Introducing many-to-many module association in Zoho CRM!

Introducing many-to-many module association in Zoho CRM!

Hello all! 
We are pleased to introduce "many-to-many module association" in Zoho CRM! 

Your sales data are often inter-related. When you maintain this data in a CRM, you must have flexible options to capture the exact relationship between them. Zoho CRM allows you to interlink modules via lookup fields. However, a regular lookup field facilitates only a "one-to-many" association. That is, from multiple records in a given module, you can lookup only one record from a related module. 

In many cases, there may be a need to lookup multiple records as well. With the introduction of "many-to-many module association", you can now associate multiple records from a related module to a single record in the current module and vice versa. The following scenario will help you understand this better. 

SCENARIO
Consider a scenario in which a couple of contacts in your database belong to the same firm. Using the Lookup field in Zoho CRM, you can capture this relationship by associating the same Account to two different Contacts. However, the reverse is not possible with the same lookup field. That is, if one of these contacts works on a contract basis with two accounts, you cannot associate these two accounts with a single contact record. 

In summary, a lookup field works only if the association has to be "one-to-one" or "one-to-many". It does not work when you require a many-to-many module association. 

HOW A REGULAR LOOKUP FIELD WORKS
One accountOne contact✓  
One account Many contacts✓  
Many accountsMany contacts

It is to solve this need that we have introduced what we call a Multi-Select Lookup Field. 
Using this field, you can establish a "many-to-many module association" in CRM. 

Following are some more scenarios in which a many-to-many module association needs to be established. 
  • An educational institution, which has two modules - Students and Courses.
    A single student opts for many courses. Similarly, a single course may have many takers. 
  • An insurance company, which has two modules - Policyholder and Policies.
    A single policyholder purchases many policies. Similarly, a single policy may have many buyers. 
  • A real estate company, which has two modules - Prospects and Listings.
    A single prospect could be interested in several listings. Similarly a single listing may fetch several prospects.
When you have the need to associate multiple records from Module A to multiple records in Module B and vice versa, you can use a multi-select lookup field. 

Linking Module
A Linking Module is created out of the association between two primary modules. It is essentially used to store information specific to each association generated from the multi-select lookup field. 

For example, consider the real estate scenario where we have two primary modules - Prospects and Listings. Even though the same prospect is interested in three different apartments, the negotiated rent for each apartment may differ. It is not possible to maintain the rent in either of the primary modules without creating duplicate records. So to maintain this information in a hassle-free manner, you can opt to create a Linking Module, where details of each association is maintained as a separate record. This way you can maintain these associations in an organized manner. 

Following is a screenshot of a Linking Module called Prospects Vs Listings. Each record is an association created via the Multi-select lookup field. Here, you can see that the negotiated rents are maintained in a separate column for each record. Note that the same prospect Jack Smith is interested in three different apartments, and the negotiate rent is different for each association. 



You can customize the linking module with new fields and sections and define module permissions. You can also create reports and dashboards from this linking module. To learn more about many-to-many module association and working with a linking module, click here.

We are positive that you will find this feature very useful. If you have questions or clarifications regarding creating a multi-select lookup field, post them via the comments section below. 

Regards
Vaagdevi Ravishankar
          Zoho Marketing Automation
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