How Your Sales Team Benefits from a Dynamics 365 Sales Forecast (Part 2)
Dynamics 365 for Sales offers a lot of nice features to facilitate managing your business opportunities. Over the years, SyncraTec has compiled a list of recommended customizations to the out of the box Opportunity Sales Process that add a lot of value to opportunity management. And now, Dynamics 365 for Sales has added sales forecasting to increase the probability of success for your sales team even more!
It’s beneficial for a sales manager to have access to a list view of open opportunities that their team is nurturing. Dashboards and charts can improve the data visualization of these opportunities by such things as Estimated Revenue, Estimated Close Date and Probability. But, a sales forecast can help a sales team track their performance against their targets and identify risks to achieving their quotas. My previous blog highlighted how simple it is to set up and configure a sales forecast for your organization in Dynamics 365.
This blog will demonstrate how sales team members and sales managers can use forecasts to achieve their sales goals. All of the functionality discussed in this blog comes FREE with Dynamics 365 for Sales, along with some additional Sales Insights functionality.
Viewing and Adjusting a Forecast as a Sales Team Member
A sales manager needs to have the Forecast Manager security role to configure forecasts for their organization. They can set up the type of forecast, permissions for accessing it, and the columns they want displayed on the forecast grid. After a forecast is activated, the sales team members can access the projected revenue and pipeline predictions accumulated from their opportunities. A sales team member will find forecasts in the Performance area of the navigation menu of the Sales Hub app.
The drop-down list of forecasts at the top will display any forecast for which the sales team member has permissions to view. From the next drop-down list, they can choose the forecast period they want to see. These options reflect the forecast periods defined in the forecast configuration.
The Forecast Grid
The forecast grid displays all relevant columns as defined in the forecast configuration. The totals are aggregated by user or by territory, at each level of the hierarchy and for each period according to the forecast column attributes. The forecast illustrated in this blog was configured as an “org chart forecast”. It also uses the out-of-the-box Forecast Category option set from the Opportunity entity for column configuration (recommended by Microsoft).
As a sales team member, the forecast grid summarizes opportunity values from a snapshot of the data. The upper right corner may indicate that “Fresh data is available”. Dynamics gives the user the option to update the grid with the real time values from their Opportunity records. It will include Opportunities where the user (sales team member) is the Owner and the Estimated Close Date falls within the forecast period. The default value for each column is the sum of the Estimated Revenue fields for all the Opportunities with the Forecast Category value indicated by the column name. Note: There are some changes around snapshot history in Dynamics Release 2020 Wave 2.
Underlying Opportunity Records
At the bottom of the forecast, you will see the underlying Opportunity records in the Opportunities Forecast View. This is the out-of-the-box default view, but it can be changed when the forecast is configured. From this Opportunities Forecast View, the sales team member can:
- Update the “Forecast category” column to:
- Pipeline – indicates with low confidence that this Opportunity will be closed as won during the forecast period (default value for new Opportunities)
- Best case – indicates with medium confidence that this Opportunity will be closed as won during the forecast period
- Committed – indicates with high confidence that this Opportunity will be closed as won during the forecast period
- Omitted – identifies an Opportunity that the user wants to be excluded from the estimated revenue forecast values
- Note: An out-of-the-box workflow automatically updates the Forecast Category to Lost or Won when an Opportunity is closed as lost or closed as won.
- Update additional Opportunity fields, such as Topic, Potential Customer, Est. Revenue, and Est. Close Date.
- Select “Show as Kanban” to display the underlying records in a Kanban type of view to easily drag Opportunity records from one Forecast Category to another.
- Select “Expand” to see more of their Opportunity records at one time.
- Navigate to the Opportunity record by clicking on the icon in the “Actions” column on the far left. The Opportunity form is opened in a new window to allow the update of any Opportunity record field while staying within the context of the forecast grid.
Adjusting the Forecast
The columns in the forecast grid can be configured different ways. It is up to the sales team manager to design the forecast grid to facilitate getting the most out of the forecast for their business. The forecast grid created for this blog provides the following functionality:
- Clicking on a Forecast Category column in the forecast grid will filter the view of underlying Opportunities accordingly.
- Column descriptions appear as tooltips on the column header to help the users understand what that value represents.
- Specific columns, like Committed in this forecast grid, have been configured to allow manual adjustments to the system-calculated values.
- Specific columns, like Pipeline in this forecast grid, have been configured to display a progress bar indicating the attainment percentage compared to the quota column.
