CRM Basics

Overview

In this article we will look at how CRM accounts are used and how they relate to customers, vendors, contacts, and addresses. We will also look at the link between CRM accounts and incidents. To illustrate this linkage, we will enter an incident linked to an account and an item, and then we'll add to-dos to the incident and assign them to users who must complete the to-dos before they may close the incident.

Note: The scenarios described in this section refer to items and other data found in a standard xTuple ERP demo database.

CRM Table Relationship Diagram

Pictured below is a wire diagram of the table relationships that stem from CRM records. Joins that are tagged with "1-1" mean that one record in the left table is related to one record in the right. Joins tagged with "1-∞" mean that one record in the left table can be related to many records in the right. Some contact associations have special relationships and are identified in a slightly different color with the note (CRM contacts). This means that the table on the left is joined to the table on the right in the usual way, but the contacts on the right table must also be joined with, and therefore belong to, the same CRM account that the table on the left belongs to.

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Note: Though many contacts may be related to a CRM account, a contact may only be associated with one parent CRM account.

CRM Accounts, Addresses, and Contacts

Central to the concept of corporate/customer relationship management is the account. An account holds information about an entity and serves to define it further as a customer, prospect, vendor, sales rep, employee, user, tax authority, competitor, or partner. The creation of an account enables you to enter new contact and address information — or draw from previously created contacts and addresses.

In this section we will be modifying an existing account and defining it as a vendor. We will then open the contacts list and addresses list to see how that information was populated dynamically. Later, we will record a related incident, along with several to-dos linked to the incident.

We will begin by modifying an existing account for the customer named TTOYS. To access the master list of CRM accounts, follow these steps:

  • Locate the "CRM" module from the top menu
  • Select "List" from the "Account" submenu
  • Select the TTOYS account
  • Right-click the EDIT button
  • The following screen will appear:

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CRM Account Screen

As you can see in our example, the "Customer" option is selected in the "Roles" portion of the screen. You can also see that the account is marked as "Active."

We will now update this account record, modifying it so that our customer TTOYS is also listed as a vendor. To update the account record, follow these steps:

  • Select the "Vendor" check box under the "Roles" section
  • Click on the VENDOR button
  • The "Vendor" window will open for TTOYS
  • In the vendor master, you may set any values you like—for this example we will enter in the following information:
    • Vendor Type: STANDARD
    • Default Terms: 2-10N30

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  • On the "Contacts" tab, manually enter contact information for Contact 1
  • Then do the same for Contact 2, as shown below:

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  • On the "Addresses" tab, select the "Main" radio button.
  • Use the browse button located above the Postal Code on the header page to select the first address listed for "Tremendous Toys Inc."

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  • Select the "Alternates" radio button.
  • Click the NEW button to display the "Vendor Address" screen
  • Manually enter address information
  • In the "Contact" area at the bottom of the "Vendor Address" screen, manually enter different contact information which you have not already used

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  • Be sure to select the SAVE button to save the information you have entered
  • Once back on the "Vendor" screen, click the SAVE button to return to the "CRM Account" screen
  • If you receive the question "Would you like to update existing contact or create new one?" select the CREATE NEW option
  • On the "CRM Account" screen, click the SAVE button

Note that on the "CRM Accounts" screen, the TTOYS Account now has a "Y" in the vendor column. Previously, this account was only marked as a customer account:

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Now let's take a look at the new contacts we created dynamically during the process of updating our account. To view the list of available contacts, follow these steps:

  • Locate the "CRM" module from the top menu
  • Select the "Contact" submenu
  • Choose the "List" option
  • Locate your name on the list of contacts
  • Double-click on your contact name

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Contact Screen

  • Note that your contact information is linked to the TTOYS CRM account
  • You may now optionally update the entry with additional information, including linking to a different address if you would like
  • Click the SAVE button to exit the "Contact" screen
  • Click the CLOSE button to exit the "List Contacts" screen

Now that we have modified an account and seen how contact information was created dynamically, let's look at one of the addresses we generated. To access the master list of addresses, follow these steps:

  • Locate the "CRM" module from the top menu
  • Select the "Address" submenu
  • Choose the "List" option
  • Locate the address you entered on the main page of the TTOYS vendor master
  • Double-click on the address
  • Click on the "Uses of the Address" tab

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Address Screen

As you can see in our example, the address we created during the account editing process is now clearly marked as a vendor address, linked to the TTOYS account.

