Thursday, May 30, 2013

MSCRM: Creating Mail Merge Letter Templates

Create a Letter Template for Global Use
* Determine for which entity (i.e. Account, Contact, Lead or Custom) the letter template should be created.

* From the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Outlook Client or the Web Client, select recipients(s) from the entity list view or from within a particular record and then click the Add tab.
* Click Mail Merge.
* Under Start with a: Select blank template since you are creating a new template.
* Under Merge: Select Selected records on current page.
* Under Select data fields: Click on the data fields button. This is where the fields that can be inserted into your template are chosen. Note: fields from entities that are related to the entity for which the template is being created are also available to be added to the template.

* Microsoft Office Word will be automatically opened.

Click the Add-In tab and click on CRM.
* Follow Microsoft Word’s Mail Merge wizard panel:
* Choose Recipients
* Insert the date, address block, body of the letter and signature and format appropriately.
* Complete the merge by printing.

Note: If the mail merge was initiated through the Outlook Client, you will have an option at this point to automatically upload the Template to CRM. If the mail merge was initiated through the web client, you need to save the template (XML file) and then go into Settings, Templates, Mail Merge Template and manually upload the saved template.

In both cases you will now need to make the template available to the Organization. Go to Settings, Templates, Mail Merge Template, Select the New Template, Drop Down on More Actions and choose to Make Available to New Organization.

The letter template is now available to be used. When you go back into to do a mail merge using this template, in the first page of the wizard, under Start with a: select Existing Template.

Note: If a mail merge is initiated through the Outlook Client, you will have an option after completing the merge to create a letter activity at that time. If a mail merge is initiated through the web client, you will need to manually create a letter activity.

MSCRM: Implementing Activity Feeds

Activity Feeds are a Microsoft Dynamics CRM version of a LinkedIn or Facebook home page where it displays recent 'activities' or updates related to those entities in which you choose to follow. It provides an event-driven view of changes in your Dynamics CRM. A new lead is created, an account is reassigned, a case is resolved, an opportunity advances through the pipeline: these are all examples of the kinds of events that can be surfaced through feeds. They, however, are not social CRM and have nothing to do with social media. The current release is intended for an “internal audience”. It exposes information about Dynamics CRM records to Dynamics CRM users.

Some of the features are as follows:
* A What’s New area is added to your Workplace area.
* Share an insight with your colleagues or update your status
* Edit your personal profile and add a photo
* View who and what you are following in the Activity Feed area
* See other user's status updates

Activity Feeds are composed of the following components: Wall, Post and Follow.

The wall is where the activity feeds are shown activity feeds. Users all have a personal wall, which is what you see when you click What’s New at the top of the Workplace. Records can also have a wall – not surprisingly referred to as the Record Wall. If an entity is configured to have a record wall, you can access it by clicking Record Wall in the form navigation. You can enter a personal status in the Text Box at the top.

Posts are what make up your activity feed. Every item appearing on a wall is a single post record. Part of the power of the activity feeds implementation comes from this architecture: post is an entity. You can create advanced find queries for post and create workflows with posts and posts can trigger workflows.

If a record type is enabled for activity feeds you can follow it. For example, you might follow an account or an opportunity record that you’re particularly interested in. If you follow a record, any post made on that record’s wall will appear on your personal wall as well.

Most record types now have Follow and Un-follow buttons on the ribbon; they will only be clickable if a record type is enabled for feeds.

Configuring Activity Feeds

Activity Feeds are included in a managed solution package. Depending on your deployment scenario, you may or may not have to import the solution package from the Dynamics marketplace and import it before you can use them. In this case, nothing is configured automatically, and you will need to configure activity feeds.

Generally, activity feeds are included automatically in your organization. In this scenario, activity feeds (Configurations) are enabled for several entities, and post rules are activated for the lead, opportunity, case and dialog record types.

After the solution is imported, you will see two new options in the System area of Settings: Activity Feed Configuration and Activity Feed Rule.

