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The Top 5 New Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Features

Like many technology companies, Microsoft frequently employs a tick-tock release schedule for Microsoft Dynamics CRM where the tick represents an evolutionary advancement over previous versions while the tock promises more revolutionary changes. While CRM 2013 was a definite tock because of its modern user interface, Business Process Flows, enhanced case management features, among other improvements, CRM 2015 represents a less ambitious, but welcome, tick.

This version will add improved global search, enhanced marketing functionality, and tools to enable closer collaboration between sales and marketing, along with other enhancements. Here are five of our favorite improvements coming to CRM 2015.

  1. Global Search – Yes! You can now search across record types. Search also supports keywords and the use of asterisks as wildcard characters. These improvements promise to make it much easier to find the records that you are looking for.
  2. Improved Email Editor – The new Email editor makes it much easier to craft nice looking email messages using CSS or HTML. Even better, the new email editor also allows you to create email templates using a drag-and-drop interface.
  3. Campaign Management Console – Combined with the new email editor, the Campaign Management Console transforms CRM into a credible email marketing platform. The console delivers real-time email analytics and allows you to set up A/B testing to compare the performance of two different versions of an email. The Campaign Management Console also lets you set up multi-condition triggers and embed cross campaign offers.
  4. Guided Sales Processes – Microsoft first introduced Business Processes in CRM 2013. These processes are great, allowing you to map your business processes onto Microsoft Dynamics CRM and provide your employees with a visual representation of your processes, complete with stages and steps. Now, Microsoft is extending the functionality by introducing automatic branch selection. Based on rules that you set, a single business process can split into two branches depending on the data that your users inputted.
  5. Product families – Product families allow you to create product or service bundles that combine related products together. Your salespeople see these upsell and cross-sell suggestion right on the opportunity record.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 is scheduled to be released in Q4 of 2014. You can expect to see it reach market sometime in December. For more information about Microsoft Dynamics CRM, including configuration and training services, visit www.xrm.com.

Using Templates for Data Import in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Once you have chosen to deploy Microsoft Dynamics CRM, one of the first challenges you will face is getting your data out of your existing CRM solution and into your Microsoft Dynamics CRM database for the first time. Most small businesses use some combination of spreadsheets, BCM, or a CRM-like application, such as Goldmine or Act. Fortunately, many CRM systems will allow you to export your data to a spreadsheet in either .csv, .xml, .txt, or .zip formats, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM makes it pretty easy to import these records into your new CRM database using the Import Data Wizard.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Data Management

The Import Data Wizard

To access the Import Data Wizard, navigate to Settings > Data Management, and click Imports. Once the My Imports View opens, you will see an option in the Command Bar labeled “Import Data.” Click the Import Data button in the Command Bar to open the Import Data Wizard.

The Import Data Wizard allows you to import data from .xml, .csv, .txt, and .zip files. Once you have selected the file that you wish to upload, the Import Data Wizard will ask you to choose a CRM record type and then requires that you map the fields in the source file to fields within CRM, which is the most challenging part of using the wizard.

Mapping fields in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Templates for Data Import

Microsoft Dynamics CRM also provides you with the option to utilize one of the out-of-the-box Templates for Data Import to make the initial data importation process more seamless and a little less challenging. Dynamics CRM provides templates for all of the entities in the system, including common ones such as Contact, Opportunity, Lead, Account, and Case records. To access the templates, navigate to Settings > Data Management, and click Templates for Data Import.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Templates for Data Import

The Templates for Data Import work great for importing data and creating standard records in your database because the fields are already mapped for you. An important tip to keep in mind is that you don’t have to fill every column of the template. You can leave columns you don’t plant to use blank or delete the columns altogether. However, you will need to make sure that you don’t have data on your spreadsheet outside of a labeled column. If you do, your import will fail.

Creating Custom Templates Using Advanced Find

You can also create your own customized Templates for Data Import using the Advanced Find tool. This approach is especially useful if you have created custom fields or entities in your Microsoft Dynamics CRM database. The video below walks you through the process of creating your own templates using the Advanced Find tool.

Google Chrome Temporarily Incompatible with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Thanks to a recent update of Google Chrome (Google Chrome 37, released on Sept 5, 2014) Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, Dynamics CRM 2011, and Dynamics CRM Online are no longer compatible with the popular web browser.

