Talking points in Dynamics 365 AI for Sales–Gotchas!

Introduction of Dynamics 365 AI has been a game changer in the field of Dynamics 365 and personally I have seen that mentioning this feature many a times drive the decision makers to choose Microsoft CRM over it’s competitors.

And if you are a Dynamics consultant, it’s obvious that you are have either read it or explored this feature yourself or may be just demoing this to your customer. And here I was demoing some of the features to my customer before being grilled specially with “Talking Point” feature of AI for sales.

This blog is not about configuring and setting it up but rather exploring how it works with various scenarios. Personally I find documentation related to these features in Microsoft docs not to be very detailed and your real life experiences are your best learning. Sharing some of them through this blog.

Although I will explain this feature a bit here but in case you want to learn more about this and how to configure it and get started, click here.

So what is this feature all about? Well, “Talking Points” feature is a great one for sales guys especially in scenarios where you haven’t interacted with your customers for sometime and you want to initiate a conversation. Talking Points is loosely termed as “Ice breakers” or “Conversation starters”. To put in Microsoft words – “In Dynamics 365 for Sales, Talking points provides a mechanism to automatically identify such conversation starters from your emails. The conservation starters include topics that are related to sports, vacation, family, and entertainment. These insights are available on the contact page.”

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So let’s see the common checklists you can verify in case talking points does not give expected outcome. Please note that some are documented and some are based on my personal observations based on the way functionality works as of time I write this blog. The logic may be changed by Microsoft with time.

1. Verify Connection graph is enabled

While this is one of the step mentioned in Microsoft docs, from personal experience I have seen consultants missing this step. To enable this, login with your office admin account and enable “Connection graph” from Settings –> Services & add-ins –> Dynamics 365 AI for Sales – Connection Graph and enable it.

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2. Email’s sent by you to your customer are not considered.

I believe it’s quite obvious. A sales guy may be sending lots of email to their customers and some of them may fall in the category of talking point. But that does not necessarily mean they can be conversation starters. So only the emails coming from your customer and falls in the category configured for talking points will be considered and shown in CRM UI.

3. It’s the description or email body that matters and not the subject (as per my observation)

Now this can be a confusing one. And honestly it came as surprise for me. So lets take the examples below.

Below one is the email from my customer to me updating me he saw me in football match yesterday.

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While this email appears when I enable the auto-capture feature in Dynamics, the same does not appear in the talking points section configured although it should have shown up in sports category.

The only talking point that appears now is about family.

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Now below is the next email in which the customer conveys the same message. But this time in the email body.

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And now when I open the contact record and check for the talking points section, it lists out as a conversation starter with the customer in “Sports” category.

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The reason why I put it “as per my observation” is because this is from my experience while setting this up for my customer. Didn’t find anywhere documented though. I would be happy if anyone could find me a link.

4. Talking points displayed are sensitive to the context of logged in user.

Well this one is pretty obvious. But it still gets a mention here because believe it or not, sometimes the simplest of stuffs baffles us.

Dynamics will display only the conversations that took place between CRM user and the contact. For e.g – in the talking points section, the logged in user can only see his/ her past interactions with the contact as conversation starters (provided they match the category). Not related to any role in Dynamics system.

Quite obvious right. No-one should be able to view your conversations with the customer.

5. If I have duplicate contacts with same email address, what would happen?

The answer to this is, it would show up in talking points for both the contacts as the conversation is being tracked based on email address only.

So this was my list. What’s yours? I would be happy to add it here. It’s a new area and loads of stuff to explore.

Hope this helps!

Debajit Dutta

(Dynamics MVP)

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