MS Dynamics Integration Basics
Act-On’s integration with Microsoft Dynamics (MS Dynamics) allows you to share information and use your MS Dynamics database for intelligence gathering. The integration will also allow MS Dynamics users to see any marketing activities a lead or contact has participated in, so that when the individual is contact, the MS Dynamics user has insight into their interests.
A bi-directional relationship with Dynamics allows you as the marketer to push and then pull data between the two systems that will synchronize your two databases. When using the Dynamics Integration you may use not only the Dynamics Standard Fields for marketing and segmentation but custom fields associated with the Lead and Contact entities.
When importing from Dynamics you can pull your full list of Leads and/or Contacts, any Static Marketing List, and Dynamic Marketing Lists into Act-On. Importing any of these will create a list within Act-On that contains all of the individuals associated with that group so that you can send email campaigns to them, segment and manipulate the data or add newly qualified leads into your MS Dynamics account.
What you’ll need to begin
- A Supported Version of MS Dynamics (see this page)
- MS Dynamics Login
- MS Dynamics Password
- MS Dynamics URL
- MS Dynamics Version
Set up the Connector
- Go to Settings > Connectors > Microsoft Dynamics and activate the connector.
- Enter your MS Dynamics Login, Password, MS Dynamics URL, and Account Type.
In the connector, you have the ability to set the following options:
- Filter out inactive contacts and disqualified leads.
- Filter our inactive marketing leads
- Filter out records without email addresses
- Update all duplicate records upon push sync
- Submit new records as either contacts or leads.
These options can be updated at any time by returning to this screen and clicking Confirm Login.
Set up Custom Fields
Remember: Custom fields rely on alignment between your CRM and Act-On. If these field names change in your CRM but are not updated in Act-On to match, syncs will fail going forward.
- Log in as the System Administrator in MS Dynamics
- On the navigation bar, click Microsoft Dynamics CRM > Settings > Customizations > select Customize the System.
- Under Components, expand Entities and expand the Contact entity. Click on Fields > select New.
- Once you click on New, you will out the following fields:
- Display Name: Act-On Behavior Score
- Type: Decimal Number
- Field Type: Simple
- Precision: 2
- Minimum Value: -100,000,000,000.00
- Maximum Value: 100,000,000,000.00
- IME Mode: Auto
- Click "Save and close" to complete the process.
Act-On Behavior Score
An Act-On Behavior Score view in MS Dynamics will allow sales users to rank their leads or contacts based on the lead score.
To create this system view in MS Dynamics, you must do the following:
- First ensure you have the score sheet set up (Setting Up a Lead Scoring System).
- Log in as the System Administrator in MS Dynamics
- On the navigation bar, click Microsoft Dynamics CRM > Settings > Customizations > select Customize the System
- Under Components, expand Entities and then expand the Lead or Contact Entity. Click on Views > New
- Define the name of the view, such as "Act-On Behavior Score" view, and select Add Columns.
- Add the column fields that you wish to display (e.g. First Name, Last Name, Company, Act-On Behavior Score, Email)
- Select Edit Filter Criteria and add the following search criteria:
- Owner equals current user
Standard Field Names
The Standard Field Names page allows you to define a standard set of field names you typically use in your Act-On lists. The set of field names can then be quickly access when creating and editing lists, creating form fields, and other areas in the application where field names can be selected. To define your set of standard field names:
- Hover over the Contacts menu at the top of your Act-On Account.
- Choose Standard Field Names
- Click Optimize for Microsoft Dynamics to pull in all of your custom and standard fields from your MS Dynamics Lead and Contact entities into the Field Name.
System Usage-When defining your standard field names, there are a few key fields that the Act-On system will identify. You can map your field names to these key values from the System Usage column on the page. Many of your fields will not have a system usage.
Import Microsoft Leads and Contacts
To begin interacting with your Microsoft Dynamics database, the first step will be to import your leads and contacts into Act-On.
- Go to Contacts > Marketing Lists
- Click the Import button in the upper right corner of the page.
