Here’s a pretty easy task for sales professionals using Microsoft Dynamics 365. You’re probably interested in importing Leads and Contacts for the purpose of email nurturing or cold calling. This process is not too difficult, so I’m going to show you how it’s done. There are 4 simple steps to importing basic data and we’ll walk through them in this order:
- Populating and Formatting your lead or contact list
- Adding fields for so you can query and segment your list in Dynamics 365
- Using the Data Import tool
- Checking our work
The screen captures you’ll see here are from an older version of Dynamics CRM. Your system may be newer or look different but the process is similar.
In this blog we’re just going to import Leads. The process for importing Contacts is very similar so if you master one you’ll be able to do the other. You can access import Leads functionality and templates right from your Leads view.
If you couldn’t see or access the buttons from the Leads view, navigate to Settings and from there, Data Management, and Templates for Import. You’ll find templates for Leads and Contacts, in addition to templates for any number of other records.
Populating and Formatting Your List
Choose the Lead template and it will download in Excel format. Open it up and you’ll see a spreadsheet with column headings conforming to the standard fields in a Lead record. I couldn’t fit all 41 columns in one slide so I typed them all into a text box in the center of the slide. If your Lead list doesn’t include data for all the standard fields or your list has more fields than are listed, there are ways to deal with it. You can just bring in the data fields you need to do the job. For instance, if you’re running a nurture campaign that consists of an email and a follow up phone call, maybe all you need is first name, last name, phone number and email address.
Adding Columns to Your Import
Keeping with this idea, I populated the template with the Lead data I need in order to run my campaign. I mentioned the idea of adding fields that are important to have in CRM. Look at the first column in this import template. Notice each cell is labeled Nurture. I want the ability to create a marketing list consisting of just these leads once they are imported, so Nurture is my unique topic that I can search on later to pull the correct Leads for the campaign. Look at the last column. I want salesperson Spencer Low to be in charge of all these leads so he is listed as the owner. This is data that I entered into the template manually so that the leads would automatically be assigned to Spencer. Save it in CSV format.
Using the Data Import Tool
Click on import data button from your Leads system view of from inside Settings. Now I’m going to choose the file I just created and saved in CSV format.
We’re using the CRM template so we’ll use the default mapping.
Map record type to Lead.
If there’s some problem mapping your data to the corresponding field in CRM, you’ll be alerted here. We look good so we’ll click next.
This screen confirms that everything looks good.
You can prevent or allow duplicates in the dialog box on the top. You also have the ability to save the mapping of your template for later imports. If you’re using something other than the template CRM provides, and using it on a regular basis, you can name and save the data map for the future.
Checking Your Work
The import tool has done its job and you can see the 2 leads are in the system and showing as owned by Spencer Low. Let’s open one up and see what we have.
All the fields that we populated in the template are populated in the Lead record. Now we can create the marketing list, send out the email blast, follow up on the phone and move this lead along the customer journey.
That’s all there is to it. If you need help with more formal training or deployment of your Dynamics 365 system, contact us by clicking here.
By Mark Abes, Vice President Sales and Marketing, Dyn365Pros, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner, San Diego, Southern California.