March 3 2014 11:21
If you are like me, you are always looking for ways to save time and work smarter. One of my favorite time savers is using email templates. When you frequently need to contact customers, prospects or co-workers with the same types of information, an email template gives you a jump start on the communication without having to start from scratch. With email templates, you can contact a customer about a support issue, remind a co-worker about an upcoming meeting or stay in touch with a prospect.
Because I spend most of my work day using Microsoft Outlook for my email, calendar and task list needs, it is easier for me to use my CRM email templates directly in Outlook. For group emails, or mail merges, use the email or mail merge feature in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM web client. In this example, I will be emailing to a single contact via Outlook.
In Outlook, I open a new email then select my desired contact for the ‘To’ field. In order to use an email template from Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the contact must also be an active contact in the CRM database. I select the option to ‘Track’ the email in CRM, then click on the ‘Insert Template’ dropdown from the ribbon. Next, I select which template I wish to use in this email communication. I select the ‘Customer Reconnect’ template and click ‘OK.’
The email template will now be inserted into the email. You can modify or customize the text at this point or add any necessary attachments. Once you are done, simply click ‘Send,’ and your email is on its way. The email will be tracked in CRM on the contact record. Isn’t that easy?
Watch for upcoming posts with information on creating email templates in CRM and sending group emails. For more tips like this, subscribe to our email newsletter by sending your contact information to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
February 19 2014 15:44
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!
February 12 2014 11:10
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.
February 4 2014 11:57
One of the great new features of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 is the ability to edit certain records directly from within a list.
The best example of this is the product list in the Quote entity. You can now reorder the items in your product list (see 1 in the screenshot below). You simply highlight the row you want to move up or down and click the up/down button to move it. This allows you to now put the products in the correct order in your quote.
You can also modify fields such as the Quantity directly from the grid as well. Simply click on the quantity for the product you want to change and you can type in your new quantity directly without having to double click on the record to open it.
This new feature makes quoting in Microsoft Dynamics CRM easy to do with few or no customizations needed. To find out more about the new features in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, contact us at email@example.com.
January 20 2014 10:29
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 13 2014 13:55
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 email@example.com.
December 9 2013 15:23
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.
i. Total sales
ii. Number of new sales
i. Number of calls, appointments
ii. Number of demos
iii. Number of quotes, new opportunities
iv. Number of service calls
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 27 2013 13:31
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, email@example.com.
November 4 2013 11:52
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 2 2013 10:23
A carefully cultivated and well-maintained database is one of your best assets. It allows you to reach out to existing and potential customers with information about your products and services. With effective and consistent communication, you can often uncover new sales opportunities within your own database.
Email marketingOne of the most widely accepted forms of communication in business today is email marketing. Email marketing is so popular because it is relatively easy to master, inexpensive and can provide great results. However, an important consideration for email marketing is making sure that the contacts in your database want to receive your emails. You must learn the rules of email marketing to be sure you are in compliance with U.S. Federal CAN-SPAM regulations. CAN-SPAM legislation was enacted in 2004 to address the growing problem of junk email and abuse. To be compliant, in general, you must follow these rules:
1. Contacts on your marketing list must opt-in. In other words, the contacts on your marketing list must have given you permission to email them.
2. Never email a marketing list which you purchase from a third party.
3. Do not send email marketing to contacts you find on company websites, such as info@, sales@, or any other general delivery mailboxes.
4. Send only content related to your business as promised and never questionable or explicit content.
5. The email subject line should be reflective of the email content — be forthright.
6. Always include an opt-out mechanism. Most email marketing programs automatically include the opt-out.
7. Include your legitimate physical address.
Building your marketing listHow do you get started with building an opt-in marketing list?
· First, start by including a ‘subscribe’ option in a prominent place on your website. Make it clear that by providing their email address, they will receive periodic emails from your organization.
· Next, gather business cards from those you meet at networking events, tradeshows and sales calls. Be sure to ask those people for permission to add them to your email list.
· Customers! Reach out to those who you have done business with in the past and ask them if they would like to be included on your email list.
· Include a ‘forward to a friend’ link on your email marketing.
Now that you are on your way to building your database, be sure to develop meaningful content which your subscribers will want to read. Contact them on a regular basis, so they expect to hear from you. Work with a reputable email marketing provider, such as Swiftpage or Constant Contact, who provide great tools to help you build engaging graphical email campaigns. Contact us today for a trial at email@example.com — we’ll help you get started. Subscribe to our email newsletters.