Dynamics 365 CRM Sales process is a streamlined business process to generate potential sales opportunities for the business. It is intended to help an organisation follow a set of pre-defined steps that when followed correctly help attain the best possible opportunity of a sale. Let us see how Microsoft Dynamics 365 sales process works, the life cycle of a typical sales process and the entities involved in it.

Dynamics 365 Sales Process needs to be:

  • Repeatable
  • Consistent
  • Predictable and
  • Focused on positive customer relationships

    Repeatable Activities. Following a process means doing the same thing over and over. The repeatability means automation might be used to make progression in the process simpler or quicker. Additionally, a repeatable approach helps to support a consistent experience for customers. A clearly defined sales process can help give predictable outcomes. By having a set process, we can easily compare multiple won and lost deals. (etc.) This analysis could lead to increased margins or better conversion rates. A well-defined sales process will also be focused on fostering on-going customer relationships. Establishing and maintaining relationships with customers should be at the heart of everything organisations are trying to achieve with their sales process. Most organisations will be looking to foster a long-term relationship with customers which will ultimately lead to repeat business.

Dynamics 365 Entities involved in Sales Process:
Following are the list of entities that are involved in the Dynamics 365 Sales Process:

AccountRepresents a company or organisation.
ContactA person. (Who may be related to an account.)
LeadLeads represent potential expressions of interest. A lead is effectively a temporary or unqualified opportunity. A lead might be for an existing account and contact. However, qualifying a lead will also involve creating a new contact and account.
OpportunityAn opportunity is a potential sale. It may be directly created for an existing customer or created as a result of qualifying a lead.
QuoteOne (or more quotations) will often be linked to an opportunity. The quotation defines the “deal” being offered to the customer. Including the products being offered, prices and any discounts.
OrderGenerally, an order is created as a result of winning a quotation. The order will include a list of products and prices.
InvoiceOnce the products or services defined on an order have been delivered a corresponding invoice can be created. From a “CRM” point of view one may often find that the invoice record is used as a “feed” for the corporate accounting system.
ProductsThe products and services which a company sells are defined as in the product catalogue. Products can be used within Dynamics 365 in many ways, which will be as line items on quotes, orders and invoices.
Price Lists and Price List ItemsThe price list defines what prices are to be used. A price list will exist as per currency and can be associated with accounts, opportunities, quotes etc.
Each price list will have many price list items. A price list item is used to derive the price for a product within the price list.
Discount ListsDiscount lists can be related to price list items These give us the ability to offer volume-based discounts. (For example, we may offer a 10% discount for anyone who orders more than 100 items.)
Sales LiteratureSales literature are documents that might be needed to support the sales process. These may include all manner of sales collateral such as product brochures, definitions of pricing detail, details about competitors, install guides etc.
CurrenciesWhenever a money field is used within Dynamics 365, it must be referenced to a currency. All systems will have a base currency but often many additional currencies may exist.

Conceptually, we can assume that a lead will progress to an opportunity. Thereafter it may lead to the creation of other related transactional items like quote, order and then invoice. Additionally, qualification of a lead will involve associating the opportunity to an existing account and contact or creation of new records. Dynamics 365 Sales Process is demonstrated in the following diagram:

Out of the Box Business Process Flows:
Sales process for each organisation can be quite different. It is fairly common to tailor the process for each new implementation. Within Dynamics 365 we use a concept called business process flows to help drive the sales process. Navigation of the system becomes easy using a business process flow for users and it helps enforce good practices. Whilst it is common for organisations to tailor the business process flows, Dynamics 365 does ship with an out of the box (OOB) set of processes.

Before understanding how to tailor these it will be key to appreciate their OOB stages / steps. In the screenshot below, we see that we have a lead, have entered the key information, but we have not yet qualified the lead. We have business process flow at the top of the form. The “Qualify” stage is currently active.

Clicking “Qualify” on this lead will move the business process forward to the develop stage. Additionally, an opportunity will be created and loaded. Also notice that we didn’t link our lead to an existing contact or account. So, a new contact and account will automatically be created and associated with this opportunity.

Once the opportunity loads, we are ready to progress the opportunity. Out of the box this will involve developing the detail on the opportunity, making a proposal to the customer and then closing the opportunity as won or lost. Along the way we would create whatever transactional records are needed such as a quotation at proposal stage.

The “Next Stage” option is available for the user to move the process forward when required, assuming they first complete all the required fields.

