Don't over customise!

When you get your brand new database, one of the first things you might want to do is make it unique to your needs and cover every single scenario you can think of.

But it’s best to pause before doing that.

The more complicated you make your database the more difficult it can be to keep up to date and the trickier navigation can become. Is it worth, for instance, creating a whole custom field on your contact record for a fairly rare scenario? Whenever you want to create reports or view a record that one-off field will now be there. And maybe someone will accidentally add data into it or forget about it since it is hardly ever used.

These are some of the considerations to have when designing your database. Importantly, before adding anything, consider what already exists within the database and ask yourself if you’re currently using it and if there are any ways existing functionality could cover what you need. It might, for instance, make more sense to add a tag rather than the custom field you thought about creating.

All of this is part of a bigger discussion of how standardisation and keeping your database as streamlined as possible will make it so much easier to use in the future. It’s also the very reason that experienced CRM administrators advise avoiding ‘free text’ fields (i.e. those you can enter text into freely) and instead favour picklists/dropdown fields - they make searches and reporting so much easier by ensuring that your users can’t input typos!

Next time you’re thinking about that new addition to your CRM really consider (or ask an expert!) if there’s already a way to do what you want. Sometimes customisation will be necessary, but it’s not always the best first port of call!

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