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Organizing your opportunities

June 2, 2010

Opportunities can be hard to manage, especially if you have a lot of them.  They are also an essential part of the sales process, so you will want to come up with a way to organize them so that you don’t have this huge overwhelming list of opportunities to deal with.

You can get around this problem by creating views of certain opportunities.  This way, you can have different views to view different types of opportunities.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Click Sales on the Navigation Pane, and then click Opportunities.
  2. Click the Advanced Find button on the toolbar.
  3. Configure your Advanced Find to search for a subset of your opportunities.
  4. Click the Edit Columns button to configure the columns that will appear in your view
  5. Click the Save As button to save your Advanced Find as a view on the opportunity screen.

Tips & Tricks

  • Check out the Search chapter of this book for more information on the Advanced Find feature.

 

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Configuring CRM Mobile Express

June 1, 2010

You can access your database anywhere, at any time using CRM Mobile Express.  CRM Mobile Express is a CRM application that works on your cell phone.  With CRM Mobile Express, you won’t have any excuse to have a personal life.  You can work all the time.

By configuring CRM Mobile Express, you will be able to customize which entities and forms show up when you access your CRM database from your phone.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Click Settings on the Navigation Pane, and then click Customization.
  2. Click Customize Mobile Express.
  3. Add any entities that you want to show up in CRM Mobile Express.  Click Publish All when you are done.

Tips & Tricks

  • CRM Mobile Express is compatible with most current smartphones. iPhone, Palm Pre, Android, and just about any phone that has a finger push-screen will work with Mobile Express.

 

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Microsoft Sues Salesforce.com over Patent Infringement

May 30, 2010

You might have seen in the news that Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against Salesforce.com alleging that Salesforce has used Microsoft patents without license.  Microsoft has only filed lawsuits like this three other times in its history, so it was a bit funny this week that Mark Benioff demonized Microsoft as “alley thugs” in his investor conference call.  Beyond the name calling, Benioff went on to say, “Personally, I’m just disappointed to see this from a former leader of our industry, but it’s imminently resolvable, and it’s not material to our day-to-day business. It’s basically a no-impact situation. It’s not something that, I think, anyone needs to make anything of. I think it probably has more ramifications for other cloud vendors than it, honestly, does for us because we’re strong.”

If I were on a conference call with investors, that’s probably what I’d say, too…but if you dig a bit deeper into the actual patent violation suit, this may pose a big problem for Salesforce and its ability to retain its user interface and current feature set.  Eight patents are included in the lawsuit.  None of the patents violated really have anything specifically to do with CRM itself of anything in the Dynamics line.  The patents in question are for pretty basic things — like the automatic updating of software.  Here’s the summary from one of the patents:

Creators of computer software provide the most up-to-date versions of their computer software on an update service. A user who has purchased computer software calls the update service on a periodic basis. The update service automatically inventories the user computer to determine what computer software may be out-of-date, and/or need maintenance updates. If so desired by the user, the update service computer automatically downloads and installs computer software to the user computer. By making periodic calls to the update service, the user always has the most up-to-date computer software immediately available. The update service may also alert the user to new products (i.e. including new help files, etc.), and new and enhanced versions of existing products which can be purchased electronically by a user from the update service.

So, back on December 1, 1998 when this patent was granted, automatic updates for software wasn’t something that everyone had.  Back in 1998, it’s possible that you didn’t have high-speed internet at your office, and it’s likely that you didn’t have it at home.  Microsoft pioneered that technology, and automatic updates provide one of Salesforce.com’s biggest strengths.  The whole “no software” concept is centered around their ability to deliver updates quickly and without the users intervention. 

The eight other patents in the Microsoft suit deal with a variety of underlying web and computing technologies, including “Method and system for mapping between logical data and physical data,” and “System and method for providing and displaying a web page having an embedded menu.”

We’ll see how this lawsuit plays out, but I suspect that Salesforce has picked a fight that it should have tried to avoid.  This fiscal year, Microsoft spent 9.5 billion (with a ‘b’) on research and development.  That’s more money than Salesforce has made.  Ever.

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Adding Sales Literature

May 29, 2010

Leaflets, sales slicks, price lists, galore!  Keep this stuff handy in the Sales Literature feature, and you’ll never have to go hunting for that price list again.

Sales literature can be associated with any product, and associating your sales literature will make easy for your salespeople to bring up product-specific documentation.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Click Sales on the Navigation Pane, and then click Products.
  2. Open an existing product or click the New button to create a new product.
  3. On the left, click Sales Literature.
  4. Click the New/Add buttons on the Actions toolbar to link sales literature to this product.

Tips & Tricks

  • If you need more complex document management, consider integrating Sharepoint into your CRM database.

 

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Viewing emails attached to CRM records

May 29, 2010

Once you’ve tracked an Outlook e-mail in CRM, you can view that e-mail under the associated record’s history. E-mails that are sent directly in CRM can also be viewed under a record’s history.

Tracking e-mails, of course, does have disadvantages. For example, if all of your messages are tracked, your boss will know whether or not you have been e-mailing prospects on a regular basis.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Open a record.
  2. On the left, click History.
  3. In the date range drop-down, select a range of dates for history entries.  The default only shows history entries for the last 30 days.
  4. Double-click an e-mail history to open it.

Tips & Tricks

  • Attachments to e-mails will likely be available on history entries.  Open a history record, and then click the Attachments tab to see any files that were originally attached to the e-mail message.

 

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Entering a new opportunity

May 20, 2010

So you’ve found potential sale?  Good for you!  You’ll want to enter the potential sale into your database as an opportunity.

An opportunity is a record that contains information about a sale with a contact or account in your system.

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Click Sales on the Navigation Pane, and then click Opportunities.
  2. Click the New button on the toolbar.
  3. Enter information about your opportunity and click Save and Close.

Tips & Tricks

  • When creating a new opportunity, you can add products from the product catalog by clicking the Products option on the left.
  • An opportunity’s dollar value can be automatically calculated based on the products selected and the price list chosen.  Or, you can manually write-in a dollar amount.

 

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Sending a direct e-mail merge

May 15, 2010

Sending a direct e-mail merge

Once you have your template ready, you can send an e-mail merge to a single person or a group of recipients directly in CRM.

Sending a direct e-mail is the quickest and easiest way to do an e-mail merge in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  (Other ways include using Workflow and using the Word mail merge feature.)

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Highlight a group of records.
  2. Click the Direct E-mail button on  the Actions toolbar.
  3. Select an e-mail template, select a range of recipients, and click Send. (It’s really that easy.)

Tips & Tricks

  • It’s a good idea to send mass e-mails to test group within your company before sending to the general population.
  • If you are sending hundreds of emails (or more), then you should use a third party to deliver the messages.  Sending through your Exchange server could end up putting your organization on spam blacklists.