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Basic Contact Management

CRM Startup Series: Basic Contact ManagementAt its core Dynamics CRM is a way to organize and manage contacts. That’s a task that every business struggles with eventually and it’s the most immediate benefit of switching from spreadsheets or Outlook. That’s why the first article in our CRM Startup series is going to show you what it looks like to manage your contacts in CRM.

Accounts vs. Contacts

The basis of any CRM system – Microsoft Dynamics or otherwise – is the contact list. You’ve probably already got one of these in Outlook, Gmail or another contact manager, but a CRM system allows you to customize the information you want to collect about your contacts. Need to know marital status? Add it! Don’t need to know Fax #? Get rid of it!

You can also make any piece of information required, so you know everyone on the team is collecting the information you need, instead of what Microsoft or Google think you need. Once you have those contacts accumulating in your system, you can create organizations to link those contacts to. In CRM terms those organizations are called accounts but they can be any type of organization you want to link contacts to. They can even be the same accounts that already live within your accounting system.

Once you’ve created an account and linked the relevant contacts to it, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to track down a phone number or figure out who you need to get in touch with. You’ll also be making your rolodex available to the entire organization – and vice versa – so that there’s no more emailing contact info around.

Connections and Activities

Connecting contacts to an account is as simple as selecting a parent company for that contact and it has advantages beyond making it easier to keep track of them all. It also allows everything you do with that contact to be tracked within that account. So, anyone that checks out the record for ABC Company will see that your sales rep talked to the CEO instead of wondering what’s happening.

Out of the box you can track phone calls, emails, appointments, text messages and tasks. It’s a great way to track activities that would typically go unrecorded and it’s even easier if you’re using Outlook. Every email you send via Outlook can be ’Tracked’ and ‘Set Regarding’ an account, contact and/or almost any other entity in Dynamics CRM. Once that’s done the entire email chain will show us as activities, which will flow up from accounts into contacts and give you and your organization a real-time picture of what’s happening with your customers.

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