Activity Feed Configuration

Activity feeds are configured on a per entity basis. Basically, in order to enable activity feeds for an entity, you need to add a configuration record for it. After installing the solution, for example, you can follow these steps to enable activity feeds for the Lead entity:

* In the Navigation Pane, click Settings, and then click Activity Feeds Configuration.
* On the ribbon, click New. The Post Configuration form appears.
* Type lead in the Entity Name field, and select the Enable walls… option.
* Click Save & Close, and then publish the Lead entity as instructed.

You can enable activity feeds for most record types, including: Contact and Account, Lead, Opportunity, Case. Activity records such as Task, Appointment and Custom entities.

When setting up a post configuration (i.e., enabling an entity for activity feeds), you cannot browse to the entity – you need to type it in.
After enabling feeds for an entity you can follow it and you can post updates on a record’s wall (assuming the Enable walls… option is selected). You can also select multiple records and follow them all at once.

Activity Feed Rules

By itself, enabling activity feeds (i.e., creating a configuration record) for a record type doesn’t do anything except gives users the ability to follow records of that type. In particular, it doesn’t specify anything about the events that might cause posts to get pushed out automatically. That’s the job of rules.

Rules specify when posts will be automatically created for certain record types. You cannot create rules. Currently rules can only be created by the system, and they are only created for certain record types! Suppose you followed the steps in the previous section and enabled activity feeds for the Lead Entity. If you then click Activity Feeds Rules, you will see a New Lead created and A Lead has been qualified Rules which are automatically created.

Some items to consider considering rules:

* You cannot create rules yourself – there’s no UI to create or manage them. The system creates them automatically, but only for certain record types.
* Case, opportunity and lead all have post rules automatically created, as do the activity types task, appointment and phone call.
* Custom entities can be enabled for feeds, but they do not have any post rules created automatically.
* For the rules the system creates, you can activate or deactivate them, and you can also delete them.
* Post Configurations can be deactivated or activated. If you deactivate a configuration (e.g., for opportunity), any associated rules are deactivated. If the configuration is then activated again, ALL rules for that entity will be activated (even in cases where they are not all activated the first time you configure the entity).
* Configurations can also be deleted. If they are, any associated rules are deleted.

You can also follow Users. When a User is followed, the rules that are activated above will post items to your wall when the User you are following also makes changes to those entities.

MSCRM: Teams and Queues

Teams are a convenient way to group users who work together on sets of records in Dynamics CRM. Teams can own records and are assigned security roles the way that users are assigned security roles.

To create a new team, click the Teams link from the Administration page in the Settings area. Give the team a name and make sure it is linked to the correct business unit.

Teams in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 can own records. It’s also possible to assign security roles to teams which will allow customers to manage overall security at a team level, rather than a user level.

When a team is created, a queue for that team is automatically created.

Routing your work with queues
You can use queues to manage your activities and cases. There are two types of default queues:

*Items available to work on. This folder contains active cases and activities that have been assigned to you, but that you have not yet accepted. This can include e-mail messages that you have received.
*Items I am working on. This folder contains cases and activities that you've accepted and are currently working on.

Items can appear in a queue for several different reasons:

*E-mail. E-mail sent to an individual appears in that person's Items available to work on view. Public queues can also have an e-mail address.
*Assignment. Records move into a person's Items available to work on view when other people assign those records to them. You can also assign an item to yourself.
*Workflow. A workflow can place items into both public and private queues automatically.

When you've finished working on a record in a queue, you can resolve it, close it, reassign it, or remove it, depending on the type of record and what needs to happen to it next.

Follow these steps to assign a case, activity, or other record in the Queues list to yourself, or to another user:

* In the Navigation Pane, click Workplace, and then under My Work, click Queues.
* On the Actions toolbar, in the Queue Items drop-down list, select Items available to work on.
* In the list, select one or more queue items that you want to assign.
* On the Queue Items tab, click the Work On button.
* In the Assign Queued Items dialog box, do one of the following:
* To assign the selected items to yourself, select the Assign to me to work on radio button. Click OK to close the dialog box.
* To assign the selected item to another user, select the Assign to another user to work on radio button and Click the Lookup button. In the Look Up Record dialog box, in the View drop-down box, select the view you want. In the Search box, type part or all of the name you want, and then click the Search for icon. In the list, select the name you want. Click OK to close the dialog box and save the name.
* Click OK to close the Assign Queued Items dialog box.