If Chrome is your browser of choice, you may have noticed some strange behavior recently when attempting to use it to access your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, CRM 2013, or CRM 2011 database. Google made several changes to the APIs in Chrome 37 upon which Microsoft Dynamics CRM relied. Since last week, we have noticed a variety of problems that have propped up when we attempted to use Chrome. If you discover others, please mention them by commenting below.

  1. The Export to Excel function no longer works.
  2. The form editor refuses to open.
  3. You can no longer add options to Option Set fields.
  4. Changes made to an email in a workflow cannot be saved.
  5. Field properties cannot be saved.
  6. The ‘Upload’ button on the SharePoint list component no longer works.
  7. The ‘window.showModalDialog’ function no longer works.

Fortunately, there are a couple of workarounds that you can employ:

  1. Use Firefox or Internet Explorer instead of Google Chrome until the issue has been resolved.
  2. Enable the deprecated web platform features. Neil McDonald has explained how to enable deprecated web platform features on his blog, which you can read at http://xrmrocks.com/2014/09/08/chrome-37-breaks-crm-2011-functionality/.

We will continue to update this blog as more information becomes available.

The Ultimate CRM for Outlook Guide – Introduction

Welcome to the first post from the “Ultimate CRM for Outlook Guide” series. In this post, we explain what the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Microsoft Office plugin is and discuss the benefits of using the plugin with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online or Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.

What is Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Microsoft Office Outlook?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Microsoft Office Outlook (CRM for Outlook) is a plugin that allows CRM 2013 and CRM Online users to access records in their CRM database directly from Outlook. The plugin is a free software component that adds functionality to Microsoft Office Outlook, and it must be installed locally on each computer.

The CRM for Outlook plugin is a true differentiator for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. While many other CRM applications provide some level of email tracking through Outlook, the CRM for Outlook plugin provides a high level of integration between your CRM Online or CRM 2013 database and Outlook. If you currently use Outlook for email, calendar, and contact management, and are looking for a CRM solution, Microsoft Dynamics CRM should be on your shortlist of potential CRM systems.

Key Benefits of the CRM for Outlook Plugin

The CRM for Outlook plugin provides a number of benefits for Microsoft Dynamics CRM users:

  1. It allows users to access CRM records directly in Outlook without having to open up their web browsers and log into the CRM organization.
  2. It makes it very easy to track incoming and outgoing emails from your Outlook inbox.
  3. It allows users to create new CRM records, including Tasks, Faxes, Appointments, Service Activities, and Campaign Responses directly from the CRM tab in Outlook.
  4. It allows users to track Outlook appointments in CRM.
  5. It provides a shortcut for converting emails into Opportunity, Case, or Lead records.
  6. It can improve user adoption because the plugin allows users to a familiar user interface for Outlook users.
  7. It can provide offline access to records in the CRM database.
  8. It provides the ability to refresh data in Microsoft Office Excel directly from CRM.

Cost of the CRM for Outlook Plugin

The CRM for Outlook Plugin is free for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online subscribers and CRM 2013 license holders.


The CRM for Outlook plugin is compatible with Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, and Outlook 2013 on computers running Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1.

It is not compatible with Microsoft Office Outlook for Mac OS X.

Downloading the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 for Microsoft Outlook Plugin

The CRM for Outlook plugin is available to download from the Microsoft Download Center. Click the following link to


The “Ultimate CRM for Outlook Guide” series

Part I – Introduction to the Ultimate CRM for Outlook Guide
Part II – Installing the CRM for Outlook Plugin
Part III – Configuring the CRM for Outlook Plugin
Part IV – Using the CRM for Outlook Plugin
Part V – Alternatives for Apple Macintosh OS X users

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Best Practices for Contacts Who Change Companies

People frequently change companies, bouncing from one employer to another within the same or similar industries. If you work within a particularly close-knit industry, you will undoubtedly have Contacts who change from one company with which you do business to another with which you do business. We at xRM (www.xrm.com) answer that question frequently in our Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics CRM webinar.

As a Microsoft Dynamics CRM administrator, you will have to decide how your organization will handle this scenario. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you essentially have two options:

  1. Reassign the Contact to another Account.
  2. Deactivate the Contact record and recreate it under the new Account.

Both options work, but you will have to decide which is better for your organization.
Reassign the Contact to another Account

Your first option is to reassign the Contact to another Account. This process is very easy and only requires that you change the Company Name field on the Contact record.
As you probably know, Contacts in Microsoft Dynamics CRM are typically related to Accounts in the database, although they can also exist on their own. Relating Contacts to Accounts allows all of the Activities, such as Emails, Tasks, Phone Calls, and Appointments, to roll up to the Account level.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Contact Management

If you reassign the Contact to another Account, all of the Activities that are related to that Contact will now roll up to the new Account. Watch what happens when Benedict Arnold moves from Uncle Sam Enterprises to His Majesty’s Royal Army.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Activity Rollup

By reassigning Benedict Arnold from Uncle Sam all Activities related to Mr. Arnold now roll up to the His Majesty’s Royal Army Account record.

