Workflow Rules in Zoho CRM, are a set of actions (email notifications, tasks and field updates) that are executed when certain specified conditions are met. These rules automate the process of sending email notifications, assigning tasks and updating certain fields of a record when a rule is triggered.
A workflow rule consists of the following elements:
- Basic Details - Specify details on the record type for which the rule applies, rule name, description.
Rule Trigger - Specify when the rule should be triggered for a record and based on what. There are three options:
- Execute based on a record's action - Rules can be triggered when records are created, edited, created/edited, deleted or specific fields are updated.
- Execute based on a date field's value - For all the records matching the rule criteria, rule will be triggered either monthly or yearly based on the value of the date field that is selected.
- Execute based on a the record's score - Rules can be triggered when the score of a record is either increased, decreased or updated.
- Execute based on recommendation - Rules can be triggered on, after or before the day of recommendation.
Workflow Condition - You can create multiple conditions in a workflow rule. Each condition consists of two elements. One is specifying which records should be triggered i.e. all records or the records that match the criteria. Another is adding the criteria based on which it should be triggered. When there are multiple conditions, records will be validated against the criteria mentioned in each condition and when it meets a criteria, the other conditions that follow will be ignored for validation. The following options help you define the records that are to be triggered.
- All records that match the criteria - Rule will be triggered for the records that meet the criteria.
- All records - Rule will be triggered for all the records.
- Records that do not meet any of the above conditions - Instead of All Records, this option will be available from the second condition onwards.
Actions - Specify the action to be automated for records that meet the set criteria.
- Instant Actions - Add email notifications, tasks, field updates, webhooks, custom functions, create record, and send notifications via Cliq, Slack or Cisco Webex that will be triggered immediately when the rule is executed. On Edit or Field Update actions, you can also convert Leads, Quotes or Sales Orders.
- Scheduled Actions - Add email notifications, tasks, field updates, webhooks, custom functions, and send notifications via Cliq, Slack or Cisco that will be scheduled and triggered based on a specified time.
Create Workflow Rules in Zoho CRM
The steps to create a workflow rule are divided into 4 parts.
Part 1 - Enter the basic details of the rule
- Go to Setup > Automation > Workflow Rules.
- In the Workflow Rules page, click Create Rule.
In the Create New Rule pop-up, do the following:
- Select the Module to which the rule applies from the drop-down list.
- Enter the Rule Name and Description.
Part 2 - Specify the rule trigger
There are three options based on which the rule will be triggered for a record that meets the rule criteria. One of these options need to be selected when you create a workflow rule and you cannot change it later by editing the rule. They are:
- A Record Action - Rules can be triggered when records are created, edited, created/edited, deleted or a specific fields are updated.
- A Date Field's Value - Rules can be triggered on a particular date by choosing the Date field option.
- A Score Value - Rules can be triggered when the score of a record is either increased, decreased or updated.
- Day of recommendation - Rules can be triggered before, after or on the day of recommendation.
Execute Based on Record Action
When new leads are created in Zoho CRM you may want to automatically send an email or a series of emails at set intervals. You may also want to create tasks for these new leads. Also, sometimes when specific fields are updated, you may want to trigger a workflow. This execution option lets you specify an action (Create, Edit, Delete, etc.) based on which workflow rules will be triggered.
For Edit , Create or Edit actions, an option to recur the workflow is provided. You can check Repeat this workflow every time a record is edited , if you want the rule to recur.
Let's consider some examples to understand this:
If the option is unchecked - When, Budgeted Cost of Campaign is greater than 1000 $ > Send email notification to the Manager. The notification has to be sent only when a Campaign is edited and value for 'Budgeted Cost of Campaign' is set more than 1000$. Once the value is set and the user edits the record or modifies some field, this notification need not be sent (Though the current value for Budgeted Cost is greater than 1000$).
If the option is checked - When Deal stage is 'In evaluation' > Send email notification to the Manager. For every edit irrespective of whether change is made to 'Deal stage' or not, email notification has to be sent to the Manager.
Select one of the following:
- Create : Executes the rule when records are created.
- Create or Edit: Executes the rule when records are edited.
- Edit : Executes the rule when existing records are modified. Choose from the below option.
a. Any field gets modified: Executes the rule when any existing record is modified.
b. Specific field(s) gets modified: Executes the rule when the values of the specified fields are modified in a record. A maximum of 5 criteria can be added.
i. Choose the field name from the drop downs.
ii. Click the All/Any link to toggle the options.
iii. Choose the criteria of the value of the updated field, for example is the value.
iv. Choose the value of the updated field, for example contacted.
- Delete : Executes the rule when certain records are deleted. Only Email Notifications, Webhook and Functions can be associated for such a rule. The action includes:
- Deleting a record from the Details Page.
- Deleting from the List View (One by one or in bulk).
- Using the Mass Delete feature.
- Deleting from a record's Related List. For example, deleting a contact under an Account.
- Click Next.
