Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Dialog Lookup Values For Common Entities

One feature of dialogs is the ability to prompt the user for a record to interact with i.e. prompt for a lookup response.


The Reference Entity and Reference Field are two of the least intuitive features of CRM so I thought I would write an article on how they work and some good values to use for them.

How They Work

Essentially, the two fields are used to define a lookup which already exists in CRM so it can be presented to the user, during the dialog, and receive a value.

So, if you are wanting to capture, for example, a Contact record from the user, you could use the Primary Contact lookup (Reference Field) on the Account entity (Reference Entity).


This will allow the dialog to prompt the user for a Contact lookup so a Contact can be chosen.

Once this is explained, it actually makes a lot of sense or, at least, is quite easy to use.

Typical Values for the Common Entities

According to the Audit Settings, these are the Common Entities, with some suggested settings for the dialog:

  • Account: Account-Parent Account
  • Contact: Account-Primary Contact
  • Goal: Goal-Parent Goal
  • Goal Metric: Goal-Goal Metric
  • Lead: Account-Originating Lead
  • Marketing List: Create a custom lookup (see below)
  • Product: Case-Product
  • Quick Campaign: Use the Campaign/Quick Campaign composite lookup on Campaign Response-Parent Campaign (see below)
  • Rollup Query: You can use Goal for a specific Rollup Query type, otherwise a custom lookup
  • Sales Literature: Create a custom lookup
  • Security Role: Create a custom lookup
  • User: Any owner lookup will work for this

For a custom lookup, what I mean is creating a 1:N relationship of your choice and then using the lookup field which gets generated with the relationship. For example, we could make Contact a child of Marketing Lists and then use the resultant lookup field in our dialog to allow the user to select a Marketing List.

A composite lookup is a lookup which allows the user to select a record from more than one entity. So, in the example above, the Campaign Response-Parent Campaign lookup allows the user to select from either Campaigns or Quick Campaigns.

The Customer lookup is also a special, hard-coded lookup which allows the user to select either an Account or Contact. This can also be used in a dialog if an Account/Contact is required e.g. for the client associated to a Case.

Typical Values for Sales Entities

For the sales entities we have:

  • Competitor: Custom lookup
  • Invoice: Custom lookup
  • Opportunity: Lead-Qualifying Opportunity
  • Order: Invoice-Order
  • Quote: Order-Quote

Typical Values for Marketing Entities

For the marketing entities we have:

  • Campaign: Campaign Response-Parent Campaign (also allows the selection of a Quick Campaign) otherwise a custom lookup

Typical Values for Customer Service Entities

For the customer service entities we have:

  • Article: Case-Knowledge Base Article
  • Case: Custom lookup
  • Contract: Case-Contract
  • Service: Contact-Preferred Service


Once explained, the configuration of a lookup response for dialogs is not too difficult. With the above examples, most dialogs can be configured without the headache of having to trawl through CRM to find the right lookup for the job.

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