Get Personal With CRM

I read this post on Fat CRM data and it got me thinking.  Most of the CRM data that people are concerned with sales information, orders, marketing.

I always think of the benefits of CRM is getting all the information together and automating as much as you can and not loosing time and information switching between different software programs.

The information you can collect in CRM, the more you can analyse your processes and see if you are working efficiently or where you could improve things.  In fact rather than repeat myself I have a blog called

What are the benefits of CRM

But let us not forget that CRM standards for customer relationship management.  The article focuses on what the author calls Fat CRM data.

He describes as such

Let me explain; thin CRM data are things like contact details, meeting notes, activity history, planned future actions and so on. Fat CRM Data relate to the person themselves and typically would be the following: –

  • Their interests inside and outside of work
  • What food and drink they like
  • When they prefer to be contacted during the day (usually early or late)
  • If they prefer to see you for a coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner or a “cheeky half” after work
  • The name of their PA
  • What their business and personal goals are
  • What their business and personal challenges (problems in none-PC speak) are


This is an area which people do not currently keep a great deal of information on but they have the framework to do so.  In CRM you have Accounts and Contacts.  You have a structured way to sort your information and easily find it.

You could reap a great deal of benefit everyone started filling CRM with personal information to someone who is a potential client, even small pieces of information could make the difference between winning a contract and not.  Something trivial like knowing that person likes horse racing or their favourite resturant, the football team they support, names of children.  If any of the information helped build up a rapport with that person it could make a big difference.

What I also like about the idea is that with CRM you could easily share this information with other members of the team and create a collective pool of FAT CRM information, rather than have lots of separate and inferior pools of fat crm data.

you could use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to send the person a birthday card every year, although I’m not sure how much business that would win you if he recieved a bog standard template birthday card but it might just remind him about you and influence him to pick up the phone and talk business with you.


Good CRM Twitter Feeds

I had starting subscribing to tweets but often got overwhelmed when I looked at the various CRM tweets I was following.

It wasn’t until I start using netvibes that I found it easy to quickly have a look at the tweets I was subscribed.

Now I have found they are a really good source of information.  I think it’s because people are happy to tweet links to good articles rather than write a blog because tweeting is quick and easy.

The benefit of this is, it doesn’t take you long to quickly scan the tweets to see if there is anything of interest!/GoodCRM!/neilabenson!/mscrmonline!/msdynamics!/dynamicsusers!/MSDYNCOMM!/MSDynamicsCRM!/msdynamicsworld

I hope you enjoy these bunch of CRM twitter feeds, there are of course lots out there but these are the ones I have found the most useful.

if you have any other interesting feeds please leave them in the comments.

Subscribing CRM forums – An Excellent source of CRM Information.

I have been using netvibes recently and it has had a dramatic effect on keeping up todate with the latest and greatest CRM information.  Netvibes allows you to subscribe to anything with an RSS feed, Twitter, Linkedin, facebook.  It then orders the information in a way which means you can easily read lots of different feeds without much effort.

I have signed up to lots of blogs and they are good for finding useful articles and opinions on CRM

The other source of information I have also been getting interesting information from is two slightly unusual sources.


Forums RSS feeds

Microsoft has a good collection of CRM forums


I also like the fact you can choose to filter by answered questions, so you are basically looking at the solutions to the problems.

Often you will see people raise questions which will help you out, you also get the benefit of having CRM MVP’s answering the questions, so it is also a good way to learn.

It’s also interesting to see how people are using CRM, you can often get a good idea of their requirements from the questions they are posting.

Who knows if you start replying to people’s questions you could become a CRM MVP yourself.

How to create a repeating schedule workflow rule

I saw this blog post today by Yaniv Arditi, what I really liked about the solution was how simple and elegant it was.  It also used the functionaility in CRM, it reminds you about how useful and powerful workflows are.

I have put this on my blog so I can find this again because I’m sure that sometime in the future I will have to do something like this, in the past this has usually been done programming with .NET code, this solution offers an alternative to that.  It could be used by consultants who haven’t got access to a developer.


How to create a repeating schedule workflow rule

I am often asked by my clients if Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 can automatically schedule and perform a repeating task, such as sending an email notification to a Contact every year or adding a Note to a Contact record every day.

One trivial solution to this problem is developing a custom module that will be repeatedly launched by Windows Scheduled Tasks feature or Windows Service and perform the required task.

Another solution, one that does not require writing code, can be implemented using the Work Flow engine.
Let’s take, for example, a scenario in which we would like to automatically send ‘Happy Anniversary’ email greeting to our Contacts on their Anniversary day.

The following 8 steps describe how to set up the required work flow rule:

1. Create a new blank work flow rule for the Contact entity


2. Set the rule to be triggered by both the record Creation and Attribute change events. Set the scope to user, at least until you have tested the rule.


3. Select the Anniversary attribute to trigger the record attribute change event


4. Add a Wait condition to wait until the Contact’s next Anniversary date


5. Add a ‘Send E-mail’ step, set the required email template (assuming you have one) and email details


6. Add an ‘Update Record’ step and set it to update the Contact’s anniversary date to next year Anniversary date


7. By the end, your work flow rule should look something like this:


8. Publish the work flow rule

9. Test the rule by creating a new pseudo Contact with a future date (e.g. tomorrow) as anniversary date and your email address. If all went well, you should be able to see a new rule instance waiting in the Contact’s workflows grid.
Past the target date, verify that the workflow rule has advanced and that you have received the greeting email. Also make sure the Contact’s Anniversary date has been updated to next year anniversary date.