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An easy customization for event tracking for Microsoft CRM

Most marketers have the need to keep track of who attended a tradeshow booth, webinar, etc. Well, here’s one way to accomplish that using fairly straightforward customization of Microsoft CRM. The idea is to create a custom entity type called ‘Event’ and then to import records into your CRM as you have data from your events. You will need CRM 2011 for this since it requires the ability to link an imported record (event) to another record (contact) upon import. CRM 4 did not have this feature. Here is how you’ll do it…

Start by creating a custom entity called ‘Event’. Below is the screen shot to show you how to complete the fields on your new custom entity. If you don’t know how to create a custom entity, ask your CRM administrator or watch this handy video by the folks at Zero2Ten CRM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wL44EfrpG8

Once you have created your event entity you will need to create two custom fields…

The first custom field will be a lookup field to link a contact record to every event record. This will create the link between the contact who participated in the event and the event record.

The second custom field is optional and is simply a type field if you want to categorize the types of events. You could also even add additional fields to note if someone registered, attended, etc. For now we will keep it simple…

You’ll then add your new custom fields to the main form for the event entity. I also renamed the event name field to description since that sounded like a better label for the purpose…

Now we can publish our customizations and take a look at our new event entity…

It is super-simple but will be effective at tracking contacts’ participation in events. Below is how we envision a completed event record will look…

Now, the most important part is getting data into the events records so that they will be linked to the contact records and thus will allow your sales and marketing team to track who participated in what event. We will do this by creating a simple spreadsheet for data import. The sheet need only have three columns; description, contact email address and event type. Below is an example. Note that the sheet is in .csv (comma delimited) format so it will be ready for import using Microsoft CRM 2011’s import feature…

Now, let’s do an import. Go to your events area in Microsoft CRM and click import. The wizard will prompt you to select a .csv file with your data in the three columns we mentioned earlier…

You will need to select your event entity type…

Then you will map the fields. For contact you will map it using the contact email address in your import sheet. CRM 2011 allows you to create a lookup reference so, if it finds the email address in your sheet on a contact record in your CRM, it will link that event record to the matching contact…

Your final mappings will look like this…

Then, before you submit the import be sure and save your mapping so that you will be able to skip that part on future imports.

With your import mapping saved getting event data into Microsoft CRM will be as easy as preparing your three column import sheet and clicking through the CRM import wizard. It is fairly simple and, best of all, it works. Now when you have that list of email addresses from a tradeshow you can import them into CRM and easily create these event records to track their participation in the event.

There are a number of improvements you could make to this simple customization but this works and is probably enough for most situations. Now you will be able to see in CRM in which events your contacts participated and it will be simple to import data from tradeshows, webinar participation reports and other sources.

About the Author:

mm
The ClickDimensions marketing team is committed to helping marketers using Microsoft Dynamics 365 achieve their goals.

One Comment

  1. RyanLinkletter May 22, 2012 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    Where do campaign responses fit into the picture here? Why do you prefer to make a custom field?

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