Handling ‘leads’ from your web site in Dynamics CRM

Over the years in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 and 4.0, I’ve seen a number of ways that people handle the processing of leads. Typically, website inquiries are imported into the leads entity of CRM. This can cause a number of problems. First of all, if this is an existing customer or someone we know which is registering for one of our free website offers, we created a duplicate lead which we must now deal with to prevent duplicate data in our leads entity. This also can confuse reporting and skew our numbers.

When I started working with the Dynamics CRM event accelerator, I noticed the use of the campaign response activity to collect information about registrants for the event. In the accelerator, the campaign response activity has been modified to include additional information such as address which would typically have been populated into a lead. This got me to thinking. Would it make more sense to use a campaign response to collect information from the website before processing it in the appropriate places in CRM?


One of the unique characteristics of the campaign response entity is that it can be linked to a lead, a contact, or an entity, tied to a campaign or quick campaign and be linked to an activity. This is the only entity in CRM that can do that.

If you add address and any other information that you request on your website form to the campaign response entity and form, you have an ideal entity for processing responses from your website, which is actually a CRM campaign or campaigns.


Consider the following scenario:

  • Either your website or each offer on your website is defined as a campaign in Microsoft CRM.
  • All the information on your website request form is transmitted or imported to CRM as a campaign response linked to the appropriate campaign.
  • An automated workflow is executed as each new campaign response is created. The workflow performs the following steps:
    • check using the e-mail address from the form to see if this e-mail address is in account, contact or lead. Note: this step will require a.net plug-in.
      • If the e-mail address exists, set the campaign response customer field equal to the appropriate existing record.
      • Otherwise, create a new lead from the information the campaign response and set a customer field equal to the newly created record.
    • Send an e-mail acknowledgment to the requester to let them know that you are processing the request. (Instant gratification is important!)
    • If the request can be handled by an automated e-mail or process, take care of it. Otherwise create task for the appropriate person.
    • Close the campaign response.

This is a  simplified overview, but I think it’s really important to recognize that at this point you can begin a nurture marketing process which can apply equally to a lead, a contact or account by triggering the workflows off of the campaign response. Since nurture marketing processes can take an awful lot of work to do without programming in CRM, being able to use the same nurture process for any type of entity can make your life easier.

Customized Campaign Response from Event Accelerator


Have a great weekend!
Steve Noe

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, Customization, Intermediate and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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