- When the import screen displays you will have the option to choose to import from three areas of your MS Dynamics database: Import Contacts and Leads, Import Static Marketing List, and Import Dynamic Marketing List. For your leads and contacts, we will be dealing with the first area titled Import Contacts and Leads.
- Select the radio All Leads and click Next
- The next screen asks you to choose the columns (or MS Dynamics field) you would like to import into Act-On. You can always add fields at a later date if you are not sure what you would like to use right away. Once you have finished selecting the columns you want to pull into Act-On, click Finish. A list will be created with the title “All Leads” and placed into the default folder under Marketing Lists.
Repeat these steps to import your All Contacts into your Act-On account and your MS Dynamics database is now available to you from within the marketing platform.
The next step is to set a schedule for synchronizing the two databases, to ensure that Act-On has the most up-to-date information from Dynamics.
A second step towards a more effective marketing effort is to leverage the MS Dynamics Marketing Lists feature. To import your MS Dynamics Marketing List, follow the steps below:
- Go to the Contacts > Marketing Lists
- Click the Import button in the upper right corner of the page
- We will be dealing with the third area titled Import Static Marketing List or Import Dynamic Marketing List
- Select the radio button of the Marketing List you wish to import and click Next.
Your MS Dynamics Marketing List will not import with the title that was defined in MS Dynamics. Repeat these steps to import any additional campaigns into your Act-On account and your campaign lists are now available to you from within the marketing platform.
Accounts and Opportunity Data
MS Dynamics account and opportunity data can be pulled into Act-On using the CRM Administration sync. Although this information is not visible or present in your lists like lead and contacts fields are, it can be used for reporting purposes. To setup your CRM Administration Sync:
- Go to menu Settings > CRM Administration.
- Under the Accounts and Opportunities tabs make sure any of your desired fields are selected
- Set a scheduled under Recurring Synchronization. To have this information updated on a schedule
Once your MS Dynamics list has been imported, you can then set up options to synchronize the list between Act-On and MS Dynamics.
- Go to the Contacts > Marketing Lists
- Hover over your list and click on the arrow. Select Import/Export and click MS Dynamics Sync Setup
For your All Contacts and All Leads list, you can choose to push information to MS Dynamics, pull information from MS Dynamics or both.
To push records to MS Dynamics, select the checkbox next to Push to Microsoft Dynamics.
- Select Add new records to MS Dynamics if you want any new records in this list to be added to MS Dynamics as a new lead or contact
- Select Update existing records if you want to update any fields for existing leads or contacts in MS Dynamics. Note that no fields are selected to update by default.
- Click on Select Push-Update fields to choose which fields you give Act-On permission to update in MS Dynamics.
To Pull Records
To pull records from MS Dynamics, select the checkbox next to Pull from Microsoft Dynamics.
- Select Add new records to the list from MS Dynamics if you want any new records in this list to be added to MS Dynamics as a new lead or contact.
- Select Update existing records if you want to update any fields for existing leads or contacts in MS Dynamics. Note that all fields are selected to update by default.
- Click on Select Pull-Update fields to unselect any fields that you don’t want updated in Act-On
Add a List Columns Section
To Add List Columns section, available for All Contacts and All Leads, allows you to import any additional standard or custom fields you did not choose when initially importing your MS Dynamics list. To import additional fields:
- Click Add List Columns
- Check the box next to the field names and click save. These fields will then be added to your list in Act-On the next time you synchronize with Dynamics.
The Scheduling section allows you to schedule the frequency with which you would like Act-On to perform the above actions for you. To set a schedule for the synchronization:
- Click the Schedule button. Choose the desired frequency of daily, weekly, or monthly, and then add the appropriate values in the remaining fields. The remaining fields include the hourly, daily, monthly preferences and start times of the synchronization.
- Click Save at the top of the window
Once your Push/Pull options and scheduling preferences have been set, click Save at the bottom of the window. To discard all changes, click Cancel.
Pushing the Act-On Lead Score to Microsoft Dynamics
The Act-On score column must be updated prior to doing the sync. This can be done automatically with the use of a List Maintenance Program. Hover over the list to be updated and choose “Setup Maintenance Program” under the “Maintenance”.
