A sales process is a standardized series of activities that occur during a sales cycle.  As the sales cycle progresses and activities are completed, the probability of winning the deal gets greater.  In Microsoft CRM v 3.0 the sales process functionality was displayed graphically on the Opportunity form (as shown below) with the ability to skip stages in the Actions menu. 

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As CRM activities are completed or canceled (configurable) the sales process would continue and update the opportunity sales stage and probability accordingly (configurable).  The "Sales Pipeline" report (as shown below) graphically displays all opportunities by sales stage.

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In Microsoft Dynamics CRM v 4.0, Windows Workflow Foundation has been incorporated into the core product to provide robust automation capabilities.  This highly configurable workflow tool/engine has eliminated the need for the v 3.0 Sales Process functionality.  To reproduce the v 3.0 Sales Process functionality in CRM v 4.0 you need to perform the following tasks:

  1. Add the Pipeline Phase (schema name: stepname) field to the Opportunity form and publish the customizations
  2. Create a new workflow called Sales Process
    • Entity: Opportunity
    • Start when: Record is created (possibly On demand if you will need to run it against existing opportunity data)
    • Insert a Stage
      • Update Record: Opportunity (manually set the Pipeline Phase and Probability)
      • Create Record: Add an activity such as a Discovery Phone Call
      • Wait Condition: Wait until the previous activity is completed or canceled
    • Continue to build the remaining stages of your sales process
  3. Publish the Sales Process workflow

The following screenshot provides an overview of how the sales process can be implemented in Microsoft Dynamics CRM v 4.0.  This is a very simple, three stage sales process where the pipeline phase is set and the probability is incremented from 20 to 40 to 95% as activities are completed or canceled.

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Click here to download this sales process example.   Now that you see how easy it is to configure an automated sales process that dynamically updates your opportunity, think about what else you can do...

 UPDATE:  I have created an instructional video on this specific post that walks you through the process beginning to end.

- Eric Boocock