Note: If you assigned the queue item to yourself, it is now available for you to work on. You can see all items assigned to you in the Items I am working on view.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Crystal Reports : Combining Text

You can actually insert data fields into text fields onto your report. This helps make text fields look "cleaner". We'll use a Starting Date and Ending Date as an example:

You'd like to have the text "From {Starting Date} to {Ending Date}" on the report header.

Step #1 : Create an empty text field and insert it onto the report.
Step #2 : Insert both the Starting Date and Ending Date fields onto the report.
Step #3 : Click into the text field and type in "From ". Make sure you type a space at the end.
Step #4 : Now drag the Starting Date field directly onto the text field. You should see a text cursor appear (a vertical line) within the text field. This is where the data field will be placed.
Step #5 : Click into the text field again and type " to ". Again, make sure to provide a beginning space and ending space.
Step #6 : Now drag the Ending Date field directly onto the text field. Position it using your text curaor as a guide.
Step #7 : Resize the text field to assure that the whole string can be displayed properly.

The result : Your text field will now read "From 12/01/2008 to 12/31/2008". Combining text and data this way assures the spacing between "From" and "to" is always accurate.

Crystal Reports : Anticipating the "(all)" choice within a Parameter

It's very often that we see a (for example) "UserID" Parameter in a Crystal Report. This would typically allow the end user to select the proper UserID that should be used by the Select Expert.

So, our Selection Criteria would look something like this (assuming {?UserId} is the name of our Parameter:


And this is great, as long as you only want to select one UserID at a time. You could even go a step further and configure {?UserID} to "Allow Multiple Values", in which case the end user could choose any combination of UserID's for the report to Select.

However, what if you want an easy way to select "all" UserID's? I've found great success with providing an (all) item in the Parameter value list. You then test {?UserID} for the presence of the "(all)" string, and if you find it, circumvent the rest of the Selection Criteria.

This is easier than it sounds. Simply add an (all) item to your Parameter Value List, then use the following code in your Select Expert;

IF {?UserID} <> "(all)" THEN {SALES.USERID} = {?UserID} ELSE TRUE

So what we're saying here is test {?UserID} for "(all)", and if you DON'T find it, use the Parameter normally. OTHERWISE, say "TRUE", which is a trick you can use within the Select Expert to force it to "skip" a portion of itself. So if it find the "(all)", it should return all records.

Try it!

Crystal Reports : Percentages and Formatting

When creating a formula that should return a percentage value, you will need to format the field correctly to get the "%" sign to properly show.
Right-click on the field in question, select Format Field.
Click the "Display Currency Symbol" checkbox.
Click the "Customize" button.
Click the "Currency Symbol" tab.
Change your currency symbol from "$" to "%".
Then change the "Position" to "-123%".
This forces the percentage symbol to appear at the end of the numerical value.
This will give you percentages thus: "87.22%".

Crystal Reports : Specifying your Group Sort Order

When selecting sort options for your Group, select Specified Order. Notice that a Specified Order tab appears when you do so. Simply choose in which order you’d like your Group printed. This is helpful in situations (for example) when the Group named "Thirty Days" must come before "Sixty Days", yet "Ninety Days" must be the last. Note that neither Ascending nor Descending order will solve this problem.

Crystal Reports : Drawing Attention to Summaries

The Crystal Universe, indeed the reporting universe can be condensed into two brutal distinctions; Lists of Stuff and Information About the Lists of Stuff.

An example of "Stuff" in this context could be a list of Activities, a list of Customers, a list of anything. An example of "Information about the Stuff" would be a summary, i.e. how many Activities, how many Customers.

