How to Become a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Consultant

This article is written for people with a passion for solving unique business problems who want to take your Dynamic 365 Customer Engagement (CRM) Knowledge to the next professional step- becoming a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Functional Consultant. 

Julia Yeh

Julia Yeh

Introduction

The career path to becoming a Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consultant can look different for everyone, but at the core of this role is the combination of deep Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement product knowledge and functional consulting skills. This article will breakdown what a Dynamics 365 CE functional consultant is, the roles and responsibilities associated with the position, and the variety of skills and the related Microsoft certifications associated with this type of position within the Microsoft ecosystem.

What is a Dynamics 365 Functional Consultant?

A Microsoft Dynamics 365 Functional Consultant is responsible for the configuration and implementation of Microsoft Dynamics 365 product solutions for customers. Due to the comprehensive suite of intelligent cloud-based business applications within the Microsoft Dynamics 365 software ecosystem, there are a variety of domain areas of expertise for functional consultants. However, the three central solution areas in Dynamics 365 are Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Power Platform.

Since the role of a functional consultant involves advising on the design and the execution of business solutions, they must have strong product knowledge to expand upon the out-of-the-box functionality of a product to meet certain business requirements. They advise on and configure a customized solution for enterprise business customers, in collaboration with interdisciplinary internal and external teams, including but limited to technical consultants and solution architects. Functional consultants are integral to the digital transformation success of a client and their business because they provide the rigorous business requirements analysis, translate these into technical specifications and implement customized, scalable solutions.

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What is Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement?

Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement (CE) is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) system and all-in-one business solution. It is a set of applications that are designed to integrate and consolidate customer relationship data and streamline a business’ sales, marketing and services processes. Dynamics 365 CE is comprised of four customer engagement applications:

  • Dynamics 365 Sales
  • Dynamics 365 Marketing
  • Dynamics 365 Field Service
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service

The above applications are built on Microsoft’s Power Platform. These applications can be purchased separately but are optimized as a wholistic system that streamlines and integrates a business’ customer relationship data and processes to help them better manage and improve their customer relationships and services. In conjunction with and due to the extensibility of Microsoft Power Platform, Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement applications provide enterprise businesses with a scalable cloud-based CRM system that is centralized and automated to better meet complex customer engagements.

The transition of CRM software solutions from an on-premise configuration to a cloud-based software solution facilitates greater data management, insights and process development for business, as the customer information is no longer tethered to a company server or isolated to a specific department or office location. Advantage of a cloud-based CRM like Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement is the ability to scale business processes since they are not restricted to an on-premise server. This is cloud-based software allows businesses to integrate and extend and automate business processes through applications such as those with Microsoft Power Platform to be able to establish data insights and configure intelligent business solutions.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Functional Consultant

Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consultants are responsible for designing and implementing customized Dynamics 365 CE solutions for customers across all applications listed above. This means they oversee the end-to-end solution design and are involved in the full implementation lifecycle which includes but is not limited to:

 

  • Advising clients on software selection – leverage business expertise and product knowledge to assist clients on selecting software suitable to their industry focus
  • Explaining complex cloud-based solutions – translate technical terminology and requirements into industry appropriate business language relevant to customers and stakeholders
  • Demonstrate products – exhibit products and solution features to clients
  • Requirements gathering – conduct workshops and sessions with clients or on-site to assess a customer’s business processes and methods
  • Fit/Gap analysis – drive the problem-solving process to identify gaps in a business plan to provide solutions on the implementation project or to clients
  • Application development and testing – design, prototype, and test the customized applications designed following the business requirements identified and aligned with the client and stakeholders
  • Customer support – assist with project and solution support activities throughout the software implementation and support end-user acceptance training

In order to provide clients with sophisticated and customized digital transformation business solutions, it is useful to have experience in the industries that the CRM applications are used for. Useful background experience for a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consultant can include end-user experience on Customer Relationship Management software, and industry experience in customer service, marketing, sales and field service. The professional experience from these industries provides you with specific industry and business process knowledge that can be applied to all stages of a Dynamics 365 CE project and will give you the necessary business expertise to identify, and design customized solutions for customers.

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Skills Needed to Become a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Functional Consultant

Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consults require a series of technical and functional skills as consultants on CRM software solutions. The role of a functional consultant requires a combination of technical subject matter expertise, business process acumen, and project implementation experience. Due to the scope of the Microsoft Dynamics Customer Engagement suite, the necessary skillset for a functional consultant within this CRM will vary by application. This means that a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consultant requires detailed experience and skills in either Dynamics 365 Sales, Dynamics 365 Marketing, Dynamics 365 Customer Service or Dynamics 365 Field Service, in conjunction with the broader skills listed below.

