CRM Help

Workflow Rules

Workflow Rules in Zoho CRM, are a set of actions (alerts, tasks and field updates) that are executed when certain specified conditions are met. These rules automate the process of sending email alerts, 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, and option to activate the rule.
  • Rule Trigger- Specify when the rule should be triggered for a record and based on what. There are two options:
    • Execute based on a record's action - Rules can be triggered when records are created, edited, created/edited, deleted or a 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.
  • Rule Criteria - List out the criteria to filter out records that meet the criteria. Workflwo rule is triggered to these records.
  • Instant Actions - Add alerts, tasks and field updates that will be triggered immediately when the rule is executed.
  • Time Based Actions - Add alerts, tasks and field updates that will be scheduled and triggered based on a specified time.

Availability

Profile Permission Required: Users with Manage Workflow permission in profile can access this feature.

Create Workflow Rules

The steps to create a workflow rule are divided into 4 parts.

Part 1 - Specify the basic details of the rule

  1. Click Setup > Automation > Workflow > Rules.
  2. In the Workflow Rules page, click Create Rule.
  3. In the New Rule page, do the following:
    • Select the Module to which the rule applies from the drop-down list.
    • Enter the Rule Name.
    • Select the Status check box if you want the rule to be active.
    • Enter the Description for the workflow rule.
  4. Click Next.

Part 2 - Select rule trigger option

There are two options based on which the rule will be triggered for a record that matched 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. The two options from the Execute based on drop-down list 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 -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. This option is available only in the Enterprise Edition.

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 based on which workflow rules will be triggered.

  1. Select one of the following:
    • Create: Executes the rule when records are created.
    • Edit: Executes the rule when existing record are modified.
    • Create or Edit: Executes the rule when records are created or existing records are modified.
    • Field Update: Executes the rule when the values of the specified fields are modified in a record.
    • Delete: Executes the rule when certain records are deleted. Only Workflow Alerts and Webhooks and 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.
  • When you select the Field Update option, do the following:

    • Choose the field name from the drop-down lists.
    • Choose one of the following:
      • Execute the rule when all the selected fields are updated.
      • Execute the rule when any selected field is updated.
  • Click Next.

Execute Based on Date Field's Value

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. 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. Please note, this option is available only in the Enterprise Edition.

  1. Choose a Date field from the drop-down list.
    All the date fields in the module for which the rule is being created will be listed.
  2. Choose On, Before or After from the drop-down list to set the Date of Execution.
    The rule can be set to trigger a maximum of 20 days Before or After the Date field specified.
  3. Specify the time of execution in hours and minutes.
    In case of DateTime fields, there is an option to trigger the rule based on the time in the field value.
  4. Select the Execution cycle as Once, Every Month or Every Year.
  5. Click Next.

Note

  • For a rule to be triggered using the Field Update option, both the rule criteria and the execution criteria must be true.
  • If your Zoho CRM account is downgraded or the subscription expired, the workflow rules will be disabled. If you renew the subscription, you will need to manually enable the rules.
  • When the Delete option is selected as the execution criteria, a workflow rule will not be triggered if records are deleted from the Recycle Bin.
  • You can configure and associate only workflow alerts and webhooks to a workflow rule with the execution criteria as Delete.
  • Workflow Rules will be triggered when records are modified using Mass Update, Macros and when ownership of records are changed.

Part 3 - Set the rule criteria

  1. In the Rule Criteria section, specify the rule criteria details.
  2. Click Add Criteria to add multiple criteria.
  3. Click Next.

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.

Availability

Profile Permission Required: Users with the Manage Workflow permission in profile can access this feature.

Note

  • You can specify a maximum of 25 criteria for a list view.

To edit criteria patterns

  • Click 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.
  • Save the modified custom view.

Example:
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

Important Notes

  • When the Change Pattern box is open, you cannot add or delete a criteria row under the Specify Criteria section.
  • The operator precedence will not be taken into account if you do not specify brackets. For example, if you specify the criteria as 1 or 2 and 3, it will be considered as ((1 or 2) and 3)
  • You can change the and or or of the criteria rows and it will be updated in the Editor below.
  • You can change the and or or condition in the pattern and it will be updated in the rows above.
  • If you specify 1 and 2 and save it, on editing the view the pattern will be shown as (1 and 2). For (1 and 2) or 3 the pattern will be shown as ( (1 and 2) or 3 )
  • If you add more rows in the editor and delete one by one there will be additional brackets displayed in the pattern. For example if there are 4 rows added and you delete the 3rd row, the criteria pattern will be as ( ( ( ( 1 and 2 ) ) ) or 3 ). If the first row is deleted then it will be shown as ( ( ( ( 1 ) ) ) or 2 ). However, on saving the criteria, it will change as ( 1 or 2 ).
  • Make sure that you do not use the following as they are invalid: (), (and), (or).
  • If the brackets do not match it will be treated as invalid.
  • There will an error message, if the number of rows and the numbers given in the pattern do not match and also, if there are any numbers missed in the pattern.
  • In case the final brackets are missing, there will be a difference in the Criteria Patterns Editor and its view mode.
    Your Criteria Pattern in Editor Your Criteria Pattern in View Mode
    ( 1 and 2 ) or ( 3 and 4 ) (( 1 and 2 ) or ( 3 and 4 ))
    1 and 2 and 3 and 4 (1 and 2 and 3 and 4 )
    ( 1 or 2 ) and ( 3 or 4 ) ( ( 1 or 2 ) and ( 3 or 4 ) )

