CRM 2011 – What is sales literature and where do you use it

A customer asked me about sales literature this week and I thought I had an idea what it was.

I thought maybe you can link to orders or leads or accounts but then when I went to one of these entities I couldn’t see anywhere I could attach it.

You can attach files to these documents but just not sales literature.  So what it is.

Lets start by looking at the CRM 2011 Glossary, which you can read here

Sales Literature

The documents that are created with specific information about products and/or services and given to customers to help increase sales.


This web page has a much more detail description

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, a sales literature item is the basic unit of the marketing encyclopedia. For example, a business unit might decide to create an article about a specific product. The article can contain multiple sales literature items (sales attachments) such as a brochure, detailed specifications, and a CAD file, together with appropriate search terms, for example, “bolt” or “stainless steel.” Any PC-compatible file format can be uploaded and attached to an article in the marketing encyclopedia. Specific search terms can be specified for each item.

You can use the sales literature management entities to create a central repository for your organization’s sales information (in the form of sales literature items (sales attachments)) that provides an easy way to distribute information to users, both online and offline. Sales literature can be organized into categories and types to provide easier management and searching. Microsoft Dynamics CRM also supports a subject manager and knowledge base.

A sales literature record can have one or more sales literature items (sales attachments) attached to it in various formats, such as .doc, .pub, and .pdf. An item cannot be shared between sales literature records.

Sales literature records can also be attached to competitors and products (both yours and your competitors’).


We are starting to build up an idea now of what this is now, another useful piece of information is the drop down list on the sales literature entity, it has these values


  • Product information
  • Presentations and brochures
  • Policies and procedures
  • Sales literature
  • White papers
  • Competitive information
  • Price lists
  • Annual reports
  • Manuals

So to summarise Sales Literature is an area for you to store Customer ready materials and you can associate Sales Literature with

Marketing Lists
Finally you can attach and Sales Literature in tracked emails
If you want more information on Sales Literature the Customer Effective Blog has a good article on Sales Literature which you can read here

CRM 2011 – Using Security roles to change items in Sales Navigation Area

A customer didn’t want to use orders and invoices but also wanted to remove them from the navigation bar in sales and other navigation bars.

I could remove the items from the navigation bar but this seemed to be a bit final and would involve a lot more work if I wanted to add it back in later.  If you want to change the navigation bar then I this site map editor solution is great, I have blogged about that here

Instead I set the privileges for the users to not be able to anything with Invoices and orders.

This highlights how security privileges work in CRM and how useful they are. All the views and information is filtered by the users security role.

To test out if the different security roles then you can use log in as a different user CRM 2011 – How to open CRM as a different user you can also do this by pressing Shift and right clicking Internet Explorer.

CRM MVP’s and blog links

if you want to subscribe to some of the best blogs on Microsoft Dynamics CRM then I would recommend subscribing to the blogs written by the CRM MVP’s (and mine of course)

The CRM MVP’s all make fantastic contributions to CRM community and their articles, tools, forum posts and books have helped me loads over the past few years I have been working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

If you want to see the list of CRM MVP’s then you can see them all here, it has a quick one line summary and then you can click on the link to get a more details about the MVP.

There are 51 CRM MVP’s at the moment, I’m not sure if they keep a certain number or how many they add a year.

Although you can access the detailed description of the MVP and a link to their blog, I saw a link on Mitch Milam’s blog which lists a lot of CRM MVP’s blogs.  If you are not subscribed or haven’t read any of these blogs then I recommend you go and have a look at them.  They are really useful for learning CRM.

CRM MVPs Blogs

CRM 2011 tool – CrmDiagTool2011 can now access remote CRM Servers.

Tanguy the CRM tool guy has been busy, busy justifying his well earnt CRM MVP status.

Tanguy has created many CRM tools but the most useful tool for anyone supporting customer CRM systems or trying to resolve a problem then the CrmDialgTool2011 is the best.  It is even useful for debugging plugins because you can turn on tracing and it spits out errors to the error log.

Tanguy with help from his colleague Nicolas have released a new version of the tool which has the functionality to allow you to connect to remote CRM Servers.  This means you don’t have to open up a remote desktop to run the tool.

You can read about the tool update here

if you want to download the tool then you should head over to codeplex –

looking at a screenshot of the tool, it does look impressive.

I have to say it’s very impressive that Tanguy gives this tool away for free, thank you very much sir.

If you wish to thank Tanguy for his hard work he has a paypal button on his blog, go on give it a click

CRM – November KB articles for CRM

Here is a list of the all KB articles released for CRM in the month of November 2011

Dynamics CRM


KB Article Link Publish Date CRM Version Title
2620926 05/11/2011 Dynamics CRM 4.0 [SDP 3][61593d1b-21b0-43e3-9088-74e77dec12f4] Microsoft Dynamics CRM client for Microsoft Office Outlook diagnostic tool
2550098 10/11/2011 Dynamics CRM 4.0 Update Rollup 20 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 is available
975995 14/11/2011 Dynamics CRM 4.0 Update Rollup 8 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 is available
977650 14/11/2011 Dynamics CRM 4.0 Update Rollup 9 for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 is available
2639569 01/11/2011 Dynamics CRM 2011 Error message when attempting to send tracked email message to another user in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
2536453 04/11/2011 Dynamics CRM 2011 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 continuously prompts for credentials when it attempts to access a webresource
2584871 18/11/2011 Dynamics CRM 2011 Error occurs when you install Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Server on a domain whose NetBIOS domain name contains a period (.)

CRM 2011 – CRM and Portal information

I was asked about portals and CRM 2011 today.

I have been googling information about it.  In my mind this is fantastic functionality that clients want but setting it up and maintaining it can be difficult.  The main problem I have is to use a portal you have to set up a seperate website and then it’s a case of managing the security settings and I am not to hot with security settings.  The major benefit of the portal is it does provide a method of doing the security settings and managing this from within CRM.

I also tried to setup the portal once and it was a day of frustration before I got had to leave it.

my experience shouldn’t scare people off, I bet there are loads of people who have successfully got CRM portals working.

I thought I would list the portal information I have found

The first is slightly unusual but the Customer Portal is listed twice on the market place, one has one review of 5 stars and the other has 9 reviews of an average of 3.5.  This does seem quite low for a Microsoft endorsed accelerator (1o reviews!)

I have found a video on setting up the Customer portal

The link below has some FAQ’s about setting up and getting starting with portals. It contains some of the common problems you might run up agaisn’t so if you are having trouble it would be worth visiting the site below

FAQ for Customer and Partner Portals

There is also a whole section in the CRM 2011 SDK

Portal Developer Guide for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

The document above is very useful, below are the sections it covers

Prepare for Portal Development
Prepare for portal development and read about best practices. 
ASP.NET Web Forms and Data Binding
Learn how to use the portal toolkit for data binding into Web forms.
Manage Portal Content
Learn about content management with the portal toolkit.
Portal Authentication
Learn about authentication with the portal toolkit.
Use the Web Site Copy Tool
Learn how to use the Web site copy tool.
Portal Walkthroughs
Step-by-step instructions on how to create a portal console application, plug-in and Web application.

CRM 2011 – Common CRM interview questions but what do they tell you?

Yesterday MS CRM interview questions and CRM 2011 interview questions where the two top searches for people finding their way onto my blog, although they were only 8 searches.  Interview featured in 5 different search terms.

So that’s 13 searches out of 557 different search terms for yesterday.

It got me thinking about interview questions, what would I ask people and is it important for CRM developer/consultants to know the answer.  There is always a debate on the benefits of people knowing syntax of programming languages etc, do you really need to have this knowledge with google there to help you?

Amusing I once went for an interview and the person said when they Google interview questions or information about CRM they kept coming to my blog.  So it was quite amusing when they asked me what the difference was between a workflow and a plugin for my brain to go blank and not really know the answer.

I searched google for CRM 2011 interview questions.  I found a book on CRM 4 interview questions, it’s seem a bit of a small area to base a whole book on, especially if you put a CRM version to it.  Have a look here if you are interested.

I found two forums where CRM MVP’s and experienced users put forward some suggestions, the forums are here and here

The forums did supply quite a few links

although not my blog post CRM 2011 – common interview questions

one user

Israel Pradeep Gujjarlapudi

supplied some very interesting questions

1. Difference between PlugIn vs Workflow (Asynchronous vs Synchronous)

2. What are basic security permissions at domain level (priv reporting group, privUser group, SQL Reporting group… total 5 groups availble google it.)

3. for plugin deployment, Difference between GAC, DataBase, Disk deployments.

4. Difference between CRM webservice Vs CRM.SDKProxy namespaces.

5. Calling Dynamic Entities (knowledge on Moniker, INputParameters, OutPutParameters, and MetaServices.)

6. Difference between GUID and Key, Lookup and String

7. Knowledge on Java Script and SOAP webservices, most important how to call XmlHttpRequest. (Bold questions are high priority quesitons, you will get answers in google. if not ask me.)

