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CRM Tips & Tricks

We often get asked for guidance on how users can make the most out of CRM.

As we at the CRM are all users of our own CRM, this guide will take you through our ‘Top Tips’ that can help you to quickly get organised in CRM.

As well as the written help below, we also have a video that takes you through our Tips & Tricks.

Don’t forget that our Help Articles section is organised the same was as the main CRM menu, so it’s easy to find the help you’re looking for when using different modules.

#1 - Filters & Layouts

Filters are your friend! Filters let you set up a permanent search for different types of data in CRM and you can set them up in pretty much every module. You can share your Filters with other Users, or just keep them to yourself.

Think about what data you need to see or work with each day and then make sure you have Filters set up to quickly access the information you’re looking for.

The perfect compliment to Filters are Layouts – so once you’ve decided on WHAT data you want to see in your Filters, you can then decide HOW it is displayed with different Layouts.

A lot of users never move beyond the standard column view in modules, simply because they don’t know that columns can be added or removed from views. Typically, whichever module you are in, you can add a column to display each field that you see on the module form.

This is why configuring your drop-down field options during setup phase is so important, if you have your options set up correctly, viewing, sorting and organising your data in future is a breeze.

As well as creating Filters & Layouts to suit your daily needs, you can also quickly play around with searches and adjust your view with these features:

#2 - Sending & tracking emails

We often get asked whether to send emails from Outlook or CRM; ultimately it’s down to your personal preferences. We use both methods, it just depends what is fastest and easiest for you at the time.

When sending emails from CRM:

  • You can use an Email Template in CRM, which means you get the benefit of merge codes to quickly populate your email with relevant information from CRM.
  • Any email you send from CRM is automatically added to the Timeline of the record you send it from, and will populate back to the Timeline on the applicable Company/Contact records.
  • You can search, sort and view all emails sent from within CRM from Calendar & Activity > Calendar by filtering the list view to show Emails.

When sending and receiving emails from Outlook:

  • Provided you have set up Inbox Insights, you can track your sent and received emails back to CRM. As well as tracking an email back to a Company and/or Contact record, you can also choose other records for a customer e.g. you may want to track the email back to a specific Invoice.
  • You can be selective about which emails you track back to CRM.

If I receive an email in Outlook, I’ll usually respond to it straight from there and track it back to a record in CRM. If I’m sending a new email, I’ll typically do this from CRM so I can use a template and have it go straight to the applicable record Timeline.

#3 - Bulk updating records

You can select multiple records when you are in List View and then update field values for them in bulk.  I would be lost without this feature! It’s a great way to update batches of records to apply or remove values.

To do this:

  1. Select the records that you want to update
  2. Click on the Update button on the toolbar
  3. Select the field/s you want to update
  4. Choose the new field value/s
  5. Click on Update

Bulk updating Company records

#4 - Setting Follow Up Dates

As well as using Reminders on your Tasks, Calls and Meetings, you can also quickly be alerted in the Notifications area when a record needs to be followed up.

I’m a big fan of this because it means I don’t need to go the extra step and create Tasks to remind myself that I need to check in with someone or take a quick look at something. I’ve also got Filters set up in areas of CRM that I frequent so that I can quickly see which records have a follow up date set either this week or today.

This is also great for managing Opportunities in your sales pipeline and following up Quotes or Invoices.

To utilise this type of notification, edit a record, add a date to the Follow Up Date field and then Save & Close the record.

  • In order to receive the notification yourself, you need to either have the record Assigned To yourself (e.g. an Opportunity, Invoice, Sales Order etc.) OR
  • Be the Follow Up Assignee for the record (e.g. Quotes).
  • You (or the User that is Assigned) will get a notification on the set date.
#5 - Using Views

Depending on which module you are in, there are multiple ways to view records. Above the activity bar, you have a row of icons that show what types of views are available in the module:

List, Map, Kanban and Dashboard views in Quotes

List, Map, Kanban and Merge Duplicates views in Companies

The icon for the view you are currently in will be gold and other view icon options will be grey. Learn more about what you can do in different views:

Switching between different views literally gives you a different perspective on your data and depending what you want to do with the data, a view other than the standard List may be more helpful.

#6 - Use the 'Description' boxes in records

This is so simple and effective. The majority of record forms in CRM contain a Description box that you can use to input pertinent details for quick future access, for example:

  • In an Opportunity: use the box to quickly highlight ‘next steps’ or the gist of the last conversation e.g. “last conversation was re product range, next call to be about pricing”.
  • In a Company or Contact: record things like customer preferences or protocols to be observed e.g. “only call this customer before 3pm as they leave to collect kids”.
  • In an Invoice: notes about payment timing or method e.g. “customer will pay this in 2 lots”.

While each record has it’s own Timeline area, rather than relying on your Users to scour this for key information, put it in the Description box so it’s highly visible.

To add information to this box, Edit a record, scroll down to the Description box, enter your text and then click Save & Close.

A Company record without the Description box

The same Company with the Description box

#7 - Using Tags

We often get asked what you can do with Tags – the answer is essentially “whatever you want!”.

The easiest way to think of Tags is as a limitless set of custom fields that you can create, control and utilise to break down your data.

What you use them for is entirely up to you – some people use them to complement the Lifecycle Stage field in Companies, others to collect customer coffee and tea preferences, others to track types of products customers are interested in – you can use them for anything.

Learn more about how to work with Tags:

#8 - Creating 'Smart Lists'

This is a dead simple way to have CRM automatically maintain Lists for you – just go to Marketing > Lists and click on New List.

