12 November 2019

Samples in Dynamics 365 CRM

Dropped in Dynamics 365 CRM

Jon Evans
Formulated by Jon Evans

I’ve previously written blog posts about some standard functions that aren’t in Dynamics 365, which could be of use to Manufacturing & Distribution markets, such as non-conformance. Samples is another topic of discussion I think you’ll like…

Samples are rife in a lot of industries, non-more so than Manufacturing & Distribution. Whether it’s an existing customer or a brand-new enquiry, people want to touch and feel your offering as much as they want to read about it.

From a sales point-of-view, this is a great lead and opportunity generator. You’re able to identify what your customer is looking to buy, so you’ve just got to send through the sample and, hopefully, the order will follow. However, too many businesses see samples as a chore and don’t understand what value it brings to the business: “The competition does it, so we’d better do it” is a statement you have likely heard within your business.

In Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can place a 100% discount order and make, pick and ship samples. If necessary, you can also categorise the sample products with a pre-fix so they are easily identifiable and have their own area in a warehouse to pick from (and you can also have production runs to manage sample stocks).

However, that’s the simple bit, getting a sample, putting it in a box/envelope and getting to site is just operational. The important part, is to understand the enquiry, manage it, and ultimately follow it up with either the client or the intermediary merchant/retailer to ensure it all ends up being a profitable exercise for everybody.

Managing that process is not an ERP function, it’s a CRM one. The reality is, a sample request could be argued to be slightly more than a Lead, but not enough to qualify as an Opportunity. The goal is to manage the engagement and hopefully drive it through to an opportunity and then eventually a win.
Sample management can be a series of questions.

At TecMan, we start with a product that your company supplies and a potential customer that’s not had that product before. From a process point of view, it poses a few questions:

  • Are you going to charge the customer for the sample, or will they be free?
  • Are some chargeable but others are not?
  • Are you going to charge to deliver the sample?
  • If it’s come from a Lead from our site or somewhere else, do we want to qualify it?
  • Do you want to create an Opportunity record for someone to follow up after the sample process has started?
  • What other processes will this trigger within Dynamics and fundamentally across the business, who else needs to know what to do?
  • Is an order put on to Business Central to deal with this or is another method to be used?

In summary, non-conformance was reasonably self-contained in terms of what it did; pretty much everything you needed to manage that process was held within a couple of entities. Samples have got a much bigger focus on how we deal with other processes within the system and managing the flow of sample management activity is key to driving your business forward. So, my question is, where is your sample management tool?

Enhanced on 12 Nov 2019

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