From the Underlying Records view, a user can modify the individual Opportunity Forecast Category directly in the view. When this occurs, the Estimated Value of the Opportunity will be subtracted out of the previous Forecast Category roll up value and added to the new Forecast Category roll up value.
Adjustment Dialog Box
There may circumstances where the sales team member estimates the amount that they expect an Opportunity to bring in at the close of a forecast period to be different from the roll up value. They may want to adjust the system-calculated rollup value. If the column is configured to be adjustable, a user can hover over the field and select the pencil icon that appears.
A dialog box appears (above left) that is defaulted to the Adjustment tab. The user can then enter an adjustment amount and a note describing the reason for the adjustment. After the “Adjust” button is selected (above center), the system-calculated value is still displayed with the adjusted amount directly above it. There is also an option to reset the forecast category value back to the system-calculated value. At any point, you can see the adjustment history (above right) by clicking on the History tab in the dialog box.
Viewing and Adjusting a Forecast as a Sales Manager
For a sales manager, the forecast grid displays the hierarchy of users as defined by the Manager field on the User records. This is assuming that the forecast was configured using the “Org chart forecast” template. The forecast grid can display multiple levels of the hierarchy, if an organization is structured that way.
The sales manager can see how their team is performing in meeting their sales team targets. In addition, the sales manager can track how well each of their sales team members is contributing to the team’s success. If a sales manager sees the need to make manual adjustments, they can do so. Sales managers have the ability to adjust their own or a direct report’s forecast. For example, the sales manager may think that a direct report underestimated their “Best case” Opportunities. In this case, they can increase the value in the forecast grid for that sales team member. Once saved, the adjustment will be rolled up to the parent record and all the way up the hierarchy.
A sales manager can select a row or a cell for any level of the hierarchy to see the related underlying opportunities. They can identify whether the underlying opportunities belong to a team, an individual, a single cell value, or a full row by looking at the table heading. The expanded view of underlying opportunities below is labeled as a “(Group)” view, i.e. opportunities belonging to the team.
This blog highlights the features and benefits to a sales team in maintaining a simple Dynamics 365 sales forecast model. If you have an interest in more sophisticated ways to project sales revenue more accurately with AI powered forecast predictions and interactive snapshot comparisons, check out the premium forecasting capabilities that are available in Dynamics 365. In addition, there are enhancements planned for sales forecasting that are available in preview mode with Release 2020 Wave 2. These improvements include supporting opportunity splits and breaking down the forecast by product family.
Dynamics 365 Customer Service Power Moves — 2020 Wave 1 Webinar Demo
YouTube video from August26, 2020 live webinar demo presentation.
A big part of the Unified Interface, Interactive Dashboards provide a quick way to get an overview of your customer service system. The Customer Service Hub comes with two out-of-the-box Interactive Dashboards, which you can see on the video.
Apps as an Overlay
The Customer Service Hub app is one of many apps in your Dynamics 365 system. The concept of an app lends itself to simplifying end-user navigation and security. The Apps can be filtered to just show the entities that are related to a particular subject area, like customer service. The App Designer controls which entities and associated forms, views, and dashboards are included in each app, as well as providing for the Site Map Designer for setting up the navigation.
Business Process Flow Designer
The Business Process Flow Designer allows your users to customize the flow of your business processes to match best practices. Set the design process to gather all the information you need, and make sure it is gathered consistently before enabling users to proceed the next stage of the process or closing out a case.
Create an Email from the Timeline within the CRM Case
Use the new enhanced email experience to send emails quickly and efficiently from within the Timeline in the CRM case records. The enhanced email experience, new in Dynamics 365 2020 Release Wave 1, has rich text formatting and allows you to use email templates for quickly creating standardized responses.
You can enable entitlements to kick-in for each customer when a new case is created. You can create entitlements for each customer based on a template.
Download the presentation: d365-customer-service-power-moves-2020
How to Set Up a Dynamics 365 Sales Forecast Model (Part 1)
A sales forecast can help sellers track their performance against their targets and identify risks to achieving their goals. This blog (Part 1) is going to highlight how easy it is to set up a sales forecast for your organization in Dynamics 365. All of the functionality discussed in this blog comes FREE with Dynamics 365 Sales, along with additional Sales Insights functionality. By default, the sales forecast model is available in your organization.
You need to be an administrator or have the Forecast Manager security role to configure forecasts in your organization. You can set up the type of forecast, permissions for accessing it, and the columns you want displayed on the forecast grid. After a forecast is activated, your sales team can access the projected revenue and pipeline predictions.
