12.16.2004

Customizing Printed CRM Records

Got a post from someone on the newsgroup today about how to customize quotes and print them and/or email them. I posted a reply that got pretty long, so I thought I would finish it here. Here's the text of my reply:

I haven't done any work directly with quotes, but I have found that for most of the CRM records, the canned printed forms are somewhat lacking in content and visual appeal. (In addition to being unable to customize them with logos and company letterhead type stuff.)

I ran into this problem with leads. I have a client whose salespeople wanted to be able to print out a "Lead Card" to take on sales calls that would have all the most relevant info on one page. I created a report in Crystal that showed all the lead's pertinent information on the top (basically everything from the Lead form Information tab) and the 5 most recent activities on the bottom, plus the rep's name, etc.

This kind of report is easy to make in Crystal, the problem is that it creates a report for every lead in the database, and would crush the server if I ran it. So the next thing I did was to add a parameter to the report, then add an ISV button to the lead form that passed the lead's GUID to Crystal. You click on the button and Crystal report viewer launches and asks you to select a parameter (you have to have two choices, so in order to keep people from running the whole thing I made the second choice return a blank report). So the salesperson can leave the parameter at the default choice without selecting, and click OK, and voila---they have a customized, easily printed lead card.

[There's more about using parameters in CRM and Crystal Reports on Microsoft's website in a whitepaper about optimizing CRM performance.]

I think this would work well for quotes too. The next problem is how to email them, which I haven't had to try to figure out yet. That's a little harder, because from here you would basically be trying to email a dynamic web page. Maybe you could then use a PDF utility. Copying the report and pasting it into Outlook or word (or a CRM email) will cause it to lose formatting. I think I would look for a cheap or shareware PDF utility for salespeople to use so they wouldn't have to buy a copy of Acrobat.


Here are some screenshots of the lead card button and the screen that comes up in the Crystal Report Viewer window prompting you about the parameter:




After the user clicks OK, the one page lead report for the specific lead comes up. This same method could be used for quotes, or any other entity in CRM.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

If you use Crystal, latest edition you can call a function to emai report from Crystal.

4eyesct said...

I have created a parameter driven report in crystal for a client but find that CRM can only present 50 variables in the pull down list on the report creating page?? Any idea if this can be changed??
Cheers
4EyesCT

 
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