You may want to get an email reminder a week before a deal's expected closing date, or may want to send an email to the customers reminding them of the monthly rentals or subscription renewals. In these cases, it is not necessary that the records should be created or edited for the rule to get triggered. It is plainly based on the value in the date fields. This execution option lets you pick a date field from a record and allows you to define the day for the rule to be triggered.
You can set an activity to recur every month or year on a selected date. (Note: This option is available for Professional and above editions).
Please note, with this option, a maximum of 3000 records will be triggered every hour. If there are more than 3000 records, the remaining records will be executed in the next hour. This option is available only in the Enterprise Edition.
Enter the following to specify when you want the rule to be triggered.
Based on which Date/Time field this rule should execute: Choose one of the options from Created Time, Modified Time, Last Activity Time and Unsubscribed Time.
Define execution date: Specify the number of Days, Weeks, or Months after which workflow should be executed.
Execution time: Choose to execute at the same time of the activity or enter a time of your choice.
- Select the Once, Every Month or Every Year from the Recur drop-down list.
- Click Next.
Execute Based on Record's Score
Rules can be triggered when the score of a record is either increased, decreased or updated. For example, leads from the service industry are your prime prospects and you want to prioritize them based on the scores. You may want to closely follow-up with the leads that have a score of 10 or more. In such cases, you can create a workflow rule based on scores. When the score of a lead is updated and if the score is 10 or more, a task can be created to prioritize and follow-up on the lead immediately.
Choose either Increase, Decrease or Updated to specify when you want the rule to be triggered.
- Click Next.
- Specify the Condition when the rule should be executed.
- The execution order of the automation are: Assignment rule > Review process > Scoring Rules > Workflow Rule > Approval Process > Blueprint > Scoring Rules > CommandCenter. Scoring rule occurs twice in the loop to ensure the score is updated upon execution of actions.
- The execution of actions will take place in the following order: Field update > Tags > Email Notification > Task > Slack notification, Cliq notification, Webhook, Custom function, Custom action, Create record (Executes in parallel) > Convert.
- Not all actions are performed in this order. In order to improve the performance, we have offloaded certain actions. That is, certain actions will happen in parallel not sequentially.
- Action taking place in parallel: Alert, task, webhook, function, create record, and Cliq/Slack notification.
- Actions taking place in sequence: Field update, tags, and convert.
Delay in the workflow execution: Though workflows are supposed to be executed immediately after the trigger of an event, there could be a delay when multiple records are added or updated. The same delay can happen in case of the actions mentioned above. In case of bulk orders there can be a delay of 30 minutes.
- Workflow execution based on scores is available in all the Paid editions.
- Notifications via Cliq, Slack, and Cisco can be triggered through instant and scheduled actions.
Automatic actions can be performed on the records before, after or on the day of recommendation.
For example, if Zia recommends the product for a contact who has purchased it in the past, you can send an email or SMS to the customer informing about the same. Such notifications can be automated through workflow rules Based on recommendation.
- A workflow can be created only for the target module, that is the module where your customers are or to whom the recommendation applies.
- Recommendations that are shown for a product or deal that is already purchased or associated with the contact, are applicable for the Workflow. That is, if the contact has purchased a laptop then Zia will recommend the same product again; for this recommendation you can create a workflow.
To create workflow rule based on recommendation date
- Go to Setup > Automation > Workflow rules.
- Click Create.
Only the target modules or the ones for which recommendation is suggested will be available.
- In When do you want to execute the rule? select Based on recommendation.
- In Execute, select the number of days and before/after/on from the drop-down list.
- Click Next.
- In Would you like to add some additional conditions to this rule? select Yes or No.
If you select Yes, enter the desired workflow conditions.
- Click Done.
- Select an Instant or Scheduled action.
- Click Save.
Part 3 - Create a workflow condition
Multiple conditions in a workflow rule help you address cases where you have clearly defined action items for the records that met the specified criteria and the ones that do not.
For each rule, you can add a maximum of 10 conditions in the Enterprise Edition and 5 conditions each in the Standard and Professional Editions.
Example : In a deal follow-up scenario, you may have the following requirements which can be best configured with Workflow conditions.
Choose one of the following:
- Records Matching the Conditions - Rule will be triggered only for those records that match the given criteria.
- All Records - Rule will be triggered for all the records.
- Records that do not meet any of the above conditions - Instead of AllRecords , this option will be available from the second condition onwards.
Specify the criteria.
You can click the Add icon to add multiple criteria.
You can specify Tags as part of workflow criteria.
When you add more than one criterion, you will get an option to Edit the criteria pattern.
- Click Next and add instant actions or scheduled actions.
Click the Add another condition link to add another workflow condition and repeat the steps mentioned above.
Please note that this option will be available only when at least one action (instant or scheduled) is added to the condition.
Edit Criteria Patterns
Criteria Pattern Editor in the custom list view helps you to develop the advanced filters using simple logical operators like and / or.
- You can specify a maximum of 25 criteria for a list view.
- If you are associating a convert action (an instant action) to the rule, specifying the criteria is mandatory.
