CRM 2011 Brings an Opportunity in Opportunities

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Over the past few months, our articles have continued to praise Microsoft for the myriad of improvements that they’ve made in CRM 2011, and this one will be no different.  It’s not because we are a Microsoft Gold Partner (although that helps!), but because CRM 2011 not only has made large changes to offer to its customers; it provides small ones too.

Let’s say you have a smaller sized business that sells a limited selection of products, and with these products you offer a variety of ad-hoc services such as installation, setup, etc.

If you have used (or use) CRM 4.0 you may have looked at the potential of including your product/service list in the Opportunity record – perhaps as a way to capture specifics for the Opportunity or even extending it to generate quotes for your customers.  And CRM’s system calculated pricing looked like it could be a time saver (not to mention an error saver).  But, once you realized the requirements for setting up price lists and product catalogs, especially with the dynamic options you offer for services, you may have decided it was neither worth the initial setup time nor the ongoing maintenance that could be required.

In CRM 2011, new options and functionality present “another opportunity” to perhaps re-visit using the inherent advantages of system calculated pricing and capturing line item details within Opportunities.

Let’s look at a few of the updates –

  • To get started, you still have to have a price list to apply to an Opportunity.  But, the good news is that this price list does not need to contain any items – it can just be a “shell” if you will.  All that was needed to create the price list in the example below was to type in a name.

  • Once the price list is created, you immediately have the ability to “write-in” line items on an Opportunity and still have the benefits of system calculated pricing.  You do not need to select a specific price list item but can create a line item to match your immediate needs.  This is a great feature, especially for something like a variable hourly service rate.
  • Of course, you can also choose to set up some of your more standard items on a price list and select these to include on your Opportunity record.  This ability to mix and match line items allows you to capture all the components of the Opportunity.
  • With the line items in place, everyone in your organization can look at the Opportunity record and know what is involved.  Individual line items can be updated and all pricing is changed automatically.

Here’s an example of what a product list might look like in an Opportunity after entering/selecting a few items:

From here, you can also create a quote in CRM.  The out-of-the box quote form can be exported in a variety of formats.  Of course, customization of the quote form is also possible.  Here’s a snippet showing the details section of a standard quote form using the data from above:

So take another look or talk with your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Consultant – you might find this is too good of an opportunity to pass up!

By Ledgeview Partners – Wisconsin based Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner serving the Midwest and Heartland regions

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