Every now and then a customer asks me weather it’s possible to use an Excel sheet with existing Contacts or Accounts to create Marketing List. Although you should think Microsoft would have thought about that functionality, it just doesn’t exist. So as Consultants, we should figure out a way for our customers to provide them with this functionality. There are already several options available out there on the web, but I think there is a more easy way to get to this point.
A couple of options out there
There are several ways to achieve to get existing records from Excel into a Marketing List.
First of all, there is the option of using the Connections entity. This option is explained for you by ClickDimensions in this blogpost. However to my opinion, this option means creating unnecessary records in your database. Also, when you are actively using your Connections entity, users will see this records in their lists.
Second option is by using a tool called Manage NN Relationships, hosted by XrmToolbox (love this tool!!). This is by far the most clean way to import your Marketing List Members. However, I mostly find that users are having trouble with using this tool as it requires quite some technical knowledge of Dynamics 365.
A more simple option
So how do we make is as easy as possible for the users? During implementation of Dynamics 365, I make sure there is a field on the Account, Contact and Lead entity that points to the Marketing Lists (a Lookup). Now the user is able to export a list of let say Contacts with the Marketing List added to the Excel sheet. Using Excel, they can now start to pre-fill the Marketing List column in Excel with the proper Marketing List. After import, this Marketing List field is provided and all the user has to do now is create an Advanced Find and select all the records that need to be in the new Marketing List. Don’t know how to do a proper export and import? Check out this link to the Dynamics 365 Customer Center.