  • Give the List a name and relate it to either Contacts or Companies.
  • Tick the Is Smart box.
  • Next to the Filter field, click on the button to create a new Filter.
  • You can then specify the criteria that records need to meet in order to qualify for the List, the same way that you would create a Filter anywhere else in CRM.
  • Save & Close the record.

Creating a ‘Smart List’

Setting the List conditions

When you have saved the record, click on the Update Data button – CRM will then go and perform a search to find all the records that meet your criteria and pull them through to the List.

If you have Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor integrated with your CRM, you can schedule to push these Lists out to either service on a regular basis.

#9 - Set up 'Follow' and 'Notify' on records

If there are CRM records not assigned to you personally, but you’d still like to stay up to date on what’s happening, you can use the Follow function and if you want to keep someone else in the loop on one of your records, you can use the Notify function.

Follow and Notify options on a Company record

Follow a record

Just click the Follow button and whenever the record is updated, you’ll get an email letting you know e.g. when another User creates a Note on the record Timeline.

Set up Notify on a record

Just click the Notify button and select a User to receive notifications so that whenever the record is updated, the User will get an email letting them know e.g. when you created a Note on the record Timeline.

#10 - Voice Transcription

This has to be one of my favourite features of CRM because it’s a big time saver, but it’s also just plain FUN! We have a quick video on how this works here.

It’s especially useful for users who are out on the road as they can just have a quick chat to CRM to send an Email or create a Task, rather than having to type it.

Whenever you create a new Activity in CRM (a Note, Call Task, Email, Meeting, SMS) you will have a microphone button – just click this (and allow your browser to access your microphone) then start talking. CRM will then transcribe into your chosen activity and you can choose whether or not you also want to save a copy of the audio file to the activity.

We have guides on how to use the transcription feature in the following Activities:

#11 - Use @ mentions to tag colleagues

You can quickly update another User when you are adding Notes, Calls, Meetings or Tasks to CRM by typing “@” immediately followed by the first few letters of another Users name to reveal a mention tag. Once you have added this, the User you mentioned will get an email with a copy of the activity you’ve just entered.

I find this really handy for keeping colleagues in the loop when I’m adding notes to a Call record or typing up a summary of a meeting in a Note – I can quickly let others know what is going on, without having to send a separate email. I also frequently ask questions about particular records in CRM by tagging another User in a Note.

In the example below, I want to tag my colleague Ryan Harris in a Note I am writing, so I type in “@rya” to reveal his a tag option, then click on this to select him and when I save my Note, he’ll get an email alert.

Creating a mention in a Note

If you want to be super-helpful, you can also copy and paste the record URL from your browser address bar into the activity record – that way Users that get the mention email can quickly click on the link to be taken to the record you were working in. This is really handy for others if you’re asking them a question about a record.

#12 - Open records in new tabs or windows

From a number of records in CRM, there are hyperlinks for associated records that can you right-click to open in a new browser tab or window.

You can also just click on any of these links top open the associated record in the same tab and then use the Back button to get back to the record you started in.

The following example shows record links on a Sales Order, that allow you to quickly view the customer, Quote, Invoice and Products on the order without having to go hunting for details in different areas of CRM.

Record hyperlinks on a Sales Order

#13 - Stay in the loop on Tasks that you assign

If you create Tasks and assign them to other Users, you can stay in the loop as the Task is worked on by adding yourself as an Attendee – just start typing your name in the Attendee box and select yourself.

If you want to add other Users as well, you can type their names in and select them or search for someone by clicking on Attendee to reveal a search box.

In the example below, I’ve created a Task and assigned it to a colleague, Brett. I’ve added myself as an Attendee so that whenever Brett updates the Task, I’ll get an email. As I’ve assigned the Task to Brett, he’ll also get an email to notify him that I’ve given him the Task.

Adding Attendees to a Task

Searching for Task Attendees

#14 - Customise the tabs that show on records

Each record in CRM has a series of tabs that shows different types of information about the record or associated records.

You are able to customise the tabs that appear on records. If you change the configuration of tabs, this applies only to you and not to other Users.

Viewing other tabs

In some cases, not all available tabs are visible at once.

You can reveal more tabs by clicking on the blue circle, which will display a list of other available tabs – just click on any tab to display it.

Customising tabs

Users can customise the tabs that show on records by removing tabs they don’t want to see and re-ordering tabs. If you change the configuration of tabs, this applies only to you and not to other CRM Users.

Click on Edit Tabs to display a box that will allow you to edit the tabs on the record.

To hide a tab, de-select the checkbox next to it. The tab will no longer be visible.

To show a tab that is not currently visible, ensure the checkbox next to it is ticked.

To reorder the tabs, click on the dots to the left of the tab name (next to the checkbox) and drag the tab name into a new position on the list.

If you move a tab higher up the list, it will show further to the left in the tab area.

If you move a tab lower on the list, it will show further to the right in the tab area.


#15 - Pin Activities to record Timelines

Pinning items on CRM allows for you to manage records more effectively by highlighting key information so that it can be accessed quickly and easily by all Users.

Record Timelines are made up of a series of Activities:

  • Notes
  • Calls
  • Tasks
  • Meetings
  • Emails
  • SMS

When an Activity is pinned, it will appear highlighted towards the top of the Timeline section for all Users.

To pin an Activity, simply click on the Pin Icon. Multiple items can be pinned at a time.

For further information, please see this help guide.

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