Know your “Filter Fields”

Every CRM has the ability to hold thousands of bits of information about a contact for any number of purposes. One important distinction you should keep in mind when setting a CRM and choosing what fields to create is “will i need to search for this”.

Some information is useful, but isn’t used to separate contacts from one another. I might have a field for someone’s birthday, favourite colour, or the name of their pet. Looking at this record and knowing these might prove useful, but it would rarely be the case that I’d need to run a search for “everyone whose favourite colour is purple”.

Comparatively, most organisations will be familiar with creating fields like “Interest Area”, “Region” or “Industry”. These are fields that are specifically designed to allow you to group or segment contacts, and as such must be kept simple to use, and up to date for all contacts.

One of the biggest problems we see in CRM use is that with more and more fields to record more and more specific information, updating them all becomes a chore. This leads to people creating a contact, but leaving out a key piece of information like “region”.

This causes problems when another staff member, looking to mail all contacts in a specific region, runs a search based on that field, which won’t return contacts who are missing the data.

It’s important to keep track of your “filter fields”, and make sure your whole team knows that they should always be populated, as they’re relied on for searches, segments and reporting. By highlighting these fields, it will make it just that bit easier to keep them up to date, and to keep your data healthy.

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