Deactivate and Recreate Contact

The second option is to deactivate the existing Contact record and recreate it under the new Account. Watch what happens when we deactivate the existing Contact record for Benedict Arnold. Notice that we aren’t deleting it. We are simply deactivating it.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Contact Activity Rollup

All of the Activities remain related to the Uncle Same Enterprises Account record and we can always Activate Benedict Arnold’s existing Contact record later if we need to.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Deactivate Contact

When we recreate the Contact Record for Benedict Arnold under the His Majesty’s Royal Army Account record, none of Benedict Arnold’s previous Activities will follow him. He’ll have a clean slate.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Recreate Contact

Which option is best?

The best practices approach for dealing with Contacts who move from one company to another will depend on your particular business and industry. If your Contacts are the most important entities with whom you do business, and you frequently continue to do business with them as they move from firm to firm, you will want to reassign them. This will allow you to maintain the history of communication with that person on one record. For example, if you are a recruiting firm, people are your most valuable asset and you will want to maintain your communication history with your Contacts as they move from company to company. Similarly, if you deal with consultants who move firms, you will likely want to maintain your communication history with that person.

If however, if your Accounts are the most important entities with whom you do business, you should Deactivate the Contact Record and recreate it under the Account that represents the new company at which they work. This option will likely suit most companies better than moving the Contact because it will allow you to maintain the history of communication, as well as the Case history, that you have with that company.

Increasing Sales and Productivity Course Now Available

As part of our ongoing quest to make the Success Portal a more useful tool for helping companies derive value out of their Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployments, we have begun introducing courses as part of the content. One of the first of these courses, “Increasing Sales and Productivity” is designed to help system administrators boost the sales productivity of their users through the use of the standard sales tools in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.

The Increasing Sales and Productivity course includes seven videos devoted to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Success Portal users can access this and other courses at http://success.xrm.com/User/Account/Courses.

Success Portal accounts are free for companies that name xRM as their Partner of Record with Microsoft.

Join the Success Portal for free.

Increasing Sales and Productivity Course Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2013





Increasing Sales and Productivity

Creating Productive Personalized Dashboards

In this lesson, you will learn how create Dashboards than can drive sales productivity. Dashboards are tremendously effective tools for driving productivity in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Dynamics CRM Online. In this video, learn first how to create the personalized components that go into building a custom Dashboard. Then learn how to build and format the Dashboard itself.

Productive Dashboards and How to Use Them

In this lesson, we explain the basics of the Dashboard feature in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and CRM Online. We cover what a dashboard is, outline some of the commands Users can take with regards to dashboards, and how they can be best utilized to drive productivity.

How to Create Productive Sales Goals

In this lesson, you will learn how create productive sales Goals in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Goals can be highly effective tools for motivating your staff to meet productivity targets. Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides goal management features that help you set business goals in sales, marketing, and service and measure users’ progress towards those goals.

Productive Business Process Flows

In this lesson, we show how you can utilize Business Process Flows to increase efficiency and productivity. Process Flows can increase sales productivity in two important ways: by communicating to the end user the important steps and stages in the sale, service, or custom process that is unique to an organization and by potentially enforcing a standardized system, which so many organizations lack. Business Process Flows also help track critical data elements that must be captured during the process itself, and in conjunction with the appropriate entity, such as the Lead, the Case, or whichever entity or entities support the process.

Productive Sales Goals

In this lesson, we illustrate how to create sales Goals in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Dynamics CRM Online that can help your company reach its sales and revenue objectives. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Goals allow the user or manager to set metrics for users or teams, and then the data, as it natively populates in CRM, will then “roll up” to show progress around those goals. Once goals are set, the users imply use the system as it is designed, and then the progress toward those goals is nicely revealed.

Productive Workflows

In this lesson, you will learn how to create Workflows that can drive productivity in your organization. A Workflow is a type of “Process” in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Dynamics CRM Online, which can automate action, based mainly on changing data. This changing data is generally considered to be the “trigger” that causes the workflow to operate. The automated process that results from the trigger can include the creation of other records, such as tasks, the sending of an email, or updating of existing data. Workflows are productive because they can save time by leaving it up to the system to act upon changing data and perform actions that humans would otherwise need do.