The point I'm trying to make here is that there are really two types of Report Consumers (those who receive and act upon Data Reports); the ones who need the list of Stuff (to make calls, perhaps) and those who need the Stuff Summary (management, say).

So when you're writing a report, this means you should have two audiences in mind. There is the worker bee, who lives and dies by their list of calls to make. There is also the queen bee, who needs to know what's happening with these calls in order to plan for the future of the hive.

Here are some easy but effective ways to structure the cosmetics of a report to service both audiences simultaneously.

1. Use Boxes. (Insert | Box) It might sound stupid, but the simple usage of a box drawn around a block of Summary information can help management quickly flip through a report to glean it's information.

2. Use Indentation. In those cases where you are providing a list of records (and Grouping them), don't be afraid to Indent the "meat" of the report and leave the Group Headers left-justified to provide an outline-like look.

3. Use Different Font Sizes. Nothing looks worse and is harder to read than a report with 100% identical fonts and font sizes. Using different sizes and shapes of data on your report allows you to provide structure to an otherwise maddeningly boring list of words.

4. Consider Using a Separate Page for Report Summaries. In cases where Management and Sales care about vastly different things within a report, completely separate them. Force a page break before the Report Footer and reserve it for the Management "dashboard" of the report.

This may seem like much ado about nothing. But Real Estate is always at a premium within the Crystal Designer, and these simple tricks can help you maximize readability without sacrificing usability. Try it!

GoldMine : The Philosophers Stone and Real Life

Okay, so stick with me on this. Way back in human history, before the copper in a penny was worth more than the penny itself, the big idea was changing lead into gold. It seemed so easy, as these two elements were so alike; dense, heavy and soft. It seemed just a matter of time before we figured out how to transmute one into the other. Alchemists looking to do this were to be labeled in search of the "Philosophers Stone".

But this never happened. Even though it seemed maddeningly simple. What does this have to do with GoldMine? Because in my line of work, I see this daily; the search for the Philosophers Stone. Good folks with successful businesses seeing this bucket of Customers, Leads, Appointments, Sales, Forecasts, Reports, etc. Looking to transmute it into gold.

It seems so easy and within our reach, doesn't it? All we have to do is run these items through our Philosophers Stone and out the other side comes gold, right?

But there is no Philosophers Stone. There is no magic bullet.

The mistake I'm trying to draw your attention to is the mistake of seeing your CRM system as the highest level, being in and of itself your total business. I have been in hundreds upon hundreds of meetings in my career, and have seen the wild excited eyes of many a sales manager, feverish with the prospect of AUTOMATION and STEAMLINING.

The real mistake I see made is these fine folks will try to bend and shoehorn their current processes into whatever CRM tool they happen to be buying. Automating for the sake of automation. Streamlining a process that doesn't really exist, existing only for the sake of being streamlined.

Okay, hotshot, so tell us what's good. Tell us what works. How can all this be wrong?

When you think about your business process and pipelines, think about it as a "standalone" system, independent of any software or computers or staff.

For instance; before you force people to start storing values like "Suspect", "Prospect" and "Customer", make sure that everyone knows what those words mean in the context of your process and pipeline.

Or this classic pitfall; requiring all sales staff to track a Source for each Lead and then doing nothing with that data. Think on what Source means to your process and pipline, not what it means to GoldMine.

GoldMine is simply a tool, a companion and complement to a business process that should already be there. And if you're new to GoldMine/CRM and new to your own business, that's fine (and very exciting). Just be sure to take the time to really think about what it is you're doing; don't get caught up in the software for the software's own sake. There are easier ways to turn Lead into Gold.

GoldMine : Alarms and What to Do With Them

You undoubtedly know that you can Alarm any GoldMine scheduled item. And that's great, but how do we deal with Alarms when they "pop"?

When an Alarm pops in GoldMine, you have the following options to choose from:

1. Clicking "OFF" will remove the Alarm from this specific Activity.

2. Clicking "Snooze" will snooze the Alarm for the period of time you select when prompted.

3. Clicking "Ignore" will Snooze the Alarm for one minute.

4. Clicking "Suspend Alarms" will stop all Alarms from popping until you restart GoldMine.

Pro Tip of the Day : When Alarming scheduled items in GoldMine, resist the temptation to Alarm EVERYTHING. Because when everything is Alarmed, Alarms cease to mean anything. Or something Zen like that.