As outlined above, a Dynamics 365 CE functional consultant must be able to configure and implement cloud-based Microsoft CRM solutions. Therefore, the core technical skills relevant to this position include but are not limited to:

  • Product configuration of Dynamics 365 CE products in marketing, sales, and services
  • Microsoft Dataverse configuration
  • Tools and services configuration
  • Ability to create Microsoft Power Apps and the ability to integrate Microsoft Power Apps with other apps and solutions
  • Manage solutions

These core technical skills allow Dynamics 365 functional consultants to configure, extend and manage the software solutions, and can be expanded upon through application specific product knowledge and experience.

The functional skills for this position as a Dynamics 365 CE consultant therefore include but are not limited to:

  • Ability to present and drive business process analysis and design in marketing, sales and service
  • Knowledge of solution design and demonstration
  • Knowledge of project delivery methodology
  • Knowledge of solution and product mapping methodology

The above skills allow Dynamics 365 functional consultants to configure, extend and manage the software solutions, and can be expanded upon through application specific product knowledge and experience.

These skills are important to functional consultants as the process and methodology knowledge drives the design and implementation of a software solution. Having these skills enables you to analyze and communicate the problems and present solutions to customers and clients.

Consulting is a facilitating, and advisory role. Whilst product and solution knowledge are vital for any functional consultant on software solutions, there are several key soft skills that are necessary. Not only are Dynamics 365 CE functional consultants required to analyze, assess, and build CRM software solutions but they must also translate and communicate these solutions to clients, project delivery, and support teams. Soft skills useful to a functional consultant include but are not limited to:

 

  • Communication skills (written, verbal, presentation) – be able to speak with and engage clients in multiple mediums and relay requirements and solutions to implementation project stakeholders
  • Problem solving – use critical and analytical thinking to interpret business processes and problems into complex business solutions
  • Collaboration – work with internal and external stakeholders, project and IT teams, and clients
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What Microsoft Certifications Are Useful to a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Functional Consultant?

Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consulting involves driving complex enterprise CRM solutions and implementation projects. As a result of the diverse and complex business problems and processes CRM software can solve, functional consultants and gain exposure to and experience with many vertical industries and domains associated with the core Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement applications. Therefore, when considering how to leverage existing business acumen and consulting or developer skills, it is important to understand how Microsoft formulate the certification paths to becoming a Microsoft Certified Dynamics 365 Functional Consultant Associate.

This is important because the Microsoft certification pathway for Dynamics 365 CRM functional consultants requires two exams to earn the associate certification per individual D365 CE business application.

These business applications have their own certification exam:

MB-210: Dynamics 365 Sales Functional Consultant

MB-220: Dynamics 365 Marketing Functional Consultant

MB-230: Dynamics 365 Customer Service Functional Consultant

MB-240: Dynamics 365 Field Service Functional Consultant

This must be paired with PL-200: Microsoft Power Platform Functional Consultant in order to become a certified associate functional consultant in either Sales, Marketing, Customer Service or Field Service.

Given that Microsoft designed Dynamics 365 CE on top of Microsoft Power Platform, the PL-200 exam assesses the ability of a functional consultant to configure Microsoft Dataverse, create apps, manage two other Power Platform products, integrate these apps with other services and manage solutions. This exam allows functional consultants to demonstrate the fundamental technical skills necessary to customize and extend Dynamics 365 CE business applications using Microsoft Power Platform and show an understanding of the Dynamics 365 CE application ecosystem necessary for the design and implementation processes.

Conclusion

To become a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement functional consultant, it is important to understand that this position requires a synthesis of Microsoft CRM product and technical knowledge, with client facing soft skills. Differentiation for a D365 CE functional consultant can be achieved through Microsoft certifications to demonstrate certified associate skills in each specialist area of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement of Sales, Marketing, Customer Service and Field Service. These certifications demonstrate your ability and skills in one or multiple of these applications and industry areas that can leverage and extend prior professional experience in these domains. This product knowledge is strengthened further by a working knowledge of Microsoft Power Platform as it is integral to the Microsoft CRM system, and vital to being able to both configure and implement the solutions for a client to optimize and scale their enterprise business processes.

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