Enter a name for the program and a description if you wish. Click Add Step and choose Change Field Value.
Enter a Step Name.
- The first radio button will allow you to pick a segment to search for records in.
- The second radio button defaults to the selected list.
To continue with pushing the Act-On Score values to Microsoft Dynamics:
- Select the second radio button
- Choose the appropriate field name from Microsoft Dynamics.
- Choose to Set Value to Behavioral Score.
- Click Done, in the right hand corner of the blue bar.
On the next screen that appears, click on the only when clicking the Now button link to set up the schedule.
Click the schedule earlier than the Dynamics/Act-On list sync you set up. Click Save. Repeat these steps on any other lists that include the lead score.
Pushing/Pulling Opt-Outs to Microsoft Dynamics
There are currently two fields for opt out in MS Dynamics. They are to Allow or Do Not Allow E-mail or Bulk Email. Both of these fields are considered when syncing opt out data with Act-On.
If you choose to enable opt-out pull (from Dynamics into Act-On), the system will determine if the modified date in MS Dynamics is more recent than that found in Act-On. If it is more recent and Do Not Allow is checked for either field, Act-On will put a record on the opt out list with a reason of MS Dynamics. If it is more recent and Allow is checked for both fields, Act-On will not remove the record from the opt out list (Due to CAN-SPAM compliance, opt-ins from Dynamics to Act-On are not yet supported).
If you choose to enable opt-out push (from Act-On into Dynamics), the system will determine if the modified date in Act-On on the opt out list is more recent than that found on the fields in MS Dynamics. If it is more recent and the record is on the opt out list, both fields in MS Dynamics will be updated to Do Not Allow. If it is more recent and the record is not on the opt out list, both fields will be updated to Allow.
To setup push or pull opt-in/out information with MS Dynamics, navigate to Settings > CRM Administration.
- Under Opt/InOut Synchronization select if you would like to:
- Pull Opt In/Out from MS Dynamics
- Push Opt In/Out to MS Dynamics
- Click Update
Sign-ups to Dynamics CRM
Act-On forms can push data directly to Microsoft Dynamics in the “Settings” section of the form builder.
Push Sign-up Data to Dynamics when someone submits this form
- Selecting this option lets you set the system to automatically push submission data into Dynamics CRM. Note that it’s very important that your form fields map to your CRM fields
- When checking this box, additional options will appear
Overwrite existing Sign-up Data in Dynamics CRM
- Selecting this option directs Act-On to find the existing record in your CRM database and overwrite the record’s data with the form submission data.
Add a Note to MS Dynamics
- Check this and Act-On will automatically document the user’s Activity History noting the form submission.
Email Message Activity Note
When sending a message to a Dynamics connected list, there is an option to attach a note to the contact in Dynamics CRM:
- Act-On will attach a “Sent Email” note in the record’s activity history, where it can be seen by anyone reviewing the record.
- By default the box will be checked and a note will be attached. If for any reason you prefer not to attach the notes, just uncheck the box.
Act-On automated programs make it much easier to effectively move your leads along the buyer’s journey, from awareness to sales-readiness to purchase and beyond. Our automated program features allow you to incorporate steps such as:
- Add a CRM Task - With this step, the marketing department will be able to add CRM tasks
- Add to a MS Dynamics Marketing List - With this step, the marketing department will be able to leverage MS Dynamics Marketing Lists by adding members to your Marketing Lists.
Please note: If ‘ownerid’ is included in the lists being sent to in Act-On, it will be used as the owner of the new tasks/notes. If not (either the records are non-CRM records or the list sync does not import the ownerid field), MS Dynamics will assign the current user (the one used to activate the connector) as the owner of the new tasks/notes.
Working with Sales Users
Manage Sales Users
To allow the MS Dynamics users access to Act-On features like the Act-On Activity History and Act-On Sales Portal they will have to be set up as an Act-On sales user.
To add your MS Dynamics Sales Users:
- Navigate to Settings > Users > Sales Users
- Click the button labeled Add Sales Portal User
If you do not see this button, please ensure that you are an Administrator or contact your CSM.