GoldMine : Drag and Drop to Link Documents

The Links Tab, your constant companion! Did you know that it can accept files via drag and drop?

You can easily drag and drop any windows file into the Links tab on the Current Contact record to start the linking process. When you do this, you'll be presented with the "Linked Document" window. All you need do now is give your Linked Document a name, then hit OK.

Many users find this way much easier than right-clicking within the Links tab to create a "New" link.

Pro Tip of the Day : When linking documents to a contact record, make sure that you're linking from a publicly available path. This way, other users can launch and use the documents you have been linking. 

GoldMine : Getting a Count of Records within the Search Center

The Search Center. It looms mightily in it's own tab, prepared to help you search for a contact or build a list of contacts.

Did you know that the Search Center can perform some stupid pet tricks?

1. You can add columns by clicking the "Columns" button, going to "Column Selection" and selecting what you want to see.

2. You can add multiple levels of search criteria by clicking the "plus" sign on the right hand side of the Search Box.

3. You can sort your Search Center by easily clicking on the column headers.

4. You can export your list to Excel by right-clicking and selecting Output to | Excel.

5. And finally, you can see a count of the records within your Search Center by right-clicking and selecting "Summary".

Try it out!

GoldMine : Click-Drag to Schedule

Ah, the GoldMine calendar. The pinnacle of human software development; a panacea of unrealized efficiency! But why, oh why, is it so complicated to add a simple item to it?

Here is how your average bear might schedule an Appointment in GoldMine. And then we'll see how to do it easier.

1. Find the Contact Record you wish to schedule against.

2. Select Schedule | Appointment from the top level menu.

3. Plug in a Date, Time, Reference and Notes. Hit Ok.

Now, that may not seem like the proverbial rigamarole, but trust me, if you have to do this multiple times a day it can get annoying.

A better way is to Click-Drag the Appointment on your Calendar. Like this:

1. Find the Contact you wish to schedule against and open your Calendar (to the Day or Weekly tab).

2. Left-click Drag out a portion of time on your Calendar.

3. You'll be thrown immediately into the "Schedule an Appointment" window. You'll notice that the time and date are already filled out. All we need to do now is specify a Reference and some Notes.

Shaving a few click off might not seem like much, but it does add up!

Pro Tip of the Day : When using this method, you can always change your Activity Type to something other than Appointment by selecting it from the drop down in your Schedule window.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Zoho CRM - "Garbage In - Garbage Out" - Its success is found in Pronouns and Reports!

Zoho CRM - Customer Relationship Management
What does that really mean?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Customer relationship management (CRM) is a model for managing a company’s interactions with current and future customers. It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize sales, marketing, customer service, and technical support.

Blah blah blah.....

What good is any system if the information in it... is garbage?

But how do you ensure the users of A CRM system don't get lazy, just forget or simply run out of time to enter the data into THE CRM system?  Why would anyone want to spend their time doing "Data Entry Work" when they're busy working?  You know...doing real work, cold calling, managing quotes, negotiating, traveling to meetings and oh yeah....actually selling and delivering your company's value proposition....and CLOSING NEW BUSINESS.

Data entry work simply adds more work to an already oversold workday.
Not to mention, "the information will just be used to find every thing done wrong" perception.  Surely, there has to be a way to get everyone on the same page and working towards a common goal of real quantitative and qualitative performance and prosperity.

The answer is found in the pronouns.

A Customer is "My Customer", and Relationship is "My Relationship", and Management is "My Management".  So too with "A CRM system".  For it is "MY CRM System".   Forget "There is no I in Team" doesn't apply here.

Relationships are personal to each individual.....not to a team.  Everyone in "My Company" has a direct relationship with "My Customer". My Company, My Customer, MY CRM system.  Starting to see a selfish pattern here?

