MB2-717 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics for Sales) – Email templates

As I prepare for my Dynamics 365 certification in sales (MB2-717), I’m creating blog posts based on my revision. I hope that collectively these posts may prove useful to anyone also preparing for the MB2-717 exam. In this post I will focus on email templates.

Email templates allow us to quickly create standardised messages. These are often used for common messages including welcome messages, order confirmations, thank you messages etc. The messages can be personalised automatically by “injecting” dynamic data. Additionally email engagement now allows us to identify the “best” templates based on reply rates, open rates and count of sends.

Using Templates

Out of the box we have a number of email templates that can be leveraged, additionally users and developers can also create templates. (I will describe that process in a second!) First, let’s look at how to create an email from a template.

Below you can see that I have created an email and made it “to” a contact and “regarding” an opportunity. Next I have selected the “INSERT TEMPLATE” option from the ribbon bar. Or you can use the insert template icon in the common bar on the email body.

In my example I have deliberately set the “to” and “regarding” fields to different entities. This has been to show that the system will prompt me to ask which entity to use for locating possible templates. Some templates can be global to all entities but some will contain dynamic content associated with a specific entity type.


Having selected my entity a second dialog shows the possible email templates. The first few presented are generic and available for all entity types! I then see those which are specific to the entity in question.


Notice on the right hand side of the screen that open rates (etc) are displayed. This information can be used to “star” some templates as being recommended. In my example this was the first time the email template had been used. I will show how these values change later in this post.

Below you can see the resulting email. Notice that the email subject and description has been pre-populated for me.

Note:
Attachments can also be automatically added to an email using this process. (Although the email must be saved prior to selecting a template that includes attachments.) I have found this feature really useful for creating “welcome” emails, when I might want to always attach a set of my terms of conditions and other information useful to new customers.


Incidentally, it is also possible to define an email signature in Dynamics 365. If you have a default signature and create an email …. Adding the template will insert the template prior to the signature. Meaning both concepts can be used in tandem.


As already mentioned templates can be recommended. Notice that my “Follow-Up to Our Meeting” template is now marked with a green star. It has become a recommended template! As based on the reply rate, open rate and email count it is now thought to be the best option. In my example, I have sent one email using this template and replied once. But I opened the email 4 times. (I did this to demonstrate that the open rate can be greater than 100%!)


Out of the Box Templates

Out of the box Dynamics 365 includes many templates. In the settings area of Dynamics 365 you will find a templates option. And within this you can access the “Email Templates” option.


Within this area you can see all of the system templates. The template type shows the entity which applies to each template. Also notice that the reply rate, open rate and sent count are shown in this view.


System Templates

I won’t cover the maintenance of email templates in great detail. (I am guessing it is beyond the scope of the MB2-717 exam.) But you should be aware that system customizers and administrators can create and amend system wide email templates. These templates can be made part of a Dynamics 365 solution and can therefore be migrated from one environment to another. (Say from your development sandbox into production.)


When creating a new template you will be prompted to confirm if it should be globally available or applied to a specific entity.


Once you have selected an entity it is possible to use the “Insert/Update” option to add any field from that entity into the template. This is how developers can add personalised / dynamic content into the email template.

Note:
You can also pick fields from the system user record of the person creating the email and also any entity directly related to the parent entity the email is based on.


Creating Templates (Personal)

In almost exactly the same way as developers, users can add their own personal templates. Using the “Personal Options Cog” icon, each user can access their personal options. Within this area they have an email templates tab which allows then to create personal templates. These personal templates then show alongside the out of the box system templates and any additional ones your administrators may have created.


You may need to be aware that the system administrator can enable / restrict individual users from creating personal email templates. (I can think of circumstances when the management might want to restrict some users from creating their own templates!)


Hopefully in this quick post I have given you a good overview of the capabilities of email templates. As always I encourage you to include plenty of hands on time in your exam preparation, don’t just reply on theory. Create some actual templates and test out how they behave. Enjoy.

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