Best Practice

MS Dynamics CRM

VERBUND x gorelate

22. December 2022

Theres Baumgartner

gorelate has implemented a CRM project for the energy company VERBUND. With Dynamics 365, the sales process was digitalised and document creation automated. The result: Huge time savings and practical simplifications for users when creating offers and contracts. Tobias Haberler and Thomas Winkler from VERBUND and Marie-Luise Zwischenberger from gorelate provide insights into the project.

Insights into the project

Starting point & decision to collaborate with gorelate 

VERBUND Energy4Business already had a CRM system installed, but used it mainly for documentation purposes – the work processes as such were not mapped. Therefore, the project starting point was to find a new CRM that covers the entire sales process and supports users in their work. Tobias Haberler, System and Applications Manager at VERBUND, explains: "We carried out a proof of concept and a market analysis – in the end, the decisive factor was that Dynamics 365 delivered the best overall product for us." For Thomas Winkler, Product Manager at VERBUND and in charge of requirements management for this CRM project, the software’s main benefits are its flexibility and versatility: "All automation processes that help our users to move forward in digitalisation work great with the system." There were several reasons for choosing gorelate as implementation partner: "In the beginning, we had to rely on recommendations as we did not have any experience. In addition, local proximity played a role and the fact that with gorelate we had the chance to work with people who clearly already had experience in the energy sector," says Haberler.


The implementation

In close coordination with the CRM project team, gorelate mapped a large part of the sales processes in Dynamics: "We created business process flows for the different product groups to support the users, from the preparation of offers to the closing of contracts," says Marie-Luise Zwischenberger, Consultant & gorelate lead for this project.

Preparation of offers

VERBUND Energy4Business GmbH is active in B2B energy trading, with a significant share of its operations consisting of the marketing of electricity from renewable energy generation plants. Almost all of this product family has already been mapped in the CRM via a business process flow and is processed there by the sales team. This includes, for example, the pricing process: When the sales team wants to create an offer, all the data required for the price calculation must first be entered into the CRM. Through the interface to the pricing tool, the data is passed on at the push of a button. After calculation, the prices are returned to the CRM to ensure that they are included in the offer. “During the different stages of the business process flow, it is verified whether all necessary data for the next process step is available, for instance data which will then be needed by the pricing tool,” explains Marie-Luise Zwischenberger.


Luise, what are the benefits for the users?

„The users are really supported during the data input: They are informed if there is some data missing and they cannot proceed to the next stage unless all necessary data has been entered into the system.“

Luise Zwischenberger

CRM Consultant

From offer to contract

The offer itself is created using the document creation process (DCP) which is integrated into Dynamics 365. As soon as the offer is ready, it can be sent directly from the CRM to the potential customer. If the customer accepts the offer, the contract data record will be created in the CRM. Once the contract-relevant data has been added, the user can then generate the contract document. "The entire business process flow for generating offers and contracts also works for combined offers. For example, the sales team may create an offer for the marketing of several wind farms and the potential customer can still view the individual parts of the offer through a splitting function. This has been implemented perfectly," says Marie-Luise Zwischenberger. She also points out the SharePoint integration: Offer and contract documents are stored directly on SharePoint. The SharePoint integration is also used to import data. For example, there is an Excel template which the customers complete with data on their wind turbines. The data can then be transferred to the CRM automatically as a part of the business process flow.

User benefits

„For me, the configuration of the products has turned out particularly well. Each product undergoes a certain process which is then stored in combination with the product or product family. Based on their product selection, users are immediately shown the correct business process flow that guides them through the sales process," explains Zwischenberger. She also highlights the document allocation feature: Different templates such as offers or contracts are allocated to a product – a model contract can be created as early as at the offer stage of the process.

Thomas, what challenges did you face during the project?

„The challenge was to find the precise sweet spot between: What does our key account manager want in the system? And: What can the system even do? In other words, we had to find a middle ground so that everyone could work well, the key account manager as a user and the system. And then there is also a third party – the operational departments that want to use the data, and of course they also have requirements. Bringing these three parties to the table required a lot of preparation and a lot of coordination.“

Thomas Winkler, Product Management VERBUND Energy4Business

Outcome & successes

The big outcome of the project was automation and digitalisation: "Before the CRM was introduced, in particular our offer and contract process was very manual. There were few to no digitalised processes. The CRM has made this 100% better," says Thomas Winkler. Document creation and pricing requests now run automatically – the data is fed into the pricing tool and the price information can then be applied again to the offer and contract. This saves the staff an enormous amount of time. In addition, documentation has become more efficient, for instance you can see at a glance whether tasks have been completed or not. "Another technical highlight I would like to mention are the interfaces," says Marie-Luise Zwischenberger: "The interface to the pricing tool as well as to other internal systems, where the data now flows directly back into the CRM." For Tobias Haberler the main benefit is the better overview of sales activities: "I now have a system in which it only takes a few clicks to see what happened in the last few weeks and which customers want more services from us."

What works better now, Tobias?

„The work on the CRM will never end, but the users who are using it at the moment are for the most part highly satisfied and very pleased to work with this system.“

Tobias Haberler, System and Applications Manager VERBUND Energy4Business

Way of working

With the exception of a few personal meetings, the entire project was implemented remotely. "But that didn't harm our cooperation – quite on the contrary! Everything worked extremely smoothly – in particular because we had weekly coordination meetings and were flexible enough to organise additional meetings if necessary," says Marie-Luise Zwischenberger: "That's what makes a project fun!" For Thomas Winkler, too, it was the regular coordination meetings and, above all, the personal support that made the difference: "Our requirements were always implemented quickly and to our satisfaction. Luise has almost become like an employee of our group – this close cooperation is very special.

Would you recommend gorelate to others?

„For our project, gorelate has been a real godsend and I wouldn't want to do without our cooperation. We can talk to the implementers personally. gorelate has expertise in many very helpful areas. And most importantly, we have built up a good personal relationship."

Tobias Haberler, System and Applications Manager VERBUND Energy4Business

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