Macros in VISUAL CRM? Well, not exactly...
The use of macros in VISUAL is common practice as it allows you to do many things inside and outside of VISUAL, such as, automate tasks, enforce business rules, interact with external applications, validate data, and much more.
But VISUAL Macros are only available from within the VISUAL Enterprise application modules - i.e. Manufacturing. You will not find the MACRO menu in VISUAL CRM
But don't fret...there something else.
It's called ACTION MENUS. While they may not be exactly macros - you can do quite a bit with a little programming know how. Action Menus allow you to run executables from VISUAL CRM and pass parameters. The available parameters are dependent of the area you happen to be in within CRM.
As usual, I always like to show features/functions using examples. And this post is no different...
A while back in the VISUAL forums, someone asked whether VISUAL CRM had any macro capabilities as they were wanting to push account information from the Contact Center of CRM to the Estimation Window of VISUAL. Responses quickly came back stating that MACROs were not available in CRM (a true fact).
But David Sheriff, from Visual Business Solution, offered up his solution of using CRM's Action Menu - which, I'm sure, opened up a whole new world of opportunities for VISUAL users.
So, making it simple, let's say I want to create new quote using VISUAL's Estimation window from the accounts grid in CRM's Contact Center. I also want CRM to "push" the account ID, Name, Contact First and Last Name into the new estimating window.
The solution involves the following elements:
- An executable file to "push" the CRM data
- An Action Menu item in CRM
- A VMX file to launch the VISUAL's Estimation window
- An OnLoad macro which will execute and read the flat file containing the "pushed" data
The Executable File
The executable file is written in vbscript to do the following:
- Query the database using the ID parameter passed by the ACTION MENU. The query will return the information needed to be pushed - Account Name, Contact First and Last Name.
- Create a flat file of the data that will, in turn be read by the Estimation Window's OnLoad macro.
- Create and execute a VMX file to launch the Estimating Window.
Download the the zipped executable file
Be sure to modify the script to include you database credentials and file directory path
The OnLoad macro
The Onload macro file is fired automatically when the Estimating Window loads from the CRM call. The macro reads the data from the flat file that was created from the executable file and places the values in the following fields:
- USER DEFINED 1 --> CRM's Account ID
- NAME --> CRM's Account Name
- Contact Information --> CRM's Contact First and Last Name
Download the zipped Onload macro
You will need to create a quote in the Estimation window using Quote ID "CRM_QUOTE". You only need to do this once in your setup and nothing should be in this quote. It's simply used as a template to fire up the OnLoad macro.
- Place the OnLoad macro file in the proper VISUAL directory so that the system recognizes it
- In the navigation area of CRM, select the "Navbar and Plug-Ins" item from the ADMIN men.
- In the Navigation Bar and Plug-In Customization window, click on the ACTION MENU tab to add the new MENU that will launch the executable file.
- Be sure to enter the following parameters. Please note that some information will need to be changed as per your VISUAL environment. The hit the OK button to complete.
Menu Text: New Estimate for Account <-- change text if you like Show For: Account Command: "C:\visual\VMX\NEW_ESTIMATE.vbs" %USER% %ID% %DB%
*** The path to the executable file - change as necessary ***
The %USER% %ID% %DB% are the parameters that we're passing to the executable file. Be sure to place in exact order as shown
Seeing it in action
- From the CONTACT CENTER, hightlight one of your prospects or accounts in ACCOUNTS window grid.
- Now if you go to the ACTIONS menu, you should now see the menu item you created. - In this case "New Estimate for Account". Go ahead and select it.
- You will then see VISUAL launch the ESTIMATING window with information pre-populated with the information "pushed" from CRM. In this case, the name, contact and the CRM account id.
This was obviously a simple example (using basic fields) - but I'm sure you can see how powerful this can be.