Microsoft Dynamics CRM Webinar

If you are having difficulty either evaluating your trial or implementing Microsoft Dynamics CRM into your business for the first time, Microsoft Partner xRM.com now offers a free, educational webinar that can help. The webinar, “Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics CRM,” is designed to provide a brief introduction for new CRM users. Whether you are just beginning your trial or struggling to make sense of the myriad of features and components that make up Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the webinar provides a quick, one-hour overview of the powerful, complex CRM system from Microsoft.

The flexible webinar seeks to answer important and commonly asked questions about CRM:

  1. What is CRM?
  2. Where do I start?
  3. How do I set up Dynamics CRM?
  4. How do I navigate within Dynamics CRM?
  5. What can I do with Dynamics CRM?
  6. What are the most valuable or frequently used features?

After answering these six questions, the CRM instructors at xRM dive deeper into the Sales, Service, and Marketing functions of CRM or examine more advanced topics including customization, integration, and configuration, depending on the needs of the audience.

Have your own questions about CRM? Now you have a convenient platform where you can address them. The instructors save time at the end of each webinar to answer questions from the attendees.

The “Introduction to Microsoft Dynamics CRM” webinar is held Tuesday through Thursday at 10:00 AM Pacific and Friday at 1:00 PM Pacific.

To attend one of these free webinars, click the banner below to register. Want to learn more about the CRM-based services and products xRM.com provides? Visit www.xrm.com or email sales@xrm.com. xRM looks forward to helping you find success in your CRM deployment.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Webinar

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What is an Entity in Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

To understand CRM, it helps to have a firm grasp on the basics, and one of the key building blocks of Microsoft Dynamics® CRM is the entity. In the simplest terms possible, an entity is a table that holds a certain type of data, with the attributes (more on those later) functioning as the columns of the table and determining which information goes into the records of that entity type.

Entities Overview – Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Entities form a vital piece of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM framework. Essentially, entities are used to model and manage business data. Some common entities that most Dynamics CRM users are familiar with are Account, Case, Campaign, Contact, Lead, and Opportunity. These entities deal with many of the most common sales, service, and marketing data with which a CRM user frequently engages.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Entity Overview Video

There are three main types of entities: system, business, and custom. In Dynamics CRM, system entities handle internal processes such as workflows. It is important to note that system entities cannot be deleted or customized. Business entities are the default entities within Dynamics CRM which include Case, Account, and Opportunity. One of the most important elements in Microsoft Dynamics CRM is customizability. Custom entities provide organizations with a way to meet their needs head-on. One example of this is that you can create a vendor entity if you are a retail business and then dictate how it relates to different entities within your organization. Since each entity supports a variety of actions, streamlining communications processes amongst your organization is now an attainable goal.

Entity Attributes – Microsoft Dynamics CRM

For each entity in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, there is a set of attributes that corresponds to the fields in the entity form and defines the type of data contained by the records created from that entity. To help illustrate this idea, the picture below shows an Opportunity record. Each of the fields visible on the Opportunity record that you are looking at is defined by an attribute. Among the several dozen attributes of the Opportunity record are Est. Close Date (estimatedclosedate) and Status (statuscode). You can read a full list of the attributes for Opportunity records here. The attributes of each entity determine which fields appear on the entity’s form and therefore which data the records that use that entity contain.

 Microsoft Dynamics CRM Opportunity Record

Entities Ownership – Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Ownership is a key factor in how entities work. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM, most entities have an owner, which is determined by the ownership type. There are four ownership types in CRM: organization, business, user, and none. Organization-owned entities can be accessed by an entire organization. These records cannot be assigned to an individual owner (or shared). Business-owned entities belong to a Business Unit, while user-owned entities are owned by one specific CRM user and typically contain customer-related data. Accounts, Contacts, and Cases are examples of user-owned entities. A few entities in Dynamics CRM have no ownership type. They are not owned by another entity (user, business unit, or organization) within CRM.