Getting Started with Your Sales Forecast Model
You can set up Dynamics 365 sales forecast models based on your organization’s reporting hierarchy, your organization’s sales regions or some other hierarchy entity. For this blog, we are going to base our forecast on our organization’s reporting structure. Note that this method assumes that Manager (User lookup) fields are already updated on User records.
From the App Settings menu of the Sales Hub, select “Forecast configuration”, then choose the “Org chart forecast” template.
The template is a wizard-like tool that will guide you through the configuration of your org chart forecast. Here is a list of the properties you will need to identify.
Forecast name – enter a meaningful name
Rollup entity – this is set to Opportunity by default and cannot be changed
Hierarchy entity – this is set to User by default and cannot be changed
Rollup to hierarchy relationship – defines the relationship between the rollup entity and the hierarchy entity (e.g. Owner)
Top of hierarchy – for org chart forecasts, provides a drop down of Users – select the Manager – after you select the Manager, the Preview window on the right will show the hierarchy
Default underlying records view – provides a drop down of Opportunity views – this is the view used when users select a row or a cell of the forecast to view its underlying Opportunities (more about this in Part 2 of this blog)
Forecast period – select whether the forecast is generated monthly or quarterly
Fiscal year – select the fiscal year for the forecast – this is populated based on the organization’s fiscal year settings
Start this forecast – select the time period to start forecasting –
Number of periods – enter the number of forecast periods to be generated – you can only create forecasts that span up to one year
Valid from – read-only field – it identifies the date the forecast starts
Valid to – read-only field – it identifies the date the forecast ends
When you are done, click on the “Next” button.
In the Permissions step of the forecast wizard, you identify which users can view and adjust the forecast data at each level. Also, you can provide access to users who have specific security roles to view the forecast.
In the User security field section, the User lookup field will default to “User” for org chart forecasts. This field determines the owner of the row in the forecast grid. If you select a value other than the default, a column is created in the forecast grid.
The Additional security roles section provides options to give permissions to users outside of the organization hierarchy. By default, “No additional security roles” is selected.
Layout and Columns
In the Layout step of the forecast wizard, you can configure columns to define the rows in the forecast grid. Every forecast needs an option set to define roll-up columns. You can add roll-up columns based on option set values that are defined for your Opportunities. Click the + Add from option set to get a list of the option sets defined on the Opportunity entity. Select an option set, and then click on Choose selected. Each option set value you select is added as a column for you to configure.
Microsoft recommends using the out-of-the-box Forecast Category option set for column configuration. Forecast Category is an out of the box field displayed on the Opportunity form. It is used to define the confidence level of an Opportunity closing as a win. It defaults to “Pipeline”. You can add custom option set values, if you’d like. As you can see below, the Forecast Category options include Won and Lost. The Opportunity Forecast Category Mapping Process is an out-of-the-box workflow that automatically updates the forecast category when an Opportunity is set to Won or Lost. If you’re using a custom option set for column configuration, you must create a workflow to ensure that the forecast is projecting accurate values.
After your columns are added, you can configure each one by clicking on the vertical ellipsis and selecting Configure. This will give you the ability to
- modify the column Name
- set the column Type (typically Rollup)
- define the Amount field (what you are rolling up, typically the Estimated Revenue)
- define the Date field (the date used to determine the forecast period, typically the Estimated Close Date)
- add a Description (this appears as a tooltip on the column header of the forecast grid)
- set Allow adjustments (to let users manually edit a system-calculated value directly in the forecast grid, indicated by a pencil icon)
- enable Show progress compared to quota (to compare the column’s value against the quota column indicated by a percentage shown in a progress bar)
- set Show in Trend Chart
There is an Auto-Configuration option that would do a lot of the column configuration for you. You can always tweak it afterwards.
By setting additional filters, you can filter the Opportunity records used to calculate the forecast values. The filters are based on attribute values that belong to the Opportunity entity, including related entity attributes.
Activate & Add Quotas to your Sales Forecast Model
After reviewing and confirming your forecast layout and columns, you simply click on the “Activate forecast” button. The forecast will start calculating the forecast values and become available to users. The system will display a confirmation message after the forecast model is activated. At this point, the “Download simple data column template” is enabled.
Upload Sales Forecasting Quota Data
The system generates a quota template with a column for each forecast period and a row for each user in the hierarchy. The sales manager must update the Excel quota template appropriately for each user. After the quota template is uploaded, managers and users can begin tracking targets.
Sales Forecast Model Configuration Results
Here is an example of a sales forecast grid that a user could see in their activated forecast. Note, that a manager would see a row for each of the users of their hierarchy.