- Maximum 5 lookup fields can be added in the criteria.
To edit criteria patterns
- Go to Setup > Automation > Workflow Rules.
- In the Workflow Rules page, click on a workflow rule.
- In the Edit Rule page, review your existing criteria and click the Change Pattern link.
- In Pattern Editor box, modify filters and click the Save link.
You would like to trigger a workflow rule for all the potentials whose Type is New Business, Stage is Need Analysis or Qualification, and Amount is above $50000.
Type is New Business; Stage is Need Analysis or Qualification; and Amount > $50000.
You can create this criteria easily using the Criteria option given below:
The criteria pattern will be automatically set as:
Since the criteria pattern does not match the requirement, you can edit it as:
You can use the following characters in the Criteria Pattern Editor:
- Round brackets: ( )
- and / or operators
- Criteria Row Number
Part 4 - Associate instant and scheduled actions
A workflow rule is meaningful only if an action is associated to it. These actions include email notifications, tasks, field updates, webhooks, custom functions, and create record. Except create record, all the other actions are grouped under the Actions tab that can either be Instant or Scheduled. These actions once created, can be associated with many rules.
In the Actions section, do the following:
- Instant Actions - Click to associate instant actions that are triggered instantly when the workflow rule is triggered. You can also create one and associate it to the rule.
- Scheduled Actions - Click to associate scheduled actions that will be triggered at a specified time once the rule is triggered. A maximum of 5 scheduled actions can be created.
Note that you cannot save a rule without creating either an instant or a scheduled action.
Associate Actions to Rules
Add Instant Actions
Instant action includes email notifications, tasks, field updates, webhooks, custom functions, and record creation that are triggered immediately when the rule is executed. There are two options to associate these actions.
- Create email notifications, tasks, field updates, tags, webhooks, custom functions or record and associate them to the rule. You can also create an action to convert leads, quotes or sales orders.
- Select existing email notifications, tasks, field updates, webhooks or custom functions to associate to the rule.
To associate an instant action
If you are creating a workflow rule, directly go to step 4
- Go to Setup > Automation > Workflow Rules.
- In the Workflow Rules page, click on the rule for which you want to create an action.
- Click Edit to modify the rule settings.
- Under a Condition , click Instant Action/Action link and select the action from the drop-down list.
- In the pop-up, select the actions that are listed or click New [Action] to create one and then associate.
- Click Associate.
- For a workflow rule, all the actions (email notifications, tasks, field updates, tags, webhooks, and functions) will not be listed. If the rule is for Leads, only the actions created for Leads will be available for association.
- If the records are deleted via Workflow, you cannot retrieve their information using get API as the record is already deleted.
- Edit or delete triggers do not function when records are auto-merged. These triggers will work if records are merged manually.
- Only one set of instant action can be created with email notifications, tasks, etc. associated to it.
- You can associate a maximum of 5 email notifications, 5 tasks, 5 field updates, 1 custom function, 1 webhook, and 1 create record to the instant action.
Record Creation as Instant and Scheduled Action
Available for Professional and above edition only.
You can configure an instant or scheduled action to create records when certain conditions are met, such as:
- You can create a deal if the contact status is changed to interested.
- You can create a case a day after the customer inquiry is made.
Records can be created in both standard and custom modules. Only the following standard modules are supported: Leads, Contacts, Accounts, Deals and Cases. The execution parameter can be set only on a record action or on a Date/Time.
While configuring the rule you must:
Select the module and layout to which the new record will be added.
Select the owner of the record. You can either select the logged in user (the person who creates the workflow rule) or any other CRM user.
Similarly, you can select a reference user. That is, any user lookup field that you have added in the layout. For instance, if the Contacts module has a user lookup for Accounts and Vendors, then you can select a user from these lookup modules as the record owner. You can even select a user from the custom user field (only single user field can be used) as a record owner, but it should be a single user field.
Enter the values for fields like record name, amount etc. The values that you enter here will be pre-populated for the record that is created. By default, the mandatory fields (both standard and custom fields) from the layout will be displayed here, you can also add the other fields present in the layout and enter a value. You can either enter the values or use merge fields. For example, the email field values can be entered using the merge fields.
- You can create only one record create action/condition.
To set up record creation
- Go to Setup > Automation > Workflow rules.
- Create a rule and define the rule execution.
- Only On a record action or On a Date/Time can be selected.
- Click Next and define the condition.
In Instant Action, select Create a record and choose the module.
- Select the layout from the drop-down list.
- In Record Owner, select Users or Reference from the drop-down list.
Select the appropriate user field, if you choose the reference option.
- Enter values for the other fields.
Click + to add more fields.
- Click Submit.
- Click Save.
Tags or identifiers added to the leads can be carried over during conversion. For example, if a prospect was highly interested in your business and the sales team has tagged it as "Premium" customer then passing it along during conversion will ensure the contact, account and deal records created, as a result, will also carry the same tag for other teams to facilitate easy conversion.