How do I convert an email into a Lead or a Case?

Welcome Guy Riddle, CRM MVP and today's guest blogger:

I have been asked this question (and seen it posted in newsgroups) so many times over the past three years that I decided it was time to do something about it.

For those of you new to Microsoft CRM, let’s paint a couple of scenarios:

1. A prospect sends in an inquiry email asking about our products; I want that email to automatically be sent into Microsoft CRM and sit in a ‘Sales Inquiry’ queue; when I open the email from within the queue I would like the ability to directly ‘convert’ the email into a sales ‘Lead’ and automatically attach the original email to the Lead; then I want the Lead to be assigned to a sales representative and a follow-up activity created, and at the same time a return email to be sent to the prospect thanking them for their enquiry and that a representative will be in touch with them shortly.

2. I want to give all my customers an email alias to user when contacting me with support incidents.  A customer sends in an incident email asking for help with one of our products; I want that email to automatically be sent into Microsoft CRM and sit in a ‘Support’ queue; when I open the email from within the queue I would like the ability to directly ‘convert’ the email into a support ‘Case’ and automatically attach the original email to the Case; then I want the Case to be assigned to a customer support representative (CSR) and a follow-up activity created, and at the same time a return email to be sent to the customer providing them with their incident number and that a CSR will be in touch with them shortly.

Now, there will be some of you who would also like the manual step in the middle to also be automated - but as there is no junk email filter on the Exchange router (nudge to the development team here) you can end up with unwanted email in this queue (even if you have a spam filter on your Exchange server), so I prefer that someone makes a conscious decision about what gets ‘converted’.

In both of the above scenarios Microsoft CRM provides for both ends of the equation ‘out of the box’ in so far as we can configure a CRM Queue to automatically have certain emails routed directly into it (see the Implementation Guide – Chapter 17); and the Workflow engine allows us to build workflow rules around when a new Lead (or Case) is created to do exactly what our scenarios above required.

So here is the missing link…we need two buttons on the CRM email activity form – ‘Convert to Case’ and ‘Convert to Lead’.

Email with ‘Convert’ buttons added:

When you ‘Convert to Case’ or ‘Convert to Lead’ you will receive a completion message and when the conversion occurs it will try and match the email address to an existing contact record in the database.

The email subject will be used for the Case ‘subject’ or Lead ‘Topic’ and for the Lead it will insert the email address also.

The components required to install this have been uploaded to the following location –

For the developers amongst you, the Visual Studio project has also been uploaded so you can further customise as required.

Guy Riddle
Microsoft CRM MVP
Snapdragon Consulting Pty Ltd

Comments (12)

  1. El del CRM says:

    Últimamente ando un poquito liado, estamos llevando a cabo un proyecto de Implantación de Microsoft CRM

  2. dclissmann says:

    Hi Guy,

    This is functionallity that really should be in the core product and thank you for making it available. I understand it’s unsupported but was hoping you could help me with a small issue i’m having.

    I get the following message when I click on the newly added button in the email activity:

    "General error encountered while creating case

    The underlying connection was closed: An unexpected error occurred on a send."

    Any pointers you could give would be greatly appreciated.



  3. Guy Riddle says:

    I googled this error message with plenty of matches…

    It’s likely due to a bug in .net 1.1 whereby connections are closed too early.

    Maybe suggest this workaround…they mention to set keep alive on in iis…

  4. Confused says:

    i’m quite new to Microsoft Crm. How do you add the buttons? how do you go about the dll that is in the link?

  5. Gregor says:

    The Screenshot looks nice, but I have a Problem in installing the addon. The Buttons don’t appear in the eMail.

    I followed the instructions in the readme step by step and fond one confusing statement:

    "4. Copy the "Custom" folder to your CRMWEB folder (so that it sits just below the bin folder. (NB – if you already have a ‘custom’ folder, just copy the ‘Snapdragon’ folder out of the custom folder and copy to your custom folder)."

    Now what?

    Should I copy the folder to the CRMWEB-folder or to the BIN-folder (what du u mean with "… sits just below…")

    What can I do?

  6. Bob says:

    I have no success with this either, if anyone has gotten it working, please post details.

  7. Fraser McGarrie says:

    I have recently implemented implemented CRM and was searching for this feature, I downloaded the files and followed the instructions to the letter, the buttons are showing in the mail message but when I click them I get the message ‘An error has occurred. For more information, contact your system administrator. ‘  I have no idea how to troubleshoot this, can you help?


  8. Chris says:

    For me, I need to update the web.conf file in  C:Inetpubwwwrootcustomsnapdragonqueues to use the local name of the server (server.local).  

    Also, make sure to edit the C:Inetpubwwwroot_Resourcesisv.config.xml file with the correct server URL

    Once I did that, it works, and is just what I needed.


  9. Michael says:

    Do you have a similar tool for converting a phone call activity to a case/incident/lead?  

    Looking for a tool so receptionist can log details of call i.e. company name etc and then pass it to either the sales or support team and they can convert it to either a lead or case


  10. Tay Le says:

    Hi Guys

    I can’t access the website

    I have registered but it said that i can’t access the site thru the portal

    any suggestions ??

  11. Developer says:

    I cannot access the code at the URL given above.  I register and it says I do not have permissions.

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