This blog highlights the steps to create a simple Dynamics 365 sales forecast model. However, even with the FREE version of Sales Forecasting, there are more options in configuring a forecast than what I’ve detailed here. If you have an interest in more sophisticated ways to project sales revenue more accurately with AI powered forecast predictions and interactive snapshot comparisons, check out the premium forecasting capabilities that are available in Dynamics 365.
Part 2 of my blog will highlight how managers and users can use forecasts to analyze their sales performance, identify risks and make adjustments to improve their ability to achieve their sales goals.
Insider Spotlight on Common Data Service Analytics
The common data services analytics found in the Power Platform Administration area replaces the Organization Insights solution that needed to be installed in older versions of Dynamics 365. The Organization Insights solution has now been deprecated. Some high level information on this functionality will be outlined below. Microsoft’s detailed write up can be found here. The below is a screen shot from Microsoft’s documentation on Common Data Service analytics.
Where Can I Find the Usage Analytics?
Proceed to the URL https://admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com/ and login with the credentials for your organization. Below lists the security roles that users need to have to view the reports.
- Environment Admin – can view reports for the environments that the admin has access to.
- Power Platform Service admin – can view reports for all environments.
- Dynamics 365 Service admin – can view reports for all environments.
- Microsoft 365 Global admin – can view reports for all environments.
Common Data Analytics – Usage Graphs and Charts
When you click on Common Data Service, you will be presented with the below open to the Home tab. There are multiple tabs that contain a myriad of Graphs and Charts.
The filters can be expanded/decreased to look at a broader or narrower set of data.
Please note: It appears at this time that the maximum range for reporting is one month.
Common Data Analytics – Usage Reports
Highlight on User Statistics Available
If your organization is specifically interested in tracking users and their usage of the system, there are many charts and reports available to help.
First, on the Home tab, you can find the below charts.
You can select Download as shown below to list available reports.
These reports show the underlying data for some of the charts in the Common Data Analytics. If there is a filter applied for the charts, the same filter is applied to the downloaded reports. As stated above, the maximum duration for data availability is 30 days.
Lets export the Most Active Users by Performing Operations report and take a look. The report is exported as a .csv file.
The usernames are listed in the first column with the number of creates, updates, deletes and reads.
Organization insights has been deprecated and replaced with the Common Data Service Analytics area. There are many useful charts and underlying data reports that can be used to do analysis on the usage of your CRM system.
How to Manage Phone Calls in the Unified Interface
Dynamics 365 is constantly improving the interactive experience for the sales professional. As a result, there have been some changes in the Dynamics 365 regarding the behavior of Phone Calls. In previous versions, Phone Call records were always marked as “Completed” when they were saved and closed. But, that wasn’t the desired outcome if a user was scheduling a future Phone Call. So, this blog will make a recommendation on how to manage Phone Calls in the Unified Interface.
Phone Calls in the Unified Interface
Phone Call functionality in the current release of Dynamics 365 is now enhanced. However, there is still some need for improvement when it comes to the Phone Call Quick Create form. I will explain by showing you the difference between the Phone Call Main form and the Phone Call Quick Create form.
Phone Call Main Form
Create a New Phone Call
The Phone Call Main form provides several out of the box options in the command bar. If you are creating a new Phone Call, you will see the following commands at the top of the form:
- Save – saves the Phone Call record and keeps the form open
- Mark Complete – saves the Phone Call record as “Completed”, inactivates the record and closes the form
- Save & Close – saves the Phone Call record as “Open” and closes the form
Modify an Existing Phone Call
If you want to modify an existing open Phone Call record, the Main form offers several different options. In this case, you will see the following commands at the top of the form:
- Save – saves the Phone Call record and keeps the form open
- Mark Complete – saves the Phone Call record as “Completed”, inactivates the record and closes the form
- Save & Close – saves the Phone Call record, keeps it “Open” and closes the form
- Close Phone Call – this command will display a pop up window that gives you two options:
- Close as “Completed”
- The State drop down value defaults to “Completed”
- The Status drop down value defaults to “Made” – you can modify it to “Received”
- Clicking on the Close button – saves the Phone Call record as “Completed” and inactivates the record
- Close as “Completed”
- Close as “Canceled”
- The State drop down value can be modified to “Canceled”
- Clicking on the Close button – saves the Phone Call record as “Canceled” and inactivates the record
- Close as “Canceled”
Phone Call Quick Create Form
Most people would agree that the Quick Create (particularly for the Activity entities) is the preferred method for adding records. The Quick Create saves clicks and time. It seems to work well and fits into most users’ processes.
