In our opinion, one of the most helpful tools in giving visibility to CRM data is Advanced Find. It enables users to query deep within the CRM system, often creating significantly powerful queries that would otherwise require a dedicated support staff (see Figure 7.23).
Figure 7.23 Advanced Find.
With Advanced Find, users can easily query on the following:
- All system Entities, such as Accounts and Contacts
- System objects, such as Workflows, Templates, Roles, and System Jobs
- Related Entity Attributes
Additionally, when working with Advanced Find, users can perform a variety of actions to get the data they want, including this:
- Selecting specific columns
- Selecting the sort column and sort order
- Adding grouping options
- Modifying a system view (but not overwriting it)
- Saving Advanced Find as a view that can be quickly run when working with that Entity later
- Exporting the results to Excel
- Performing a mail merge
- Performing duplicate detection on the resulting records
- Merging records
- Sending direct e-mail to the resulting records
- Reporting on the records
- Printing the records
- Assigning the records to another user
- Activating or deactivating
- Creating a Quick Campaign on the resulting records
When working with Advanced Find, the first step is to select the main Entity you want to work with. Choose the Entity or system object from the drop-down where it says Look For.
After you have selected the Entity, any associated system views are available for you to select in the Use Saved View drop-down.
Figure 7.24 illustrates the system views for the Account Entity, as well as a new view that we created to show all Accounts.
Figure 7.24 Advanced Find Saved views.
The view that you're seeing on Advanced Find is the same view that is available when working with the Accounts Entity within Microsoft CRM (see Figure 7.25).
Figure 7.25 Accounts view.
This is a nice feature because it enables you to create custom views into the data through Advanced Find that you can save and run quickly while working with the Entity directly (without having to go back to Advanced Find).
When working with Advanced Find, there are several components to it. These are discussed next.
Find and Saved Views Tabs
All the functionality for searching is located on the Find tab. The Saved Views tab, as its name implies, is where you will find the views listed as My Views from Use Save View (see Figure 7.26).
Figure 7.26 A saved view located under My Views in Advanced Find.
The Toolbar Options
The navigation options in the toolbar of the Find tab feature the following:
- Save As
- Edit Columns
- Edit Properties
If you choose to work with an existing view, the view you select is displayed in detail on the form, enabling you to review with the logic.
As you'll see in the following example, Edit Columns enables you to select the columns from the underlying query that you would like to have returned on the view. The Change Properties link enables you to easily change the name and add a description, if desired.
Advanced Find Details
When working with queries in Advanced Find, you can look at the criteria in two ways: Detail mode and Simple mode.
When viewing the Accounts System view of Accounts: Responded to Campaigns in Last 6 Months, both Figures 7.27 and 7.28 show the same view. However, Figure 7.27 is in Simple mode and Figure 7.28 is in Detail mode. (Notice the menu option displayed that says either Show Details or Hide Details.)
Figure 7.27 Accounts System view of Accounts: Responded to Campaigns in Last 6 Months in Simple mode.
Figure 7.28 Accounts System view of Accounts: Responded to Campaigns in Last 6 Months in Detail mode.
You can find and set the default settings for Advanced Find mode in the Personal Options form.
When working in Details mode, you are further presented with the option to add an And clause or an Or clause to our query.
As an example of how the And and Or clauses work, let's query on Account names:
- Open Advanced Find and select Account as the Entity. Be sure that the Use Saved View is selected to New.
- Working in Detail mode (be sure the Advanced Find says Hide Details directly below the text Look for:), mouse over the word Select (which will expand), and select Account Name and Begins With, using the letter a.
Adding another row, select the same criteria, but this time use the letter b. This query should look similar to Figure 7.29.
Figure 7.29 Advanced Find with two select clauses.
If you were to run this query as it stands, you would have no records returned because it is looking for all records that have an Account name starting with a and b. It uses Boolean and logic, so results will only be returned if the account name starts with both a and b. Since Account Names can only start with one letter, we'll never see results.
- Select each row as illustrated in Figure 7.30.
Figure 7.30 Selecting rows in Advanced Find.
- Now select the Group Or option. The two selected rows are grouped with an OR next to them (see Figure 7.31).
Figure 7.31 Selected rows with a group OR applied.
Running the query now returns all Account records in which the Account name begins with either a or b.
The Grouping options can be applied multilevel, grouping And or Or clauses by selecting different criteria. In Figure 7.32, multiple And and Or clauses have been applied to selectively return desired records.
Figure 7.32 Selected rows with a group And and Or applied.
Advanced Find Example
As previously mentioned, the Advanced Find feature is incredibly powerful. The following example demonstrates how to perform a popular find: returning all the Contacts that have had an Account created in the last 10 days so you can send a welcome mail.
- Open Advanced Find. Advanced Find is always located on the main navigation screen on the web client and as part of the CRM toolbar within Outlook (see Figure 7.33).
Figure 7.33 Advanced Find on the CRM Outlook toolbar.
By default, Advanced Find automatically selects the Entity that you're working with as its default Look For. If you were not working with Contacts when you started the Advanced Find, change the Look For to Contacts.
Because you're going to be sending a piece of mail, you need to edit the columns to make sure that you're returning the right columns for your mailer. Select Edit Columns from the top toolbar and the Edit Columns dialog box is displayed (see Figure 7.34).
Figure 7.34 Edit Columns on Advanced Find for Contacts.
- By default, when working with Contacts, only the full name and business phone are returned. Because you're going to be working with Mail, you need to select Add Columns located on the right navigation pane of the dialog box. Select the columns you want to have added to the results, and click OK to continue (see Figure 7.35).
Figure 7.35 Selecting columns from Advanced Find for Contacts.
- From here you can configure the sort order of the returned records by selecting Configure Sorting (see Figure 7.36). Click OK twice to continue.
Figure 7.36 Selecting sorting from Advanced Find for Contacts.
- You need to add the criteria now to your Find because you have selected only the Contacts and the fields you want returned. If you were to run your query now, you would return every Contact, not just those that are associated with an Account created 10 days ago. To add this logic, mouse over the Select option; it changes to a drop-down (see Figure 7.37).
Figure 7.37 Selecting Fields and Related from Advanced Find.
Scrolling down the drop-down, you'll notice that the available fields to apply a filter to are broken into two sections:
Fields are the base fields for the entity you're working with—in this case, the fields for the Contact entity. Notice that every field applicable to the Contact entity is listed there, along with any custom fields you might have added.
Related enables you to select related entities to the primary entity you're working with—in this case, the entities related to the Contact entity. Again, every relationship to the Contact entity should be listed there, along with any custom ones added.
Select the Parent Customer (Account) from the Related section (see Figure 7.38).
Figure 7.38 Parent Customer (Account) selected on Advanced Find.
Now that you have the relation established on your Advanced Find, you need to add the last bit of logic, Accounts added within the last 10 days.
Mouse over the Select under Parent Customer (Account), and select Created On. Notice that the fields displayed are of the base entity Account—this is because you're now working and able to query on the fields for the related entity. Change the option to Last x Days and enter 10 as the value (see Figure 7.39).
Figure 7.39 Adding criteria to a related entity.
Selecting Find returns all Contacts related to Accounts added within the last 10 days. If your query does not return any records, it may be because you have not adding anything in the last 10 days. Try expanding your search to 20 or 30 days or until results are returned.
As mentioned in the first part of this section, you can do several things with your results, including saving them, performing a mail merge, exporting them to Excel, or even creating a Quick Campaign with them to track whether any of your mail has been responded to.