Advanced Sales Processes

Most organizations concentrate first on developing the Lead through Opportunity close process.  Therefore, advanced use of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM sales process focuses primarily on the incorporation of the product catalog into Opportunities, as well as potentially the use of quotes, orders, and invoices in your sales process. The products, quotes, orders, and invoices in Microsoft Dynamics CRM are designed to mirror and integrate with financial software or ERP systems.  Consequently, they incorporate some complexities of ordering processes that sales people usually do not touch.

For this reason, some organizations seek simplicity by abandoning the built-in products and quoting capability and creating their own within custom entities. However, these companies often find out later that ordering and invoicing is often unavoidably complex and end up nearly recreating the built-in functionality to support their processes.  Therefore, if your organization needs to use the advanced sales functionality in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, consider using the built-in functionality and initially stripping away anything that is not needed.  It can always be added back later without reinventing the wheel.

Jump to the following sections to learn more about advanced sales processes in Dynamics CRM:

Using the Product Catalog

The use of the product catalog is not required.  If it is used, products can be added to an Opportunity. For instance rather than entering in an estimated revenue, the revenue can be calculated from the products.  Products from the product catalog also form the basis of the quotes, orders and invoices in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The product catalog in Dynamics CRM is most often used by companies that sell a catalog of items; although it can also be used by those who sell services in precise bundles.  It is not often used by companies that sell complex services engagements.   Benefits and features of the product catalog include:

  • Pricing can be calculated automatically on opportunities, quotes, and orders
  • Product pricing is centralized so everyone is using the same list
  • You can promote special offers, seasonal deals, and product launches through price lists
  • You can give specific customer types special offers
  • You can provide volume pricing through Discount Lists
  • Products can be associated with Campaigns

Before you can start using the Product Catalog, you will need to understand these basic components:

Products. Products are the items you sell. Typically, products are created via integrating with an ERP or another inventory system. The prices entered for the Product are reflected in Opportunity, Quote and Order pricing.

Price Lists. Price lists are a required component of the Product Catalog. They are groupings of products using special pricing. The discounts or markups entered on the Price List directly affect the product pricing. Products can be added to as many price lists as necessary. Once added to Price Lists, Products are called Price List Items which can then be used in Opportunities, Quotes and Orders. The following are examples of price lists uses: seasonal offerings, product launches, and wholesale customers, among others.

Discount Lists. Discount lists are not required. They are used with Price List Items to employ volume discounts. They can be applied to each item within a price list. For example, you can use discount lists to automatically apply discounts for instances when customers buy a specific number of items. Discount lists can be comprised of multiple Price List Items.

Unit Groups. Unit Groups are the quantities in which a product or service is sold. For example, beverages may be sold as 6-packs, 12-packs or cases. Services sold by the hour may be grouped by day, week or month.

When building the product catalog, the components of the product catalog must be built in the following order:

  1. Unit groups (required)
  2. Products (required)
  3. Price Lists (required)
  4. Discount Lists (not required)
NOTE: Unit groups can be simplified to only having one unit, making an implementation of the Product Catalog simpler. If you already have another system maintaining your products, it is a best practice to build an integration with that system wherein all products are created automatically and synced with the master inventory system.

Working with Opportunities and Products

      1. Create a new opportunity. This can be done by either converting a Lead to an Opportunity or creating a new Opportunity by clicking the New button (Note: Opportunities must be linked to either an Account or Contact).

        This is what it looks like to create an Opportunity by qualifying a Lead:

        CRMBook2013_Convert-Lead-To-Opportunity
        Create New Opportunity by Converting a Lead in CRM 2011

        And this is what it looks like to create an Opportunity by clicking the New button:

        CRMBook_2013_Create-New-Opportunity2
        Create an Opportunity by clicking New Button in CRM 2011

      2. Under Revenue select System Provided. NOTE: The default value for Revenue can be set by System Customizers.
      3. Click on the lookup next to Price List

        CRMBook_2013_Price-List-Lookup
        View Price List look up in CRM 2011

      4. Select the appropriate price list. NOTE: Selecting the Price List makes all of its associated Price List Items available to be added to the Opportunity

        CRM2013_Select-Price-List
        View Price List selection in CRM 2011

      5. Click Save on the Opportunity command bar
        CRM2013_Save-Opportunity
        View Save in the Opportunity in CRM 2011
      6. On the Top Navigation Bar, click the Chevron next to the name of the Opportunity. Select Products from the Dropdown menu. Once the Opportunity Products Associated View appears, select Create New Opportunity Product. NOTE: There is an option for the user to do a “write in” product. This option can be disabled in the user’s security role.

