Product Catalog Makeover

Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows you to maintain a Product Catalog with multiple customizable price and discount lists for all your business needs. This allows your sales representatives to create quotes, invoices, and orders all from Dynamics 365.

In the latest Dynamics CRM 2015 update Microsoft has given its product catalogue a makeover to improve the experience for sales teams.

At the heart of these enhancements is the introduction of a new product family feature enabling:

  1. Territorial based pricing lists
  2. Product hierarchy visualizations
  3. Inherited product attributes
  4. Product Relationships
  5. Bundled products

1. Territorial based pricing lists:

In CRM 2015 sales teams can now link territories directly to price lists.

By doing so the appropriate price list is automatically set as default for opportunities, quotes and orders that are created in Dynamics based on the territory assigned to the sales person’s user record.

It’s an excellent solution for sales teams distributed across multiple regions and territories by ensuring the correct price list for their area is automatically applied.

2. Product Families & Hierarchies:

By using product families CRM users can more effectively manage, categorize and navigate the products and services in their catalogue.

The screenshot below shows a product family which represents the training courses that an organization delivers.

At the top of the hierarchy is a ‘Courses’ product. Below this sit three packages for which the organization offers courses for. A third level has been expanded to highlight two courses that are linked to one of these packages named PretX.

In this example, separate product families could be defined for other training solutions, or to manage other services which are offered by the company including consultancy, support or maintenance.

In CRM 2015 the product catalogue has been updated to include the new product families’ option.

The updated view details the new product types.

Click Add Family to create a new product family hierarchy.

3. Inherited Product Properties:

One of the most important improvements that Microsoft has introduced is the ability to set product properties that cascade down to each linked ‘child’ product in the family.

These are product attributes which enable sales people to refine the makeup of each product when they create a new opportunity. As a result, this reduces the need for sales people to consume time by creating new products on the fly.

Individual product properties can be set as mandatory to ensure a sales person completes these attributes when a product is added to an opportunity.

Several data types are available for each property / attribute:

  • Option Set – select from a drop down list
  • Decimal – set minimum and maximum numbers
  • Floating point number – set extended decimal place precision
  • Single Line of Text – set maximum character length
  • Whole number – without decimal placing

Some examples of product properties could include color, dimensions, version, weight and flavor. Typically these variants would not directly affect the product price.

Additional product properties can be set at any level. Products can inherit characteristics from multiple parents.

While it’s not possible to directly edit the properties that each product inherits CRM does include flexibility to make changes at a child level on the settings and the default values of these items.

This is achieved by opening a property entry shown on a child record and selecting the override option. Beforehand, the revise option will need to be selected on the parent record in the product family.

An impression of how product properties will appear on an opportunity can be gained by clicking the preview button in the ribbon.

4. Product Relationships:

Another product enhancement is the ability to select complimentary products and services to help sales professionals promote cross-sell and up-sell options, or even quote for accessories and substitute items.

By doing this it means Dynamics CRM is more prescriptive supporting sales teams in their efforts to increase order values and deliver better service.

The options that are defined in product relationships appears when a product record or a product bundle is added to an opportunity. These are shown as ‘suggestions’.

Depending on the option selected, product relationship suggestions can be set to two way (bi-directional) to make them refer each other, or one way (uni-directional) to reflect the defined hierarchy structure.

By creating a new opportunity user can see these new functions in action.

5. Bundled products:

Bundling of products function groups multiple products together enabling them to be sold at a more advantageous rate.

Using bundled products will also save CRM users time if they repeatedly add the same series of multiple products to their quote and then apply a discount.

A product bundle does not require a parent record. Individual items can be added to a bundle from one of more product families, or include products that aren’t linked to hierarchy.

As with all CRM products a price list must be associated with the record.

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