Probably one of the most fundamental reasons to connect Sitecore and Dynamics CRM is to provide the ability to track your contacts as they visit and use your site. It’s also imperative to provide custom experiences that reflect your relationship with your contacts and visitors, whether it be tailored content, unique product offerings or discounts, or directed follow up actions. Dynamics CRM and Sitecore both provide an excellent platform to not only manage content but to track the user experience.
Using the Dynamics CRM Connect module, linking the two systems is fairly simple. The installation guide is located here, and is pretty comprehensive in terms of adding the module to Sitecore. Configuration documentation is located here and outlines the steps needed to link the two systems once the modules are installed. I am going to highlight a few of the benefits from a contact stand point of linking these two systems below.
Dynamics CRM Connect allows you to specify rules in Sitecore based on parameters in Dynamics CRM. Specifically, you can set Market Lists in CRM and use those to drive user experience in Sitecore. This can be used in something as simple as restricting content or pages to a specific set of users to tailoring ad selection to contacts that are at a specific point in a purchase process. It also allows you to display things like a specific sales rep or reps to specific users as they navigate the site.
Probably the cornerstone of this connection though is the ability to pass information between Dynamics CRM and Sitecore. Depending on which way you want to pass data, there are two different connections available, both with default values and the ability to define custom values to sync.
If you are looking to synchronize values from Dynamics into Sitecore, there is a whole list of fields that are mapped by default (see here for details), while if you are looking to map custom values, the documentation to define these is here. A couple of thoughts on this. Since these values will be present in Sitecore, it becomes very simple to render these fields in personalization, to derive rules for content, or to provide drive logic on the site based on these values. An example of where you might want to use this is someone who has a preferred membership. You may want to display custom content to them, provide them with unique deals, and look to personalize the landing page for them to provide a better user experience. By mapping a flag on the Contact record, you can drive all this logic based on a value in Dynamics CRM.
The other option would be to sync values from Sitecore back to Dynamics. The default values that are mapped are defined here, with custom value steps being defined here. A great example for the use here may be that you want to make sure users who have posted 100+ times to your forum are noted in Dynamics CRM so your call center reps can make sure to note it. From there, it becomes very simple to track who your power users are.
These are just a couple of uses for the contact synchronization capabilities of Sitecore and Dynamics CRM, but you can see already there is a great potential with these two systems to monitor, track, convert, and retain customers as they visit your site and interact with your company.