Whenever you first start using a new product, it takes some time to get it. As a new member of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 team, I’m learning our product the same way you may be doing – playing around in the software, making mistakes, asking for help, and doing a lot of reading. Microsoft CRM is a powerful product, but that means it can sometimes be complicated. One thing I’ve found a bit challenging to understand is the way campaigns work, especially how campaign activities are distributed. After I set up my first test campaign, I opened a fax activity and clicked the big Distribute Campaign Activity button. But then I wondered, “Now what? Did my faxes go out?”
I think I get it now, and I’d love to share my epiphany with those of you who might also be struggling with this concept. When I finished setting up my campaign, Microsoft CRM created activities for each e-mail message, but it didn’t actually send them. Why? In many sales organizations, each salesperson is responsible for further customizing their organization’s campaigns.
Distributing an activity that the salesperson performs, rather than “automagically” sending the faxes or e-mails, gives your salespeople the chance to tailor each activity to the individual needs of prospects and customers. Personalization is all about relationships, after all. What’s the point of a customer relationship management system that doesn’t give you the chance to actually manage your relationships with customers?
Of course, there are times when you just want to send out an e-mail blast, and you want Microsoft CRM to do the activity, not “distribute” it. Microsoft has released an update that lets you do that in a quick campaign, something I’ve described in an article on Microsoft.com.