Processing new "leads" in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

One of the benefits of evaluating the CRM accelerators from Microsoft is that you to see different points of view on how to use CRM to best effect. I was working with the events accelerator and noticed the way that the Accelerator processes enrollment requests using the campaign response.

We have previously used the lead entity for processing responses from our website. This caused problems when we got requests on our website from someone who was already in the database. Furthermore, if you don’t create campaign response or have a workflow that will automatically create one for each new lead, you won’t get valid reports out of the marketing module in CRM.  While not immediately obvious, the campaign response is the first link in the sales and marketing chain in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

When looking at the event accelerator, it became very clear that website requests could be imported as a campaign response rather than a lead from a Microsoft Dynamics CRM perspective. A campaign response is a CRM activity and can be imported, created manually or created using workflows.


A campaign response can be converted into a lead, can cause a leak to be converted to a customer, or can be used to create an opportunity, quote, or order. With a few customizations, the campaign response can be customized to include any data that you might need such as address information (see the event accelerator for more ideas).



Fewer false leads Creating campaign responses instead of leads will minimize the number of duplicate leads in your CRM database. This will reduce costs for marketing to and maintaining your database. Better reporting Campaign responses are key to marketing campaign reporting because the queries use Campaign Responses to build links. Resulting lead, opportunity, quote, and orders that you convert campaign response to, will include the parent campaign from the campaign response.  This helps to protect the links in the chain needed to analyze results. Since the money we spend on marketing is not insignificant, it’s pretty important that we be able to analyze marketing & sales results.

(Campaign Response –> Lead –> Customer –> Opportunity, Quote –> Order) 
(Campaign Response –> Opportunity, Quote –> Order)
(Campaign Response –> Quote –> Order)  
(Campaign Response  –> Order)

Campaign Response Processing Flow

  1. Inquiries from your website and other sources should be entered into CRM as campaign responses (CRs). Campaign responses are created several ways.
    • CRs are automatically created in response to e-mails which are replies to any campaign activities distributed as e-mails.
    • CRs can be imported
    • CRs can be manually created  from your activity list or from within any activity enabled entity in CRM such as a lead,  account, or contact.
    • CR workflows and callouts can  be used to automate much of the process
  2. Check your CRM database to see if this campaign response is from an existing entry in your database. This step is critical, because CRM workflows will not be able to send an e-mail to a campaign response, but can send an e-mail to the lead or customer associated with the campaign response.
    • If the campaign response is from a lead for customer already in your CRM database, that leader customer should be updated in the “customer” Lookup field in the campaign response.
    • If not, a new lead should be created from the information in the campaign response and linked to the campaign response.
  3. The response can now be processed using automated workflows which can be flexible enough to handle leads, accounts, and contacts. At this point, you can continue processing with the campaign response and or kick off processing for the resulting / related lead, contact or company.

Please let me know how you are using campaign responses in your CRM environment.


Steve Noe, CRM Consultant & MCT

About stephenvnoe

CRM & XRM solution architect and project lead. I provide CRM design, services, mentoring & support to all manner of front office solutions and CRM projects.
This entry was posted in CRM, CRM 4.0, Intermediate, Training and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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