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Since I started using Microsoft Dynamics NAV in 1999 (then called Navision), I have always been an advocate of getting more out of your investment in the software. With each new release, from Navision to Microsoft Dynamics NAV, to Business Central, there are always new features that need to be explored and implemented. When I started using Business Central earlier this year, I was happy to see Microsoft continues to add Relationship Management functionality within the system. Which brings me to reason for my blog: Most users don’t realize the Contact card is the foundation for a powerful marketing tool in Business Central, NAV and even in older versions of Navision. But to be truly effective across the various departments in your organization, consider taking an extra step with your Marketing Setups.
In an organization without the basic Marketing Setups, as users create a new Customer card they simply type a name in the Contact Name field and move on to the next field. This Contact Name field has more going on than meets the eye. For example, this is the field that will copy onto Sales Documents. In this environment, it can create conflicts between the Accounting Department and the Sales Department. Since there is only one Contact Name on the Customer card, the Accounts Receivable clerk will want to update this field with the name of the individual they talk to when making collections calls. But the Sales Rep will want to update this field with the individual to whom they are selling. What to do?
Marketing setups to the rescue! You’ll want to activate two of the basic Marketing Setups: the Business Relation Code for Customers and the Numbering for Contacts as notated by the stars below:
Entering a Value in the Business Relationship Code for Customers field allows Business Central to link Customers to Contacts and lets the User know these Contacts are associated with Customers. The Code value in this field can be a single character as shown above, or it can contain up to ten characters. Many organizations use CUST and many use CUSTOMER. Without this link you cannot create Contacts for Customers and you cannot create a Customer from a Contact. More about this second relationship in a future discussion.
A value in the Contact Nos. field allows Business Central to create Contact records. The No. field for Master Records, (Customers, Vendors, Items and etcetera) defines each individual record within those tables. The Contact table functions with the same rules. You must identify a number series and enter the Code for that number series in the Contact Nos. field as shown.
Upon activating these two fields you can segregate the Accounting contacts from the Sales contacts and then introduce contacts for other key functions for your customers, such as those individuals responsible for receiving the orders.
Once we have established multiple contacts for the same Customer, I like to point out the need to assign “ownership” of Customer record. For example, the address and the Contact, can become properties of the Accounting Department. All information on the Customer card are critical pieces of the collections process. While this may appear limiting to your sales team, in larger organizations, the Sales Reps do not have access to edit the Customer, nor the primary Contact on the Customer card. With proper training, Sales Reps understand they can create their own Contacts and use those Contacts to create and update Sales Documents.
I encourage everyone to explore and implement more Relationship Management functionality. Stay tuned for more Relationship Management tips.