Odoo 14 - Contacts Module

Corporate contact management as the basis for all business processes

For managing our corporate contacts, we can rely on a variety of tools. Many companies still use outdated methods for this, such as Excel lists, email clients or other rigid databases. The challenges of using such systems are clear - limited sharing and access, barely any options for further processing, and unstructured and outdated data.

If we take a look at our corporate processes, it quickly appears that our corporate contacts are the central point of reference. Both internal processes such as recruiting, personnel management or time recording as well as customer relationships such as purchasing, sales, project management or accounting are always based on our contacts. Consequently, a corporate contact management is absolutely necessary. In today's blog, we'll be looking at the Contacts module in Odoo, with a particular focus on how it works and the numerous benefits it offers.

In the Odoo Contacts module we find two menu items, the overview of contacts and some configuration options. As in other modules, these are not so much functional configurations, but rather editing or adding to already existing data fields. For example, we can edit the choices of contact salutations, keywords, (federal) countries or bank information.

In the overview of our contacts, we find the familiar options in Odoo for filtering, grouping and favorites. Switching between different views, such as the kanban view, the list view or the Google Maps view, can be done individually by each user.

The overview of all contacts
The overview of all contacts.

If we create a new contact, Odoo distinguishes between individuals and companies. An individual can be assigned to a company. With the help of this assignment and the job title, we map our customer landscape and the responsibility of the individual in the respective company. Using the example of a company, we will now take a look at the master data of a contact.

In addition to uploading a company logo, we first enter the company address as well as contact data such as phone number, mobile number, email address and website URL. For an individual, the master data is supplemented by the salutation. For both objects it is useful to use the keywords. This allows the contacts to be classified or extended by certain characteristics.

The keywords are especially helpful when we maintain our customer relationships in the context of newsletters or marketing campaigns. When using the Odoo E-Mail Marketing or Marketing Automation modules, we can then filter the list of recipients very easily according to the keywords. We will go into the details of these marketing tools in Odoo in one of our future blog posts.

The master data of a company contact
The master data of a company contact.

Besides the contact's master data, we can find additional information divided into different tabs. In the "Contacts & Addresses" tab we can see all the individuals assigned to the company. In the edit mode, we can also add further addresses here. Particularly helpful for the sales process is the specification of a different invoice and delivery address. If we create an invoice or a delivery from a sales order, Odoo checks whether there is a different invoice and delivery address for the contact and automatically selects it for this process.

Odoo offers us a similar functionality for the details in the "Sales & Purchase" tab. There we have the possibility to specify an internal contact person (sales person) of the contact as well as the payment methods for the purchase and sale. When selecting the contact in the purchase and sale, this data will be automatically transferred to the corresponding object.

In the "Accounting" tab we can store the contact's bank account data. We also assign a debitor and creditor account to our contact. If an individual is assigned to a company, Odoo shows us a note that this information is not mapped via the individual, but via the associated company.

Finally, Odoo provides us with a text field for other information about our contact in the "Internal Notes" tab. At this point, we note that this information cannot be searched or filtered in the overview of contacts.

Once we have entered all master data and contact information, further advantages of the central contact management in Odoo become apparent. In each contact, depending on the modules installed, we are shown the links belonging to the contact in other modules.

Links within the contact to other modules
Links within the contact to other modules.

So, in the contact, we are shown how many sales opportunities, sales, purchases, project tasks, helpdesk tickets or incoming and outgoing invoices exist for this contact. By clicking on this link, Odoo takes us directly to the corresponding overview. This not only provides us with a transparent overview of the contact's active processes, but also allows us to switch to the corresponding objects in a matter of seconds.

Of course, this linking also works vice versa. From any object in which a contact is specified, we can switch to the view of the contact. In this way, the links can be used in both directions and the relevant information can be viewed.

In addition, Odoo offers us other helpful tools for processing our contacts via the "Action" button. Through it, we can duplicate, archive and delete our contacts. We generally recommend archiving a contact instead of deleting it. If there are existing links to this contact, we receive information from Odoo that the contact with the existing link cannot be deleted. To avoid having to remove these links at great expense, we archive the contact and the processes remain traceable.

Via "Grant portal access" we can create a portal user for the contact. With this account, the contact gets access to our customer portal and can conveniently view all his processes there. With the purchase of so-called credits at Odoo, we can also send SMS messages to the contact. In the overview of contacts, we can also find the "Action" button if we display the contacts in the list view and select at least one contact. There we additionally have the possibility to merge duplicates.

Last but not least, we also find the history in the contact with the already often presented functions for internal and external communication, activity planning and the attachments. In one of our next blog posts we will deal in detail with the communication in or from Odoo.

In summary, we can say that Odoo offers us a very simple and at the same time well thought-out tool for managing our company contacts with its Contacts module. Our contacts are maintained centralized in one place in the ERP system. Almost every other company process can access our contacts. The links to each other provide us with a quick and meaningful overview of all relevant information and processes.

We ensure our data quality by allowing every user to create contacts or adjust contact information. Duplicates are not automatically identified in this module, but they can be merged manually. How we can automatically merge the duplicates in Odoo will be presented in our next blog post.

Of course, the Contacts module can also be customized and extended as desired. For some companies, it may make sense to separate the first and last name of an individual, for example, or to add a fax number to the contact information. For both use cases, there are free apps that can be easily installed in Odoo.

Do you have questions about the Contacts module, the application and extension options, or are you interested in implementing Odoo as your central contact management system? No problem! Contact us now and we will be at your side as a reliable Odoo partner with extensive experience from numerous Odoo projects!

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Sources: www.odoo.com