When customers hear us say, “you can create your own custom fields,” they get pretty excited.
And rightly so. Every business is different and every one of them tracks a slightly different set of data points.
But this can be problematic when companies start adding an excessive amount of fields for sales reps and project managers to fill out.
The load can become… problematic.
In no way am I trying to say you shouldn’t use custom fields. We built them for a reason.
They can be a powerful tool in helping you gather important information that is pertinent to your specific company or industry. And that same information might be able to help you close more deals or learn about your pipeline or operations better than ever.
But while every new field can bring benefits, each also comes with a load of baggage that can outweigh those benefits.
The first thing that can happen if you add too many custom fields is your sales team will pull their hair out.
If they’re already balding, this process can be quick. If they’re in their prime (with a full head of hair), this can be much slower.
Because you’ve got a couple things going against you.
1. Having a longer form means they need to spend more of their time filling it out.
2. Having a longer form means more things to learn.
3. Having a longer form means more things to get wrong or type incorrectly.
4. Having more data fields means more to sift through when a customer calls in.
If you add the maximum number of custom fields to your CRM, you’re basically setting yourself up to go down with every customer interaction.
So what do you do if you feel like you need that information?
The first thing you need to do is look at the built-in data fields and see how much information those will already gain you. Take advantage of these in order to make the most of your contact database.
Then take a good look at all the data points you want your sales reps to track. Ask yourself a few questions to score them:
1. Will this affect the sale positively?
2. Could this impact the sale or sales rep negatively?
3. Will this information be beneficial in the future (will you ever look at it?)
4. Am I making my team go through unnecessary hoops?
5. Are there really two lists in this article?
Try to score your proposed custom fields in terms of priority and necessity.
Sift out the ones you think you could live without and leave in any that you think will be integral to your business going forward.
Whatever you do, just don’t end up taking everything and the kitchen sink and your extended family across the desert.