Marketing with Microsoft Dynamics CRM – Part 1

Microsoft Dynamics CRM presents great opportunities for the management of sales, service and marketing functions.  The platform is highly configurable and robust in its feature set.  The platform is easy to work with and is quite usable out of the box for critical functions.  However, we found some “holes” in our use of the platform that required workarounds.  I will discuss each of the issues in more detail and our resolutions to those issues in upcoming posts.  Perhaps our approach to working with Dynamics CRM might provide insights for others.  For now, an introduction:

1) Work with Contacts and Leads revealed two “nits” that were nuisances as we adopted the platform in our operation.

  • No built-in way to convert or downgrade a Contact to a Lead –  This became important after bulk uploads from multiple sources had us re-defining what a “Contact” really was vs. a “Lead”.
  • Synchronization of Outlook Contacts – Dynamics CRM will track Outlook “Contacts” as CRM “Contacts”.  Very nice feature and it works great! However, once we realized that many of our Outlook Contacts really were Leads, in our new awareness, we wanted a way to get them from Outlook to CRM as such.

2) List Marketing using only Dynamics exclusively revealed two more areas.

  • No built in way to de-duplicate across CRM Entities – Duplicate checking within the platform is specific to the entity being checked.  There is no out of the box way we found on import of a record into “Leads” to ascertain that it does not exist as a “Contact” or vice versa.
  • Determine which Contacts or Leads were on more than one Mailing List – It’s easy enough to see who is on a list, but not quite as easy to determine the inverse or which lists a given entity was on.

So, with that said, I will follow up with our experience and workarounds in future posts.  In the meanwhile, feel free to contact me or let me know about your experience with these or other issues you encountered with Dynamics CRM.

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Chris Tsouris founded Strategic Computing over 20 years ago to deliver business empowering solutions through a superior commitment to technical excellence and customer service.  He is a seasoned speaker on Information Technology subjects including: Strategic Planning, Estimating Software Costs, Cloud Computing, Electronic Records, Regulatory Compliance and Master Data Management.

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