7 steps to successful Salesforce - Microsoft Dynamics integration
By Henning Lund - May 09, 2016
Data integration can be complex and I have seen data integration projects become a complete mess. In my mind, the success of your data integration project starts with the quality of your data. Make sure to do a thorough data clean up before you get started, because your integration project will not solve your data quality issues, it will only make them more visible. Then when data quality is in place, you can easily avoid troubles by following a structured approach and defining the touchpoints and data integration routes you want to support.
Salesforce – Microsoft Dynamics integration best practices
Customer/Account Integration: Customer/Account integration is often where it all starts, as most other data is related directly or indirectly to the customer information. Transferring customer information from your Microsoft Dynamics ERP to Salesforce is a good start, but eventually you will find that you need updated customer information in both systems and therefore a two-way integration.
Contact Integration: If you are starting with an empty Salesforce instance then you should probably start by transferring your contacts residing in your Dynamics ERP system to Salesforce as a one-time transfer. Once this migration performed, you can start creating new contacts inside Salesforce. Sometimes, a one-way integration is enough (for example, you might not need all your contacts in your Dynamics ERP system moving forward - you might need an attention name for the invoices, but that can be managed in Dynamics). However, if you wish to keep all of your contacts up-to-date in both systems, then you need a full two-way integration of all your contacts.
Product & Price List: In almost all the integration projects I have worked with, all items are being transferred (or at least all the items you sell) from the Microsoft Dynamics to Salesforce and kept up-to-date. When it comes to pricing, depending on your work processes, you can choose to just transfer a standard price or all your pricing (per customer group or even per customer) to Salesforce, thereby creating multiple price books. The detailed pricing is needed in Salesforce if you want to create opportunities (or quotes) with detailed information on product level. Many of the companies performing a Salesforce – Microsoft Dynamics integration choose to take care of detailed pricing in a second phase along with the opportunity or quote integration described below.
Sales History (Invoices and Invoice Lines): Invoices and invoice lines from your Dynamics ERP system are transferred to Salesforce for visibility and reporting purposes. Having the sales history inside Salesforce will enable your salespeople to analyze and create reports themselves in the system that they work in. In my experience, this greatly improves user adoption of Salesforce - which is key to the success of any CRM implementation.
Payment History: Basically, all customer ledger entries (transactions) can be transferred from your Dynamics ERP to Salesforce, and will be visible as payment history under the customer. Again, having this data available inside Salesforce will enable you to create valuable reports around the total sales and payment history.
Open Sales Orders: In some cases, it can make good sense to be able to see all open sales orders inside Salesforce. This is mostly the case for companies working with production or companies that have some delay in their delivery process. The sales orders are transferred from your Dynamics ERP to Salesforce so that your salespeople and managers gain insight and reporting capabilities on this data. In that case, we normally make sales orders appear read-only as a related list under the account and if they origin from an opportunity in Salesforce, they can also be made visible under that opportunity.
Opportunities & Quotes: If you create opportunities with detailed product line information it probably makes sense for you to have these transferred into your Dynamics ERP system thereby creating a new sales order. This would typically happen as part of a workflow in Salesforce - for example when the stage of the opportunity is changed to ‘closed won’. This could also be implemented on the quote object if you are using the quotes in Salesforce. Transferring the opportunities or quotes to the Dynamics ERP system is typically done in a second phase of the integration project.
Integrating Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics ERP will help you get the full value of the two systems by ensuring user adoption. The above 7 steps cover the most common integration scenarios and will get you off to a good start, whether you decided to take all 7 steps at once or in phases. Based on best practices and experience from many integration projects, we have created standard, pre-configured data integration setups that can allow you to setup to jumpstart your Salesforce – Microsoft Dynamics integration project. Feel free to get in touch with me to hear more, or simply download our e-books.
About the author
With over 25 years’ experience in strategically propelling businesses forward, Henning is considered a business development entrepreneur with a passion for transforming businesses, sales and marketing operations through out-of-the-box thinking, concepts building and process automation to improve overall performance and scalability.