Using Hierarchy Visualizations to Capture Org Charts in Dynamics CRM

Published January 26 2017 by Natasha Spurr
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An important part of any sales process is to ensure you’re speaking with the right person in an organization when working on an opportunity. You need someone high enough in the organization to make decisions about budget, timeline, and scope, etc.

Capturing the contacts at a company is easy, but an additional step that is often missed is to capture where each of those contacts sits in their organization. You can accomplish this by visually creating an org chart right inside Dynamics CRM.

Configuring the Contact entity to allow this functionality is pretty simple.

Here's how to build a hierarchy visualization chart in Dynamics CRM:

1. Create a lookup field

First create a new Lookup field to Contacts and add it to the Contact form. We can call this new field “Reports To” or “Manager”

NOTE: There is a Manager field on the Contact entity out of the box, but it is only a text field and therefore won’t give us the functionality we desire. Additionally, you can add a Filter this this Lookup field to ensure it only returns Contacts at the same company.

Editing the contact hierarchy settings

2. Create the Hierarchy Setting

Unlike the Account entity, the Contact entity does not include Hierarchy Settings out of the box, but again it’s pretty easy to configure.

  1. From the Contact entity in the customizations area, select Hierarchy Settings, then click New.

  2. In the Hierarchy Setting window, enter a Name, then click the Create New link for the Default Quick View Form. This will allow you to select the information that you want to see about each contact on the org chart (e.g. Full Name, Job Title, etc.)

    Creating a new hierarchy setting

  3. Click Save and Close

  4. Now click the Mark a relationship as enabled for hierarchies link on the Hierarchy Setting window – the window below is then displayed

  5. Select the relationship that should be used for the hierarchy visualizations – in this case the Reports To field

  6. Click the Mark hierarchical button, then click OK in the resulting dialog

  7. Click Done

  8. Click Save and Close on the Hierarchy Setting window

Hierarchy relationship window

3. Capture the organization structure

You can then simply use this new field to capture a contact’s direct report – in this case Christopher Lamb reports to Mark Wilson.

How to change "reports to" hierarchy setting

4. View the org chart

Once you have all your Contacts linked together using the new Lookup field, you can click on the hierarchy icon on the Contact form or in the Contact System View to view the hierarchy


Example of a chart hierarchy

Clicking on this chart icon will then take me through to my org chart

Visual hierarchy example

Your sales team can now use this feature as they add a contact to an opportunity or build up their stakeholder list as shown below.

Anywhere we add contacts during our sales process, we can click on that contact and then click the chart icon and make sure we’ve included the right person in our deal.

Adding hierarchy to the opportunity record

Interested in support or training for your organization? Contact us with your requirements. Meanwhile, learn how you can prep and import data for Microsoft Dynamics 365 for sales with this free technical guide:

Natasha is an experienced CRM professional with a unique ability to work across both marketing and sales functions. As CRM Marketing Manager at Edgewater Fullscope, Natasha has helped the organization to achieve multiple global partner awards and leadership status across the UK and beyond.

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