Sample Management with Dynamics CRM

Posted by Donna Krizik on September 6, 2013


If you distribute samples in your line of business, you need to see this.

Dynamics CRM can help you easily see how many samples are out, what stage they are in, and can even remind your sales team to follow up on them!

Crestwood has several clients that send out samples and need to follow up on them.  Until they had Dynamics CRM, their process for tracking samples and following up on them was very manual, inefficient and poorly executed.  No one knew from day to day, week to week, how many samples were out at clients, and at what point they were in the ‘trial’ process, or when they needed to follow up. 

To streamline the sample management process, we created a custom CRM entity called, “sample tracking”.  When a customer is flagged to receive samples, an order taker creates a Sample Request.

As you can see, the Sample Request includes customer name, sample information – dropdown box of the available products, and sample quantities. There are also Sample Stages – (very similar to the sales stages of an opportunity)

  • In Process – sample request has been processed and is being prepared to send out
  • Sent – sample has been mailed
  • Approved – sample has been followed up on, and customer has agreed to purchase the product line(s)
  • Not approved – customer has declined to purchase the product line(s), a reason field is available here for more info.

You can create whatever Sample Stages you would like. It is very simple to add/remove stages from the drop-down lists.

Once the Sample Request is filled out and saved, an email goes to the Order Assistant who is responsible for getting samples out.  He or she confirms the customer ship-to, checks the boxes of what documents are needed, (often there are a set of documents that need to be created, such as, international waybills, certificates of insurance, FDA docs, etc.) which triggers a workflow to the team that creates those documents.   You can see the documents needed window below; these can be anything you need them to be.

The Order Assistant prepares shipping labels and enters the tracking number into CRM, which kicks off a workflow that sends the salesperson a reminder every 2 weeks to check on the sample until they close the sale.  

To get a quick look at all of the samples that are out, and what stage they are in, you can do simple advanced finds.  This view will help you identify any holdups on the process, and lack of follow up on sample distribution.  From the screen shot below, you can see that the 3rd sample has been in process for 4 months, with no tracking number!  Clearly, something has broken down in the process and needs to be investigated.

The flexibility of the Dynamics CRM platform, coupled with the experts at Crestwood, allow you to quickly automate your key business processes. 

To find out more about how you can make Sample Management work for you, contact Tim Thompson at 847-394-8820 ext 14, or tthompson@crestwood.com, or join us for one of our free Dynamics CRM web seminars.


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