Prospects for Sales
Act-On features like Website Visitors and Hot Prospects use Sales Prospect Reports to identify which leads and contacts are assigned to your sales representatives.
To associate the Sales Ownership:
- Navigate to Contacts > Other Lists > Account Lists and locate the Sales Prospects area at the bottom of the page
- Hover over Prospects Assigned to Sales and click the Select option to the right. You will now select All Leads
- Next hover Prospects in Active Opportunities and repeat the selection process by choosing the All Contacts
- Hover over Existing Contacts Assigned to Sales and select All Microsoft Dynamics Contacts
Note: These lists must have the Owner ID field included for association with the correct sales reps.
See this page for information about Act-On's integration with Microsoft Outlook.
Account Report Setup
You can also give your sales users access to the Account Report to easily view account-level data from Act-On from Dynamics. See the CRM Customization Toolkit Guide for setup instructions.
Microsoft Dynamics Sales Seat Installation Guide
Act-On offers a Sales Seat feature for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Install it to add the following components to the Dynamics server:
- Activity History: Use this to view activity history of the primary email on the entity.
- Send Email: Send an email to the primary email on the entity.
- Send (Multiple) Emails: In the view pages, users can send emails to all the selected records.
- Act-On Dashboard: View the Act-On dashboard.
- Act-On Hot Prospects: See sales prospects from the lists defined in Act-On.
Based on your settings, these can be applied to leads, contacts, accounts, invoices, quotes, sales orders, and tasks.
The tool supports CRM 2011, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 365 On-Premise and Online servers. It includes a Single Sign-On process that eliminates the need to sign into Act-On when buttons are clicked.
If you wish to connect multiple Act-On accounts to a single Microsoft Dynamics instance, please review the following article before proceeding.
- The MS Dynamics connector must be successfully activated in the Act-On account.
- The installation needs to be executed by a MS Dynamics user who has the privileges to create custom entities and publish customizations (this is usually an system administrator).
- Your sales users must be added to Act-On as described above.
- You must have a computer with the Windows operating system to use the necessary files.
- You must have the necessary computer privileges to run the installer as an administrator.
Important! If you have previously installed the Dynamics package and need to upgrade, download the zip file below then please see Updating Your MS Dynamics Connector for further instructions.
Download the package
CLICK HERE for the zip file that contains the tool. Extract it to a folder and run it when you are ready.
- If you are on the 2011 on-premise version of Dynamics, use this link instead. The steps and screenshots below will not match exactly, but the functionality is similar.
Connect to Dynamics CRM
If you are unable to locate any of the information needed for these steps, please work with your IT team.
- Open the folder from the download link above
- Right click MSDynamicsTool.exe and choose Run as administrator
- Click the Dynamics button
- Select the CRM Deployment you are using from the drop-down
- Enter the URL with the port number you are using
- Enter the username
- On-Premise instances: use the [Domain]\[Username] format
- Hosted instances: use the email address
- Enter the password
- Click Connect
The tool will connect the instance and log in. Any messages will appear in the Status list view box. Click Done to exit.
If you see the error Object reference not set to an instance of an object during this step , this means you have incorrect permissions or another issue with your Dynamics account. This is not an Act-On error, and Act-On support is not able to resolve it.
Install the Sales Seat solution
- Click the Install button
- Click OK
- The Status window will show the progress of the installation
After completing the installation, all your Dynamics users' email addresses will appear in the Dynamics Users table.
The email addresses are shown to make registration easier if they are the same as the Act-On logins (so they don’t have to be manually entered).
All Dynamics users need to be registered to use the Sales Seat functionality. To register them:
- In the Dynamics Users table, select a user by clicking on the checkbox
- Input the first portion (up to the first period) of your default marketing domain (this is most often a number or your company name)
- Example: if your default marketing domain is 123.actonservice.com, enter '123'
- If the email address is different from the Act-On user name (login), click on the Act-On User Name column and enter the correct login as it appears in Act-On (case-sensitive)
- Right click on the user and select Register
- Click OK to complete registration
- Remember that every user that you register must be added in Act-On as a Marketing or Sales User
- The Act-On user name (login) needs to be unique for each Dynamics user; it cannot be shared by multiple Dynamics users
On a successful registration the registered user will show up in the Registered User table. Multiple users can be registered at the same time.
