25 Aralık 2007 Salı

Microsoft Dynamic CRM 3.0 Relationship Roles


Of course, you already know that tracking the relationships between your company and your customers is the primary goal of any CRM application. However, what about tracking the relationships between the customers in your database? The Relationship Roles feature allows you to create and capture the relationships between your Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities. Let's consider an example of how relationship roles can provide great benefits to your organization. Assume that you're a salesperson who has just discovered a potential sale opportunity with a fictional company named Coho Vineyard & Winery. If you examine the Account and Contact hierarchy in your Microsoft CRM database, you see that Coho Vineyard & Winery includes two child Accounts and two Contact records.

This information does help you understand the Account, but consider how much more information about the Opportunity you would possess if your company used the Relationship Roles feature.

The relationship roles between the Coho Vineyard & Winery account and additional Account and Contact records in your Microsoft CRM database. Using relationship roles would give you additional information about this Opportunity, such as:

Giuseppe Russo (who works for Wide World Importers) is an influencer on this Opportunity because he used to work for Coho Vineyard.

The decision maker for Coho Vineyard, Gretchen Rivas, is the sister-in-law of Giuseppe Russo.

Wide World Importers purchases products from Coho Vineyard & Winery.You learned about this Opportunity from the Graphic Design Institute, and their firm supplies design services for Coho Vineyard & Winery.

Heidi Steen's role is an influencer for the Coho Winery Account.

One great benefit of relationship roles illustrated in this example is that you can specify a Contact's true role in the decision-making process. Sometimes you can determine a Contact's authority based on his or her title, but a title doesn't necessarily translate to actual decision-making authority. You've probably worked with a company that seems to have an endless supply of vice presidents, but you know that they do not all possess the same decision-making authority.

As a salesperson, you could take the additional information provided by relationship roles to craft an entirely new sales strategy for this Opportunity! For example, you might leverage these relationships to get some personal introductions to the true decision makers for the Coho Vineyard & Winery Account.

Important You can create your own custom relationship roles to track and manage the detailed links between your Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities. However, you cannot create a relationship role that links to a Microsoft CRM user.

To configure relationship roles, browse to the Settings area and click Relationship Roles. Microsoft CRM lists all the relationship roles configured in your system.

To create a new relationship role, click the New button on the grid toolbar to open the Relationship Role editor.

On this page, you can enter the role name and configure which types of entity relationships the role supports.

You might want to restrict the relationships between entities depending on the nature of your data. For example, if you wanted to track a husband-and-wife relationship role between two Contacts, you would not select the Account or Opportunity entities because they don't apply to this type of relationship.

Because an attorney might be a law firm (an Account) or a single practitioner (a Contact), we selected both the Account and Contact entities in the Account Role For row. This means that we can create an attorney relationship for an Account and select either an Account record or a Contact record. However, because we didn't select any entities in the Contact Role For row, we could not specify an attorney relationship for Contact records. Likewise, we could not specify an attorney relationship for an Opportunity, because we did not select that entity for either Account Role For or Contact Role For.

Now that we've created the attorney relationship role, users can add this relationship between two records in the user interface by clicking Relationships on the Account and Contact forms and then clicking New on the grid toolbar. A window appears that allows the user to select two different records to create the relationship.

As the figure shows, you can also specify two relationship roles for each of the records in a single relationship.

In this example, the A Bike Store Account uses Contoso Legal as its attorney, so we set the A Bike Store role as "Customer" and Contoso Legal's role as "Attorney." After you save this record, users can view the relationships by clicking Relationships in the entity navigation pane.

You can get very creative with the setup and configuration of the business relationships that you want to capture between your Accounts, Contacts, and Opportunities. Microsoft CRM provides great reporting and analysis on these relationships, because you can use relationship roles as filter criteria in your views and advanced find searches. Also, you can automate business processes by using the workflow module and using relationship roles as part of your workflow rule criteria and conditions.

More Info Microsoft Dynamics CRM Small Business Edition uses a Configuration Wizard that creates some predefined relationship roles upon installation. However, the Professional Edition does not include any default relationship roles.