The best sales data to collect in your CRM

For your CRM system to be as useful as possible and for it to help you increase sales and generally engage more productively with your customers you’re going to need to tailor it at least a little to your own operation. In this article we walk through the things you should consider when deciding what information to capture in your CRM.

Begin by working backwards

Remember that your CRM software is there to support the customer management procedures of your business. By far the bulk of actions that you do will be directly related to the customer and it is those tasks that add value to the customer or prospect’s experience. Whether that be by supporting products they’ve purchased, liaising on projects you are working with them on or queries they have raised, capturing information to build up the customer profile is critical.

At a fundamental level CRMs will probably capture such things as sales status and day-to-day correspondence out-of-the-box and shouldn’t require much setup. But you will want to add more to these to get the most out of the system.

So in order to know what information we need to capture in our CRM we need to look at the tasks that we are doing for our customers. If we need to send marketing emails to people that have previously purchased, say, hats from us then it stands to reason that our CRM will need to record whether they have purchased hats. Similarly, if we have a special offer on certain hat styles then knowing the customer’s age might be useful.

We also need to take a moment to look at what reports and metrics we need for our business. If we need to know the average value of sales in progress then the CRM must capture the value of each opportunity we’re working on. If the geographical location of each of our customers is needed then capturing their address is a requirement. Knowing the chance of winning an opportunity will help us to forecast our sales pipeline.

By working backwards from the business or reporting requirement to the raw data we can easily define what data we need to capture in our CRM.

One advantage of working backwards in this way and being driven by need is that it gives us help with legal requirements. With GDPR rules and regulations we need to be careful what information we hold on customers and prospects and either have a clear business need and/or have their permission.

Additionally, it will be easier to defend the collection and holding of information if we have a demonstrable purpose for it. In asking for permission to hold their data, our customers can also see benefit to them in us holding that information and therefore give permission more readily.

Make sure that all of the data fields you set up in your CRM adhere to data privacy guidelines.

Motivating CRM use

From experience, we know that one of the more difficult tasks for CRM software (and to a lesser extent a CRM process or procedure) is one of adoption within the business. Getting your sales, marketing and management teams to buy-in to the CRM can be a challenge.

By ensuring each and every data field that you have has a clear reason to exist and can be traced to delivering good customer service then your team will be more willing to use the CRM. There is nothing worse than staff wasting their time on entering data into a CRM if it is genuinely not needed.

In short, knowing the benefit of data gathering within the CRM greatly improves its use.

Setting up your CRM

Most CRM systems have a way for you to set up additional fields to capture data. Often these fields are based around different types of data. For example, sales value requires a number field and customer notes will need a large text box. RealtimeCRM offers 8 different field types.

If you’re at the stage of procuring a CRM system just make sure that the data you need to capture can be adequately accommodated and reported using your chosen system.

Key take-aways

  • You should choose a CRM system that you can tailor to your own business data capture needs;
  • The CRM should support the business process procedures that you have;
  • Work backwards from your customer service and reporting requirements;
  • Ensure the team knows how the recording of data directly helps customer service.

Want to know more?

Users of RealtimeCRM can speak to an experienced implementation professional that can guide them in what data they should be collecting based on their business processes and our RT Enterprise solution provides an entirely tailored solution end-to-end.