It is to be noticed that each business process flow has several stages and each stage will relate to an entity. For example, the qualify stage was linked to the lead entity, whilst the develop stage is linked to the opportunity entity. Plus, each stage contains a number of steps (or fields) which dictate what information should be captured at the particular stage in the process.

Out of the box we have two key sales processes. “Opportunity Sales Process” and “Lead to Opportunity Sales Process”. The lead to opportunity sales process applies when we follow the “complete” process. Following the complete process means having a lead that later gets qualified into an opportunity. The opportunity sales process is very similar and may come into play if we start the sales cycle by creating an opportunity rather than a lead.

Below we have shown the stages and steps in the out of the box lead to opportunity sales process. We may want to become familiar with these:

LeadQualifyExisting Contact?
Existing Account?
Purchase Timeframe
Estimated Budget
Purchase Process
Identify Decision Maker
Capture Summary


Customer Need
Proposed Solution
Identify Competitors

Identify Sales Team
Develop Proposal
Complete Internal Review
Present Proposal

Complete Final Proposal
Present Final Proposal
Confirm Decision Date
Send Thank You
File De-brief

Maintaining Business Process Flows:
Dynamics 365 ships with several out of the box business process flows. Including common ones such as “Lead to Opportunity Sales Process” and “Phone to Case Process”. In addition, further ready to use processes can be enabled. We do this by using the “Add Ready-to-Use Business Processes” option that can be found in the data management area of Dynamics 365 advanced settings.

Enabling Entities for Business Process Flows:
Before creating business processes on an entity, they need to be enabled for business process flows. This can be done by amending the properties of an entity as shown below in the diagram.

Each business process flow will have a primary entity. If an entity is to be used within a business process flow as a primary or “secondary” entity it must be enabled for business process flows.

Once set, we cannot turn off business process flows. But having said that, just because an entity is enabled for business process flows, doesn’t mean it has to be used with it.

When we enable an entity for business process flows, some fields get automatically created on the entity, including Process Session and Process Stage. Given below is an example of links to the current process and the stage within it.

Create or Edit Business Process Flows:
We can edit existing business process flows and create new ones at “”. Below we can see that under the flow section we have a Business Process flows option. With this option we can opt to edit existing processes or create new ones.

When creating a new business process flow, we need to enter a name and select the primary entity for the business process flows. The entity will first need to be enabled for business process flows to be selectable.

Once we have a business process flow, we can define which roles can access it or when multiple flows exist define an order to help define which will get applied by default.

Order Process Flow:
It is possible for one entity to have multiple business process flows. The sequence that the process flows are presented to a user is governed by selecting the Order Process Flow option.

Below we can see that we have two business process flows for leads and their order can be defined.

Enabling for Roles:
In addition to defining the order of business process flows they can be enabled for selected roles or all roles. Using the “Enable Security Roles” ribbon button.

Stages, Steps and Stage Category:
A business process is split into multiple stages. Each stage is represented by a coloured heading as the process runs.

Each stage relates to an entity. All the stages in a process can relate to the same entity. Or different entities can be used as the process progresses. For example, with the lead to opportunity business process flow, processing moves from lead to opportunity after the qualify stage.

Each Stage is made up of several steps. Each step being a field that should be completed at that stage in the process. Some steps will be mandatory, some optional.

The fields in each step will show in the business process flow but the exact same fields can also present on the form.

The stage category is just for reporting and logically groups the stages. There can be no more than 10 active business process flows per entity. Each process can contain no more than 30 stages. Multi-entity processes can contain no more than 5 entities.

Conditional Branches:
It will be necessary to know how to design a business process flow with a conditional branch. We should try creating a conditional branch that will help us understand them. Below we can see that we have created a conditional branch which effectively adds an extra stage for leads. When a budget is greater than 20,000, we want to make some additional information mandatory.

We can see below that once this change has been applied a different stage appears when the budget amount is greater than 20,000.

Workflows and Business Process Flows:
We can also additionally add workflows into the stages on a business process flows. Dragging a workflow component allows us to trigger a workflow. This trigger can be set to start the workflow on stage entry or exit. Importantly, the workflow you select must be an active, OnDemand workflow.

Additionally, we can add global workflows. As shown below these have different triggers. For example, we could run a workflow whenever a process is completed or abandoned.

In the above example we have explained triggering a “classic” on demand workflow. We now also have the ability to trigger a Microsoft Flow in a similar manner.

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