Defining your Target Market in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

March 13 2014 11:51 by Jackie Brajner
The first step to a successful marketing campaign is defining your target market.  A target market can be defined into different segments by demographics, geography or products.  Once you have designated your target market, your marketing message and activities can be customized to the target market.  In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, you will need to define your target market in a marketing list prior to launching a quick campaign or marketing campaign activities.   To create a marketing list click on the New icon.    A new view will open. Fill in the details for the marketing list.    Below are definitions of each field. Name: The name of your marketing list. Type: Static is a manual list where members of the marketing list are added manually based on a query or look-up.  Dynamic is an automated list where members are added when they meet the query rules.  Purpose: The reason for the list. Source: Where the members came from, i.e. internal database or purchased. Currency: This is a locked field based on the currency (monetary) type. Cost: The cost to purchase the list, if applicable. Locked: The list can be locked so the owner of the list is the only one who can modify it. Targeted At: Defines the members of the list as accounts, contacts or leads.  Modified On: This is a locked field that shows when the list was last modified. Last Used On: This is a locked field that shows when the list was last used. Owner: The owner is the user who created the list or is maintaining the list. Description: This area can be used to provide additional information on the marketing list.  Notes: This area can be used for notes or thoughts on the marketing list. Once you have completed all the fields click Save.     You will now be able to add members to your marketing list by clicking on Manage Members.    A new window will open where you can choose how you want to add members to the list.  In this example we will use Advanced Find to add all Wisconsin (WI) contacts to our member list. Select “Add using Advanced Find” and click Continue.    The query view will now open and you will select the state equals WI within the query parameters and click Find. Your query results will now be shown and you have the option to add all the search results or only selected results.  In this example, we will select “Add all the members returned by the search to the marketing list” and click Add to Marketing List.   The members have now been added successfully to the marketing list in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.  The marketing list can be applied to multiple marketing campaigns or quick campaigns.  Contact us today to schedule your Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 training:  800-880-1960 or   

Productivity Tip - Microsoft Dynamics CRM Outlook Integration Features: Part 3 – Using the Quick Step Feature

February 19 2014 15:44 by Doreen Bridges
For those of us who spend quite a bit of our day in Outlook managing email communications, I would like to share a tip on how to easily transition an email into an activity which can then be tracked in your Microsoft Dynamics CRM database. Flagging an email is a very helpful Outlook feature; however, it falls short when you need to track these items in your Microsoft Dynamics CRM system.  The email message is added as a to-do in the task section of Outlook and the email can be tracked in CRM, but you do not have a record of the action you performed on the email.  To transition the email message to an activity, you can create a custom task using Quick Steps.  In the Quick Steps area of the ribbon, scroll down until you see the Create New command.    In the Edit Quick Step dialog enter a name for your Quick Step like, “Create a Task.”  Click on the drop down arrow in the Choose an Action field.  Scroll down and select create a task with the text of this message.  Notice there are many other actions available to choose from to help you with managing your email.     You can select a shortcut key and enter a tooltip in the Optional section of the dialog, then chose Finish.     Now we are ready to use our newly created Quick Step.  As an example, you receive an email inquiry from a customer which requires you to do some research before you respond.  You may not have enough time to do the research immediately, so it would be helpful to create a task that will be linked to the contact record in CRM.  Select the email from your inbox, and select our new Create a Task Quick Step.      Your email message will be converted to an Outlook task and you now have the option to track the item as a CRM task or phone call.  The Set Regarding feature allows you to link this to the actual entity in CRM like the contact record.  The activity is now visible in the CRM system and can be completed so the email message and the next action are both recorded.  This feature will help you stay organized with the tasks you need to complete and also provide an easy mechanism which tracks all activities back to your Microsoft Dynamics CRM database – it’s a win,win!

Top 3 Productivity Transformations for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

February 12 2014 11:10 by Fred Varin
Microsoft Dynamics CRM has always offered many productivity tools inherent with its unmatched Microsoft Outlook integration and stellar sales automation.  With the latest release, Microsoft CRM 2013 is taking productivity to a whole new level.  Below are my top three productivity enhancements in MS CRM 2013: 1. The auto-save feature gives an instant user benefit:  no more worries about losing data.  The auto-save is performed in the background every 30 seconds or any time a form is closed. 2. The inline editing feature allow a user to perform fast edits and new entries into the main view without requiring navigation to the entity.  See your account information and make inline changes or add a new contact, a new opportunity or a new case.    3. The guided process feature is phenomenal in simplicity yet powerful in results. It gives you a visual as to where you are in respect to an account allowing for predefined and customized phases to be filled and viewed instantly. For the sales person, this is a very quick way to make sure all steps are implemented and tracked with speed.  The guided process is not limited to a single sales process and can accommodate multiple selling processes.  Productivity is only one of the core enhancements of this latest release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM continues to steadily distance itself from less innovative competitive CRM products with every new release.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 represents a true transformation of the CRM experience and its focus is on simplicity. Productivity is only one of the core enhancements of this latest release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM continues to steadily distance itself from less innovative competitive CRM products with every new release.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 represents a true transformation of the CRM experience and its focus is on simplicity.

