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Customization to Query an External Database within Sugar

by Katie Liesmann on June 18, 2015

4 minute read

Earlier this year, we began a project with a customer in the oil and gas industry. They use a public domain database to reach out to people who have oil and mineral rights on their properties, and offer to purchase them partially or entirely. As you can imagine, digging into a public domain database is complex and sometimes messy. They had been working to find an internal solution to this problem, but decided they needed a bigger picture solution and came to W-Systems.

Previously, this customer was using Access and paper folders to manage prospects and opportunities. They had an in-house developer who had been working on a query to pull in all the data on property rights. The problem was that there were several records for one person due to data entry typos or people owning multiple properties. This is often a problem with any type of database, especially any database containing ownership, governmental, or historical records.

W-Systems divided their project into phases to meet their budget costs and slowly introduce change to the organization. In phase one, we implemented Sugar to help them manage their sales process electronically. During phase two we tackled the external database, making it more organized, easier to search, and easier to create opportunities from. We created an interface that allows reps to search for suspects within the database based on name, county, street, city or state. Users can access this interface from the Contacts Module in the navigation bar of Sugar.

Search suspects

Search by option

Every search displays the results and a total, and also is saved in a search history for easy access. The search for “Katie” gave me 100 results. Remember that these results are pulled from the public domain database and aren’t yet records in Sugar. The rep is in control to pull in any of the results as Contacts.

Recent searches screenshot  

There are buttons labeled “Create Opportunity” and “Create Contact” at the top of the page that allow a rep to quickly create new records without switching back and forth between Sugar and the public database. The fields within a new opportunity or contact are auto-populated using information from the database. This feature promotes user adoption because it makes the system easy and quick to use.

Create Opportunity  

Behind the scenes, contacts that are suspected to be the same person based on name or address are pulled together under a “master contact” so that a rep can see all the related properties together. This results in a better experience for their customers because the rep has access to more accurate information.

This project is a great example of adapting Sugar to your sales cycle, rather than settling for a CRM tool that doesn’t quite fit your business processes. Our experience with this project has taught us how to query any public database and reorganize the information in a way that’s helpful.

Do you have an external database that you want to access from your CRM? Or a database that’s hard to navigate? Reach out to us here for more info.