Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Google Docs merging with Norada's Solve360 CRM

With the introduction of add-ons to Google Docs and Sheets last month, Google has greatly simplified what used to require the manual copying and pasting of Google Apps Script code.


Our most-often recommended CRM product, Norada's Solve360, has now introduced their own add-on for Google Docs that allows you to create merged documents and labels from records that already exist in your Solve360 database. We've tested it, and it works very well, with a couple of caveats. The biggest is that you can't create a form letter and mass-email it to your contacts; you can only email a merged document to an individual contact. Additionally, the merged document is attached to an outgoing email as a PDF.

Before you can start merging, you have to lay the groundwork for these new features. If your Google Apps domain is on Scheduled Release rather than Rapid Release, you'll need to manually enable add-ons for your users through your admin control panel. Next, either search "Solve360 CRM" in the add-on store or click this link to open the add-on's page. Click the Add-ons Install Button button in the top right-hand corner of the page, follow the prompts, and the add-on will be installed for you, though it could take up to an hour if you're adding it to an existing document.
Note that add-ons are installed on user accounts and are not domain-wide; if you want all your employees to have access to this feature, they each need to enable the add-on.

Most often when you're merging from a CRM to generate a document, it's some sort of form letter that is semi-personalized for multiple recipients. In this case, you'll need to change the first drop-down box in the add-on control panel to "set of documents" from its default, "documents". (If you want to create a single form document, feel free to leave this setting at its default; Norada has some great help docs here that you can follow.)

This feature works best if you use Category Tags to separate your contacts into appropriate groups. For this example, we'll use our "Customer-Google Apps" tag:


After clicking "Load records", we're presented with a brief summary of the number of contacts (in this case) that we'll be merging. You can see that our category tag contains 206 contacts that match the tag "Customer-Google Apps".


Switch back to your document and write out your message. Make sure that you write it in such a way that you can simply drop your Solve360 fields in place using the "Insert fields" button to insert the appropriate Solve360 fields into your message, like the document below.


Click "Create document" and wait for the system to chew through all the records (it could take a little while). You can now view the merged document in Google Docs or download it as a PDF. To send multiple messages, open the merged document in Google Docs, select the first merge, and copy and paste it into an email.

Google Docs and Sheets add-on functionality will only grow as the services become more full-featured, so if there's something you want to do with Google Docs that you couldn't in the past, check them out.

There are already dozens of add-ons available and they've only been around for a month!