System Dashboards

In this lesson, we identify the difference between Personal Dashboards and System Dashboards and explain how to create a System Dashboard in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. System Dashboards, which are viewable by everyone with the requisite privileges in the organization, can be tremendous tools for boosting productivity and user adoption.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Released

Microsoft has released a new connector to allow companies to share data between Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows the transfer of contacts, companies, and sales-ready scored leads from Dynamics Marketing to Microsoft Dynamics CRM, giving salespeople in CRM better insight into their lead channel.

Downloading the connector will also give you the opportunity to download the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Language Packs and Analytic Workbooks. The language packs include user interface (UI) language files that allow administrators to provision additional UI languages for Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. The Analytic Workbooks connect to the OData feeds from Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and provide samples that users can use to learn how to use Excel with the Power Query add-in to create analytics workbooks. The sample workbooks are installed on your local computer.

In order to install the connector, you will have to have System Administrator privileges. You will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1 for workstations
  • Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2012R2 for on-premises
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, on-premises Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 UR12 or higher, or Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013.
  • Microsoft Dynamics Marketing subscription

Get the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Development for Microsoft Dynamics Marketing

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring ’14 Release Arrives

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring ’14 Release has arrived for both CRM 2013 and CRM Online customers. The Spring ’14 Release brings a number of enhancements to Dynamics CRM, providing dramatically improved marketing automation, social, and customer service capabilities, as well as platform enhancements. Some of these enhancements are included in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional license, while others require the purchase of the new Enterprise license or additional services.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Marketing

One of the most prominent changes bought by this release is the introduction of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. Among the features of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing are a drag-and-drop visual Campaign Designer, lead lifecycle management, vastly improved email marketing, Power BI for marketing, and an improved Sales & Marketing Connector.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing is available as part of a new license level called Enterprise, which is priced at $200 per user, per month, and as a stand-alone product for $125 per user, per month. It can be added to your subscription through the Office 365 Administrative Portal.

Microsoft Social Listening

Social media have dramatically changed the way that consumers and companies interact with each other. Until now, Dynamics CRM has a lacked built-in social media listening and analytics. The Spring ’14 Release finally brings social media analytics to Dynamics CRM. Microsoft Social Listening allows users to track their brands and products across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogs, and forums. It also provides campaign management that provides insight into the effectiveness of marketing, sales, and service campaigns. Microsoft Social Listening also helps you identify influential voices, identify issues as they are developing, post alerts for key words, and get trend alerts.

Microsoft Social Listening is included in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional license for organizations that have at least 10 Professional licenses. It can be added to your subscription through the Office 365 Administrative Portal. Social Listening is available as a stand-alone product for $100 per user, per month. It is also available as an add-on for on-premises Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Professional CAL customers with active Software Assurance for $20 per user, per month.

Unified Service Desk

Microsoft has made a huge commitment to improving users’ ability to provide excellent customer service. Foremost amongst this effort is the introduction of the Unified Service Desk. The Unified Service Desk allows service personnel to handle customer service requests across channels, including chat, voice, and email. It allows users to handle multiple customer sessions simultaneously and supports multiple applications per session, while also providing on-screen call scripting.

The Unified Service Desk is included as part of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Enterprise license, which costs $200 per user, per month.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Service Enhancements

The Spring ’14 Release has also substantially improved case management, adding automated case-creation and routing rules, as well as failure and warning actions that execute if Service Level Agreements are not met on time. Users can also define and manage service entitlements and SLAs and create dynamic routing and queuing rules.

The Case form has also been updated. The revised Case form allows users to merge cases, view merged cases, view or add child cases, review entitlements, and add a timer that shows a running display of the time available in the SLA.

The Service enhancements are included at no additional cost for CRM Online Enterprise and Professional users.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Sales Enhancements

Sales has long been the strongest area of Dynamics CRM, and Microsoft continues to add even more value for sales users. In the Spring ’14 Release, the company has introduced Insights, which provides access to hordes of data, including company profiles, financials, industry profiles, social buzz, links to social media profiles, breaking news, and more, all from within CRM.

Insights is available (possibly for a limited time) for no additional charge to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional customers in the U.S. currently with a broader rollout coming later in 2014.


