No CRM is perfect. No CRM will give you 100% of what you want. That’s one of the reasons we provide a matrix of the features you need ranked by CRM so you can figure out the trade-offs. But the cool thing is that all CRM’s have add-on products that are provided by third party software developers. Some of these add-on products are mission critical to the successful implementation of your CRM.
I’m sure you have heard the old expression GIGO – garbage in, garbage out. There will be information that you need to capture that is specific to your business. If you don’t have a specific custom field in your database to capture that, each person will put that data wherever they can. I’ve seen people use the Address 2 field or Country field to keep track of secondary email addresses, for example. The reasons you should customize the database is to data is entered consistently in the right fields. This is critical for reporting as well as database mining – aka. Looking up the data you need.
There are lots of add-ons for any CRM. But for us to recommend one, they have to meet our stringent requirements. For us to recommend an add-on, it has to meet three criteria:
– The product must be really good. While no product is perfect, the add-on has to be very good.
– The tech support has to be outstanding. That means quick responses and an effort to resolve whatever the issue is.
– Great “bedside manner” – in life, things happen and how people handle it and respond – are they flexible, do they listen and understand the business needs, etc. That’s what bedside manner means.
I get asked this question all the time and it is a hard one to answer. Requiring people to enter information into any field can certainly help ensure they fill it out. But you can also end up with the “keyboard slap” – that is where the user just hits any key on the keyboard to put data in so they can get past this and on to what they need to do. So, if you do need things mandatory, please be very discretionary about which fields and limit that list as much as possible.
The first thing is to sit down with your team and understand all of the information you want to track and how that data should look. Is the field a drop down? If it is a drop down, is it a multi-select drop down or just single select? Do you want to limit the values of the field to just the drop-downs or allow users to free-form type something? This is one area where we strongly recommend that you outsource to an experienced consultant. While you can learn how to do the actual customization by watching a YouTube video or reading the manual, having an expert will get you a much better solution.
Yes, you can. Customizing your CRM is pretty easy to do – you first have to add the fields to the database and then you add them to the layout. It’s a two step process. This is something we typically do for our clients as the time it takes for you to figure out how to do it, it’s just easier to have us do it. But more importantly than the customization is the proper setup – one of our core strengths is understanding your requirements and then architecting and building out the database.