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My First CRM Dialog (Part 1)

I’ve been working in CRM since 2011, but am only writing and launching my first dialog now. I had a hard time wrapping my head around where to get started, so I naturally thought I should write a blog on the process to help others who might be facing the same task. This is NOT going to be a highly technical blog post (OK, it won't be technical at all. If you're on the tech side of CRM or an advanced dialog writer, just stop reading right now, ha!)... but is only written to share my experience as a System Administrator who wrote my first dialog. I am nowhere near an expert on this. And this blog is a work in progress.

I tend to default to using workflow when I need to do something like this. Dialogs are NOT like workflows. They seem to be a whole different beast which presents a wonderful learning challenge!

So with no further ado, I will launch into the process I followed (which I’m sure does NOT follow best practices just yet!)

Why we are using Dialogs

This one is simple…. We launched an Inside Sales Team at our company who needed to capture some data on leads for a particular business segment.

The current (pre-dialog) process was:

  • Sales manager emails list of questions to inside sales reps
  • Inside sales rep prints out page with list of questions
  • Inside sales rep logs into CRM to access leads and phone calls
  • Inside sales rep calls lead, asks questions, writes down answers
  • Inside sales rep opens lead and put answers in Description/Notes fields (hopefully!)
  • Sales manager exports data in Description/Notes fields & attempts to identify trends and reporting metrics

Post- dialog process will be:

  • Inside sales rep logs to CRM and opens lead
  • Inside sales rep launces dialog & walks through questions, capturing data within the dialog 
  • All data goes into actionable/reportable fields (instead of free text blocks)
  • Sales manager accesses new dashboard that reports on data
    Sounds great, right? I think so!

System Background

Our CRM Dev is hosted with our partner and is currently operating on CRM 2013. Our QA & Prod are CRM 2016. I know, I know…. It bugs me too, but I am working within the confines of what we currently have. Just putting that out there in case I throw some screen shots in here that switch back and forth between 2013 and 2016.

Dialog Creation 101

  1. To build a dialog, go to Settings --> Process.
  2. Click New to launch the “Create Process” screen
  3. Create a Process Name, Select Category: Dialog and select Entity your Dialog will run on (for us it will be the Lead). Click OK.

System Administrator CRM_Blog Photo1.jpg

Anatomy of a Dialog Screen

  • Input Arguments – Since I’m building an On-Demand Dialog, I’m leaving this blank. Adding an input argument means the Dialog can only be run as a child process. That’s about all I know about this section for now…. It doesn’t apply to my current business needs. Future blog topic to come ;)
  • Variables – This is another section I’m leaving blank because it doesn’t apply to my business needs right now.
  • Steps – This is where everything I am building lives! Lots of steps to be added and many options available to meet so many of your business needs. The different step types confused me – when to use which, etc. So I’m going to spell out what I’ve found (mostly by selecting the wrong type and re-doing it).

CRM Dialog Screen_Blog Image2.jpg

Part 2 will include detail on steps and Tips & Tricks I learned when making my first dialog. Like I said... NOT a technical post. Just a "where the heck do I get started?!" kind of post!


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Tags Microsoft Dynamics CRM, CRM System Background, CRM Dialog Creation, Dialog Screen