This article is not about cyber security and how to keep your data safe, we are writing today to discuss what information has value and should be kept in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. The security of your CRM is not your responsibility, your CRM provider is responsible for security of their platform. What data you choose to keep in it, and who you give access to that information is your responsibility.
What contact information can a CRM store?
A CRM is often referred to as a digital rolodex. It is a place in your office computer where you can keep track of your contact records. The most basic contact information like:
- Job Title
These are the common fields you will find in every CRM and business database you will come across. Most of us can easily track that information in our phone's contact manager, or on a spreadsheet at the office. So if thats all you need then save yourself a few bucks and don't worry about investing in CRM solutions for your business.
The real return on investment for your CRM comes in the additional information you can obtain and store on your contacts.
When customizing your CRM to your business needs there may be contact information you wish to keep track of which is not part of the standard of the shelf system. For example y
our company may have a history of acknowledging clients birthday's, this is a information that many CRM's will not include in the original settings, but can easily be created by making a custom field.
A custom field can be used to help segment your contact list by region, product and service type, personal information, and any other trait or characteristic that is unique to your business.Sales Interactions
Most CRM systems are sales orientated, designed with features to enable your sales team to better communicate and connect with prospects. Many systems will come with pre-designed features to keep track of your sales interactions.
In each contact record you can store information about any deals you have discussed. Make notes on the contact record, for other people in the company to read, or remind yourself of past conversions. You can also assign task reminders to yourself and your team.
You may wish to segment your contacts by lifecycle stage, deal stage, company affiliation, lead status, the amount of data you can now store on your prospects is seemingly endless.
More advanced CRM's now integrate with social media channels to gather contact data, this data is based on their social interactions with your business. They may monitor social conversations about your company, or topics of interest to you, and keywords.
In your business it may be beneficial to comment on, or like and share, your contacts social media posts. Responding to complaints online is important to maintaining control of your brand.
Before you start logging every prospects tweet and post into your CRM, take a moment to ask yourself if this information is really needed in your customer relationship process. You can protect your business and your customers by understanding what data regulations are in effect in your area, if you are unsure, contact your municipal, regional, or federal government websites or contact a CRM expert to discuss your needs.