        Add New Products to Opportunity CRM 2013
        View Add New Opportunity Product in CRM 2011

      7. Click on the Existing Product lookup. This brings up the list of Products that were added to the Price List you selected in step three
      8. Select the Product. Click on OK

        CRMBook_2013_Select the Product4
        View Selecting Product in CRM 2011

      9. Enter value for Unit and Quantity. NOTE: There is an option for the user to Override Price. This can also be disabled in the user’s security role.

        CRMBook_2013_Add-Unit-Price2
        View unit value in CRM 2011

      10. Add the quantity of that product.

        CRMBook_2013_Opp-Product-Quantity
        View add quantity in CRM 2011

      11. Click on Save & Close if you are finished adding Opportunity Products to the Opportunity.

        CRMBook_2013_Opp-Product-Save-And-Close
        View Save and Close in CRM 2011

      12. Click on Recalculate Opportunity on the command bar. This automatically saves and populates the Est. Revenue based on the Products and quantities selected. NOTE: The user can enter a Discount (%) or Discount in the fields below the Opportunity Products sub-grid. Entering values in these fields affects the Est. Revenue. These fields can be removed from the form if necessary.

        CRMBook_2013_Recalculate-Opportunity
        View Recalculate Opportunity in CRM 2011

      13. You can now see the product you added in the Line Items section of the Opportunity.

 

Working with Quotes

The use of Quotes is optional. If you choose to not use Quotes, it is recommended that you disable Quotes for all users in security roles. Quotes can be created two ways: from an Opportunity using System Calculated pricing or from the Quotes area by clicking on New in the command bar. Multiple quotes can be created from one Opportunity to reflect special pricing offers. The Quote Lifecycle looks like this:

DRAFT > ACTIVATE > ACTIVE  > REVISE > DRAFT  > ACTIVATE  > CREATE ORDER / WON OR CLOSE QUOTE / LOST

When a Quote is first created, it is automatically in a draft state. While in draft, the Quote can be edited. Once a Quote is ready to be presented to the customer, the user must activate the quote. At this point, the Quote is not editable unless the user chooses to revise it, thereby putting it back into the draft state. The quote can be revised multiple times. The Revision ID will automatically increment with each revision. Activated quotes can be printed using mail merge. There is an out-of-the-box mail merge template or you can create your own. You can optionally use the out-of-the-box Quote report, although it is not customizable for CRM Online. Converting a quote to an order changes the quote’s status to Won. Closing the quote changes the quote to Lost or Canceled. Create a Quote from the Opportunity Once you have created a system calculated Opportunity using the Product Catalog, you can generate a Quote from it.

  1. Open the opportunity. NOTE: The opportunity must have system calculated pricing and a price list selected.
  2. Click in the Quotes sub-grid. This brings up the New Quote form.

    CRMBook_2013_Create-Quote-From-Opp
    View Quotes in sub-grid in CRM 2011

  3. The new quote automatically pulls in the relevant data from the opportunity, including the price list, estimated revenue, and all other data points affecting the total amount of the quote.

    CRMBook_2013_Quote-Form
    View Add New Quote in CRM 2011

    View quote details in CRM 2011

  4. Users can optionally enter the effective dates of the quote, giving it an expiration date. Users can also enter any pricing changes specific to this quote. NOTE: At this point, the Quote is still in draft.

    CRMBook_2013_Dates-And-Pricing-Quotes
    View effective dates and special pricing in CRM 2011

  5. Click on Activate Quote when you’re ready to provide it to the customer. NOTE: At this point, the quote is not editable. And must be revised to be changed.

    CRMBook_2013_Activate-Quote
    View Activate Quote in CRM 2011

  6. If the customer requires you provide the quote in paper or electronic form, click on Print Quote for Customer to create a mail merge document which can then be emailed or mailed to the customer. You can also use the quote report to create multiple quotes.

    CRMBook_2013_Print-Quote-For-Customer
    View Print Quote for Customer in CRM 2011

  7. If the customer chooses to not purchase the items on the quote, click on Close Quote and proceed with the close quote process. This will allow you to close the associated opportunity.

    CRMBook_2013_Close-Quote2
    View Close Quote in CRM 2011

  8. If the customer purchases the items on the quote, click on Create Order. This will automatically change the status to Won and also allow you to close the associated opportunity.

