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Tutorial: Creating a sales process with stages using a workflow

Your organization's sales team likely follows a specific series of steps as they cultivate relationships with potential customers to make a sale. In Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, you can automate many of the tasks and activities associated with your sales process by creating a workflow.

You can also display information from sales process workflows in sales reports. For example, the Sales Pipeline report displays the workflow stage that opportunities are in.

Sales Pipeline report

On This Page

Lesson 1: Plan and design the sales process workflow

Lesson 2: Create the sales process workflow in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

Lesson 3: Test the sales process workflow

Lesson 4: Measure progress with the Sales Pipeline Report

Lesson 1: Plan and design the sales process workflow

Sales process workflows can be some of the most complex workflows you'll need to design in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. Before you open the Web application and begin creating the workflow, it's important to take time and plan the logic that you want the workflow to follow and what actions you want it to perform. Because workflows are composed of logical steps, a simple diagram may be the best way to get started.

Sales Process workflow diagram

The example sales process in this article focuses on the core sales activities around the Opportunity entity, and includes the following stages:

  1. Initial Engagement. When a new opportunity record is created, assign it to the correct salesperson, based on geographical information in the opportunity.
  2. Qualification. When the percentage in the Probability field in the Opportunity form changes to a number above 25, create a phone call activity for the salesperson. Link the phone call to the opportunity and set the due date for two weeks after the probability changed.
  3. Probable Sale. When Probability changes to a number above 50, create a phone call activity for the salesperson. Make the phone call due one week after the activity was created.
  4. Pending Sale. When Probability changes to a number above 90, create a task to schedule an appointment between the salesperson and the potential customer. Set the due date on the task for two days after the probability increased.
  5. Completed Sale. When the Probability percentage changes to 100, close the opportunity as Won.

At each stage in the sales process, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online waits for the criteria to be met before moving the opportunity to the next stage. In this example, an opportunity can progress to the next stage when the value in the Probability field increases. Other sales processes may require all the activities in a stage to be completed before the opportunity can move forward.

Lesson 2: Create the sales process workflow in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online

Creating a sales process workflow involves the following basic steps:

  1. Create an empty workflow.
  2. Create stages in the workflow.
  3. Add logic and actions to the workflow stages.

Create an empty workflow

Before you can add stages, logic, or actions to your workflow, you must first create the workflow itself.

Create an empty workflow

  1. In the Navigation Pane, click Settings, and then click Processes.
  2. On the Actions toolbar, click New.
  3. In the Create Process dialog box, set required properties for the workflow.
    1. In the Process name box, type the name that you want to use for this workflow, such as "Sales Process".
    2. From the Entity list, select Opportunity as the primary entity for this workflow.
    3. In the Category list, select Workflow.
  4. Click OK.
  5. In the Process Properties area in the top half of the Process form, set additional properties for the workflow:
    1. In the Scope list under Options for Automatic Processes , select a scope that corresponds to the records in your organization that you want the workflow to affect.

      The scope you specify allows workflow jobs to run only on appropriate records, such as Organization for all records or Business Unit for records owned by people in a specific group.

      Tip

      If you want to be absolutely certain that your workflow works as you expect it to, set Scope to User for now, and then test the sales process workflow before rolling it out to the rest of your organization.

    2. Under Start when, confirm that the Record is created check box is selected.
  6. On the Form toolbar, click Save.

Create stages in the workflow

After you've created an empty workflow, add the framework for your sales process by adding stages to the workflow.

Add stages to your workflow

  1. On the Process Logic toolbar, click Add Step, and then click Stage.
  2. Confirm that you want to add a stage to your workflow by clicking OK.
  3. Click Type a stage description here and enter the name of the first stage in your sales process, such as New Opportunity.
  4. Repeat these steps for each stage in your organization's sales process.

    For example, you could add the following stages to your sales process workflow:

    • Initial Engagement
    • Qualification
    • Probable Sale
    • Pending Sale
    • Completed Sale
  5. On the Form toolbar, click Save.

Add logic and actions to the workflow stages

The logic and actions you include in your workflow determine what your workflow does with records in your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online database. For your sales process workflow, you add logic and actions to each of the stages you defined earlier.

Note

The specific logic and actions you add depend on your organization's unique business needs. For step-by-step instructions on adding individual elements to workflows, see Work with Workflows in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Help.

Add logic and actions to your sales process workflow

  1. Expand the first stage in the workflow, and then click Select this row and click Add Step.
  2. Add the logic and actions for your organization's sales process. Repeat this step for each stage in your workflow.
    1. In the "Initial Engagement" stage, add the following logic and actions.

      Initial Engagement Stage of workflow

    2. In the "Qualification" stage, add the following logic and actions.

      Qualification stage of workflow

    3. In the "Probable Sale" stage, add the following logic and actions.

      Probable Sale stage of workflow

    4. In the "Pending Sale" stage, add the following logic and actions.

      Pending Sale stage of workflow

    5. In the "Completed Sale" stage, add the following logic and actions.

      Completed Sale stage of workflow

  3. On the Form toolbar, click Save.
  4. On the Form toolbar, click Activate, and then click OK.

Important

Your sales process workflow will begin taking action on new opportunities as soon as you activate it. To ensure that the workflow does exactly what you want it to do, you may want to test it before deploying it broadly.

Lesson 3: Test the sales process workflow

Even though you don't have to be a programmer to create a workflow, sales process workflows in particular can have complex logic in them that requires testing. A simple way to test an automatic workflow is to set the scope of the worklow so that it only takes action on records that you create. This way, you can control the input that the workflow receives and ensure its output is correct before publishing it more broadly.

  1. Open the workflow and in the Scope list, select User.

    Note

    If you've already published the workflow, you must unpublish it before you can make changes.

  2. Save and activate the workflow.
  3. Create a new opportunity record.

    Tip

    Make sure that the new opportunity and its related records include all of the data that your sales process workflow expects, such as address information in the account or contact for assigning the opportunity to the correct owner.

  4. Allow a few seconds for the workflow to start, and then open the opportunity and click Run Workflow.

    Your sales process workflow should be listed here. If not, review your workflow logic and the opportunity data to identify any mismatches or logic errors and try again.

  5. After you have the workflow starting successfully, perform more tests by making changes to other opportunity data that is tied to workflow logic.

    For example, change the value in the opportunity's Probability field to move the record from one stage to another.

  6. When you're satisfied with the way the workflow works, change the scope to the final scope you want and activate the workflow again.

Lesson 4: Measure progress with the Sales Pipeline Report

The Sales Pipeline report in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online can help you see the effect that your sales process workflow is having on opportunity records. Use this report to see anticipated potential sales. The report displays a chart of potential sales grouped by user, sales territory, customer territory, date, products, rating, or sales stage.

Run the Sales Pipeline report

  1. In the Navigation Pane, click Sales, and then click Opportunities.
  2. If you want to run the report on a specific group of records, select those records before running the report.
  3. On the Actions toolbar, click Run Report, and then click Sales Pipeline.
  4. In the Select Records dialog box, choose an option for the scope of your report, and then click Run Report.
  5. In the Report Viewer window, select Sales Process from the Group By Sales Process list, and then click View Report.

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online displays the report, with opportunities grouped by the sales process stage that they are in.

Related Links

Applies To:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online December 2012 Service Update

(For CRM Online, CRM 2013, and CRM 2015, see CRM Help & Training.)