Being selfish with regards to relationships with revenue driving customers is the key.  Everyone in "My Company" has a unique and personal relationship with each other and "My Customers".  When you're assume ownership of your actions, your intentions and of your own results!

So how does being selfish drive quantitative and qualitative results?  Simple....In the reports!

Show each user how they can use their own CRM reports to set and forget their daily and future activities.  Show them how to prioritize their work on a daily basis.  Show them how their own reports will help them focus on more profitable activities for them. Show them how their reports will prove their own successes and commissions.

So to avoid "Garbage In - Garbage Out" with your CRM system...teach them to be selfish...but demonstrate the Quantitative and Qualitative Team aspects using Group reports. This is how you combine all the "I's" back together again to build a Team.

Remember the old saying in sales?

Sell Yourself
Sell Your Company
Sell the Product

It all starts with being selfish...just like a CRM system.

Zoho CRM has powerful report capabilities that few use effectively.

Manage each individual Rock Star...but build a team with CRM Reports!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

MSCRM: Adding your Outlook Contacts to Microsoft Dynamics CRM

A client recently asked, “How can we get our Outlook Contacts into Microsoft Dynamics CRM?”

After the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Outlook client is installed and configured, you can use the Add Contacts Wizard to copy your Outlook contacts to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

The following information was found on the Microsoft site:

The Add Contacts Wizard takes your Outlook contacts and creates contact records in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The wizard also links your Outlook and Microsoft Dynamics CRM contact records.

Outlook does not include different contact forms for people and businesses. You enter both in the same type of contact form. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, information about people and information about businesses are kept in different types of records:

*Contact. These represent individuals who purchase products or services, or who are employees of accounts. A contact may also be a person who is involved in a business transaction, such as a supplier or a colleague.
*Account. These represent companies that your organization does business with, either as customers or suppliers. Accounts can have contacts and sub-accounts associated with them and can be used to track competitors and vendors.

The Add Contacts Wizard adds your Outlook contacts as Microsoft Dynamics CRM contact records.

Before you start adding your contacts to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, do some optional organizational and clean-up tasks in Outlook to make it easier for you to select contacts. This also helps make sure that Microsoft Dynamics CRM adds the information correctly. Perform all of these tasks in Outlook:

* Set up color categories and use them to sort your contacts. At least use categories to mark your private contacts or mark contacts that you do not want to add to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Or, you could use categories to group contacts that you want to have in Microsoft Dynamics CRM that are not from one company or domain.
* Verify that you used the name and spelling in the Company field consistently.
* Add a new Contacts folder to sort your contacts. For example, use a folder to hold all of your contacts that are businesses and not people.
* Remove or merge duplicate entries.
* Add contacts from other e-mail systems, such as Hotmail.
* Mark your private contacts as private.
For more information, search Outlook Help for "color categories," "contacts," and "duplicates."

To run the Add Contacts wizard:
1. If you have Outlook 2007 installed, on the CRM menu, click Add Contacts.
If you have Outlook 2010 installed, click File. Then, click the CRM tab, click Import Contacts, and then click Add Contacts.
2. Review the overview, and then click Add Contacts.
3. If you have more than one contacts folder, select which Outlook contact folder you want to use and click Add Contacts. Otherwise, go to the next step.
4. Select how to group your contacts.

* Company Name. This is a free-form text field in the Contact form. Grouping requires an exact match. For example, Microsoft Dynamics CRM will not group together contacts with "Microsoft" and "Microsoft Corp" for their company.
* E-mail Domain. This is the part of an e-mail address after the @ symbol. For example, in the e-mail address, "" is the domain. You can group all of contacts with e-mail addresses with the same domain together.
* Categories lists any colors and labels that you have set up to organize items in Outlook.

5. By default, Advanced options are shown.

* Use Company Name to be the Account. This check box is selected by default. If the Outlook contact record contains a company name, Microsoft Dynamics CRM creates or links an existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM account record to the contact record.
* Track all communications for added contacts. Select this check box if you want to track and link e-mail messages to and from the contact to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM contact record. This also links appointments.