    CRMBook_2013_Create-Order
    View Create Order in CRM 2011

Create a Quote from Scratch

  1. Within the navigation bar, click on the Sales section.
  2. Select Quotes area.
  3. Click on New on the command bar.

    CRMBook_2013_Create-New-Quote-Nav-Bar

    CRMBook_2013_New-Quote-Button
    View new quote from scratch in CRM 2011

  4. Populate the Potential Customer and Price List fields.
  5. Save the quote.

    CRMBook_2013_Save-New-Quote
    View Save the quote in CRM 2011

  6. Click on Products in the top navigation bar to add items to the quote. NOTE: The items available will be limited to those which are on the selected price list.
  7. Click the Add New Quote Product button to add each product, quantity and any change to the pricing. NOTE: Each product must be added separately as Quote Products and will be calculated in the quote totals.

    CRMBook_2013_Add-New-Quote-Product

    CRMBook_2013_Quote-Product-Associated-View
    View Add New Quote Product in CRM 2011

    CRMBook_2013_New-Quote-Product-Form
    View new quote product detail in CRM 2011

  8. Click on Activate Quote when you’re ready to provide it to the customer. NOTE: At this point, the quote is not editable. And must be revised to be changed.

    CRMBook_2013_Activate-Quote
    View Activate Quote in CRM 2011

  9. If the customer requires you to provide the quote in paper or electronic form, click on Print Quote for Customer to create a mail merge document which can then be emailed or mailed to the customer. You can also use the quote report to create multiple quotes.

    CRMBook_2013_Print-Quote-For-Customer
    View Print Quote for Customer in CRM 2011

  10. If the customer chooses to not purchase the items on the quote, click on Close Quote and proceed with the close quote process.

    CRMBook_2013_Close-Quote2
    View Close Quote in CRM 2011

  11. If the customer purchases the items on the quote, click on Create Order. This will automatically change the status to Won.

    CRMBook_2013_Create-Order
    View Create Order in CRM 2011

Working with Orders

Orders are accepted quotes, and document what specific products or services the customer is buying. Orders can be created by selecting the Create Order button on an active quote. It is optional to use orders, and if they are used it is common to integrate them with an ERP system. You can create orders from quotes or by navigating to the Order section and selecting the New button.

  1. One way to create an order is to convert an active Quote into an Order. Select the Create Order button on the command bar within the quote form. A new window will open.

    CRMBook_2013_Create-Order-Enlarged
    View Create Order in CRM 2011

  2. On this new window you can choose whether to close or not update the associated opportunity.

    CRMBook_2013_Create-Order-Dialog-Box
    View close or Don’t update in CRM 2011

  3. After you have made your selections, click OK, and it’ll close that window. This will open the order window.
  4. Required fields on an order are: Order ID (read-only and auto-calculated), Name (carries over the quote’s name), Customer (carries over from quote), currency and price list.

    CRMBook2013_Sample-Order-Form
    View required fields on order in CRM 2011

  5. When the order has been completed and you have provided the customer with the products or services ordered you would fulfill the order by selecting the Fulfill Order button on the command bar.

    CRMBook2013_Fulfill-Order
    View Fulfill Order in CRM 2011

 Working with Invoices

Invoices are the final stage of the sales cycle. Invoices are how you bill your customers. Invoices are created after an order has been fulfilled. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is not meant to be a complete financial management system. If Invoices are being used in CRM, CRM is typically integrated with a financial management or ERP system. Similar to Orders, Invoices can be created by two different methods. You can create an invoice directly from a specific order screen, or you can navigate to the invoice section and select the New button. You are able to create more than one invoice for an opportunity or an order.

  1. To create an invoice from an order, open the specific order form and on the command bar select Create Invoice. This will open a new Invoice form.

    CRMBook_2013_Create-Invoice
    View Create Invoice in CRM 2011

  2. The fields on the invoice and order are identical. All the data will be carried over from the order to the invoice.
  3. In order to close the invoice you need to either mark it as paid or canceled. To close the invoice as paid, on the command bar select Invoice Paid. This will pop open a new window, and click OK. Now the Invoice’s status will be Paid instead of Active.

    CRMBook2013_Invoice-Paid
    View close invoice in CRM 2011

  4. To cancel the Invoice, on the command bar select Cancel Invoice. This will pop open a window, and select OK. Now the Invoice’s status is Canceled.


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