CRM Incident Workbench

The next step in this scenario is to create an incident linked to the TTOYS CRM account. We will also be linking your contact information to the incident—as well as your xTuple ERP user. To see the list of incidents, follow these steps:

  • Locate the "CRM" module from the top menu
  • Select the "Incident" submenu
  • Choose the "List" option
  • Click the QUERY button
  • The following screen will appear:

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Incident Workbench

The "Incidents" window enables you to monitor and record incidents that are linked to accounts, contacts, users, and to-dos. The flexibility offered by the incident workbench enables you to effectively manage a variety of business processes:

  1. Customer requests
  2. Customer issues
  3. Vendor certification
  4. Outbound product quality tests
  5. Inbound component quality tests
  6. Any other processes that require tracking

In the previous example, we displayed information for "All Statuses" and "All Users". What would happen if we changed the search parameters? Let's take a look. To change the incident search parameters, follow these steps:

  • Click the empty drop-down list and select "Status"
  • Choose "Confirmed" from the list
  • Click the QUERY button
  • Note that all but one of the issues displayed previously has disappeared

As you have probably figured out by now, the fields at the top of the "Incident Workbench" are filters which enable you to zero-in on the information you are searching for.

We have seen how to locate incidents—and how to apply search parameters to narrow down our search for information. Now let's create a new incident. To create a new incident, follow these steps:

  • Locate the "CRM" module from the top menu
  • Select "Incident" and click the NEW button
  • Enter the following text in the "Description" field: "Evaluate for Related Product"
  • Select "Customer" from the "Category" drop-down menu
  • Enter TTOYS in the "Account" field
  • Click the magnifying glass icon next to the "Assigned To" field and click "List"
  • Double-click on your owner on the "User Names" windows
  • Set the "Status" to "New"
  • Set the "Severity" to "Normal"
  • Set the "Priority" to "High"
  • Leave the "Resolution" blank
  • Click the magnifying glass icon in the "Name" box in the "Contact" section and select "List"
  • Double-click on the name "Mike Farely" on the Contacts List
  • Enter the following text in the "Notes" tab: "TTOYS has enquired about a derivative product similar to the truck but smaller and with a NASCAR logo on it."

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  • Click on the "Relationships" tab
  • In the "Item Number" field enter "YTRUCK1"

We will now enter a "To-Do" item and associate it with the incident. To enter a "To-Do" item from the incident workbench, follow these steps:

  • Click on the "To-Do List Items" tab
  • Click the NEW button
  • Enter the following text in the "Task Name" field: "LEGAL"
  • Enter the following text in the "Description" field: "Check With Legal About NASCAR Logo"
  • Enter a date +7 days from today in the "Date Due" field
  • Click the SAVE button

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To-Do List Item

Now that we have added one "To-Do" item, let's go ahead and add a couple more. Use the following instructions to add additional "To-Do" items:

  • Repeat steps for creating a new "To-Do," only using the following new information:
    • Task Name: "PROTOTYPE"
    • Date Due: +14 days from today
    • Description: "Build Prototype and Send to Customer"
  • Repeat steps for creating a new "To-Do," only using the following new information:
    • Task Name: "APPROVAL"
    • Date Due: +21 days from today
    • Description: "Get Written Customer Approval"
  • Your "Incident" screen will now look like this:

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New Incident With To-Dos

  • On the "Incident" screen, click the SAVE button
  • On the "Incidents" window, click the QUERY button
  • Notice your new incident appears here
  • Click the CLOSE button to close the "Incidents" window

To-Do List Management

Individual users have the ability to mange their to-do Lists using the "To-Do List" display. To access the "To-Do List" management display, follow these steps:

  • Locate the CRM module from the top menu
  • Select the "To-Do" submenu
  • Choose the "List" option
  • UNCHECK the "Incidents" box
  • You will now see your new to-dos:

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To-Do List

  • Double-click on your first to-do (Hint: It's the one with description LEGAL.)
  • You will be presented with the "To-Do List Item" screen
  • Enter today's date in the "Date Started" field
  • Enter today's date in the "Date Completed" field
  • Enter the following text in the "Notes" tab portion of the screen: "Legal confirms that our agreement with NASCAR covers the requested logo"
  • Click the SAVE button

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  • Note that this to-do is no longer displayed on the "To-Do Items" screen

Note: When a "To-Do" item displays in black type, this indicates the item has been completed. Red "To-Dos" are late. Blue "To-Dos" are not yet due.

  • Click the close button to exit the "To-Do List" screen