8 Basic CRM Terms You Need to Know

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Every month we host a webinar to help customers and providers of Microsoft Dynamics CRM learn how to get the most from it. To start 2016, we’ll be getting back to basics with a review of the fundamentals of Dynamics CRM. If you’re a potential or new user, or just looking for a refresher, this webinar is not to be missed: Thursday Jan 21, 2016, 11:00 AM - 11:45 AM EST. Register here.

In preparation, this post will review some of the key terms of Dynamics CRM. Consider this your glossary for CRM success.


1. Entity

An entity is simply a module, or section, comprising a key grouping of data. Below are four of the many entities as seen on the drop-down menu in Dynamics CRM: Leads, Opportunities, Accounts, Contacts. Note that entities can be customized based on what data best serves your business.




2. Parent and Child

Some organizations have a parent company, and Dynamics CRM gives users the ability to track that parent-child hierarchy.  Below is a view from the Account entity; we can see that Lern Inc is the child of parent Worldwide Lerners:




Note you can also tell that an account has a parent or child by the flowchart symbol to the left of its name in a view:




3. Dashboards

A dashboard in CRM is very much like the dashboard in your car: it is a live snapshot of what’s happening at that moment. It can be set up to show whatever key performance indicators (KPI’s) matter most to you. You can have multiple dashboards in CRM, each comprised of multiple charts, views, and other components. Below is an example of a Sales Activity Dashboard that a sales manager might want to use. It shows the sales pipeline, goals vs. percentage achieved, leads by source, top opportunities, and top customers.




4. Field

A field is simply a “box” into which you enter one piece of data. Below we can see three fields contain data: account name, parent account, and phone number.




5. Record

A record is a collection of related fields. Below are three records within the Contacts entity: Bob Dixon, Jay Madiha, and Ted Best. Note that each record comprises many fields, including Job Title, Address, etc.  In CRM, you can click on any record to open it and see all the information (fields) it contains.




6. Forms

A form is the interface where users interact with CRM, add data, and move things around. Below is the form visible when the account Lern Inc is opened. Note a form may show much of the information in any given record, but not necessarily all of it.





Views are the ways to sort and see information. Below you can see a drop-down menu of available views within the Opportunities entity. Open Opportunities is highlighted—this would be a good view to select to see all open opportunities within the company. Notice directly above that is “My Open Opportunities” which a salesperson might select to see only his or her open opportunities. There are numerous other available views, and views can be customized as well using “Create Personal View,” to always get access to exactly the information needed.




8. Process bar

The entities in Dynamics CRM offer the option of using what’s known as a process bar. Here is an example of one from the Opportunities entity:




This example features a four-part bar, comprising four steps required to work through an Opportunity: qualify, develop, propose, and close. Each step prompts for different information. Once you’ve gathered all the information at a particular step, you move on to the next step in the bar. In the case above, the user is in the develop stage, which means they’ve already gathered all the information required in the qualify stage. Note the steps are completely customizable, as is the information each one prompts for. The process bar is a great way to build standardized procedures right into your CRM.

If you know these eight basic terms, you’ve got a great foundation for our webinar on Thursday, Jan 21. We hope to see you there!



Greg Kligman is Business Development Manager at CRM Dynamics. He can be reached at greg.kligman@crmdynamics.ca

By CRM Dynamics





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