Working with Data is Easy with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Microsoft Dynamics makes data easy!

One of the most ubiquitous business applications is Microsoft Excel. It’s practically synonymous with “spreadsheet” and the de-facto program almost everyone uses for data manipulation. If you’ve ever worked with it, then you’re already halfway to being an expert working with data in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

CRM users generally need to do three things with data: bring it in, send it out, and manipulate it. Dynamics CRM’s perfect integration with Excel (which can be thought of as Microsoft CRM’s older cousin) makes it very easy to import, export, and manipulate data.

When setting up CRM for the first time, data needs to be loaded in. Many companies have their account and contact information in an Excel spreadsheet. Dynamics CRM comes with an out-of-the box import wizard which lets users easily map the data to the correct fields in CRM. And once done, users can save the mapping templates they create for future use.

Once you’re up and running with your CRM, Excel will prove an invaluable tool to help change and manipulate data. This starts by exporting a list of data to Excel, with the goal of doing some work on it, then bringing it back into CRM. Note there are two types of lists you export from CRM to Excel: Static, and Dynamic. A Dynamic list makes the changes in CRM as soon as you save the Excel file, without having to reimport the data. A static list, by contrast, has no link to CRM until you reimport it.

Suppose there are 100,000 contact records currently in CRM, and you decide that you’d like to add a field to each one to specify male or female. You can make changes in CRM itself, however it limits you to changing 250 records at a time. For large amounts of data, the better way is with Excel. What you would do is create the new field in your contact record, say, a male/female pick list. Then export all 100,000 records to Excel. You’ll create two lists (you can have CRM segment by salutation, so that “Mr.” goes to your male list, and “Ms./Mrs.” go to list of females. Then in Excel, with a couple of keystrokes, you can populate the respective “M” of “F” fields. Then you’d reimport the lists back into CRM, and your records would now be updated with the new data.

Another example: A salesperson has just left, and you need to reassign his clients to other reps. Simply export the records to Excel, change the fields as needed, and reimport to CRM. Fast and easy.

Another example: Tradeshows. Those thousands of badges you scanned are presented to you as an Excel file. Simply manipulate them as required, then import them into the Leads entity in CRM.

For more information and a demonstration of the ins and outs of data using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, don’t miss the free webinar by Angelina Jacobs from CRM Dynamics, on April 21. Register here.

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Bill Gardner

With over two decades of experience implementing CRM, Bill is a sales and marketing strategist focused on helping clients achieve their business objectives by effectively leveraging CRM and other technologies.