Technologies: Dynamics 365 Sales, Java, C# Custom Development
A Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 customer approached us with the need to validate postal addresses in their lead database. They were purchasing list data from an outside source, but as we all know, list data has an accuracy rate of about 90% or less. The customer was sending mail directly to the leads and incorrect addresses were not only wasting valuable marketing dollars, but causing a cleanup issue when the mail was returned. It was very obvious quickly that mailing address validation was desperately needed.
Our solution was to create a process that fired on the creation of a lead record in Microsoft Dynamics CRM and determined if the address entered was actually valid. By utilizing the USPS API Web Tools web service, we developed a custom plug-in to automatically test the validity of the lead address against what the US postal service had in their database.
With everything in place, when a new lead record was created, our solution would verify the address using postal address verification elements such as zip code and street address. It would also correct minor misspellings and street address discrepancies such as missing or wrong suffix “St.”, ” Rd.”, “Ct.”, etc…. Since the USPS tool returned messages for both success and failure, we were able to update the lead in CRM with a status rating. This allowed the customer to make updates to the lead prior to marketing.
We used the following status ratings:
- “Not Verified” – Invalid zip code
- “Partially Verified” – Provided valid zip code will return back state and city values
- “Fully Verified” – Valid zip code and street address
The result of the project was an almost complete elimination of returned mail and a significant reduction in wasted marketing resources. Though there was a cost to get the project completed, the savings from wasted mailings will far exceed that investment. Additionally, we were able to build the solution so it could be used on existing data also, thus addressing problems with existing leads. Finally, because we utilized the the USPS Web tools – which are free – the client was able to avoid the only other option which was a subscriber based service. Another happy client!