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It's been quite some time since we've seen any enhancements to the Product Catalog in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. But wait no longer! The product catalog is getting a face lift. Here is an overview of the new features and improvements being included in the CRM 2105 release.
Product families provide a way to group, classify and categorize products for more streamlined product management. You can even view the family and child product relationships using the new CRM 2015 Hierarchy Visualization feature.
The new product structure includes: Product Families, Product Bundles and (individual) Products. Both bundles and individual products can be included in a product family tree. And don't fear, if you use kits, they are still available and have not changed.
Product bundles provide a superior way to group common products together to be sold with more attractive package pricing (using price lists). Bundles are similar to kits (which still exist and have not changed) but are greatly enhanced. For example, unlike kits, bundled products are visible to the salesperson on the opportunity, quote, order or invoices as they are entering line items. Additionally, the quantities and properties of the bundled products can be edited on the line items.
A limitation of bundles does exist. Because of the new ability to define and customize product properties, nesting of bundles isn't an option (adding a bundle within a bundle product). Nested kits are still an option.
Product properties can be created for product families. Product Properties describe attributes or values that apply to the products in the family such as color, size, user count, version, etc. These product properties are then inherited by all bundles and products created within the family and further can be updated by the salespeople when they are adding them to opportunities, quotes, orders and invoices!
Product properties can be created with the following data types: option set, decimal, floating point number, single line of text or whole number. They can also be set to read-only, required and/or hidden when viewed on the product line items.
Relationships between products can now be defined to facilitate cross-selling and up-selling by sales representatives! These relationships appear as "suggestions" for the sales reps when entering opportunity, quote, order and invoice line items.
Sales Operations Managers can create four types of relationships between products: Up-sell, Cross-sell, Substitutes and Accessories.
Now you can manage the state of products throughout the lifecycle of the product. Only Active products with valid price lists are available on opportunities, quotes, orders and invoices.
Sales operations managers can maintain products as they are be prepared for release. Available product status are Draft, Active, Under Revision and Retired. Revised product versioning exists to ensure that existing opportunities, quotes, orders and invoices are not impacted by products under revision.
With the advent of CRM 2015 sales operations managers will now be able to copy an existing product using the Clone button to create a new product. Save even more time using the Preview button to see how the product will be rendered from the salespersons perspective. No more creating a test opportunity to preview how line items will display!
The Configuration Migration Tool that was introduced with CRM 2013 is being enhanced to support import and export of the CRM 2015 product taxonomy.
As part of the new product features in CRM 2015, sales operations managers can now link CRM territories to price lists. This directly benefits salespeople by defaulting the appropriate price list to opportunities, quotes, orders and invoices created by the salesperson based on the territory assigned on the salesperson's user record.
All of these great new features in the CRM 2015 product catalog benefit the salespeople in your organization by making them more efficient when working with product line items on opportunities, quotes, orders and invoices! When used in conjunction with the new Business Process Flow enhancements in CRM 2015, there's virtually no limit to how much more effective they can be at getting your product or service out the door. Here's how these new product catalog features play out for the sales team:
Salespeople have the ability to review and update the property values defined for the product line item using the "Edit" properties hyperlink. For example, the salesperson could change the "color" property if a customer requests it. The line item cannot be saved if required values are not updated ensuring that no important line item information is missed during the opportunity, quote, order or invoice process.
Product suggestions are available for any product line items where product relationships have been defined. Click on the "Suggestions" hyperlink to pick products suggested for up-sell, cross-sell, and substitutions or as accessories. The items picked are added as new product line items.
All of the components of bundled products are visible as line items on the opportunity, quote, order or invoice. Properties and product suggestions are editable for both the bundle product and the components providing for great flexibility.
In the past there was no way to prevent the default pricing engine from overriding custom calculations on sales opportunities, quotes, orders or invoices. CRM 2015 includes a number of new system settings on a Sales tab in the System Setting area. These settings relate to the new product catalog features discussed in this blog, including the ability to override the default pricing engine. This means custom plug-ins can now be successfully implemented to support your organizations unique pricing needs!
Another help new pricing feature is the ability to define how line item discounts are calculated when using the default system pricing engine. Options are to apply the discount at the Line Item [(Qty*Price per item)*Discount] or Per Unit [(Price per item*Discount)*Qty].
Interested in learning more of the new features in CRM 2015? Look to our blog on the Top 10 New Features in Dynamics CRM 2015! For any further information on Dynamics CRM head on over to our education department where you will have access to webinars, boot camps and our very popular CRM Book!