 The following table lists the complete ownership types:

Ownership Type Description
Organization Owned Organization-owned entities typically contain data involving something that belongs to or that can be viewed by the whole organization. Organization-owned entities cannot be assigned or shared. For example, products are owned by the organization.
Business Owned Business-owned entities belong to a business unit.
User Owned User-owned entities are associated with a user. User-owned entities typically contain data that relates to customers, such as accounts or contacts. Security can be defined according the business unit for the user.
None The entity is not owned by another entity. For example, the uom (unit-of-measure) and workflowlog (workflow log) entities are not owned by another entity.

 Source: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg309396.aspx

 There are many more tutorials within the Success Portal that touch on entities within Dynamics CRM. With just some basic customization, Microsoft Dynamics CRM handles data of just about any type. This concept is known as “xrm” or “anything” relationship management. xRM.com is here to help you succeed in your CRM deployment. Once you have a greater understanding of entities, you will be able to tailor the entities to better serve your business needs and enrich your Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployment.

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For more information on how to gain access to xRM’s Success Portal or about Microsoft Dynamics CRM, visit our website at www.xrm.com. xRM specializes in CRM and private cloud services. To inquire about the company’s services, email sales@xrm.com or call 1-800-836-5147.


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The Two Reasons CRM Trials Fail

As CRM consultants, we provide our clients with a lot of trials at xRM.com. Adopting new CRM applications entails risk. Understandably, many of our potential clients are reticent to invest in applications that they have not yet tried. CRM applications are complex, and evaluating their suitability during a limited trial is a daunting task.

From a user’s perspective, the main purpose of a trial is to help the user evaluate an application’s effectiveness as a tool for his or her business. The unfortunate truth is that the vast majority of trials fail to deliver on that purpose. Most users are no closer to making a decision about the software’s effectiveness as a business tool at the end of the trial period as they were at the beginning. The two biggest causes of this failure are lack of knowledge and lack of time.

Most users who request a trial to evaluate an application do not really have the knowledge necessary to accurately judge the effectiveness of the program. They know their business and industry, but they usually do not know much about the software that they are test driving. The new software seems less intuitive and more difficult to use than their old software, even if they were unhappy with their old software because it was difficult to use!

The second cause of failure is a lack of time. The people who are charged with judging the suitability of a particular application frequently just do not have enough time in their schedules to evaluate it. They have good intentions, but the software generally just sits there, barely used, for the seven, fourteen, or thirty days that make up most trial periods. Not surprisingly, the trial ends and they do not have the knowledge they need to make a decision. Most people in this scenario end up delaying the final decision until some magical point in the future when they will have both the time and the knowledge to make an informed judgment. These frustrated trial evaluators generally end up continuing to use the old applications that were failing to meet their needs in the first place.

At xRM, we deal extensively with Microsoft Dynamics® CRM. Industry experts frequently laud Dynamics CRM for being easy-to-use due to its familiar ribbon interface, Microsoft Outlook® integration, and role-based privileges. However, Dynamics CRM is still an incredibly powerful and frankly complex piece of software that is difficult to evaluate in the few short weeks of a trial without having a strong background with the program.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Trial Resources from xRM

In order to make Microsoft Dynamics CRM trials more effective for our clients, we created two educational resources. We designed these resources to arm our potential clients with the knowledge that they need to determine if Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online can help their businesses grow and prosper. With the right information, users can evaluate the ability of CRM Online to meet their needs more quickly and accurately.

Our Microsoft Dynamics CRM webinars are one-hour long and cover the basics of Dynamics CRM, as well as provide an opportunity to ask questions about the product.

The Success Portal is a self-help library of concise training videos that covers hundreds of topics related to Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The Success Portal provides an opportunity to learn as little or as much as you want to about CRM at your own pace.

Both of these resources are free for companies that name xRM.com as their Partner of Record (opens as a Doc), a process which takes only one minute and costs nothing.

xRM is a Microsoft partner that specializes in CRM and private cloud services. To inquire about the company’s services, email sales@xrm.com or call 1-800-836-5147.

