Sunday, October 26, 2008

4 Ways to Automate Tasks in Microsoft CRM Using Workflow

Are you sick of entering data into Microsoft CRM manually? How about dealing with inconsistent data that makes reporting difficult and time-consuming? Whether you are a business user or IT user, you are guaranteed to appreciate the power and flexibility of workflow within Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0. Here are four easy ways to use workflow to automate tasks that support sales and customer service. By the end of this article, you will be able to automate your processes using Microsoft CRM and workflow.

1. Assign New Leads to the Appropriate Person or Queue

If you have multiple sales people to whom are assigned leads meeting specific criteria, then this is a handy way to use workflow. For example, let's say that your territories are defined by state, and the Joe is the sales person for all of New York state. Upon the creation of a new lead with a state of New York, the lead can be automatically assigned to Joe so that it appears in his My Leads view. Then an e-mail can be sent, again automatically, to both Joe and his manager notifying them of the new lead.

Do you assign leads by some other criteria, such as industry (e.g., equipment manufacturing) or region (e.g., Northeast)? Not a problem. As long as the data identifying the lead as an equipment manufacturer or as located within the Northeast is entered in CRM, workflow events can be triggered using this data.

2. Assign New Cases to the Appropriate Person or Queue

If you have a customer service or support function, or even an internal support function (e.g., IT department), then workflow works beautifully with the service management functionality within Microsoft CRM. A common use is to assign a new case to a specific person or queue, depending on specific criteria. If the case type is IT, then it would go to the IT queue. If the case type is a Contract, then the case would be assigned to the sales person assigned to that customer.

Another criteria is priority. Most companies treat emergency requests differently than normal or low priority requests. Depending on the priority, different rules can be triggered. For example, an emergency request could be routed to the Emergency Response team. If they don't respond within five minutes, then a follow up task would be triggered to the VP of Customer Service.

3. Notify Customers on Status of Their Case

Not only can cases be assigned automatically, but customers could be kept informed about the status of their cases. Upon creation of a case, an e-mail would go to the customer who opened the case, giving them case number and who to call if they have questions. Once the case has been resolved, another e-mail could be sent to the customer informing them of the resolution and who to call if there are additional problems with the case. Constant customer contact is critical in service/support situations, and workflow can automate much of that contact.

4. Automate Creation of Procedural Tasks

Do you need to follow a procedure? Who doesn't? Let's say that upon creation of a new lead, the sales person is supposed to send a welcome letter introducing them to the lead. At the same time, the marketing department is supposed to mail a standard packet of information. Finally, five days after the packet of information has been sent, the sales person is to call the lead. How does everybody remember to do this stuff?

Workflow, of course.

Upon creation of the lead, a personalized e-mail based off of a specific template can be sent automatically to the lead.

A task would be created and assigned to the appropriate marketing queue, where a person assigned to monitor the queue handles it. Perhaps they even process the requests in bulk at the end of the day or the beginning of the next day. They may even use an external fulfillment center specifically for this purpose. Either way, the task is created automatically.

Finally, the phone call activity for the sales person is created with a due date of five days in the future, with the specific script included in the task. Now they have a reminder to call the lead and they know what they need to say.

Pretty cool, isn't it?


As you have seen, workflow in Microsoft CRM can help anybody using CRM, whether it is the sales manager, sales person, customer service manager, customer service rep, or anybody else. There are many other ways to automate tasks, including using more complicated logic.The only limitation is your imagination. With the ideas in this article and some creativity, you should be able to think of other ways to use workflow in Microsoft CRM for your business.

Michael Cross is a Microsoft Certified CRM Professional with Small Business Systems LLC. Visit to learn how Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 enables your people to work the way they want to work, while providing you wih the data you need to increase the number of customers, provide the quality of service your customers expect, and increase your revenues.

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