Creating a Query for Closed Opportunities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

February 15 2016 10:51 by Chuck Wojciuk
Visibility into lost opportunities is just as important as won and open opportunities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  Each plays a vital role in predicting your future sales pipeline.  Analyzing your lost opportunities allows you to change your sales strategy based on why you are losing opportunities.  For example, if you see a trend in lost opportunities from a referral partner, you may want to review your onboarding process of a referred lead.  This article will teach you how to view your closed-as-lost opportunities in CRM.  Because Microsoft CRM classifies the action of clicking Close as Lost as an activity, this opportunity query will be performed based on activities.  To start, first open the advanced find dialog and under Look for choose Activities.  Then you will want to select Activity Type equals and then choose the Opportunity Close activity type.      To be sure that you are only returning the most recent or final Opportunity Close activity for each opportunity, add to the query that the Activity Status equals Active. We will further narrow our query by showing only Opportunity Close activities where the Regarding (Opportunity) was closed as lost.  To do this, we will need to filter on Regarding (Opportunity) under the related section of a select statement.  We will then filter on Status equals Lost.  We can also add other Opportunity related filters such as Actual Close date and Opportunity Type. Select Regarding (Opportunity) from the related section of the select dropdown. Then click the select dropdown under the newly added Regarding (Opportunity) section. This will allow us to select Opportunity fields to add to the filter. Lastly, create the statement for Status Equals Lost.   Our query now contains all the Opportunity Close activities that are related to a lost opportunity.  We can also add additional filtering to give us better insight.  In the example below, we see my lost opportunity close activities in the last 90 days in Milwaukee. For more tips on using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, subscribe to our email newsletter.

Three Tips for Using Notes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

February 5 2016 19:05 by Fred Varin
Below are three quick things to consider when using Notes in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  Notes are available on both the Contact and Account level in CRM.  1.       Although Notes are available at both the Contact and at the Account level in Microsoft CRM, it is important to remember that notes entered at the Contact level do not natively appear at, or roll up to, the Account level.  Keep this in mind when recording notes in CRM.  If it is a note that applies to an entire account, you may want to record it at the Account level rather than on a specific contact.  Or alternatively, record the information on the contact as an Activity, which does appear on the account. 2.       As a workaround to this ‘roll up’ issue, your database administrator can create an additional sub-entity in the Account view for tracking all notes entered at the Contact level for that Account.  This Notes sub-entity essentially rolls up all contact notes for that account to the Account view, allowing you to view all notes in one location. 3.       One last consideration, the latest versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM provide OneNote integration, a smart solution for effectively recording notes in CRM.  Learn more in this helpful video from Microsoft:      For more quick tips on using Microsoft CRM, subscribe to our email newsletter. 

Accessing Microsoft Dynamics CRM on a Mobile Phone

September 29 2015 10:37 by Chuck Wojciuk
To open Microsoft Dynamics CRM on your mobile phone, open your phone’s browser and go to the URL for your organization’s CRM web client (Note: not available for local only installations).   You can add a bookmark for this URL to your mobile phone’s homepage in a few quick steps:   1.     Open your phone’s browser 2.     Navigate to the URL for your CRM 3.     Once there, follow the instructions below for your type of phone: a.     Android                                           i.    Click the menu or options button on the left in options                                          ii.    Samsung browser 1.     Click Add shortcut to home                                         iii.    Firefox browser 1.     Click Page 2.     Then click Add to home screen                                         iv.    Chrome Browser 1.     Click Add to home screen b.    iPhone                                           i.    Click the middle (arrow) button                                          ii.    Then click Add to home screen For more tips on CRM, subscribe to our email newsletter. 

Tips for Email Marketing

September 2 2015 11:56 by Kimberly Goulet
Many businesses, large and small, employ email marketing as part of their marketing strategy and as a key way to communicate with existing or prospective customers.  Whether you use Swiftpage emarketing for Act!, Constant Contact or another email marketing program, the following tips will help you build a successful email marketing presence for your organization.   Fonts If one font is good, then two fonts are better…right?  And how about six fonts?  Wrong!  Keep your audience in mind when composing your email.  People are very busy and have a limited attention span.  They may only look at your email for a few seconds.  Keep your message clear with a simple, easy-to-read font, so they do not have to expend any of those precious few seconds just trying to read your email.  Choose a classic, readable font such as Arial and make that your go-to font for all of your email templates.  You can choose ONE other font to use as heading or accent…but only one.  And, keep it consistent with every single email.   Colors Do you love color? Me too, but with email marketing, you have to reign in your color tendencies.  Choose colors that are easy-to-view on a monitor and smart phone, especially font colors. Choose colors that coordinate with your corporate logo and image.  Most of all, choose colors judiciously — only three plus black in an email.  And, stick with the scheme.  You can have additional colors in photos, but for your logos, text and background, go with no more than three colors.   Watch this space for more email marketing tips.  Next time, we discuss building a brand identity and creating a master template.  Don’t miss it!  Click here to subscribe to our CRM email newsletter

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Productivity Tip: Working with Primary Contacts

August 24 2015 11:31 by Doreen Bridges
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. 

Windows 10 is Here

August 15 2015 23:34 by Kimberly Goulet
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.

Record Level Security in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

July 29 2015 08:15 by Dan Boehm
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: none user business unit parent: child business unit organization 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.

Migrating Your Legacy Data to Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Keys to Success

July 17 2015 14:08 by Fred Varin
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,, 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

Top New Features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015

July 10 2015 13:24 by Dan Boehm
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,  

Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Creating Mail Merge Templates, Part 1

May 27 2015 17:31 by Jackie Brajner
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 or call 800-880-1960.