With all of the excitement over the release of Sage 300 ERP v2012 and its new features, it’s easy to forget how many amazing tools you already have at your fingertips. One of the handiest tools for those of us in administration is also one of the more under-utilized features in Sage CRM – Document and Email Templates.
If you’ve done any work with us in the past, you’ll know we send out Project Plans in the preparation phases for projects. They enable everyone to be on the same page prior to commencement, and are often full dates and information useful throughout the duration of the project. If we had to manually fill in each and every detail of this document for each customer, it would be a very tedious process.
In order for us to maximize our efficiency and maintain consistent formatting, regardless of who is planning the project, we have created a Document Template for our Project Plans in CRM. We have also created an Email Template for sending them onto you, to make sure you are getting the same level of customer service with each communication.
As daunting as it may seem, it’s actually a very simple process that can save a lot of effort in the long run:
1. Layout: Create a general layout in word for the type of document you are creating. For familiarity sake, I will use our project plan document as my example:
2. Merge Fields: Depending on your security rights, you may need to contact your administrator to complete this step. Because of CRM’s ability to be customized to suit your business, field names are often company specific. This means there is no one document that will outline the field names to insert into our templates. In order to find out what the field names are, you need to:
i. Click on “Administration”, located below the “Main Menu” option on the left side navigation.
ii. Click the “Customization” icon that has now appeared in the left side navigation.
iii. Select the Entity which contains the information you would like to have auto-merge in your document. This often directly relates to the type of document template you are creating.
1) In my example of our Project Plan document, I would select the “Opportunity” option, since my template is directly related to an opportunity.
iv. This will take you to a screen that contains a list of all fields related to that entity. You may need to go between the entities in the previous step to collect all relevant “Field Names” to add to your template.
1) The screen should appear similar to:
v. Enter a Field into your word document (In our version of word I navigate to the Insert tab, click on quick parts, Field) which will then give you a pop up.
1) Select the field name “MergeField” and enter the Field Name from CRM into the Field Name section of the pop-up.
2.) For example, if I want the company name to auto-fill each time I use that template, I would use the Field name of comp_name .
In the project plan document, I used comp_name in the Field Name section:
vi. Continue to fill in each part of the template* where you would like information auto-populated from CRM. My final project plan looks something like:
*Note: You can utilize Word features in any part of your document as well. For the “Date” section in the example above, I have inserted a date field to auto-update each time the document is accessed.
3. Upload Template to CRM: Depending on your security rights, you may need to contact your administrator to complete this step. You now need to upload the template to CRM to ensure it’s availability to anyone that may need it. To do this:
i. Click the “E-mail and Documents” icon on the left side navigation
ii. Select “Document Templates” under the “Documents” heading
iii. On the right side navigation, select “Add File”
iv. You will now need to fill in the information as it pertains to your document. For our Project Plan, I selected the following:
v. In the “File” section, browse to your saved word document and click “Save”.
vi. Your document will now appear under the “Shared Templates” header.
4. Using the Template: Now that the template has been created, you can access it whenever you need to.
i. To use or test the document, you need to navigate to the relevant entity. In my example, I have gone Company – Opportunity and am now in summary.
ii. Right click on “New” in the left side navigation and select “Document”
iii. Click on the file name you would like to use and select “Merge and Continue
iv. If you have further information to add, click the “View Merged Document” option. This will open the file in Word. If you would not like to create a communication with that document as is, uncheck the create communication box. You will be able to file this document when it is completed.
5. Problems: If you have any tags that were not automatically merged, you may need to revisit Step 2 and double check the field names are correct, and that you have inserted the field correctly, or are using the correct entity to pull the information from.
You will be amazed at how handy Document Templates in CRM can be for day to day tasks and documents, and it’ll be a bit hit amongst the admin staff.
If you don’t currently have Sage CRM but would like more information or think it may be something that could benefit your company, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d be more than happy to show you how CRM may be a valuable asset to your company!