If you enable the Quick Create form for the Phone Call entity, the system will render the Phone Call Quick Create form:
- when creating a Phone Call from a related entity Timeline (many of the fields are prepopulated from the related entity, including the “Regarding”)
- when creating a Phone Call from the “+” icon in the toolbar at the top of the screen
The Quick Create form is generated for new Phone Call records only. This form is not rendered by the system when modifying an existing Phone Call record.
The Phone Call Quick Create form provides some different out of the box options compared to the Main form. If you are creating a new Phone Call, you will see the following commands at the bottom of the form:
- Save & Close – saves the Phone Call record as “Open” and closes the form
- Save & Create New – saves the Phone Call record as “Open” and refreshes the Quick Create form ready for the user to add another new Phone Call
So, what is the Problem with the Quick Create Form?
Note that the Quick Create does not provide an option to “Mark Complete”. This to me is a big flaw in the otherwise very useful form. Don’t you agree that many users record Phone Calls after they make the calls? Based on that assumption, I have a workaround that will work for most Dynamics 365 users. You can create a workflow that takes the Due date into consideration:
- A Phone Call record created without the Due date populated is assumed to be a “Completed” Phone Call
- A Phone Call record created with the Due date populated is assumed to be a future “Open” Phone Call
If your users agree to the above, you can write a simple workflow like the one below. This workflow is triggered by the create of a new Phone Call record.
This workflow is intended to support the Quick Create form. But, the logic still applies when creating a Phone Call from the Main form. However, there is one caveat with using the Main form. If the user enters a Due date but then selects “Mark Complete”, the system will mark the Phone Call as completed. As a result, if your users want to also use the Main form to create Phone Call records, they should be instructed to always use the “Save & Close” option. This will keep the outcome consistent between the Main form and Quick Create form.
Tips on How to Manage Opportunities in the Unified Interface
I am a Dynamics 365 citizen developer consultant supporting multiple clients in all kinds of industries. Most of the business applications we develop are sales apps including, of course, opportunities. Our users dictate how they want their opportunity process and forms designed. However, we still like to offer some recommendations on how to manage their opportunities in the Unified Interface.
Record Navigation Panel
One of the Unified Interface features that I think is awesome is the record navigation panel. In previous versions of Dynamics 365, a user would click on a record link from a view and the record would open in a form. They would have to go back to the view to click on and open another record of interest. The record navigation panel is a feature of the Unified Interface that can be easy to miss. After clicking on a record from an entity view, select the little right arrow icon at the top of the form . This will open the record navigation panel, displaying the entity view you just came from. Now the user can select and open other records directly from the record navigation panel. In addition, as the user opens various records, the system will keep the entity form on the same form tab.
Note that the record navigation panel above is displaying opportunity records with the associated Estimated Revenue. This is because the Estimated Revenue field is the first non-key field column in this view. This view is sorted by the Estimated Revenue in descending order, showing the opportunities with the highest Estimated Revenue at the top.
The screenshot above shows the record navigation panel displaying opportunity records with the associated business process Active Stage. Again, this is because the Active Stage field is the first non-key field column in this particular view. This view is sorted by the Active Stage in descending order, showing the opportunities that are nearest to closing at the top. Depending on your users’ requirements, various views can be created to support the way they want to monitor their open opportunities.
The Opportunity Form and Assistant
Microsoft recently updated Dynamics 365 instances with 2020 Release Wave 1. Included in this release is the Sales Insights (free) version. There are multiple components of Sales Insights, but the one I’d like to highlight here is Assistant (previously Relationship Assistant). The Assistant uses AI to keep an eye on your actions and communications. This results in helping you stay on top of your opportunities with insight “cards”. Cards are displayed prominently throughout the application. (For more detail, see Use assistant to guide customer communications.)
For opportunities, the Assistant can provide insight into advancing your opportunity. The Assistant section may be on the opportunity form by default. If not, it should be added to a prominent position on the form. The Assistant card displayed above is notifying the opportunity owner that the Estimated Close Date for this opportunity is approaching. As stated previously, these cards are available out of the box for free with Dynamics 365 Sales. An administrator can configure insight cards such as task due today, close date has passed, or email contains a new stakeholder.
Pin the Business Process Flow Stage Flyout
Most Dynamics users have processes in mind that their sales team should follow to improve results. You can map their specific sales processes into the opportunity Business Process Flow (BPF). A BPF is a guided process map, like a wizard that moves their sales team from one stage of the sales process to the next. A citizen developer can configure the steps required to reflect the standard sales process.
