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Accounts and Contacts

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So far in this activity, we explored managing the customer in Sales, using leads and qualifying leads.

In this step, we will discover how accounts and contacts are used in lead management.

As already covered earlier in this course, accounts and contacts are both considered customers in Dynamics 365 for Sales.

They are used to manage the primary data for a company or a person that works within the company. The data contained in these records may not change often and they provide the broadest context of the companies and people you are working with.

Account, Contacts and Leads can all be used with Marketing Lists.

When a lead is qualified, the name information will be used to create a new contact record. If the company fields have data on the lead, they will auto-create as a new Account record. If a lead record has a relationship with an existing account or contact, new records are not created.

Account and contact records store much of the information that you and your team collect from your customers. In a business-to-business scenario, you store data about companies you do business within Accounts and you store data about the people you know and work within Contacts.

In a business-to-consumer scenario, the primary record may be a contact without an associated account record. In this situation, the account may be used to represent vendors, suppliers or families, as an example.

Often, an account has more than one contact associated with it, especially when you’re working with a larger company with many departments or locations and you deal with several people to manage the account. In this case, you would designate a contact as the primary contact for the account, and have additional related contacts.

Both accounts and contacts can be easily accessed from the navigation menu. Additionally, you can access these records via views, dashboards, related records, and search.

If you need to model the relationship between accounts and contacts, you can use Connections found in the navigation of the record you are viewing. This will allow you to model relationships with people that may not explicitly reside in the account.

An example of this could be an external contractor working for multiple companies. That contractor can have their own contact record and that can be connected to the various companies for which they do contract work.

The details tab of accounts and contact also display the following:

  • Contact preferences
  • Billing information
  • Shipping details
  • Description

Accounts

Screenshot of typical layout of an account record.

The above image shows a typical layout of the account record. It is worth noting that the header displays Annual Revenue and Number of Employees. This area should be used for the most important information on the account.

The fields contained in the header are editable. The left screen shows the primary information on the record, the middle shows the timeline, and the right can be configured as needed with additional information. If are using a language with the right to left layout this will be reversed.

The Account record also allows you to show relationships, like the primary contact for the account as well as the ability to show the various contacts associated with the account. You can show how those people may influence a sale such as decision-makers.

The hierarchical modelling and visualisation capabilities in Dynamics 365 for Sales allows you to explore complex hierarchical information and view key performance indicators (KPIs) in the contextual view of a hierarchy.

For example, you could use a separate account record for a company that has multiple office/branch locations across a country or the world that all connect to a parent account or head office.

Staff at each of those offices would then be associated with those sub-accounts. When you add KPIs or sales data to this you can easily see how the account is performing overall or at a branch level.

Additional information can be found here: Query and visualize hierarchically related data.

Additional Information found on the Details tab of an account record is as follows:

  • Company Profile
  • Industry
  • SIC Code
  • Ownership

Contact

contact image

This image shows a contact. It resembles the account, however, the contact information is quite different than on the account entity.

Contacts are where most of the day to day interaction can happen in Dynamics 365.

As you have meetings with people, send and receive emails, or perform other types of activities, you can track them against the contact record for that person. These activities will roll-up to the parent account if it is associated.

Additional information found on the details tab of a contact record are as follows:

  • Personal Details
    • Gender
    • Marital Status
    • Spouse/Partner Name
    • Birthday
    • Anniversary
  • Personal Notes
  • Marketing Preferences
    • Originating Lead
    • Last Campaign
    • Marketing Materials

The images are samples only, the account and contact can be configured to display any information as required by your organisation.

Deactivating Accounts and Contacts

In Dynamics 365, you deactivate an account or contact rather than deleting it. This ensures the integrity of the audit trail associated with that record. If you did have a need to delete one of these records, such as in the case of an error, it is technically possible.

However, we recommend as a practice to deactivate by default.

A deactivated account or contact becomes inactive, which means that it cannot be edited or used in establishing new relationships with other records.

However, all relationships created with the deactivated item are still available. When deactivating an account, associated activities, opportunities or contacts to that account will not automatically deactivate.

Deactivated accounts and contacts can subsequently be reactivated should the need arise.

In the next activity, you will investigate working with opportunities.

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Dynamics 365: Customer Engagement for Sales

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