Quick Tip: Working with multiple tabs using Microsoft Dynamics CRM in Internet Explorer

January 20 2014 10:29 by Fred Varin
When using the Microsoft Dynamics CRM web client, you can customize your experience using your browser settings.  The program can be used with Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari; however, in this example, I am working with Internet Explorer.    When working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, I prefer to work in one browser window even when I need to review multiple forms in CRM.  I am able to accomplish this by using the multiple tabs view in Internet Explorer.  Here is a quick review of how to update your settings to view multiple CRM ‘tabs’ within one browser window.   1.     In Internet Explorer, select Internet Options located in the Tools menu.  2.     Click on the Tabs button.   3.     Next you must select two options from the list of checkboxes: a.     When a pop-up is encountered: > Always open pop-ups in a new tab b.    Open links from other programs in: > A new tab in the current window.       Microsoft Dynamics CRM is highly flexible to adopt to the way you work.  For more tips, sign up for our quarterly CRM newsletter.  Send your contact information to us at  

What’s New - Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013

January 13 2014 13:55 by Dan Boehm
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is the latest innovation in CRM technology from Microsoft.  They listened to feedback from thousands of users to improve the CRM experience.  By bringing in full multi-browser compatibility, a true smart phone experience and a complete tablet experience, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 has paved the way for a complete CRM experience. For most users, the most important thing is the look and feel of the CRM system.  Below are the areas we will review:  ·         New User Experience ·         Dashboard View ·         Company View ·         Opportunity View With Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, you will experience a new modern look and feel.  The user experience has been simplified to help eliminate visual clutter so it is easier to find exactly what you are looking for. Dashboard View:View the current activity within your organization by glancing at charts and checking out the recent activity in the CRM dashboard.  Check out your sales pipeline, analyze your incoming leads by referral source, gauge the status of your top customers, and review the activities of your colleagues, all in a single view. Company View:View all of the important information about your client by looking at the new account form.  In a single screen, view who has been in contact with this account and what kind of issues they have been experiencing. Opportunity View:Keep tabs on your potential sales or the opportunities of your team.  Keep your sales on track with the new customizable process feature which walks you through each stage of your sales process.    Interested in learning more?Talk to one of the professionals at TopLine Results to find out how you can take advantage of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 to help improve your internal processes — call us at 800-880-1960 or email us at

Five steps to implementing goals in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

December 9 2013 15:23 by Fred Varin
In the book Good to Great, author Jim Collins introduces us to the concept of the economic denominator as a tool for measuring a company’s success.  An economic denominator for your company can be defined in many different ways. In practical terms, the economic denominator is a metric which measures a company’s performance in relationship to its goals.   As a starting point, you must choose a customer relationship management (CRM) system which incorporates goal tracking.  Microsoft Dynamics CRM is one such system which features a comprehensive goal tracking component.  This is an ideal platform to track performance for individuals in your organization and allows you to identify and track the key activities or economic denominators.   Follow these steps for successfully tracking your goals in CRM:    1.     Define and test your goal attributes a.     Are your goals quantifiable? b.    Are your goals time bound? c.     Are they targeted? d.    Is there accountability for meeting goals?   2.     Define your economic denominator a.     Keep it simple.  Finding an economic denominator takes a great deal of reflection and you may never be quite satisfied until you test the results and effects on your company. b.    Aim to find the metrics relevant to each department. c.     For each company or department ask which factor has the single most impact on your company performance.  This is an indication of the economic denominator for that area.   3.     Below are common metrics which can be tracked using the Microsoft Dynamics CRM goal module.  a.     Sales i.      Total sales ii.     Number of new sales   b.    Activities i.      Number of calls, appointments ii.     Number of demos iii.    Number of quotes, new opportunities iv.    Number of service calls   c.     Cases i.      Number of cases resolved   4.     Tracking the overall resultsIn Microsoft Dynamics CRM you can aggregate the results of a team in a single company or department.   5.     Tracking goals in Microsoft Dynamics CRMOnce you have identified your metrics and agreed that they represent the best traceable measure for your organization’s success, start identifying the CRM data to be used in goal tracking.   To learn more about implementing a CRM-based goal tracking system in your organization, please contact us at

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Outlook Integration Part 2

November 27 2013 13:31 by Doreen Bridges
Continuing our discussion on Outlook integration, another favorite CRM feature I would like to introduce is the “Convert To” option located in the CRM group of the Home ribbon in your Outlook inbox.  This feature allows the user to take immediate action on a specific email message.  Simply choose to Track the email message, select Convert To and you will be able to start an Opportunity, Lead or Case.  How easy is that?    The Opportunity, Lead or Case form will then open directly within Outlook.  Select your options on the form and continue working through your email messages without switching back and forth between applications – a real timesaver.  Stay tuned for more posts about Outlook integration features with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  Contact us for CRM training options,  

Trials, trials, everywhere!