The Unified Interface saved some screen real estate by removing the constant display of the BPF steps seen in previous versions. Now, you need to click the process stage in the BPF bar to see the steps for that stage in a flyout window. You also have the option to pin the flyout window to your form by clicking on the icon in the upper right corner. (See the results of pinning the stage flyout in the Putting It All Together section below.) The fly-out window remains in place if you switch to a different record. If you click on a different process stage, the flyout window will update automatically with the appropriate steps. If you close the fly-out window, it will remain closed on subsequent records until you decide to pin it again.
A Few Other Opportunity Tips
A few years ago, Microsoft redesigned the way entity records were associated with Business Process Flows. The active process stage used to be an out of the box field on, for example, the opportunity record. As most of you already know, this is no longer the case. Instead, each Business Process Flow is represented by it’s own BPF entity. Now, the active process stage of an opportunity is stored on the related BPF entity record. Therefore, you cannot display the active process stage value on opportunity forms or in opportunity views.
As a workaround, I recommend adding some custom fields to the opportunity entity record. All of these custom fields can be updated in one workflow that is triggered by the change in the Active Stage field on the related BPF entity record.
I suggest adding a custom Active Stage field to the opportunity entity record. You can make this field a text field or an option set field. The workflow can set the value of this custom field based on the value of the Active Stage field on the related BPF record. This custom field can be added to views and charts to identify where your opportunities are in the selling process. It is also a good idea to prefix the Active Stage name with a number. This will enable appropriate sorting in views and charts. If you make it an option set, you can assign various colors to each value to enhance any charts.
I have also modified this workflow to update the out of the box Pipeline Phase text field. The Pipeline Phase field is used in various out of the box views and charts. If you modify the out of the box opportunity BPF stages, you should consider updating the Pipeline Phase field as well to keep it in sync.
Another recommendation is to have this workflow update the opportunity Probability field based on the current Active Stage value. The out of the box Probability field is a text field. Modify the workflow to update this Probability field based on percentages agreed upon by your users. The further along the opportunity is in the BPF, the higher the probability that this opportunity will result in some new business.
Weighted Estimated Revenue
The out of the box Estimated Revenue is certainly an important field to prioritize open opportunities. However, a custom Weighted Estimated Revenue field adds a new dimension. It factors in the probability that an opportunity will close as won. A Weighted Estimated Revenue field can be easily added as a calculated field (Estimated Revenue * Probability). To do this, you will need to add an additional custom decimal number Probability field. Again, this same workflow can set this decimal number Probability field value.
Putting It All Together
In summary, the features of the Unified Interface make it easy to monitor and prioritize your open opportunities. As described in another blog, the interactive dashboard is a nice data visualization tool for an overview of your opportunities. But when you need to dig in and work those opportunities, take advantage of the Unified Interface features discussed in this blog to do that. With the workstation configuration above, in one view, you can see:
- The collapsed Dynamics 365 site map navigation menu on the far left
- The open opportunities record navigation panel that allows you to select and display different opportunity records
- The opportunity BPF bar with the active stage identified by the red target icon
- The opportunity form with all the form tabs available (Summary, Opportunity Details, etc.)
- The pinned BPF stage flyout on the far right that includes how long the opportunity has been active in the BPF and how long it’s been active in the current process stage
I hope this blog gives you and your users some ideas on how to enhance their experience with managing opportunities in Dynamics 365.
Insider Spotlight on Scanning a Business Card to Dynamics 365
Scanning a business card to Dynamics 365 to directly create a Contact or Lead is a much awaited piece of functionality. When you collect a business card at a meeting or conference, the information on the card can now be captured. This can be done quickly and efficiently with the new feature. In this blog, detailed steps required for this to work will be explained.
Scanning a Business Card to Dynamics 365 License and Permissions
The first thing to know is that the Dynamics 365 scanning a business card functionality is only available in the Unified Interface. The Microsoft guide details the steps to take in the setup.
The first step is to go to the Sales Hub, Overview area and choose to manage the Business Card Scan.
We recently set the Scan Business Card functionality for a client. While we were testing the functionality, the following error was received.
The issue was with the user license. A user needs to have a Sales Enterprise license to use this functionality!
Below is a screen shot from the 2020 Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide. 10 Scans/user/month is included with a Sales Enterprise License.
Update: after adding the professional license for the user, the scan business card functionality still did not function. We needed to call MS support to allocate the AI builder units. This is a process that only happens once a week and we added the license mid-week.