You can confirm that the registered user has the Read/Write privileges to the newly created custom entities. To check this:
- Navigate to Settings > Security
- Click Security Roles
- Select the role of that user (eg., Sales Manager)
- Select the Custom Entities tab in the Security Role popup
- Click on the Read and Write privileges for the Act-On SSO and Act-On SSO Ext entities until they are green
- Save and close the settings
To un-register a user: select their record in the Registered User table, right click, and choose Unregister.
Chrome, Firefox and IE 11 (and newer versions) are supported. The installer is based on the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0, which must be installed on your development computer. If not it will be downloaded and installed automatically.
All screen shots were taken from Dynamics 365; other versions may look different.
Sending Emails to Contacts
- The Send Email button in the main pages can be used to send emails to all the selected records
- Users can create and send email to a new record immediately without it being imported into Act-On. However, in this case only the following fields, if available, will be used in an email template during the composition process:
- First Name
- Last Name
- Email Address
- Company Name
- Job Title
- For records that have been imported into Act-On, all fields can be used in email templates.
After a user is registered, the installer will try to grant the read and write privileges on the custom entities to the user. If for some reason it does not succeed then either of the following error dialogs may pop up when clicking on any of the Act-On buttons. Follow the installation instructions to grant privileges to the user, and/or please ask the system administrator to grant the read/write privileges.
The Sales Seat tool imports a customized Ribbon Menu to your Dynamics instance. If this operation takes longer than 2 minutes, it will time out, resulting in the Sales Seat being partially installed. The links for “Activity History” and “Send Email” will not appear on the Contact and Lead main form view.
If this time-out occurs, you can manually add the customized ribbon to resolve the problem.
- Check the status List View box in the tool to find the timeout exception message
- The error message will contain the file path (relative to the Tool) where the customized ribbon package is stored:
Please import the Act-On solution file from 'Exported\Install\Customized_Ribbon_10_9_2018_8_46_AM.zip' into CRM server.
(This location will be used in a following step)
- Log into Dynamics as a CRM Administrator and navigate to the Solutions Settings page
- On the settings page, click the Import button at the top
Please note: the Act-On solution is already listed in the view – do not remove it
- In the Import Solution wizard, click the Browse button, locate the zip file referenced above (starts with Customized_Ribbon), and click Open
- Click Next in the wizard, then click Import
- Select Publish All Customizations to complete the process
Close the wizard and navigate to a Lead or Contact in your CRM. If the Activity History and Send Email buttons appear in the top left, the installation was successful.
Set up Trace logging
The SsoPlugin version that Act-On uses has trace statements for logging. To gather trace info for troubleshooting and resolving issues, follow these steps.
Enable Trace - On-Premise Setup
On-premise instances only: complete these extra steps to let Act-On write to the trace log. For hosted instances, please skip to the next section.
These steps use the Plugin Registration tool from the MS Dynamics SDK. Extract this zip to a folder and run the PluginRegistration.exe application.
- In MS Dynamics, click the Create New Connection section to display the login window
- After logging in, locate the SsoPlugin assembly, and select Update from the drop-down list
- In step 3, change the isolation mode to Sandbox, then click Update Selected Plugins
- A message will appear confirming the update
Enable Trace Logging Service
For both On-Prem and hosted instances, you must set Dynamics CRM to record trace messages. This must be done by a system administrator.
- In Dynamics, open the System Settings
- On the Customization tab of the dialog, set the 'Enable logging to plug-in trace log' drop-down to All
Viewing trace information
After the system has been properly configured, you can view the trace information generated by the Act-On plugin
- In Dynamics, open the Plug-In Trace Log
- Look for trace messages with Type Names including 'ActOnDynPlugin'
Here is an example of a success message in the trace log: