August 24 2015 11:31
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is truly a robust CRM system with many features. Therefore, new users often need coaching on how certain components can help with productivity. In this article, we will cover how to enhance your productivity when working with contacts in CRM. Adding an account and associated contacts is very simple and as in most applications, there are a number of ways in which this can be accomplished. Below are some additional tips for working with contacts.
Adding a primary contact
In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you can assign a primary contact for each account. To assign the primary contact, first create the account and add all the contacts. Next, in the Primary Contact field, type in the name of the person who you wish to designate as primary and press the enter key. Click on the contact name and press the enter key again and their name will be added. This simple step will enhance your productivity in the following ways:
· The primary contact is now visible in the default account list view.
· The user is provided with a hyperlink to quickly navigate to the primary contact record from the account list view.
Updating the primary contact
The primary contact may change from time to time. To update this information, click to make the field active, (do not click on the hyperlink) press the backspace key to remove the value from the field and type in the new primary contact as described above.
Primary contact details
Another great way to enhance productivity, is by adding the primary contact details to the account view in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This allows the user to view additional contact details for the primary contact right within the account form and take immediate action. Important Note: Adding the primary contact details to the account view (or other views) requires customization by the database administrator.
TopLine Results is a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Silver Certified partner and can assist your organization with consulting, training and hosting your CRM system in a private cloud. To learn more, call us at 800-880-1960.
August 15 2015 23:34
The highly anticipated new Windows operating system, Windows 10, has been released. After years of struggling with Windows 8, which was geared more toward tablet and mobile users, PC-based users are breathing a sigh of relief. Windows 10 seems to offer the best of both worlds – a familiar and intuitive Windows experience that long-time Windows users will appreciate, combined with a graphical, tablet-friendly experience for mobile users. Even better, the graphical ‘live tile’ functionality can be turned on or off for a customizable Windows experience. And, Windows 10 is free for Windows 7 and Windows 8 individual and small business licensed users for at least the next twelve months.* It is available for download now and will be distributed via Windows Update in the coming weeks. For Microsoft Enterprise business customers, there will be options to upgrade to Windows 10 as well.**
Along with Windows 10, Microsoft is introducing a new streamlined web browser – Microsoft Edge – which many say outperforms Google Chrome & Mozilla Firefox in terms of functionality, security and privacy. Also, coming soon is Office 2016.
If you are like me, you are champing at the bit to upgrade to Windows 10 and try out MS Edge, but don’t jump the gun. As a user of many business applications, you want to do your research and be sure that they are compatible with Windows 10 before you upgrade. If you are a TopLine Results CRM hosting customer, we advise waiting to upgrade until we notify you to proceed. As CRM advisors, we perform testing to ensure compatibility and to try to head off problems for our clients.
For more information about Windows 10 or Microsoft Dynamics CRM, subscribe to our email newsletter.
*Learn more about free Windows 10 upgrades here.
** Learn more about Windows 10 upgrades for the Enterprise here.
July 29 2015 08:15
Record level security in Microsoft Dynamics CRM refers to a user’s permissions regarding a record in CRM. First, below are a couple of definitions relating to permissions:
Entity – You can think of an entity as a database table. An example would be contact or account. Each “table” in Microsoft CRM is referred to as an entity.
Record – This is a single account, contact, activity, lead, opportunity, case or other entity with which you can open and work. For example, each individual contact in your database is considered a single record.
Privilege – A privilege refers to what you can do with a record. The most common options are create, read (or view), write, delete, append, append to and share.
Access Level – This is applied to each privilege to indicate what degree of privilege you have. There are a few options:
parent: child business unit
Business Unit – This is a hierarchical structure to which users can be assigned. A user can only belong to a single business unit in the hierarchy. There is always a root business unit at the top of the hierarchy with the same name as your database.
Record Owner – Most records have an “owner” field. The owner field must be set to a Microsoft Dynamics CRM user or team. This article only covers situations where the owner is a user. Since each user can only belong to a single business unit, we can safely say that each record belongs to a single business unit. An example would be for a contact. A contact can only have a single user as the owner. Since a user can only belong to a single business unit, we can say that a contact belongs to the same business unit to which the user belongs.
In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, permissions are set via security roles. See below for an example.
A security role is made up of many rows similar to the above. The entity in this example is activity. There will be rows for many different entities including accounts, contacts, leads and opportunities. The circles to the right indicate the user’s permission for records at that entity. The degree to which the circle is filled in indicates the access level.
A full circle indicates organizational level access, meaning that a user can perform this action for any record in the database regardless of the owner of that record. If you look at the example above, the read circle is completely filled in which means that a user who is assigned this security role can read every activity in the database regardless of the owner of that activity.
If the circle is empty, this indicates that the user has no access at all. In our example above, if the read circle was completely empty, this would mean that the user could not view any activities in the database at all.
If the circle is a quarter-filled, this indicates user-level access, meaning that the user can only perform this action on records where that user is the owner of the record. In our example above, the write circle is a quarter-filled, so a user with this security role can only write (or edit) an activity record where they are the owner of that activity.
If the circle is half-filled, this indicates business unit level access meaning that the user can only perform this action on records where that user, or any other user in the same business unit, is the owner of the record. If the write circle is half-filled, this would mean that a user with that role could edit any activity where they, or any other user in the same business unit, are the owner.
If the circle is three-quarters-filled, this indicates parent: child business unit level access, which is similar to the business unit level access. The difference between the two levels is that in addition to the ability to perform an action on your own records or the records of others in your business unit, you can also perform actions on any record where the owner is a user who is below you in the business unit hierarchy. This level would be a great option for a manager who supervises many other departments.
This article provides only a very high level overview of security in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, covering the most common area to manage security levels. However, keep in mind that there are many other aspects to managing CRM security. Setting the proper record-level security can a difficult task and making mistakes can cause headaches for your users. We recommend that you rely on an experienced Microsoft Dynamics CRM professional to guide you in your security settings. Contact TopLine Results for more information about CRM security, 800-880-1960.
July 17 2015 14:08
Many organizations evaluating a new CRM system are anxious about migrating data from their legacy system. This very real concern which can be mitigated if advised by an experienced implementation team. The best CRM consultants should be able to anticipate and address challenges before they occur. Some migrations are easier than others, but all can be accomplished with the right plan and team.
While migrating data from an Excel worksheet to Microsoft Dynamics CRM will seldom be an issue, the migration from Goldmine, Maximizer, Telemagic, Salesforce.com, SalesLogix (now called InforCRM), or an Access database is a lot more daunting! Of course, the more databases you have, the greater the complexity of the migration.
Before starting a migration, there are several decisions to be made. A trusted advisor should talk you through the following points:
1. What is important in your database? Do you need to keep all of your data (and do you want to)?
2. Who owns the data? Who will have access or ownership of the records?
3. Is the data "clean" and how will you avoid migrating "dirty" and duplicated data?
4. How long do you keep your legacy system up and running after cutting over to your new CRM?
In terms of keeping your data, you should expect to migrate all contacts, companies, notes, histories and opportunities. There is also a good chance you can keep your attachments. Activities may be kept, but are often converted into a history, so as not to interfere with a future Outlook integration. Legacy groups and queries may have to be recreated in your new CRM. In addition, Word templates may need to be copied over to your new system.
Data ownership and access may not vary from your legacy system to your new CRM. However legacy systems may not offer the same level of database security offered by the new system. Consequently, you may need to re-think how and to whom you share sales and customer service data. These should be intentional and explicit decisions. Your CRM consultant will help you implement these strategic choices.
In general, data migration is a detailed task. An experienced technical consultant will have learned many undocumented tips and tricks that will make a huge difference in how fast and successful a migration will be. For example, he or she will know how to effectively use cleaning tools and de-duplication protocols. A consultant can also help you decide how much of your legacy database you wish to convert.
After migrating to your new CRM, it is important to validate that the data transfer is accurate and complete. No system should be used in production until it has been thoroughly validated and cross-checked. If you find that data is missing or complete, your technical CRM advisor should be able to make corrections to the data before being used by the sales team. Even after checking for data gaps, some companies keep their legacy system running until they feel confident that the migration has kept all of their data. In our experience, one week should be ample time to verify that all is satisfactory. There should be some urgency to verify that legacy data is complete, so that confidence in the new system is ensured. On-going updates from the legacy system to the new system should be discouraged once the new CRM is in full production to avoid overwriting data entered into the new CRM.
While migrating data from a legacy system to a new CRM is not trivial, with the right CRM consulting and technical team, it can be a positive experience that helps you maximize the value of your new CRM investment! For more than fifteen years, TopLine Results has led hundreds of successful CRM migrations. Contact us for more information on migrating your system at email@example.com.
July 10 2015 13:24
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 is now available. Below is my review of the most beneficial new features and why you should upgrade today.
1. Improved Quick Find Search — You now have the ability to search for records no matter where you are in the CRM system. There is no longer a need to open the Contact View in order to search for contacts. No matter which screen you are on, you will see a search bar in the upper right corner of the screen. Simply type a contact name, account name, lead name or other search term and all of the matching records will appear. This one feature alone should convince you to upgrade.
2. Advanced Find Button — In prior versions of CRM, it was often difficult to locate the Advanced Find option, because it was hidden. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, it is now available on every screen. Located just to the right of the new search bar, click on the new Advanced Find button to launch and start doing more advanced searches.
3. Improved Contact and Calendar Synchronization to Outlook — Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 now brings the ability to view which contact, task or appointment fields are synchronized between CRM and Outlook. You can choose to not synchronize certain fields or choose to sync certain fields only one way. Simply having this view will help users control which information synchronizes and which does not.
For more information on these and other great new features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, contact us, firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 27 2015 17:31
Creating mail merge templates can save your company time when creating letters, labels and envelopes. You can create templates from Microsoft CRM 2013 or 2015 via the web client or in your Microsoft CRM database within Outlook. In part one of Creating Mail Merge Templates, we will review where to access and save templates.