Using the Quick Create Form to Add a Contact or a Lead
The Quick Create form can be used on a desktop or the mobile app to capture the image of a business card. The fields from the business card are mapped to fields on a Contact or a Lead.
If you’re using the Dynamics 365 Sales app on a desktop, the business card picture file should be selected.
If you are using a mobile phone or other mobile device, use the mobile phone camera to capture the business card picture.
First name, last name, account name, job title, email and address information will be automatically populated from the business card image.
Modifying the Fields Included on the Business Card Capture.
You are able to modify the fields that are captured from the Scan Business card functionality. Go to the Controls tab of the Business card area field properties of the Contact/Lead Quick Create form. The captured fields are defined.
If you would like to capture the Company Name from the business card; you can do that. However, you would need to capture that field in a text field and not in the Parent Account lookup field on the Contact record. The Parent account lookup field can then be populated manually from the text field.
Saving the Business Card Image in Dynamics 365
The image can be saved on the Contact record. The setting for allowing that capability is described here.
The image of the business card is saved in a section/tab of the form when this setting is turned on.
As described above, the scanning a business card to Dynamics 365 is functionality that greatly enhances the productivity for Sales users of Dynamics 365. The free version of Sales Insights is also included with this license and is detailed in SyncraTec’s Insider Spotlight on Using Dynamics 365 Sales Insights blog.
How to Find Related Background Processes in the Unified Interface
Unified Interface – What’s missing?
Many of us have been configuring model-driven apps using the Unified Interface for quite some time. Of course, there are lots of nice improvements with the new interface. However, there are some classic interface capabilities that didn’t make the transition. At least, not yet. You have probably noticed a few yourself. Why can’t we have a 2 column section on a form? It drives me crazy to have State and Zip Code on two separate lines when it makes more sense and saves screen real estate to have them next to each other. What happened to being able to apply custom Themes to add a background color to form section labels? Not supported yet. But the one I want to focus on in this blog is the ability to navigate, from an entity form, to the related background processes from executed workflows.
Related Background Processes from an Entity Form
When I get a call from a user and need to troubleshoot a problem, I listen to the user’s interpretation of what went wrong. Then I immediately attempt to trace the record history. I look at the Audit History and the related background processes from executed workflows. The first time I tried to view the related background processes in the Unified Interface, they were missing. I guessed that the form wasn’t configured to display them. But, I was wrong. The form had background processes listed under the Processes header in the navigation pane.
I started to google this and discovered that this is a known issue with the Unified Interface. A CRM Tip of the Day described a workaround to the problem. But, it didn’t work for me and didn’t work for several other people based on the comments. Who knows – a Microsoft update may have broken that solution. And, now that we are all being transitioned to the Unified Interface by the 12/01/2020 target date, we won’t be able to fall back on the classic interface to do our troubleshooting.
So, how do you access those Background Processes?
Power Platform Admin Center
I really hope Microsoft enables the navigation to related Background Processes on Unified Interface entity forms in the near future. But until then, I have a workaround that is acceptable considering that you hopefully don’t have to do this very often! Go to your Power Platform admin center – https://admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com. Select the “…” across from the Environment you are troubleshooting and click on “Settings.”
Background Processes are System Jobs
From the Settings page, click on the down arrow next to “Audit and logs.” From that drop down list, you will see “System jobs” – click on that. It should be noted that his solution is dependent on enabling the retention of System Jobs. To do that, be sure that you uncheck the “Automatically delete completed workflow jobs (to save disk space)” checkbox in your background workflows. System Jobs take up storage space, but the Microsoft data storage model is changing for the better.
From the System Jobs page, first change the View to be “All Workflow Jobs.” Then go to the far right and click on the filter funnel icon. This enables column header filtering. Click on the little down arrow next to the Regarding column header and select “Filter by specific Regarding…”
Select the appropriate entity in the “Look for” drop down. I was troubleshooting a specific Opportunity record, so I selected Opportunity. The Opportunity I was troubleshooting is a closed Opportunity. So, in the “Look in” drop down, I changed the default view to All Opportunities. I entered my search criteria and clicked on the magnifying glass icon. Two Opportunity records appeared in the list. I checked the specific Opportunity record I was trouble shooting, clicked on the Select button, and finally clicked on the Add button.
A Familiar View of the Background Processes
This resulted in a complete list of Background Processes related to the record I was troubleshooting. It is basically the same view you would’ve seen from the entity form.
