As an implementer of Dynamics CRM, I consider it my solemn duty to replace tracking in spreadsheets with tracking in CRM. Therefore, when I needed to track a lot of people with some extra data assigned to them, instead of putting it all in a spreadsheet like everyone else, I decided to create a CRM organization to track the guests for my impending wedding.
The data being tracked is relatively straightforward. First, I needed to track families, and the members of those families. This matched well with accounts and contacts, so I renamed accounts to families. Each family was then given a number of contacts that matched with the people in the family that were invited. I considered each family as a “household”, so adult children no longer living at home had their own family record.
Second, I needed to track some extra information about each family and individual. I decided that the invitations would be mailed by family (one per mailing address), so the address information had to reside at the family level, along with a field to determine if they had responded or not (assuming one response per invitation). I also wanted to use this information after the Big Day, so I made sure to include a way to track gifts and if the thank you’s had been sent yet.
For the individuals, I needed to know if they were attending (perhaps Uncle Phil can attend, but Aunt Stephanie is otherwise occupied and won’t be able to make it – even though they are the same family), as well as which meal they wanted to eat. I also decided, for my own personal entertainment, to track people by classification (family, friend, coworker) and age group.
Now that I had the list of people to invite entered into CRM, I was able to use the full power of Dynamics CRM and its integrations with other Office applications, as well as a few PowerPack add-ons. I sent the Save the Date as an email to every contact with an email address. This could be done as a workflow, as a quick campaign, or with full marketing force using PowerMailChimp (then I get open rates too!). When we were ready to print envelopes for the invitations, it was time to use the mail merge functionality to Word. And to track RSVP’s, I went full digital and put out a PowerWebForm for people to fill out (with CSS styling to match the website of course).
Finally, no CRM implementation would be complete without a dashboard. The charts I decided were most important included response levels, confirmed attendees, meal choices, and some charts for my demographic information – the classifications and age categories for people. The dashboard also included a list of any new RSVP records (created by the PowerWebForm) so they could be processed.
As the day gets closer, I’ll be sending more PowerMailChimp emails to anyone who hasn’t yet replied, and afterwards I can use the list of thank you notes written or not to determine (by side if relevant) who still needs to get one.
The data in the CRM won’t stop being useful after the wedding either. I now have an electronic version of all of the people important to both of our families, so we can use this as the foundation of a future holiday card list, master contact list, and ongoing record of “who gave us that colander again?” (a convenient advanced find).
Who says CRM has to be all about sales?