Part 4 - Associate instant and/or time based actions

  1. In the Actions section, do the following:
    Note that you cannot save a rule without creating either an instant or a time based action.
    • Create Instant Action by associating alerts, tasks, and field updates. See Also Create Instant Actions
    • Create Time Based Actions and associate alerts, tasks, and field updates. See Also Create Time Based Actions
      A maximum of 5 time based actions can be created.
  2. Click Save.

Associate Alerts, Tasks, or Field Updates to Rules

Workflow rules are meaningful only if an alert, task, or field update is associated to the rule. These alerts, tasks and field updates are grouped under Actions that can either be Instant Actions or Time Based Actions.

Note

  • A workflow alert, task or field update can be associated with many rules.
  • For each action, you can associate a maximum of 5 alerts, 5 tasks, and 3 field updates.
  • A maximum of 5 Time Based Actions (that includes alerts, tasks, and field updates) can be created for a rule.
  • If your Zoho CRM account is downgraded or the subscription expired, the workflow rules will be disabled. If you renew the subscription, you will need to manually enable the rules.

Create Instant Actions

Instant action includes alerts, tasks, and field updates that are triggered immediately when the rule is executed. There are two options to associate alerts, tasks, and field updates.

  • Create alerts, tasks, and field updates and associate them to the rule
  • Select existing alerts, tasks, and field updates to associate to the rule

To create an instant action

If you are creating a workflow rule, directly go to step 4

  1. Click Setup > Automation > Workflow > Rules.
  2. In the Workflow Rules page, click on the rule for which you want to create an action.
  3. Click Edit to modify the rule settings.
  4. Under Instant Actions section, do the following to associate Alerts to the rule:
    • Create Alert - Click and specify the details to create an alert. See Also Create Alerts
    • Select Existing Alerts - Click to select existing alert(s) to associate it to the rule.
  5. Under the Instant Actions section, do the following to associate Tasks to the rule:
    • Create Task - Click and specify the details to create a task. See Also Create Tasks
    • Select Existing Tasks - Click to select existing task(s) to associate it to the rule.
  6. Under the Instant Actions section, do the following to associate Field Updates to the rule:
    • Create Field Update - Click and specify the details to create a field update. See Also Create Field Updates
    • Select Existing Field Updates - Click to select existing field update(s) to associate it to the rule.
  7. Click Save.

Note

  • For a workflow rule, all alerts and tasks will not be listed. If the rule is for Leads, then only the field updates, tasks and alerts created for Leads will be available for association.

Create Time Based Actions

Time Based actions include alerts, tasks, and field updates that are triggered on a specified time after the rule is executed. You can schedule the actions to be triggered based on the Rule Trigger Date, record Created Time, record Modified Time as well as other time or date fields in the module. You can see the list of scheduled actions for individual records under "Upcoming Actions".

There are two options to associate alerts, tasks, and field updates.

  • Create alerts, tasks, and field updates and associate them to the rule
  • Select existing alerts, tasks, and field updates to associate to the rule

Availability

Profile Permission Required: Users with the Manage Workflow permission in profile can access this feature.

To create time based actions

If you are creating a workflow rule, directly go to step 4

  1. Click Setup > Automation > Workflow > Rules.
  2. In the Workflow Rules page, click on the rule for which you want to create an action.
  3. Click Edit to modify the rule settings.
  4. Under the Actions section, click Add a Time Based Action.
  5. Enter a Name for the time based action.
  6. Specify the Execution Time (when the associated alerts, tasks and field updates should be triggered).
  7. Click Save.
  8. Under the Time Based Actions section, do the following to associate Alerts to the rule:
    • Create Alert - Click and specify the details to create an alert. See Also Create Alerts
    • Select Existing Alerts - Click to select existing alert(s) to associate it to the rule.
  9. Under the Time Based Actions section, do the following to associate Tasks to the rule:
    • Create Task - Click and specify the details to create a task. See Also Create Tasks
    • Select Existing Tasks - Click to select existing task(s) to associate it to the rule.
  10. Under the Time Based Actions section, do the following to associate Field Updates to the rule:
    • Create Field Update - Click and specify the details to create a field update. See Also Create Field Updates
    • Select Existing Field Updates - Click to select existing field update(s) to associate it to the rule.
  11. Click Save.

