Set of various modules that will permit you to create powerful email templates and send them out on determined schedule.
The goal of this project is to permit the user to establish a set of emails to send to contacts inside vtiger CRM. It supports both sending individual messages at given times and mass email actions.
This extension to vtiger CRM consists of 3 new modules and some changes in the basic behavior of vtiger CRM. The new modules add the ability to program systematic sending of emails at given intervals, while changes in the system itself allow clustering, segmentation and selection of contacts for inclusion in various marketing activities.
The general idea is to have a module that represents a set of marketing actions that can be taken. In the current version there is only one type of action that is sending emails but this module is the basis for future extensions to other types of actions (document generation, sms,…).
An action has no definition in time, it is only the definition of the action or email itself. The next module is the place where we will send the email (action execution) on a certain date. Thus, the actions are a warehouse of templates that can be used over and over again to different contacts at different times depending on the goal to achieve. We can even apply vtiger CRM privacy rules for each user to see only those templates that should be used and/or segment the actions by sector, country or whatever is appropriate.
Since it is a normal module of vtiger CRM, we have access to a list view where you can define filters, search, and add custom fields.
In the detail and edit views we have enhanced the functionality to permit visualization and edit of the email template:
The next module, called Programmed Actions will permit us to execute marketing actions at a given time.
This module has these fields:
Some examples of use cases for this module:
Contacts can be associated to the programmed action using standard related lists on the more information tab or by using some of the assignment improvements described below.
This module takes the idea of programmed actions a little further by allowing us to define groups of actions that will be executed in order. This facilitates the allocation of contacts to marketing plans or digital contact policies. So, this module basically allows grouping actions to schedule them together for execution.
It contains these fields:
Contacts can be associated to the sequence using standard related lists on the more information tab or by our assignment improvements as described below.
Programmed actions can be associated to the sequence using standard related lists on the more information tab. The order of execution of the planned activities will be defined in the programmed actions themselves, not here in the sequence. The sequence itself is merely an assistant, a means that allows you to group and assign programmed actions in batch to contacts. You could accomplish the same thing by assigning each programmed action one by one to the contacts, the sequence is much faster and defines a higher level of marketing policy.
Some examples of use cases of this module:
To facilitate the assignment of contacts to programmed actions and sequences, we implemented some improvements.
On the contact list view we find a button to mass assign actions and sequences to contacts. This is an easy and friendly way to quickly filter and assign actions to many contacts.
In the More Information tab of the Contact we have added a related list of Programmed Actions and Sequences with which we can quickly assign many of these to any given contact.
We have added a related list on contacts which details a history of actions taken and still pending. wishlist This capability is somewhat limited. Currently information is stored in an internal table and you get a list of all historical action in the related list. This implies that it does not supports paging and can be a problem when you have sent many emails, it does not supports reports nor filtering. The solution to all this is to create a new module to store the history.
wishlist: We should add the “Load Filter” functionality available in campaigns to the related lists of programmed actions and sequences in contacts.
Given the inherent limitation within vtiger CRM that prevents us from performing filters on fields outside the entity, the previous option does not allow segmentation upon the account fields associated with the contact. For example, we cannot make the filters like “contacts whose company is located in Alicante”, this can not be done because we can not access the account state field from contact filters.
To overcome this limitation we have added the ability to assign actions to contacts in Reports, where filters can be made as above and much more advanced. It has the disadvantage of having to run reports for segmentation but it is the quickest and most effective way to achieve this goal.
It is MANDATORY that the report contains the column “Contact ID”, the internal ID number of the application, in the end, this is the only necessary field as it is the only one used to establish the internal relationship.
We have enhanced the functionality of the reporting system to support the production of reports on actions taken.
Each time an email is sent, it is added to the vtiger CRM email module automatically, thus they can be seen as any normal email from the contact's More Information tab.
We have enhanced the email popup screen used for sending emails with the selection of templates from the action module.
wishlist: we would like to establish a scheduled action from the email screen. We already allow the selection of the template so, basically, we lack the programming fields. The problem is that if we allow modifying the body of the email once captured, this would force us to create a new action with the body of the email and set the schedule which is a little overkill. We could block the email body once captured which is what we will probably end up doing.
If the actions and sequences are disabled, all assignment options disappear
We have implemented a periodic process that is able to evaluate the list of pending actions to execute and do them sequentially.
This process provides parameters to control the number of messages sent every hour or a maximum number of time in which the emails must be sent. In this way we try to be respectful on server resources and not flood the email delivery service.
The action will be executed on the designated date or, if it has passed it will execute immediately.
The new settings will not affect already related contacts, they will only apply to newly assigned ones.
The associations made through sequences will not run. If you associate a contact directly to the programmed action itself it will be launched for that contact independently of the association through the Sequence. You can assign a contact to a programmed action without a Sequence in the middle, or you can go to a Sequence and associate a contact so that you are associating the contact to the actions of the Sequence. Only in this second case will the range of dates on the Sequence be considered.
Because we need time-based events and workflow events are based on saving. Because only administrators can define workflows while the solution implemented here is based on the vtiger CRM Privilege System. Because workflows do not have a pool of actions from which to start building programs and sequences.