity by recommending the next action for their assigned leads, accounts, contacts, and opportunities. It also helps achieve greater consistency with a refined sales process and quickly send emails or be prompted to take specific actions such as phone calls.

In the form view itself, we also have the option to mark complete, send an email or assign, snooze, or skip the step. We can also add a note. By selecting the link at the top, we have a preview of all the steps in the sequence. We can toggle the different branches available to us and scroll down to the end of the sequence flow. If we select “About Sequence,” we can see the overall description and see the list of maximum steps for this sequence.

Sellers can also use the filter and sort options to manage their lead workload. On your screen, you can see we can filter by the due date, record type, and activity type. This empowers sellers to prioritise and organise their work process and focus on the most important records first. We also have the sort option which allows us to show which records should show first, such as score, name, or due date.

Let’s examine the process for sales administrators who may be responsible for creating the sequence process steps for sellers to use in Sales Accelerator. When you create a sequence, you define the activities you want your sellers to perform and the order to perform them as they handle records. This guidance lets sellers concentrate on selling and gives them a better understanding of what to do next.

Sales administrators can add tiles such as sending automated emails with an attached template. We can also add tiles such as a wait timer which are configurable. We can branch the sequence based on the conditional rules, for example using the advanced phone condition. The steps will change depending on if the phone call was made or received. We can also add conditional branches based on updating field values. In this example, we took the decision for the prospect to advance when the lead grade is set at A. This indicates that they are responsive to engagement and therefore the seller should send them an email next.

There are plenty of other field value choices to pick from such as decision maker, job title, lead source, and other standard Dynamics lead fields. In this next example, we will configure this by budget and have set the prospect to advance when it’s set to ‘May Buy’. Another option available to us is to update fields as a next step in the sequence. This is useful for enabling sellers to quickly update records based on a standard process. This is much more efficient and methodical compared with manually navigating through lead records at different stages of the sales cycle. In this instance, we’ve decided to pick the sales-ready field to update. This might be useful after a conversation with the prospect and allow other people such as sellers or marketers to understand that they are now ready for making the next step to purchase a product or service from your business.

The sequence designer also integrates natively with LinkedIn Sales Navigator. The tile options available to us are complete the research, informing the seller they need to understand the prospect or account they’re engaging with. We can also add an introduction option for making the initial step. We can also create prompts for getting connected and sending a LinkedIn email. We’re able to complete a description on the right-hand panel to provide further context to the seller. Supporting sellers to organise their workload, not just through emails and phone calls but also prompting them to take action on LinkedIn enhances their ability to engage with prospects and help them to convert to buyers.

Let’s explore different ways Dynamics Sales allows us to connect records to sequences. When navigating to a lead record, selecting the sequence dropdown on the command menu provides the seller with the option to connect the lead to active sequences. Each sequence has a preview of the steps on the right-hand side providing a deeper understanding of the journey the prospect will go on. When we have chosen the sequence, we can quickly attach the record to it. We can even connect records to multiple sequences at the same time, which is useful for businesses who have complex sales cycles and businesses offering a wide variety of products and services.

From the sales form, we can also assign sequences to other people using Dynamics Sales. You simply need to navigate to the command bar, choose the sequence from the menu as we illustrated before, then finally search for a different user in your system. When you’ve picked a person to assign the sequence to, select the assign button. We can also connect records to sequences in the Sales Accelerator admin area. When servicing the lead connecting interface, we can select by bulk, allowing administrators to quickly add many leads at once. When records have been added, we’re provided with contextual information such as the owner, how long they’ve been on the sequence, and the current step they are in the process.

We can also add records to sequences in bulk using set criteria with segments. Choose from field values such as status, lead grade, or source campaign to collect records in your system that meet these parameters. You can simulate the results to get an understanding of how many records will be inside a segment. This is a powerful tool and using segments as the approach to connecting records to sequences can help you streamline the sales process and improve consistency.

Lastly, let’s take a quick look at the exit criteria for sequences. Sequences will end when any endpoint in a flow is reached. But an exit criterion can also be added based on email engagement in response to messages sent in a sequence. You can do this by navigating to the exit criteria option on the command bar. Opening this panel provides a toggle option to disconnect records on a sequence when a customer replies to any email in one of these steps. Businesses have diverse sales processes and strategies, so it’s useful that Dynamics Sales offers flexibility to control this option.

Sales sequences are an effective way to increase consistency by giving sellers a defined order of actions they should perform on leads and other records. By connecting activities and other actions into sequences that reflect frequent sales scenarios, sellers have a better understanding of what needs to happen next so they can consistently progress deals and prospects in line with your processes and best practices. If you’re interested in learning more about Sales Sequences for Dynamics 365 and how this feature can be configured for your organisation, please get in touch and don’t forget to subscribe to the ServerSys YouTube channel for more updates about Dynamics and the Microsoft.

Sales Sequences: Future updates

From the Release Wave 1 2024 planner, we can see several exciting new capabilities are on the way.

From April 2024, a sequence preview will provide sellers with an overview of steps to help improve engagements.

Upcoming improvements also include a new capability that allows multiple sellers to work simultaneously on the same record using various sequences.

Final thoughts

We are curious to see that sequences can currently use four entity records – accounts, leads, contacts and opportunities. However, users can only connect with leads and opportunities within the segment builder. This feels like an oversight and means those working with contacts and accounts must manually select specific contacts to begin the sequence.

Also, segments only enable sales administrators to select attribute fields to define the segment criteria. Those familiar with Customer Insights will know that you can create a marketing segment using behavioural events such as email clicks or event check-ins. We were hoping functionality could allow a sequence to be triggered by a similar behavioural attribute, potentially meaning a sequence could begin without any engagement from the seller. However, with more updates planned in 2024, we look forward to further improvements in sales sequences.

Next Steps

Sequences help sales professionals by providing structure, freeing up their time to build relationships and close deals. Whether it’s sending timely emails, making phone calls, or setting tasks, sequences ensure that no prospect slips through the cracks.

To explore how sequences could work for you, contact us today to learn more.

Further information on Microsoft Learn

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February 15, 2024

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Dan Norris - Communications Manager ServerSys

Daniel Norris

Daniel Norris is the communications manager for ServerSys. His role is to bring you the latest updates, tips, news and guides on Dynamics 365.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at hello@serversys.com

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