6. If you want, click Advanced to switch to the Basic Import options.
7. Clear the check boxes of the items or groups of contacts that you do not want to add.If you want to review the list of specific contacts, click the item or group in the list. When you are done, click the Close button.
8. If you selected the Basic Import option, you can select an account record to link to the contact record in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In the Set Account column, click the row for the contact record that you want to link. Then, click the arrow to make the link one of the following ways:

* Leave the field blank (Not Set). If you want link the contact with an account record later in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, open the contact record and then select an account or parent customer record to link to the contact record.
* Click Use Company Name to have Microsoft Dynamics CRM create and link an account record based on the company name field of the Outlook contact record.
* Click Pick Existing Account to select an account or contact record to link to the new Microsoft Dynamics CRM contact record.

9. If you selected the Basic Import option, in the list, under Include Communication, clear the check box of each item if you do not want to track and link e-mail messages and appointments to and from the new contact record in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
10. Click Add Contacts.Microsoft Dynamics CRM adds your contacts. A summary page displays showing the total number of added contacts, accounts, e-mail messages, and appointments.
11. Click Close.

MSCRM: Creating a Dialog Process

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, there is now a new process that can be defined called a Dialog.

Dialogs present a wizard-like UI and always require user input to start and run to completion. They always run synchronously. They cannot be triggered automatically. They must be started by a user. They can be run on one record at a time and can call child dialogs and pass information to them.

Dialogs provide the ability to create wizard-style processes inside Dynamics CRM. Here are a few examples of what you can do with dialog processes:
* Create guided selling or service processes, with a series of questions guiding representatives through otherwise complex sales/service processes.
* Create wizard-style substitutes for traditional forms-based record creation.

The basic constructs of the new Dynamics CRM dialog processes are one or more pages, which provide the visual experience for the user. Each page can contain multiple sets of prompts and responses. Prompts and responses always go together. Pages, and prompt/response pairs, are the most fundamental difference between workflow and dialog processes: they present the user interface and gather the information that the rest of the dialog process can use to do whatever it needs to do.

In the example below we will create a simple dialog to create a case record. The dialog process will be written for the Account entity, with the goal of simplifying the process of creating a new case record for an account that already exists in your Dynamics CRM.

1. Click Settings on the site map, and then click Processes in the Process Center section.
2. Immediately above the Processes grid, click New.
3. In the Create Process dialog, provide the following information:

a. In the Process Name field, type Create Case for Account.
b. In the Entity drop-down, select Account.
c. In the Category drop-down, select Dialog.
d. In the Type section, select the New blank process option.

4. Click OK. The Process Design form opens.

Note: There is no Options for Automatic Workflows section. This is because dialogs must be started by a user. The As an on-demand process option is selected by default. If you de-select that option, and save and close the dialog…you will notice when you open it again that it’s been selected again.

Adding Pages, Prompts and Responses
1. In the Step Editor, click the line that says “Select this row and click Add Step“.
2. Click the Add Step drop-down, and select Page. A Page component will be added.
3. With the cursor on the highlighted “Select this row and click Add Step” line, click the Add Step drop-down, and this time select Prompt and Response.
4. Click Set Properties. The Define Prompt and Response dialog appears. Provide the following information:

a. In the Statement Label field, type Case Title.
b. In the Prompt Text field, type Enter a title for the case.
c. In the Response Type drop-down, select Single Line.

5. After entering the information, click Save and Close. The dialog closes and you return to the Step Editor. Notice that the text you entered in the Prompt Text field is automatically added in the Description field for the step. You can change it in either the Define Prompt and Response dialog or the Step Editor.
6. Click Add Step, and select Prompt and Response again. This time, provide the following information in the Define Prompt and Response dialog:

a. In the Statement Label field, type Case Description.
b. In the Prompt Text field, type Enter a description for the case.
c. In the Response Type drop-down, select Multiple Lines (Text Only).