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What You Should Know About the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Marketing Module

Marketing is one of the three main areas of Microsoft® Dynamics CRM. The Marketing area, or module as it is frequently called, enables you to centralize your marketing operations and access your data in the same application that you use for your sales and service operations. In addition to centralizing marketing data and operations, the Marketing module also enables you to utilize marketing automation and campaign management to boost your bottom line. The extensibility of Dynamics CRM provides the added benefit of allowing you to incorporate various third-party marketing solutions, such as Constant Contact, to enhance your marketing capabilities.

Marketing Module Introduction – Microsoft Dynamics CRM Video

The video below, provided by Microsoft Partner xRM.com, gives you an introduction to the Marketing module within Dynamics CRM. It provides salient information for Dynamics CRM beginners navigating through the Marketing module. The video describes, in greater detail, the differences and uses for Quick Campaigns, Campaigns, Marketing Lists, and how to create Activities within each of those entities.

Benefits of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Marketing

The marketing capabilities of Dynamics CRM provide solid tools for attracting new customers, retaining the ones you have, and growing your business. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help improve efficiency through powerful collaboration and workflow tools. To increase the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing campaigns, knowing what is working allows you to invest your time wisely. The main tools with which Dynamics CRM users can improve their marketing efforts are marketing automation, campaign management, and analytics.

Bill Patterson, Microsoft Dynamics CRM program management architect, explains the benefit of marketing automation. “In today’s economic climate, [businesses] want to get back to growth mode. Automation is about productivity savings. Growth is about the new generation. Marketing is nexus of that.” The Marketing module helps your marketing team to assign, schedule, and track marketing campaign activities and measure campaign performance. The reporting and analysis tools in Dynamics CRM allow you to gain a deeper understanding of what your customers are saying. It provides the critical insight you need to provide efficient customer engagement and react quickly to changes in the marketplace.

Because of the extensibility of Dynamics CRM, frequently referred to as xRM, you can also use it as a platform onto which you can integrate powerful third-party solutions. A topical example of this type of extensibility is the xRM Constant Contact Integration tool from xRM.com, which allows you to manage your marketing lists within CRM, sync them with your Constant Contact account, and import the campaign metrics back into CRM, enhancing the marketing automation power of CRM.

Not content to sit on its laurels, Microsoft acquired MarketingPilot in an effort to further improve the marketing automation capabilities of Dynamics CRM and provide more powerful marketing management, media planning, and analytical tools. Microsoft has been somewhat vague to date regarding the exact features and pricing of MarketingPilot. We expect the company to release further details in July of 2013 about pricing, features, and more specific information concerning how MarketingPilot will be integrated into Dynamics CRM.

Components of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Marketing

The Dynamics CRM Marketing module is composed of three main entities called Marketing Lists, Campaigns, and Quick Campaigns. Other useful entities you will access throughout your marketing efforts include Leads, Accounts, Contacts, and Sales Literature. Using the Marketing module, you can qualify leads, track campaign responses and insights, calculate ROI, create activities, and send email blasts to the customers in a particular Marketing List.

It is important to understand that the same Accounts and Contacts are the same throughout the Sales and Service modules. Think of these modules as being different points of view and ways to look at your data. What’s unique about the Marketing module is the use of Marketing Lists, Campaigns, and Quick Campaigns. Marketing Lists are vital to the success of any marketing campaign. A List is a collection of customers grouped by demographics and needs while a Campaign acts as an endeavor to reach out to your customer base.

The essential difference between a Campaign and a Quick Campaign is the number of channels that you use to reach out to your customers; Quick Campaigns are limited to one method of reaching out to customers. An example of a Quick Campaign is an email blast or a series of phone calls to the customer. A full-blown Campaign might be attendance at a trade show where Leads are captured at a punch bowl and those leads are followed up with a series of Activities such as phone calls, email, and perhaps letters and faxes. You can customize your Campaign by type: advertisement, direct marketing, event, promotion offer, etc. Other ways to customize Campaigns include scheduling dates, adding price lists, and recording financials, among others.

For more information about Microsoft Dynamics CRM, visit www.xRM.com.

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