November 15 2013 10:47 by Kimberly Goulet
Did you know that you can do a trial run of almost any CRM software or addon? It’s a great way to test out the product first-hand and see whether it will work for you.  During the trial period, you can install the software on your computer or test it on your web browser using real scenarios that you may encounter in your line of business.  Enter your contacts, send out emails, track activities – see how it works.  Test drive TopLine Dash for Act! to build your own dashboards and learn how it can enhance your ability to track your organization’s sales performance.  Download the trial of TopLine Designer to add great customization to the Act! interface, such as customer service or financial management tabs. Most free trials run for 30 days.  Below is a list of our most requested free trials.  If you are considering a new CRM or addon, don’t miss out on this great opportunity to try before you buy! Microsoft Dynamics CRM Act! for Web Saleslogix TopLine Dash for Act! v16 TopLine Designer for Act! v16 Swiftpage emarketing (for Act! & Saleslogix) If you have questions on how to get started, please contact us at 

CRM Data Imports: Remove Duplicates

November 4 2013 11:52 by Dan Boehm
Before importing data into your Act! or Microsoft Dynamics CRM system, you should always make sure the data in the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet you are importing does not contain duplicate records. For example, if you look at the sample import file below, you will notice that Lance Parker is listed twice.  If your spreadsheet has a lot of duplicate rows, then you will benefit from a simple Microsoft Excel feature   1.     Select a cell within the data set from which you want to remove duplicates.  In the example above, click anywhere in a cell which contains data. 2.     Click on the DATA ribbon tab at the top. 3.     Click on Remove Duplicates from the Data Tools ribbon group.     4.     Ensure that the “My data has headers” checkbox is checked. 5.     Select only the columns which you want to check for duplicates.  For example, if I only wanted to remove the duplicate records for the First Name and Last Name columns, then I would only check those two boxes.  This means that the data in the other three columns doesn’t have to match and Excel will still detect the duplicate record based only on the data in the columns selected. 6.     Click OK when you’re ready and it will remove any rows that are duplicates.     Now you know how to remove duplicates using MS Excel.  If you need assistance importing data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM or Act!, send an email to

Flexible CRM

September 5 2013 09:32 by Fred Varin
You may often hear that a customer relationship management (CRM) system is very flexible, but what should you look for when someone tells you that a CRM is flexible? Here are six things to consider:  1.      User flexibility: Adoption is key for the success of any CRM implementation. The more intuitive and easy-to-learn, the more likely it will be quickly adopted. In addition, the richer the interface, the more fun and productive it will be to use the system. The best systems have many ways to complete the same task, which offers you more flexibility in adapting to your preferred workflow. For example, you may want to add a contact in CRM from MS Outlook or you may do so from the account level. Either way the contact will be in the database, but the flexibility that comes with multiple options may bring higher productivity.    2.      Mobility flexibility: Many systems claim to have mobility, but look closer and make sure that these mobility solutions provide ALL the information a sales person or customer service person will need once in the field or on the road. Often contacts are easy to get, but what about the rest of the information which you need to access? Does the CRM allow you to track emails you send on the road the same as it does when you are in the office? Does the CRM allow you to view all the important data you need prior to an appointment or call? Does the mobility solution allow you to search effectively? Does the mobile solution allow for off-line access to your CRM? These are all considerations you need to explore when assessing a solution.   3.      Customization flexibility: To what level can you customize the system in order to meet your business requirements? Two key questions are (a) do you have the ability to do these customizations yourself, and (b) will these customizations be available across ALL devices for ALL users? Some CRMs claim to be industry-specific. These are CRMs you need to be most cautious about in that they may do a few things very well, but when it comes to customizing the system for your business processes you may well be out of luck. Your best bet is to choose a robust CRM with "add-ons" tailored to your industry. For example, Microsoft CRM is a solid CRM that also offers a wide range of "add-ons", some of which are industry-specific.    4.      Reporting flexibility: Dashboards, Microsoft SQL Reporting Services (MS-SRS), Excel and other reporting add-ons will give you the greatest flexibility in reporting. Does the CRM under consideration provide you with options that allow you to create reports that are easy to build and meet your business requirements?   5.      Integration flexibility: This is a very important topic and one that often guides the decision process. For example, if you are a Microsoft-powered company you will want to make sure that a potential CRM system can talk to all the tools you have, such as MS Word, MS Excel, MS Outlook, MS SharePoint, MS Dynamics GP and other ERP solutions. Should you need to integrate with other systems, always explore the underlying database technology used to power the CRM and understand its compatibilities.  6.      Implementation flexibility: May I move my CRM from "the cloud" to on-premise (meaning on your own servers) or from on-premise to a private cloud (meaning with a CRM partner or other datacenter)? This is an important consideration when purchasing a system as it will define (a) if you will pay subscription fees forever, or (b) if at some point you can take the system and host it or have it in a datacenter of your choice, providing you with the ability to manage the system yourself. Beware of systems that do not provide any options here.   If you consider all of these elements and assess them against your business requirements and optimal workflow, you are sure to make a good decision about the CRM that will work best for you and your team. A trusted consultant who represents multiple CRM solutions can more objectively help you explore the CRM options that will best suit your needs and be the right long-term investment for your business strategy.