7. Click Save and Close. You will return to the Step Editor.

Creating a Record with Information Gathered in a Dialog Process
1. Click on the Page step, and click inside the text box, where it says “Type a description here”.
2. Type Gather Case information.
3. Make sure the Page step is still selected (the entire Page block should be highlighted in blue), then click Add Step and select Create Record.
4. Click the drop-down to the right of Create and select Case.
5. Click Set Properties. The Process form editor opens.
6. With the cursor in the Title field, click the Look for drop-down in the Dynamic Values section of the Form Assistant, and select Case Title in the Local Values section of the list.
7. Click the Add button in the Dynamic Values section.
8. Click OK. The Title field is populated with Response Text(Case Title), which when the dialog runs will contain the text the user entered when prompted for Case Title.
9. Click inside the Customer field. In the Look for drop-down, select Account, which is the primary entity for the dialog process. Notice that Account is automatically populated to the second drop-down list. Remember we are selecting a value for the Customer lookup field on the Case form, and the only values that can be entered are account or contact lookups.
10. Click the Add button.
11. Click OK. The Customer field is populated with Account(Account). This is process design notation for “the account field (from the account entity)”.
12. Click inside the Description field. In the Look for drop-down, select Case Description in the Local Values section, and then click Add.
13. Click OK. The Description field is populated with Response Text(Case Description).
14. Click Save and Close to return to the Step Editor.
15. Click inside the Create action’s Description field, and type New Case.
16. Click Save and Close, to return to the Processes grid. With the Create Case for Account dialog selected, click Activate.
17. In the Process Activate Confirmation dialog, click OK, and your new dialog is ready to run! Go to a specific Account record and select Run Dialog.

MSCRM: Using Quick Find to find records in a View

Even with the sorting features in views, sometimes it can be time consuming to manually look for a particular record, especially if the view contains a large number of records. To help address this concern, Microsoft Dynamics CRM includes a Quick Find feature that allows you to search for records by using keywords or wildcard characters. You can find the Quick Find search box above the grid and to the right of the view selector. To use it, enter a search phrase and press Enter on the keyboard or click the button with the magnifying glass to start the search. Even though Quick Find is simple to use, there are a few tips and tricks that will help you find records more efficiently.

*Your system administrator can configure Microsoft Dynamics CRM to search for matching records across multiple columns. For example, you could search for particular contacts by name, phone number, or email address. You can even include custom data fields as part of the search criteria.

*When you enter search text, Microsoft Dynamics CRM will search for the value as it is entered. By default, it will not search for partial records. For example, if you search for a phone number by entering 555-1212 and the contact’s phone number is (312) 555-1212, Microsoft Dynamics CRM will not consider that a match. It will return only those records that have 555-1212 as the start of their phone number.

*Of course, there will be times when you don’t know the exact value you’re searching for. In these cases, you can enter an asterisk (*) as a wildcard character in your Quick Find search. In the previous example, if you did not know the exact phone number, you could search for *555-1212 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM would find the (312) 555-1212 matching record, plus any other records that ended with 555-1212.

You can enter the wildcard character anywhere in your search criteria: at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end. If you can’t find the record you’re looking for, be sure to try different combinations with the asterisk wildcard. Note that the Quick Find feature is not case sensitive in its searches.

*If you start a Quick Find search when you’re working with a specific view, such as My Active Contacts, you might expect that Microsoft Dynamics CRM would search for matching records only within the My Active Contacts view. However, Quick Find always searches for matching records across all active records for that entity. Quick Find ignores inactive records.

To filter records within a specific view, you can click the letters that appear at the bottom of the view (also referred to as the index bar). Clicking a letter will update the view to show only those records whose entry in the current sort column starts with the selected letter. For example, if you’re looking at the My Active Contacts view with the records sorted by City and you click B in the index bar, Microsoft Dynamics CRM will show you only those records in which the city starts with the letter B. If you then click the Full Name column to sort by that field and click the letter C in the index bar, Microsoft Dynamics CRM will update the My Active Contacts view to show only those records in which the Full Name entry starts with the letter C.