Microsoft Dynamics CRM Activities are used to record a specific type of communication, as well as the subject, time and details of that communication. Activities are the actions such as emails, phone calls, meetings, and etc.
Using Dynamics CRM Activities helps you and your organization understand all of the communication your organization has had with each customer or prospective customer.
Dynamics CRM Activities should be used by every user that has external relationships and communications. Your Activities view should act as your daily To Do list. You can create search queries, views, and reports to track activities by the customer or activity. By utilizing activities, you are ensuring that all communication with the customers can be found later.
Dynamics CRM Activities Types
There are eleven different Dynamics CRM activities types that are defined below. Each activity has its own form and set of fields. These forms and fields are customizable.
Use this activity to record data and the details of an inbound or outbound call.
Use this record to track the email messages that are sent or received. Email messages can be tracked from Outlook or created and sent directly from Dynamics CRM. There are another Outlook settings for how emails are tracked.
You can use the tasks to keep track of action items or other To Do items. Tasks can be tracked from Outlook. The example of the task could be to gather data about a potential company you’re doing business with.
Use the appointments to track in-person meetings or the conference calls. They can be tracked from the Outlook or scheduled directly in the CRM.
These are meetings or conference calls that are repeated on a regular, pre-determined basis. To set the recurrence options of the meeting to choose the Recurrence from the command bar.
Use letters to track direct mail. This can be an individual letter that a user sends to a customer or letters that are mass deployed via a marketing campaign to track direct mailers such as invites or postcards.
Use the Fax activity type to track any faxes that are sent or received.
Campaign responses are the activities that track interest from marketing campaigns. For example, everyone who is stopped by your trade show booth should be added as a campaign response. For those, it requires more attention, from the campaign response you can create a lead. Campaign responses can be promoted to the lead, opportunity, quote or orders.
Campaign activities are particular to campaigns and are created when activities are deployed via the campaign. Whoever is creating the campaign should be the owner of this activity, which is a marketing user.
Service activities are used to schedule the appointment that gives a service. This can be scheduled manually, or you can use the service scheduler, which will automate the scheduling process and rules that are set up. With the rules, you can add a particular location or site, equipment and resource groups. This can be helpful in the healthcare or medical industry and the food and beverage industry.
In addition to the activity listed above, you can create an additional custom activity. This great feature allows you to customize the activities to be particular to your processes, business, and industry. Something to note is that you cannot create the custom activities sync to the Outlook or appear on the calendar out of the box. Also, the custom activities cannot be mass distributed via the campaign.
PowerShare, the add-on for Dynamics CRM, is a great resource that allows you to attach bundled documents to your email. Using PowerShares will enable you to view who opened your document bundles, as well as he/she can see when and how often they opened them.
Activities and Notes Best Practices
Tracking and Creating Activities
Activities in Dynamics CRM have a roll-up functionality. This means that if you include or track activity to a child record, it will also appear in the “parent” records activity list. For example, if you include the activity to a case, that same activity will appear on the contact record and account record associated with the case. This helps prevent history and information from being lost or overlooked. Since there is no roll-down functionality, you should include or track the activity to the most specific record.
Best practices for the activities and notes in Dynamics CRM
Users like using notes because they are quick, easy, and create a time-stamp. It is common for the users to try and enter the data that should be included as an activity type into a note. For example, the sales rep may include the note that says Had a follow up the phone call with Joe about the proposal we submitted on 6/3. He will make a decision by next week. However, it is the good practice to NOT use notes in this way. Actions such as the tasks, emails, phone calls, and appointments should not be included as notes. Instead, these should be entered as activities.
Below is a list of the downfalls to using notes:
- Notes are not searchable. Notes cannot be added in the reports or advanced finds. Many organizations like to have the statistics and reports around what activities have been done.
- Notes do not roll-up. Unlike the activities, if a note is included to the opportunity it will not appear on the account. This may cause the information to be lost or extra work because users have to re-create the same note several times for another record.
- Information may be lost. Using notes creates a different place for users to look when they are trying to find information about that record. Users may not find the note when they are looking for background history on the record.