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Multiple Addresses for Accounts

  • 1.  Multiple Addresses for Accounts

    Posted May 29, 2020 07:52 AM
    Are there any other organizations in the B2B space using multiple addresses for their accounts to track ship-to / sold-to / other address types? Can you share what your configuration looks like and any pros and cons to this approach?

    Some background...

    Our CRM implementation goes back to 2011, when we had a consultant help us implement the system and used it primarily for tracking customer interactions with our customer service department. Part of that implementation saw us integrate with our SAP system to pull in customer information into CRM. If a customer exists in SAP, there's a record in CRM with the same details. I was not part of the implementation and do not have visibility into the requirements that were used.

    Our SAP customer list is fairly flat. We don't maintain much hierarchy, save for a few major accounts, but do maintain ship-to / sold-to relationships.

    When the consulting group helped us implement Dynamics, the way things were configured was that every company record in SAP (ship-to, sold-to, top-level, etc.) was created as an individual account in CRM. That means, rather than having one account for Company A, we have multiple accounts for each Company A location: Company A Location 1, Company A Location 2, Company A Location 3, etc. This has lead to some usability issues:

    1. There are multiple records for the same account
    2. Maintaining hierarchy is difficult because there are so many records
    3. Opportunities, leads, cases, activities, etc. don't all roll up as you would expect because accounts are disjointed
    4. Account managers don't always know which account to select when creating new opportunities and often create duplicates, further exasperating the usability problem

    My goal is to identify if we've been doing things incorrectly, or at least not optimally, all these years and, if so, see if I can develop a path forward towards collapsing some of the "duplicate" accounts into ship-to / sold-to addresses for an individual account.

    I want to see if I can go from this:
    Company A      Location 1
    Company A      Location 2
    Company A      Location 3​

    To this:

    Company A
        Location 1 (ship-to)
        Location 2 (ship-to)
        Location 3 (sold-to)

    Thank you!

    Steve Platz
    Manager, Sales Operations
    Parker LORD
    Cary NC
    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts

  • 2.  RE: Multiple Addresses for Accounts

    Posted Jun 01, 2020 02:32 AM
    Steve, I don't think there is a "correct" way to record accounts but more of what works for you.

    However, my starting recommendation is the same as where you suggest ending up:

    • One account record for each legal entity that the business invoices
    • Link businesses using Parent Account for those that are in a group
    • Use multiple addresses for locations, warehouses, offices of the same legal entity  (for those that might not know - you can have as many addresses as needed for a single account record)
    But that is my starting point, other considerations might mean doing something different:
    • Meeting security needs within CRM
    • Meeting the requirements of the Finance dept and how they structure in the finance system
    • Limitations/restrictions of the integration software from CRM to the finance system
    • Unusual reporting requirements
    Even if you do adopt your proposed model - modifying the existing records to that model might prove difficult in terms of not changing legacy finance records.

    Feridun Kadir
    Principal Consultant, MVP
    Expert CRM Services Ltd

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts

  • 3.  RE: Multiple Addresses for Accounts

    Posted Jun 01, 2020 10:03 AM
    Hi @Steve Platz,

    @Feridun Kadir makes a good point here - there is no right way or wrong way to setup the relationship between Accounts and Address records in D365. Here are a few approaches to consider:

    • This approach focuses on the fastest and easiest way to setup the records based on your current technology.
    • In your case, this is the approach you've taken. Your Accounts/Addresses in D365 mirror the way they are setup in SAP.
    • In general, this is the approach that most organizations take (rightly or wrongly). It's faster to setup and it's easier to maintain.

    • This approach recognizes that the needs of the users of a CRM solution are different than the needs of the users of an ERP system.
    • When you track essentially the same account multiple times for the sake of tracking different addresses, it can be really confusing to users. Which account do certain contacts go under? Do you create duplicate contacts, or do you use the Connections entity to try to model these complex relationships? Which account to different opportunities and activities go under? 
    • It gets really bad for some organizations that have legacy ERP solutions that require a different account for each product/service sold!
    • The downside of this approach (which is the direction that you want to go) is that you have to somehow maintain this type of structure while still staying in sync with your ERP solution. You'll need to think the implications through carefully.
      • Will you create a cross-reference table to sync the right ERP records to the right address records?
      • Will you make updates to the ERP solution to support this new structure?
      • Who will maintain the new hierarchy (unfortunately many CRM users are not strong on data maintenance - you should do a cultural assessment to determine who should own this).

    No easy answers on this one. But a worthwhile topic to try to shore up.

    Geoff Ables
    Managing Partner
    C5 Insight
    Charlotte NC

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts

  • 4.  RE: Multiple Addresses for Accounts

    Posted 26 days ago

    Hi everyone,


    First, I haven't held up my end of this conversation well by not responding for some time. I apologize for that. I've been heads down working on a tenant-to-tenant CRM migration that ran into some issue.


    I wanted to thank you all for your detailed and insightful replies to my question. You've given me a lot to think about and helped me understand that there are many ways to approach this problem and that what's most correct largely depends on how users use CRM and how the systems that integrate with it are set up. I'm going to take what I've learned and go back to the original problem to see how I can evolve the system over time to address the current shortcomings.


    Thanks again,


    - Steve

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts

  • 5.  RE: Multiple Addresses for Accounts

    Posted Jun 02, 2020 11:15 AM
    To add to the great information provided by @Feridun Kadir and @Geoff Ables, I would suggest reviewing any integration you have between the 2 systems. There will need to be a transition at some point between your "old" method and the "new" method".

    Also, these "duplicate" Account records (same Account, different address) will need to be merged with the appropriate account record at some point. There will need to be clear communication to the CRM users of the shift of the account records tracking and integration from SAP.

    Another thing to consider is that if you are planning on pushing over any totals from SAP to CRM. For example, I have a customer that displays an aggregate total of Sales in CRM on the account record from their ERP system. They also use the Customer Number from their ERP to match the Account Number in CRM to keep things clean/matched. The reason I mention this is that sometimes CRM users particularly sales users, like to see numbers, totals, etc. Also, you can use these values in charts for the dashboard.

    These are just some thoughts to expand on the concept of where you are headed and some other ideas to consider.

    Aaron Back
    Microsoft MVP | Sr. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Consultant
    ACE Microtechnology
    CRMUG Board Member
    CRMUG Chapter Leader - Cincinnati, Ohio

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts

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