In our last post, we discussed how Connections introduced aspects of social networking into Dynamics CRM. Using Connections, it’s possible to create follow-follower relationships between Contacts–a feature we’ve all gotten used to with Facebook and Twitter. But Connections can create links to entities besides Contact records.
“Contacts” was the most natural place to begin the exploration of Connections. And Microsoft Dynamics CRM conveniently provides a “Connect to Me” button on the ribbon bar to quickly join Contacts.
It also makes great sense to draw links between Contacts and other Dynamics CRM entities. One particular entity that will be intuitively appealing to many is an Opportunity.
To make this link, you click on the Connect button on the ribbon bar as before, but this time choose “To Another”. Now when the Connect dialog box comes up, you’re given a list of entities–including Account, Campaign, and many others. Opportunity, though, is a good way to see a really practical application of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Connections.
After selecting Opportunity, you’re shown a list of all the current sales possibilities for your company. Choose one in which your Contact plays an important part. When selecting the role, pick “Influencer”, which is a pre-configured role provided by Dynamics CRM.
The payoff for this exercise comes when someone from your sales staff, perhaps a new hire, is trying to close on a deal for this specific Opportunity. After bringing up the record, she clicks on the “Connections” button in the left navigation bar to learn about the key sales person on this account, the one you had previously set up.
Without a tool like Microsoft Dynamics CRM Connections, your sales staff would have had to send emails and make phone calls—and hope that the person at the other end can remember the right person to contact.