As I prepare for my Dynamics 365 certification in sales (MB2-717), I am creating blog posts based on my revision. I hope that collectively these posts may prove useful to anyone also preparing for the MB2-717 exam. This time I will cover the concepts around competitors.
We can see in the skills measured statement that competitors and sales literature are mentioned in the same section. I have already published a post about sales literature, so in this post I will now look at competitors. Previously we saw that sales literature could be related to the competitor entity. But the use of competitors is not dependant on sales literature. In this post I will expand on the other capabilities related to competitors.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 has a “competitor” entity designed to allow companies to record and report on competitor related information. In my experience this is an often forgotten area of “CRM” but capturing information on why you lost out to a competitor or recording details of how your products compare to theirs can (over time) provide valuable insights on how to improve or better position your products and services. Used wisely this information can be a powerful reference database to help win more opportunities or strengthen the relationships with existing clients.
Competitors are pretty simple to understand / use, hopefully you will quickly grasp the concepts needed for the MB2-717 exam.
One key advantage of competitors is that the information is organisation wide, meaning everyone can benefit from others experiences. A new sales person, for example, might not have gone up against a particular competitor before so any insight available can be a great support.
Competitor functionality includes;
- Helps with SWOT analysis. SWOT = strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
- Records on the opportunity one (or more) competitor bidding for the business.
- Captures why an opportunity was lost to a specific competitor.
- Statistics include the number and total value of opportunities won / lost connected to a competitor.
- Sales literature can be related to a competitor.
- Competitors can optionally be related to a specific product or products.
An example competitor record is shown below, notice that usefully we have the ability to add notes to competitors. Also notice that you could think about how you use the wall or Yammer. In my screen shot you can see that Yammer has been integrated with Dynamics 365. This might give me a forum for people to discuss challenges around this competitor!
Think of a competitor as ANYTHING that can block a sale, more often than not this will be a company. But other blockers could exist which could be captured in the competitor entity. For example, when selling software a “competitor” might be for the potential customer to develop their own code. In this case you could use the competitor entity to help record the pros/cons of developing an in-house solution.
Tracking this information against competitors lets organisations see when / why they lost against a particular organisation. And therefore help identify how to win next time.
Below you can see how you can add a list of competitors to an opportunity. Be aware that we can be up against multiple competitors on each opportunity;
And below you can see the dialog for closing an opportunity as lost and how you can add who you lost the sale to. It is worth noting that the competitor you lost the opportunity to does not have to be named on the opportunity. (In some circumstances you might not know who the competitors are until the end of the sales cycle.) Or maybe you think you are competing against two companies but you are unaware of a third player until the final stages.
Having done this, I could produce reports showing the total revenue lost to a given competitor etc. It is worth also knowing that out of the box directly on the competitor form you can see a list of opportunities, their stats and a chart showing how many opportunities have been won/lost to this competitor.
I hope this post has given you a flavour for the basics of competitor analysis in Dynamics 365. As part of you prepartation for MB2-717 I suggest you create several competitors. Link them to opportunities and see what happens when you mark opportunities as won / lost etc. Enjoy!