How many members do I have in my Marketing List?

So you have created a static marketing list, added some members, but the count is greater than 5000 so in the associated members view you see 1 of 5000. How do I get a count of the members?

Its really easy and its been easy since V4 of CRM. On the marketing list entity there is a field called “Member Count”, add this to your form or view and it will display the actual count on the members in the list.

This only works for Static lists and by default only counts up to 50000 records. This can be increased in an On Premise solution adjusting the registry values.

Member Count



Charting on a related entity field

Problem: I want to create a chart that presents a view of my Opportunity pipeline value by the industry associated to the Account?

Solution Options:

2 options are available:

  1. Export to excel including my releated field from the account entity
  2. Utilise standard charts in CRM to create the report

I am going to focus on option 2 and how you can create a chart on the opportunity that pulls in data from a related entity being the account on the opportunity, its quite simple.

  1. Open up your opportunities
  2. Click on Advanced Find
  3. Click on Edit Columns
  4. Click on Add Column and change field list to Account and select the Industry field
  5. Position the field in the view and save
  6. Save the new view as a new view “Opportunity Industry View”
  7. Close Advanced find
  8. Refresh your Opportunity view and select the new personal view created in step 6
  9. Open the Chart panel and select new
  10. You will now be able to select the Account Industry field in the drop selection of fields for the X and Y (note the field will appear above the dotted line that shows the column names included in the view)
  11. So for my chart I set the vertical axis as Estimated Value and for the Horizontal axis I use the Account Industry field
  12. Save my chart and I am done

So basically you can chart on any related field if you add it to your view you base your chart off. Once you have done that and created the chart the chart will work on any of your views regardless if the related field exists on the view or not.

Happy Charting!


How can I import Marketing List Members into Dynamics CRM?

Problem: I utilise an external Data Warehouse to identify marketing list members for a mail out, how can I load these into CRM to utilise the campaign functionality?

Initially when posed with this question, I thought development as you can not use the standard import tool to do this, but when stood back and looked at Marketing Lists, I realised there was a simple solution. The solution hinges around the fact that Manage Members utilises advanced find to perform a search to identify members, so we just need to be able to have something to search on, without needing to update the existing record.

In fact their are 2 options, as follows:

  1. Create a new entity named “External List”
  2. Create a relationship (lookup) to Contact, Account and Lead if you are creating marketing lists for all 3 types.
  3. Create a second relationship to Marketing list entity as a n:1
  4. Save and publish
  5. Now from the external source export your list, that must contain a unique attribute for each record that matches what is stored in CRM
  6. Create a marketing list in CRM or copy the name of an existing one for which you want to import members into
  7. Add to the export you did in step 5 a new “Name” and “Marketing List Name”column
  8. In the name column enter a unique name for the external list records that the import will create. In the marketing list column enter the name of the marketing list created in step 6.
  9. Import this file into CRM into the new entity “External List”, mapping the new relationships created in step 1 and 2 to the appropriate column in the csv file. I.e. Map the unique attribute for the CRM record to the Account, Contact or Lead for which it refers to.
  10. Now open the marketing list created in step 6 and use Manage members to perform a search on all Contacts, Accounts or leads (depending on what you are referencing) where an External List record is associated to them that is related to the Marketing list you created in step 6.
  11. Add the found members to the List.
  12. You have now imported members to a marketing list, you can now always view which members were added via the external list process and which additional members were added via standard CRM processes
  13. As a time saver, save the data import as a new template for future use

The second option is similar to above but you instead of creating a new entity you use Connections and import a new connection linked to the marketing list and use this to perform an advanced find on. The only downside of this approach is that can muddy the water if you use connections for other purposes.

I hope this solves a common dilemma.

Resizing the Social Pane in Polaris

If you like me then you want to maximise the screen real estate, to reduce screen scrolling and to present all the pertinent information in a single location. In the Polaris user interface you may have noticed that the social pane takes up quite a lot of space, but when you try and change the properties in the form designer you can not.

So how can I reduce the size, well it is not obvious but is possible. See the steps below:

1. Select the Social Pane section and click remove in the ribbon
2. Add a new section in its place
3. Highlight the section and in the insert ribbon tab click on insert note
4. This is in fact not just the note but the activity posts, activities and notes
5. Now this is the trial and error stage of the process as you have one attempt before the area becomes locked down again and you have to start from step 1 again! Click on change properties of the notes area, select hide label, and then change the number of columns and rows to be used. I would recommend using 1 column and around 8 to 10 rows.
6. Click OK and save
7. Now preview the form and you will notice that the notes area is in the fact the social pane component.
8. You will also notice that you can no longer change the properties of the notes area, so if you want to increase or change the properties you will have to start again from step 1, frustrating but simple enough to do.