8. how many max number of tabs available in MS CRM Entity Form (officially max 8 tabs, unofficially we can do plenty(Its not recommended by Microsoft CRM))

Although when I read them they are based on CRM 4 but I still wondered if knowing how many tabs you can add is actually very useful and would it really count against hiring someone if they didn’t know it was 8.

The user KSDev19 supplied some really excellent questions because there were not just about technical knowledge but can be answered if you had done CRM development.

1. explain in details about the event execution pipeline.

2. when do we register a plugin in child pipeline. give examples

3. What are images. Why are they used.

4. What is early binding and late binding. How is it used in CRM

5.How do you debug a plugin

7. What is PrinciplalObjectAccess table why is it used.

8. What is the use of stringmap table.

9.How do you set a recurrening activity in CRM

10. when can infinite loop occur in a plugin. How do you avoid infinite loops in plugin code.

11. How do you avoid sql deadlock.

12. How many types of relationships are available in crm

13. What is the difference when the ownership is user vs organizaion for a custom entity.

14. what are filtered views?

15. if you delete a record from UI, what happens in database. can you bring the record back?

16 what is deletion service? can you change its schedule

Although they are still a bit technical, although it does depend on what role you are hiring for.

All the questions were not really focused on CRM 2011 but I would like question which you could see the though process of the person as well as their technical knowledge.  So after questioning the questions, I quickly wrote some of my own.

1.  How is Linq used in CRM 2011

2.  How would you automatically create cases from

3.  Can you call a plugin using Javascript

4.  What new features were included in Rollup 5

5.  In what circumstances are dialogs useful

6.  What limitations does the sandbox have on plugins in the cloud.

7.  How do you configure Sharepoint to work with CRM 2011.

8.  When would you use a pre validation plugin and when would you use a post validation plugin

9.  Why use images with plugins.

10.  How would you Autonumber functionality to CRM.

11.  Explain how solutions work, managed and unmanaged.

8.  How do you debug a plugin

9.  How do you debug Javascript

10.  What does the CRM asynchronous service do

CRM 2011 – The Difference between Dynamic and Static marketing lists

One of the new pieces of functionality added into CRM 2011 is the addition of Dynamic Marketing lists.  These are a thing of beauty.  Dynamic Marketing lists allow you to create lists which dynamically manage the members and add in new members who meet the query criteria.

So if you want a list which has all the accounts who purchased a certain product then create a dynamic list and everytime a new account purchases that product they will be automatically included in the marketing list.

I am studying for the CRM 2011 applications exam and you need to know the functionality of static and dynamic lists, so I created the table below

The Difference between Dynamic and Static marketing lists

  Dynamic List Static List
Member types Leads, Contacts or Accounts Leads, Contacts or Accounts
Adding members The query to select members automatically adds records which meet the criteria You can manually add records using the Add to Marketing List button

Manage Members – Add records using a lookup

Manage Members – Add records using an advanced find

Removing members Members are automatically removed if they no longer meet the dynamic list query criteria Manage Members – Advanced find to Remove records

Manage Members – advanced find to evaluate members

Blocked attribute You cannot block a dynamic list (you can use the copy to static button to copy the members of a dynamic list to a new static marketing list) You can block a static list, which stops members being added or deleted.
Updating list members automatic Manual – a static list has to be updated manually.
deactivated records/members Automatically excluded from the list  
Can lists be added to a campaign Yes – All marketing lists can be added to a campaign and both static and dynamic can be added to the same campaign Yes – All marketing lists can be added to a campaign and both static and dynamic can be added to the same campaign

CRM 2011 – Activity Feed Article List

If like me you have installed the latest rollup for CRM 2011, installed the activity feeds solution, briefly had a look at activity feeds but then decided you haven’t got time to set it up.

Luckily a lot of the CRM community have been getting to grips with activity feeds and a lot of excellent CRM bloggers have written some good blogs about activity feeds and how to get started with them.

I am this week going to set up activity feeds so I thought I would collate some of the better articles on activity feeds.

Introduction to activity feeds by Richard Knudson

Activity feed rules

Activity feeds

How to do mentions in activity feeds

Sample code for activity feeds

working with the SDK and activity feeds

How to create a post with mentions using a workflow

following and unfollowing records in CRM

How to add a record to the wall