Whats New in Dynamics 365 Sales October 2018 Update?

In our second review, we're going to be looking at new capabilities for Dynamics 365 for Sales for the October release. Many of the features Microsoft have outlined are subject to change but we can say with a degree of certainty that most of them will make it to the final release. Most of the Sales app capabilities will be released under Public Preview before it's made widely available.

Sales teams can look forward to:

  • Playbooks
  • LinkedIn Insights
  • Microsoft Teams integration
  • Who knows whom
  • Predictive Lead Scoring
  • Relationship analytics with LinkedIn InMail
  • Dynamics 365 AI for Sales app
  • Microsoft call intelligence


The sales app will gain a new functionality called Playbooks. This allows sales teams to automate repeatable processes when a defined scenario occurs.

In the guide, Microsoft pointed out where this could be useful. For example, if two decision makers were to leave an organisation and a commercial transaction was in jeopardy, the Playbooks feature can take steps to resolve the problem and cover their actions whilst the opportunity progresses.

It will provide configurable contingency planning across many sales situations that teams face on a daily basis. Such as keeping a transaction still possible regardless of personnel.

Playbooks will be released under general availability in October 2018.

LinkedIn Insights

Microsoft wants to combine the customisable LinkedIn Sales Navigator controls with the flexibility of Dynamics 365 Business Process Flows.

Any business process such as sales scenarios can be enhanced to feature LinkedIn insights about individuals and companies. This will help analysts and information employee's complete the stages and steps accurately and quickly, with the aim of driving sales deals and other processes forward. The new insights include:

  • Fundamental data about companies including size, industry, and location.
  • Fundamental data about people including name, company, position, and years of experience.
  • Icebreakers and conversation starters, which are the key common aspects to start the conversation with a warm engagement.
  • A path to a warm introduction with connection lists that include first, second, and LinkedIn TeamLink connections that reach beyond the information worker’s network by traversing their entire organisation and the aggregate networks.
  • Recommendations for people similar to a target lead or who play a key role in an organisation.

Like Playbooks, LinkedIn Insights will be released under general availability in October 2018.

Microsoft Teams Integration (Public Preview)

Microsoft Teams is seen as a response to Slack, the highly successful collaboration tool. With more organisations adopting Teams as their internal communications app, Teams will now be accessible directly from Dynamics 365 interface as well as the other way round.

In the Business Applications guide, Microsoft made a point that the sales environment is changing and are on twice as many teams compared with just five years ago. They also work with an average of 16 colleagues to close a deal and therefore they need quick collaboration with more people and more data. They believe Microsoft Teams is the solution and Dynamics 365 integration brings together capabilities need to work together more effectively.

Users will be able to share and coauthor sales collateral with the entire team. This can be done seamlessly in either Microsoft Teams or Dynamics 365. All of the files are stored in a central location which ensures easy, consistent and secure access to fresh documents.

Who knows whom (Public Preview)

With Who knows whom, salespeople can quickly identify colleagues within their own organisation who could introduce them leads and contacts. This is very similar to LinkedIn Sales Navigator and leveraging your immediate network to win more deals. Statistically, warm introductions increase response rate and interest by orders of magnitude, and ideally, this would extend to closing a deal. Who knows who empowers sellers to leverage their companies network to convert prospects into customers.

Predictive Lead Scoring (Public Preview)

Microsoft is introducing a machine learning mechanism that scores leads on a scale of 1 to 100 based on their likelihood to become an opportunity. 

The key benefits of Predictive Lead Scoring:

  • Out-of-the-box machine learning model that considers attributes from related entities such as Contact and Account apart from the attributes of the Lead entity including custom attributes.
  • Ability to select/de-select signals for the model enabling model customisation and tuning.
  • Predictive score backed by top reasons influencing the score..
  • Lead score along with score trend and top reasons available on out-of-box-forms and views.

With Dynamics 365 Predictive Lead Scoring, sales reps can prioritise their efforts on deals with the highest chances of converting.

Relationship analytics with LinkedIn InMail (Public Preview)

Relationship analytics is even smarter by combining with LinkedIn InMail. The current feature uses engagement data from Dynamics and Exchange Online and tracks trends in a relationship such as positive or negative sentiment. These data sources will be tended to include LinkedIn inMail in the upcoming preview. 

Dynamics 365 AI for Sales App (Public Preview)

The new Dynamics 365 AI Sales app benefits those in analysts roles by proactively providing useful insights from the sales data. Managers can quickly evaluate and improve the performance of their teams on Dynamics 365. Using pipeline forecasting and lead scores, sales teams can optimise their strategy.

Microsoft has said these are the following capabilities that will be included in the app:

  • A home page that provides managers with answers to the most common questions regarding their team's performance, and also provides useful insights to quickly allow them to focus on the right deals and activities.
  • A natural language processing-based Q&A that allows managers to conversationally ask questions and receive reports from the sales data.
  • Lead prioritisation leveraging predictive lead scoring.
  • Opportunity pipeline analysis using the relationship health score powered by exchange data.
  • Sales team performance analysis and individual scorecards.
  • Richer sales activity reports using relationship analytics, bringing valuable data from Exchange and Dynamics 365 graphs.

Microsoft call intelligence (Public Preview)

The Microsoft call intelligence offers smart coaching to increase sales and conversion rates. You'll be able to connect call centre telephony recording systems to the app. Call centre managers are also able to generate conversion insights that can bring extra value to the organisation.

The benefits are:

  • Coaching driven by aggregate call statistics on sentiments, keyword mentions, and KPIs.
  • Benchmark against conversational KPIs such as talk-to-listen ratio, longest customer monologue, and participant switch ratio that signal whether reps are aligning with conversation best practices

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