That is it, a hidden gem, and hopefully a great tip to saving that precious real estate.

Do you know who you are using as a reference? Do you know how many times and the win rate of using that reference? If not track it in CRM

Reference customers are critical to a service provider business model, but how do you keep track of requests, usage and success of reference customers?

The answer is that it is quite easy if you keep it simple! Follow my simple steps below to keep a record of requests, usage and success.

  1. Create a new solution for your reference entity, or open up your existing solution
  2. Create a new entity “Reference” and specify type as Activity
  3. Add required fields to the new entity i.e. Account and related contact who will do the reference, type of reference Case Study, Reference, Speaker etc, Organiser as the person who has requested the reference and Owner who is the owner of the related account or contact. See screen shot below
  4. Reference Entity
  5. Once you have created the entity, update the associated Account and Contact forms to move the new reference relationship down into Sales area of the navigation.
  6. Optionally may want to create a workflow to auto update the Owner of the reference to the owner of the Contact, leaving the organiser as the person who is requesting the reference usage.
  7. You now may also want to create some charts around status and due dates or even as in the example dashboard below a chart showing references by opportunity revenue and status to see how well your references are performing
  8. Reference Dashboard
  9. Once you are happy you can publish your configurations.
  10. Once published you will need to train your CRM users to create a new reference activity when a reference required and if related to an opportunity create it from an opportunity so that the regarding in populated. You can manage the status and performance of your references using standard views, you can now view which customers are being referenced the most and finally manage who have or are proposed to provide Case Studies for you. In addition you could set the regarding against a Campaign if you are using a contact or account as a speaker or case study for an event.

Keeping track of references and usage across the business ensures happy long-term customers. I hope this has been useful.

Dynamics CRM Orion user interface updates from Convergence 2013

Great new looking user interface planned for the Orion release later this year. Focussed on process and user driven experience, a step in the right direction. More to come in later post.





Enabling Web Resources on the New Polaris Updated Forms

Just a quick blog to remind people that if they want a web resource to fire on the new Updated forms in Polaris then you must remember to tick the following box on the web resource config form “Show this Web Resource in Read Optimized Form”. Miss leading I know!


Exporting a Large Number of Records as an Excel Spreadsheet from CRM Online | Stephanus Natawardaja’s Blog

Dynamics CRM Online User interface for IPAD released

So the wait is over and you can now access Dynamics CRM 2011 online on an iPad in a supported manner, but wait their is a caveat! You have to have accepted the Polaris updates as the iPad expereince only supports the new look and feel of the Updated Polaris forms. What does this mean?

Well you have to have accepted the product update via the new administration screen and updated the new forms for Polaris with your set of fields and have deployed the new form to a set of users either by default or by defined security roles. The caveat is that the new Updated forms have a few limitations which if managed are probably ok for an on the road iPad experience, summarised below:

  1. No javascript on any event
  2. No ribbon extensions
  3. Can display web resources
  4. Certain form areas are locked i.e. social pane, contacts and bing maps
  5. Navigation area read  only

So what does the new iPad experience look like and what can I do with it:

Ipad UI 1

Ipad UI 2

So what you need to know specifically about this user interface is:

  • As it is based on Polaris it is designed to load quicker, notice no ribbons
  • The main home page displays the workplace only with the option to switch to Mobile Express to access more record types
  • I can work with Dashboards but not create dashboards
  • It only supports the new UI for displaying record, classic form is not supported. If you have disabled the new UI (i.e. through security role), then the Mobile Express form is displayed instead.
  • If you select any lookup that is not to the Account, Contact, lead or Opportunity then Mobile Express is displayed
  • Works on latest version of Safari
  • No offline capability you need a network access

In summary, a great advancement for mobililty access and supports the mobile sales team with access to core user friendly CRM data.


Simple way to copy workflows

So you have a complex workflow that you want to copy and re-purpose for another decision point. Now you do not want to re create it, but just copy it. Its easy do not panic, follow these simple steps.

1. Change the workflow temporarily to a process template, save and close
2. Now create a new workflow and select start from a template
3. Select your template
4. Tweak and change it
5. Activate it
6. Now open up the original workflow and change back to a process and activate it

You have now copied a workflow to create a new one. Simple.