Important Notes:

  • For a workflow rule, all alerts and tasks will not be listed. If the rule is for Leads, then only the field updates, tasks and alerts created for Leads will be available for association.
  • You can create a maximum of 5 time based actions for a workflow rule.
  • Each Time Based Action can have a maximum of 5 alerts, 5 tasks and 3 field updates.
  • If the Email Opt Out option is enabled, emails will not be sent to the customers.
  • For the Workflow Management feature, the Organization's Time Zone will be considered for calculating a day. In the absence of the time zone being defined, the Primary Contact's Time Zone will be considered.
  • Time Based Actions are not minute based. There can be a delay of few minutes for the time based actions to be triggered.
  • When email alerts reach the limit for the day, any remaining emails to be sent the same day will not be sent.
  • If the Execution Time that is calculated is a time in the past, then the action will be triggered immediately. There can be a delay of few minutes for the time based actions to be triggered.
  • The scheduled actions for a records will be listed under Upcoming Actions in the Records Details Page.

Notes on Per Day Limits

  • (No. of Users * 100) or 5000, whichever is lower, will be taken as the maximum limit per day for emails to be sent using workflow alerts.
  • (No. of Users * 50) or 2500, whichever is lower will be taken as the maximum limit per day for the execution of time based actions (that includes alerts, tasks, and field updates).
  • A maximum of 300 actions will be triggered every hour. If there are more than 300 actions per hour, the remaining actions will be executed in the next hour.
  • The Primary Contact of your CRM account will be notified if the workflow email alerts limit is exceeded for the day. 
  • The per day limits (for e.g.: email limit) is calculated based on PST.

Instances when the Time Based actions will be rescheduled:

  1. The Execution Criteria for the Rule is either Edit or Create or Edit. When the rule criteria is satisfied for a record, the instant actions are triggered and time based actions are scheduled for the record.
    If a user edits the record and the rule criteria is not fulfilled, then the time based actions scheduled earlier will be deleted. If the record is edited again and the criteria is satisfied, then the time based actions will be rescheduled.
  2. For Time Based Actions, the Execution Time can also be based on the custom Date & Time field. When a rule criteria is satisfied for a record, the instant actions are triggered and time based actions are scheduled for the record.
    If a user edits the record to change the value of the date & time field, the time based actions will be rescheduled as per the new date & time value.

Instances when the Time Based actions will not be rescheduled or deleted:

  1. The Execution Criteria for the Rule is either Edit or Create or Edit. When the rule criteria is satisfied for a record, the instant actions are triggered and time based actions are scheduled for the record.
    If a user edits the record but the rule criteria is not fulfilled, then the time based actions will not be scheduled again.
  2. When a lead is converted, all the time based actions that are scheduled for the record will be deleted.
  3. When the Enterprise Edition is downgraded to the Free Edition, all the time based actions that are scheduled for the record will be deleted.
  4. When records are deleted, all the time based actions scheduled to the record will also be deleted. If the deleted records are restored, the time based actions will not be rescheduled.

Use List View & Summary View

There are two views for workflow rules that are created - the List View and the Summary View. The Summary View is available only for the workflow rules and not for the alerts, tasks and field updates. This view lists out the Criteria and Field Updates associated to the rules that will help you get a clear picture of all the rules and where they are used to avoid any confusion.

Note

  • You need to select a module to check the summary view. This view is not available when you select the "All Modules" option.
  • In the List View you can reorder the rules to change the sequence in which the rules need to be executed. The Reorder option will be available only after you select a module from the drop-down list.

To reorder the workflow rules

  1. Click Setup > Automation > Workflow > Rules.
  2. In the Workflow Rules page, select a module from the drop-down list.
    Make sure you have selected the List View and not the Summary View.
  3. Click Reorder Rules.
  4. Drag and drop the rules on the order that you want.

To use summary view

  1. Click Setup > Automation > Workflow > Rules.
  2. In the Workflow Rules page, select a module from the drop-down list.
  3. Click Summary View icon.
    All the rules for the selected module will be listed along with the Criteria and the associated Field Updates. You can click the Show More link to see the other items associated to the rule.

Delete Workflow Rules

Workflow rules can be deactivated when not in use. You can also delete the unwanted workflow rules.

Note

  • When you delete a workflow rule, all the time based actions scheduled for the records will also be deleted.

To delete workflow rules

  1. Click Setup > Automation > Workflow > Rules.
  2. In the Workflow Rules page, click the Delete icon for the corresponding rule.

FAQ

1. How can I disable workflow rules for Standard users?

2. How many emails can be sent per day using the workflow alerts?

3. Why am I not able to see the Remind Assignee option for workflow Tasks?

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