The earliest attempts by Microsoft at providing customer relationship management services was the Microsoft Outlook Business Contact Manager. The service allowed small businesses to manage their contact who used Outlook better and more efficiently. That product had been discontinued in 2020. Microsoft CRM was another product launched, which faced several name changes and currently resides as a subset in the company’s Dynamics’ product line. Microsoft poured significant amounts of resources into marketing its flagship CRM products to small businesses through its small businesses divisions. However, the scenario has changed much since. There is no longer a ‘small business’ division at Microsoft, it is merely a ‘business’ division.
Microsoft has been covertly ignoring small business CRM needs. If you’re a small business owner looking for a CRM solution that makes use of the Microsoft tools, you can use third party solutions. Nimble is a great option from the makers of GoldMine software. Mission CRM is an excellent choice for non-profit organisations. There are numerous such options for small businesses. However, none of these solutions are directly provided by Microsoft. When it comes to small business CRM solutions, the company has been on mute.
The much discussed Microsoft CRM solutions provide so many options, features, and services that most are not of any use to most small businesses. Most of these businesses don’t require extensive workflows, customisations, integrations, and scalability that the dedicated Microsoft CRM provides. It is overkill for the business to subscribe to a costly service that they will hardly use. Then the question arises, what is that small businesses need from a CRM system?
Small businesses mostly use and require the contact management services. They require a dedicated database that stores information about all the interactions they have with all their clients. Moreover, they want the system to be easy to use and understand for their employees. The database should promise maximum accuracy and minimum data completion errors. As a result, they should be able to deliver emails and schedule tasks and meetings with their clients and prospects whenever they wish to do so. So, they expect the system to integrate with their emails and calendar systems as well.
These are the basic requirements typical to a small business. However, though these are limited requirements, the demand for such services is omnipresent. So, there are a lot of CRM applications that focuses on these features. On the flip side, as the business matures, there is a strong possibility that it will grow out of the basic requirements. They will then require more features like automation, workflows, and automation. Advanced marketing and service management will soon follow suit. When the prospect company reaches the said level, Microsoft will be ready to address their needs with Dynamics. The company hopes to keep the prospect connected with the Office 365 and the third-party CRM offerings.
The plan is not entirely unreasonable as the company is one of the largest companies on the planet and they will not be able to make money by selling their high-end products to a handful of customers that may not ever use it to its full potential. As a result, taking the exclusive route is also beneficial.
If you thought that Microsoft is not heeding to your CRM needs, then you are wrong. The company is giving your firm the room and possibility to grow without overwhelming you. However, when your firm grows to the much-anticipated heights and have a great budget, Microsoft CRM will welcome you to their Dynamics community with open arms.