Select the Settings tile from the main Microsoft Dynamics CRM menu.
Select the Templates tile from the Settings menu.
Click on Mail Merge Templates.
To create a new mail merge template, click on the New icon.
A new window will open where you can name the template, provide a description and associate the entity. Note, associating the entity dictates for which entity you can perform a mail merge.
Click the Save icon.
Once you have saved the template, your menu options will change. Select Create Template in Word to open a Word document and complete your merge document.
Watch for part two where we will review creating the mail merge letter and uploading it to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. If you would like more information on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, contact us at email@example.com or call 800-880-1960.
May 11 2015 14:04
Why should you work with a certified consultant for your CRM implementation? Outlined below are three of the most important reasons.
1. Experience. Many companies assume that because they have an IT department or work with an IT consultant, they do not need to hire a certified CRM specialist. While it’s true that most IT professionals are very knowledgeable and competent regarding computer networks and commonly used software packages, they often have not had a great deal of experience in CRM. With a successful CRM rollout, experience is key. A veteran professional who specializes in CRM can help an organization navigate the process to avoid pitfalls and keep the project within budget specs.
2. Support for IT. Information Technology department resources are often stretched thin. The department bares many responsibilities for the company’s operations and cannot devote a full measure of attention to the CRM implementation. Further, an in-house CRM system can require additional investments in IT infrastructure, such as servers and corresponding software, along with ongoing maintenance and support. A CRM consulting firm can supplement those in-house resources with technology and training support. In addition, hosting your CRM with a trusted partner, like TopLine Results, eliminates the need for costly infrastructure investments.
3. Knowledge. As a Microsoft Silver Certified Partner, TopLine Results has completed many hours of training and work dedicated to customer relationship management. Our team has passed rigorous exams and met annual requirements set by Microsoft to insure its partners are well equipped to counsel and guide organizations to a successful CRM solution. With experience, comes knowledge. For more than fifteen years, TopLine Results has led the way in implementing CRM for clients in wide-ranging industries – from financial services to manufacturing, and local governments to healthcare.
Experience, support for IT and knowledge – these are three keys to unlocking CRM in your organization. We will work together with your IT professionals to deliver a CRM system tailor-made to your organization. Call us to get started today, 800-880-1960.
March 30 2015 16:37
Microsoft has recently released its latest version of CRM, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015. This announcement celebrates the sixth version of the product since 2003 and demonstrates Microsoft's commitment to continually provide innovative, state-of-the-art technologies to customers. Today we will review how to use the Universal Search feature.
When you logon to CRM 2015, you will notice the site map now contains three functions that will remain static as you navigate throughout the system. Two of the functions, the Create and Advanced Find, which are not new, now appear in the main area.
Universal Search is new and will allow a user to perform a search across the main tables and organize the results by form as shown below. Each result is a hyperlink which allows you to navigate directly to the data.
This feature is a great timesaver as it reduces the number of clicks when searching for information. We are sure that you will enjoy this new feature! For more quick tips on using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, click here to sign up for our newsletter.
March 18 2015 14:58
While working in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, do you find yourself repeatedly creating new phone calls or other types of records? In version 2013 or 2015, you can easily create quick shortcuts for your commonly used MS CRM pages.
Start by going to the New Phone Call page by clicking on Quick Create button and choosing Phone Call.
Next, click on the Pop out button which will open your New Phone Call record in its own window.
The address bar in your web browser now contains a very long set of words and characters.
You can now either:
1. Save this web address to your browser favorites.
2. Or, click on the icon just to the left of https:// and drag that to your desktop.
Now every time you open that shortcut either from your browser favorites or by double-clicking on the desktop icon, it will launch the page you saved.
Remember, an important key for this shortcut is that you must go to the desired quick-access page in CRM and click on Pop-out button. You can save almost any page in Microsoft Dynamics CRM this way.
Contact TopLine Results at firstname.lastname@example.org for more ways to improve your productivity in CRM!
March 13 2015 11:50
One key differentiator among Microsoft Dynamics CRM and its closest competitors is deployment flexibility. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, businesses can choose from three powerful deployment options: partner-hosted, on premise, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM online.
For a large organization with abundant infrastructure and resources, this flexibility allows them the opportunity to compare and implement the most cost-effective solution, while leveraging their existing resources. When analyzing cost effectiveness of deployment options, it is important to consider all of the variables.
While it is fairly easy to evaluate costs such as software, software maintenance, installation and implementation; it is a bit harder to predict the cost of the hardware required to operate the CRM system along with the technical expertise required to maintain the system over time. In addition, future hardware and software upgrade costs must be considered.
For a small or medium size company with 10 to 100 users, the return on investment (ROI) for a hosted CRM solution is a very attractive choice. Choose partner- or vendor-hosted deployments to join the millions of CRM users in the cloud. At TopLine Results, we provide a partner-hosted option to our clients which includes many benefits over a vendor-hosted option, including personalized US-based service. Taking the time to compare your options is well worth the effort.
For more information or to receive a personal CRM comparison for your business, contact us at 800-880-1960.