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The CRM world is evolving quickly, and Microsoft remains at the forefront of that evolution.

Doug Adams, Director of CRM for Microsoft, delivered the keynote address at the Customer Effective conference last week in Greenville, SC to an excited group of attendees.

While certain parts of Doug’s speech required that we put pencils down as he showed us a sneak peak of the exciting new features in the upcoming Dynamics ’13 release, the first half of his talk centered around the technology trends that are shaping the customer CRM experience.

The number of devices is increasing.  There are an average of 5 connected devices per household and the average person uses 4 different devices during the course of a day.  The takeaway: your software has to be everywhere you are.

Buyers are 57% of way through the buying cycle before they contact you.  The takeaway: they have done their homework, and it’s important to understand what they already know.

Social media has a place in the B2B sales process.  59% of B2B buyers engage in social media and Linked In email has a 67% response rate when you have a connection in common.  Cold calling has less than a 4.5% chance of getting through, and cold email a less than 3% response rate.  The takeaway: CRM needs social tie in.

Customers use social to interact with your company.  44% of consumers make a complaint to a company via social media and 20% of them expect a response within an hour.  The takeaway: CRM needs to inform of all forms of customer interaction.

These trends shaped the product enhancements to Dynamics CRM.  Having seen the demo with my own eyes, I can vouch for the authentically digital UI, modern feel, full cross-browser support and tablet access across operating systems (yes, Microsoft has finally acknowledged that iPads exist).

But perhaps the most impressive feature was the process UI, which quickly shows you which stage a deal is in and gives management confidence that certain steps must have been completed before the deal advances to the next stage.

Microsoft Dynamics ’13 is built for a more connected world that exists on disparate operating systems and devices, with UI improvements that improve the ability to track closing activities.

I know I echo the excitement of Customer Effective, the leading Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation partner, when I say that the new release shows just how much the product development teams at Microsoft are listening to customers and designing for how people live their lives, not for how they should be living their lives.