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At the end of 2018, Microsoft released the Playbook feature for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales. Some might know Playbooks in PDF form for sales or marketing. As a Microsoft partner, we have access to a rich document library - including Playbooks for sales for Microsoft products. But what are Playbooks in detail? And what do they look like in Dynamics CRM? To keep it simple, Playbooks are guidelines for recurring similar situations in sales. These are meant to help optimize the sales process by applying best practice.

Playbooks in Dynamics 365

With the wealth of information available on the Internet at all times, it is the customer who determines the majority of customer journeys today. This makes it all the more important to design sales activities proactively rather than just reactively. Playbooks can provide clues as to what steps should be taken in the near future, based on the activities of the lead.

Playbooks in Dynamics 365 for Sales

Occasionally there are situations in which a sales opportunity with a high probability of closure is suddenly on the brink of collapse. The primary contact and decision maker leaves the company. In such a case, tasks and activities can be created automatically in order not to endanger the sales opportunity. In this way, the responsible sales employee can be assigned the task of identifying the new decision maker among the contacts of a company and making a first telephone call.

By the way, such processes can be perfectly automated with the LinkedIn Sales Navigator. If a contact changes his employer in LinkedIn, the synchronization ensures an update of the fields in Dynamics 365, which in turn triggers the Playbook and the creation of tasks or activities.

There are the following possibilities:

  • A Playbook can be configured for the entities Lead, Quote, Opportunity, Order and Invoice.
  • Event-based creation of tasks and activities.
  • Progress and success measurement of the Playbook.

Creation of Playbooks in Dynamics 365

Playbooks are only available via the Unified Interface. In the navigation under App Settings, there is a section called "Playbook Management". From there you can directly access the Playbook Templates and Playbook Categories.

We would like to create a Playbook for sales opportunities that have been downgraded from "warm" to "cold" in their rating. The goal is to make the opportunity "warm" again.

Playbooks Dynamics 365

The first step is to create a Playbook category. Name it accordingly and save the category.

Playbooks Dynamics 365

Now it is necessary to create a Playbook template.

  • As a category, we choose the one we just created.
  • For the name, we choose "Reactivate Opportunity".
  • With "Track Progress" you can choose whether the activities are stored directly under the opportunity or assigned to the Playbook record. If you select "Yes", the activities are stored under Opportunity --> Playbook Record --> Activities. If "No" is selected under Opportunity --> Activities.
  • Enter an approximate duration in which the Playbook should be "played through".

Playbooks Dynamics 365

After saving, you can select the entities for which you want to use the Playbook.

Playbooks Dynamics 365

We then create the activities for the Playbook. We create an appointment to discuss the status of the cold opportunity. Date and time are relative. This depends on the actual start date of the Playbook.

Playbooks Dynamics 365

Playbooks Dynamics 365

Next, we would like to create a telephone activity for the Playbook to contact the decision maker and identify their changing needs.

Playbooks Dynamics 365

Both activities are stored in the Activity Subgrid of the Playbook. Click "Publish" so that the Playbook can be used.

Playbooks Dynamics 365

The Playbook can then be started for an opportunity record.

Playbooks Dynamics 365

If you open the Playbook template record and click on "Monitoring", you get an overview of the activities created.

Playbooks Dynamics 365

Automated Triggering of Playbooks in Dynamics 365

By default, the Playbook must be triggered manually. However, it only becomes really interesting when the Playbook and thus the Playbook activities are triggered automatically. Such a scenario can be implemented with the help of a workflow. In our case, the Playbook should be triggered when the rating changes from "warm" to "cold".

The workflow should look as follows:

Playbooks Dynamics 365

The workflow is to be started when the field changes or is edited.

Playbooks Dynamics 365

For the Playbook record, the appropriate template must be selected and for Regarding, the opportunity must be specified using the dynamic content.

Playbooks Dynamics 365

The conclusion of Playbooks in Dynamics 365 for Sales

We were a little surprised that it is not possible to trigger Playbooks automatically. In our opinion, this should be a standard feature of Playbooks. However, with a little customizing experience, the workflows can be created quickly. Playbooks can be helpful to quickly react to tricky situations in sales. The prerequisite, however, is automation through workflows.