The Spring ’14 Release also integrates the multi-channel care customer, self-service features of Parature into Dynamics CRM. Parature provides mobile self-service, Facebook portal, real-time chat, and knowledgebase management features.

For a limited time, Microsoft Parature is available for $0 per user, per month for organizations that have purchased 10 or more Dynamics CRM Enterprise Online licenses. Overage charges may still apply for additional page views, storage, and other add-ons.

Platform Enhancements

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is more than just a CRM product, it is also a platform for building applications that meet unique business requirements. The Spring ’14 release includes a number of enhancements that reaffirm Microsoft’s commitment to Dynamics CRM as a powerful platform. These enhancements include Server-side synchronization, SharePoint Integration Enhancements, sandbox environments, and a new CRM Online Admin Center that helps administrators

How to Install the New Features

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online customers can access the new Case Management features by opting-in to the features within CRM Online.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Social Listening subscriptions can be added via the Office 365 Administrative Portal.

On-premises Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 customers should download and install Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 SP1.

Note that it is not possible to roll back the update once it is installed.

To add Parature customer care features, visit http://www.parature.com/customer-service-software/pricing/.

Download the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring ’14 Release Preview Guide.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 17 Released

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Update Rollup 17 (UR17) is now available for download. UR17 provides several dozens of hotfixes that should be welcome for companies that continue to use Dynamics CRM 2011. The most obvious change is that Internet Explorer 11 support for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 has been added. Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook support has also been added for Office 2013 in Windows 8.1.

Other notable updates are included as well:

  • The naming format of attachments has been changed. A new field called attachmentcontentid has been added to the activitymimeattachment entity. The email attachment’s “contentid” is now stored in this new field instead of adding it to the attachment’s file name.
  • The sometimes long Outlook.exe startup time that came about as a result of UR12 has been shortened.
  • The bug that prevented Recurring Series Expansion jobs if the Recurring Appointment owner was a team rather than an individual has been fixed.
  • Many-to-many (N:N) relationship records can now be replicated offline.
  • SharePoint 2010 Integration will now work if Windows6.1-KB2894844-x64 is installed.

Visit http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2915687/en-us to learn more about UR17 or see a full list of the included five dozen hotfixes.

UR17 Installation Information

In order to install UR17, you must have UR6 (build 5.0.9690.1992) or a later version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 installed already. Make sure that you back up your CRM organization before you install. We also recommend that you install UR17 in a development environment first to identify any issues that might arise for your organization.

You can use Windows Update to install UR17 automatically if you have automatic updating turned on. UR17 will become available in Windows Update during Q2 of 2014. You can download also download it from http://www.microsoft.com/en-ph/download/details.aspx?id=42672 and install manually.

The SMB Advantage Subsidy Program Ends May 31, 2014

Microsoft SMB AdvantageThere is less than one month remaining to take advantage of the Microsoft SMB Advantage program. Any SMB (small to mid-size business) customer who buys eligible licenses (also called seats) of selected products, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Office 365, and SQL Server Premium will receive a subsidy check that they can use to purchase licenses or services from a Microsoft Partner such as xRM. Both new and existing Microsoft customers qualify.

The subsidy check, which gets sent to the Microsoft Partner that you have designated, represents a great opportunity to obtain services from an expert consultant for free, or at a reduced rate. xRM customers have utilized their SMB dvantage payouts to help cover the cost of CRM consulting services, such customizations to their CRM organizations and training.


The SMB Advantage rebate check is based on the annual subscription rate for the purchased service times the monthly payout rate. For example, a company purchasing 10 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional licenses would qualify for a subsidy check of $1560 (10 Professional licenses * $65 per license * 12 months * 20% = $1560).

Product Rebate
Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 20%
Office 365 10%
Office 365 E3, E4, and Power BI An additional 10%
SQL Server Premium 12%
Dynamics CRM On-premises 12%


The SMB Advantage ends at 5:00 PM PDT on May 31, 2014.

You must register your SMB Advantage claim within 15 days of your purchase (also before 5:00 PM PDT).


To be eligible, your company must be a small or mid-size business (SMB) as designated by Microsoft, purchasing between 5 and 200 seats. Academic institutions are not eligible.

Licenses have to be purchased through the Open License Program or Microsoft Online Services Program.

Only companies and their affiliates doing business in the US qualify for the SMB Advantage offer.

Go to the SMB Advantage page to read more about the offer, download a list of eligible products, calculate your subsidy, and redeem your purchase.

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