This solution is not as convenient as clicking on the related background process records from an entity form, but it gets the job done. More importantly, it will hopefully provide what you need to resolve the issue!
Insider Spotlight on Using Dynamics 365 Sales Insights
This blog will give you an insider look at the Dynamics 365 Sales Insights (free) version. Our clients’ Dynamics 365 instances were recently updated with 2020 Release Wave 1. We took a look at the Dynamics 365 Sales Insights (free) configuration after the upgrade. Some of our findings are detailed below.
The configuration for these components can now be found in the Sales Insights area in the Sales Hub app. The detailed steps can be found in the Enable and configure free Sales Insights features Guide.
Please note: The features are configured in the Sales Hub area but are available in the other out of the box apps and even custom apps!
Email Engagement in the Sales Insights Free Version
The email engagement part of the Sales Insight free version helps you create more effective email messages—and learn how your contacts are interacting with them. Stay on top of your email and prioritize those prospects or customers that are most engaged. For more detail, see Use email engagement to view message interactions.
Email Engagement allows for tracking of interactions with an email and its attachments.
In our organization, the free version of Email Engagement was configured and turned on before 2020 Release Wave 1 was applied. The mailboxes for the users were configured with Exchange Server Side Synchronization to allow the successful sending and receiving of emails. Th feature was turned on.
After the upgrade, the feature had been reset and needed to be turned on again.
After configuration,the new section shown below is now included on the “Email” form. Note: This section is not shown on the Email for Interactive or the Enhanced Email forms.
Recipient Activity Will Be Followed
The option will automatically be turned on. When you choose to allow the email to be followed, statistics from the email will then show on the email in the Recipient Activity section.
Note: There is some additional setup you will need to do to track attachments. One Drive for Business needs to be enabled. SharePoint needs to be enabled first in order to enable One Drive for Business. In addition, the email entity needs to be configured for document management.
Schedule the email to be sent at a later time
This works exactly as described. Emails can be scheduled to be sent at a later time. This way emails can be created and then sent later. A specific date and time can be specified.
Set a reminder to follow up on this email
A reminder can be set for follow up on an email. See below for the conditions that are available.
If the condition is met, the reminder shows on the email recipient’s CRM record or in the Sales Activity Social Dashboard.
Auto Capture in the Sales Insights Free Version
Dynamics 365 Sales Insights auto capture analyzes your email messages directly in Microsoft Exchange to find all messages that might be relevant to your work in sales. The application looks for messages to or from relevant email addresses and presents you with the relevant messages right in Sales. To learn more, see Auto capture of related emails.
Auto Capture Configuration
Auto capture is setup in the Sales Insight area of the Sales Hub. It assumes that Exchange Server Side Synchronization is setup along with the user’s email being approved and the mailbox configured.
Auto capture can be controlled at the User level. The option to configure this can be found on the Email tab of the Personal Options. It is defaulted to “ON” (once the user’s mailbox is configured) and can be turned off with this option.
Auto Capture on the Timeline
When the feature is fully configured, untracked emails will begin to show in the Timeline of the associated record.
The user can then choose to track the email, in which case, the email will be viewable to all users.
Post 2020 Release Wave 1 Finding
Before the 2020 Release Wave 1 was rolled out to our organization, the mailboxes were configured properly . Afterwards for the untracked emails to start showing again, we needed to approve the user’s email and test and enable their mailbox again.
We approved the user’s Primary Emails.
The mailboxes were then tested and enabled.
Assistant (Formerly known as Relationship Assistant)
The assistant (formerly known as Relationship assistant) combines and analyzes the information that is at its disposal from Dynamics 365 Sales, and then generates a collection of action cards. These cards are displayed as the entry point to Dynamics 365 Sales on mobile devices, and as a carousel or column display on web-based dashboards. For more detail, see Use assistant to guide customer communications.
Assistant uses Artificial Intelligence to show contextual insights to salespeople. It provides insight into relationships with customers and prospects.
Assistant is composed of “cards.” The cards each highlight an interaction with a customer.
“Action Cards” can be seen in multiple places in the system.
Where Do Action Cards Show?
We see “cards” in several places in Dynamics 365, including on entity forms, dashboards and directly in the Assistant.
The assistant cards show on Dashboards.
The “action cards” are also displayed when you click on the “light bulb” icon.
As described above, Microsoft has expanded the free Sales Insights offerings included with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 product. All of these features are designed to assist a salesperson in helping to improve the efficiency in which they conduct their job responsibilities. We look forward to the additional capabilities that Microsoft will introduce next.