As we demo Dynamics 365 Sales + Marketing, the Power Platform, and Cobalt’s specialized CRM solutions, more and more people are asking: what is Power Automate? For years, Power BI has gotten the most of the limelight for the Power Platform offerings — and no surprise, given what it empowers teams and decision makers to do. But as automation for sales and marketing software becomes increasingly critical for organizations, Power Automate is becoming more of a standout option. Let’s dig in to what you’re wondering: What is Power Automate?
What is Power Automate (in non-marketing language)?
Microsoft describes Power Automate as a “a service that helps you create automated workflows between your favorite apps and services to synchronize files, get notifications, collect data, and more.” But—what does that actually mean?
Power Automate is one of the five Power Platform business applications (Power Pages was added as the fifth application in May 2022). The other applications include Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Virtual Agents. All of these applications are designed with the entire Microsoft stack in mind—meaning a seamless, we can’t even truly call it an integration—with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales. (If you aren’t sold on Dynamics 365 Sales yet, read more on it here, and then let us show you around the platform in an hour or less.)
Organizations of any size can use Power Automate to “level up” their Dynamics 365 Sales environment—i.e. add sophisticated, custom-code like automations that make a system feel custom built, but without any help from a developer.
The best part? Power Automate comes completely free with Dynamics 365 Sales.
Business users can build no-code automations that connect their D365 Sales environments to other Microsoft or third-party applications using one of the thousands of pre-built connectors. However, if your organization has a more technical IT team, Power Automate can also be used to build complex API calls—again, at no additional cost.
Power Automate’s drag and drop designer enables users not only to build the automations in the first place, but also gives them the ability to update them at any time. Want to add an additional approval step to your approval flow? No problem! Want to update the information you send from your Dynamics 365 Sales environment to your third-party email marketing tool? That’s completely doable within a lunch break.
Now that I’ve gushed about Power Automate for too long—here are five reasons your sales team needs Power Automate, along with real-life business problems solved by automations organizations can implement in 15 minutes or less.
Reason #1: Power Automate Approval Processes
Director of Sales needs to approve the final quote before a deal can close.
Power Automate Example: The Account Executive clicks a button on the opportunity in D365 Sales that sends an email to the Director of Sales. The email includes all relevant information about the deal, along with the ability to approve the deal right within the email.
Why this is helpful: Many organizations need a sales manager to approve a sale before contracts can be sent out. Approval flows allow salespeople to send an approval request straight to the manager’s mailbox—they can even approve the deal within the email with a click of a button. We all know how important momentum is when trying to close a deal. Real-time approval flows can eliminate bottlenecks.
Interested in the actual set up of this flow? Read more about it here.
Reason #2: Power Automate’s Internal Notifications Improve Efficiency
The Sales & Marketing departments are always in need of customer references and case studies from current customers. The operational departments (Support, Implementation, etc.) survey customers on an ongoing basis, but those survey responses are siloed within those departments.
Power Automate Example: Email the Director of Sales when a customer voice survey response has an NPS score of 9 or higher with information about the responder so they can easily reach out.
Why this is helpful: Ongoing surveying is extremely important to truly keep in step with client attitudes and needs. Microsoft has a great surveying tool that we love—Customer Voice. Here at Cobalt, we send larger surveys after a project is completed and smaller surveys after a support ticket is closed. The sales team isn’t sending any surveys—but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to know the results.
However, it can be difficult to for people to navigate a system they don’t use very often. An email notification about a high NPS score with information about the responder makes it easy for the Sales team to reach out, without needing to continuously monitor a system they rarely need to log into.
Interested in learning more about Customer Voice? Take a look here.
Reason #3: Power Automate Connectors & Integrations Bring Business Operations Together
The Marketing Department uses HubSpot Marketing, but the Sales Department uses Dynamics 365 Sales. Because the Sales team is constantly doing outreach, the information in D365 Sales is very reliable. However, because D365 Sales and HubSpot Marketing don’t talk, the Marketing team is constantly having to manually update HubSpot data based on D365 Sales.
Power Automate Example: Update a contact’s email address in HubSpot Marketing when it is updated in Dynamics 365 Sales.
Why this is helpful: Organizations often use disparate systems for different business operations for a variety of reasons—cost, usability, etc. However, the data in each system needs to be up-to-date, otherwise it can affect day to day operations and revenue. Power Automate has connectors to hundreds of third-party systems that can keep data in sync without any manual intervention
Interested in how Dynamics 365 compares to HubSpot? Check out this comparison.
Reason #4: External Communications: What is Power Automate Used For?
When a customer needs to be invoiced, the Finance department goes into the CRM and manually inputs the invoice information into a template and sends it out to the customer.
Power Automate Example: When an opportunity closes in Dynamics 365 Sales, create an invoice with the information from D365 Sales prepopulated and send the invoice to the account’s main billing contact.
Why this is helpful: Manual data entry can open organizations up to all kinds of mistakes. Invoicing a customer for $1000 instead of $100 can be detrimental to the important trust between a company and a customer. Automating the data retrieval directly from the source is an easy way to eliminate potential typos.
It is also important to ensure branding is consistent across all communications. We’ve all been in a position where you try to update something in an invoice before sending it out to a customer, and somehow the font is no longer consistent, and the margins have disappeared. Luckily, you can use Power Automate to populate a PDF with information from D365 Sales and send it out with the click of a button.
Interested in how to set up an automation that uses a word template? Learn more here.
Reason #5: Power Automate, Power BI, and the Power Platform: Made for Each Other
If the pipeline for a certain line of business drops below 2 million, the Director of Sales needs to rearrange sales resources to add more firepower. Otherwise, we may run into too many operational staff members without anything to do and too few operational staff members stretched too thin down the line. However, the Director of Sales may not realize how low the pipeline is until it is too late.
Power Automate Example: Alert the sales director when the pipeline drops below 2 million within a certain line of business.
Why this is helpful: Revenue forecasting is extremely important for organizations (watch our demo video on Opportunity Forecasting in D365 or the walkthrough I made about how to Optimize Your Sales Pipeline Management with Dynamics 365 Sales. It determines resourcing, hiring, budgets, etc. If the pipeline drops below a certain amount, leadership most likely needs to take immediate action. Luckily, these alerts are easy to set up with Power BI alerts.
What is Power Automate Desktop?
All the above scenarios use Power Automate Cloud, not to be confused with Power Automate Desktop. Power Automate Desktop is a free tool that allows you to record and automate tasks performed on your desktop. This is great for automating processes where a legacy system with no API is involved.
What is Power Automate in Teams?
Our examples above mostly involve email notifications, but don’t let that limit your imagination. If you would rather send and receive notifications from Microsoft Teams, it is as easy as changing the connector to Microsoft Teams. You can even send notifications to entire Teams.
What is Power Automate Going to Do for Your Team?
Power Automate is just one tool that can make your Dynamics 365 Sales environment feel custom built without any custom development. If you are interested in learning more about how Power Automate can increase efficiency and help your sales team close more deals, reach out to us today.