Sonoma Partners works with multiple customers in the education industry, and they frequently ask us about integrating MDR's school data with their CRM system. If you're not familiar with MDR, they provide the most comprehensive set of data about schools and school administrators throughout the United States. Most folks consider MDR data as the "gold standard" in the education industry. If your business works with schools, that means you have a fixed universe of customers to sell to. Consequently, having clean and accurate data about schools and their contacts becomes hyper-critical!

To help make sure that our education customers have clean school data in their CRM system, Sonoma Partners developed a process to update CRM with the latest and greatest MDR education industry data on a regular basis. The MDR data updates include detailed information about both schools (accounts in CRM lingo) and administrators (contacts). Some of the data points provided by MDR include:

School / Account Sample Data Points (this is not the full list, there are over 300+ MDR account fields and 85+ contact fields)

MDR District Enrollment

MDR District Classification

MDR District Grade Span

MDR District PC Computers


MDR School Improvement

MDR School Type

MDR Technology Sophistication Index

MDR Student Enrollment

MDR Student to Computer Ratio

MDR Number of Classrooms

MDR Number of Schools

MDR Open Date

MDR Total Budget

MDR Total Number of Students

MDR Total Software Budget

MDR Total Technology Budget

Administrator / Contact Sample Data Points (this is not the full list, there are ~25 MDR contact fields)

MDR Status

MDR Title

MDR Last Name

MDR First Name

MDR Middle

MDR Name

MDR Preferred Title

MDR Gender

MDR Last Update Date

MDR Job 1

MDR Job 2

MDR Computer User

MDR Advanced Placement

MDR Years at School

MDR Years of Teaching Experience

MDR Highest Degree Level

MDR Email Address

After integrating the MDR data with Salesforce.com, the end users can view and access the data through the user interface and it will appear like the following:

MDR publishes refreshed and new data several times per year. Our integration updates all of the Account and Contact MDR data fields with each MDR refresh.  We recognized that our customers will be updating their Account and Contact data directly in Salesforce as well, and they may have more accurate information earlier than what MDR collects.  Therefore, we set up an exception process so if a user directly updated any of the MDR data fields, the integration will not update a manually modified data field with the MDR refresh for at least 6 months. Please keep in mind that we setup this exception process on a field-by-field basis.  For example, if a user updated the Phone number last month, but all of the other fields have not been updated in over 6 months, when the MDR refresh is run, all of the Account fields listed will be updated except for the Phone, which will not be overridden by the MDR integration.

We also recognized that you might NEVER want some fields overriden by the latest MDR data refresh (for example the email, Billing Address or Shipping Address).  To accommodate these scenarios we created a “Never Update from MDR” checkbox directly below each of these three data fields.  If you do not want your information overwritten, users can check this checkbox for the appropriate field.

Lastly (and maybe most importantly), MDR provides hierarchy data about how the schools rollup to districts, sub-districts, etc. This hierarchy data allows companies to perform rollup calculations of they well they perform within districts at an aggregate level. Consequently, companies could answer questions like "What's our total sales pipeline in District XYZ? How much of product X did we sell to sub-district ABC in the last 12 months?" This screenshot shows how we modeled the school hierarchy within Salesforce.com.

The MDR data integration with CRM provides our education industry customers with several benefits, including:

Accurate, cleansed account and contact data

Access to full universe of education customers based on standardized industry database

A repeatable data load process

Reduced need for manual record maintenance

Better information to make informed sales and marketing decisions

And yes, if you're curious, Sonoma Partners could help Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers setup a similar integration with MDR data!

Please contact us if you're interested in learning more about our experience integrating MDR data into your CRM system.

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