There are several key CRM fields you need to know about. When you adopt a new customer relationship management (CRM) platform, it comes equipped with various fields to capture common customer information — things like name, phone number, and email address. While these default fields are a good start, it takes more than basic contact information to manage your end-to-end customer relationships.

That’s why customizing your software is an important step in any CRM implementation. When it’s configured correctly, your CRM becomes a high-powered business tool for managing sales team processes, analyzing marketing performance, personalizing customer experiences, and so much more.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of CRM fields and identify the essential fields for cross-functional team success.

Understanding key CRM fields and CRM data types

Magnicfying glass on keyboard

CRM fields are used to define the individual pieces of data within a contact record. Each record is made up of multiple fields that work together to provide a single, unified view of the person, company, or campaign. CRM fields can be used to capture everything from basic contact information to granular attributes that are useful at various points in the customer lifecycle (like account details, purchase history, and communication logs).

As you work through the CRM setup process, it’s smart to assign both a field name and a data type to each CRM field. By specifying a data type, you can limit the kind of data that can be entered into a given field and ensure that data is formatted correctly when users populate the CRM records. Common CRM data types include:

  • Open text
  • Checkbox
  • Drop-down list
  • Number
  • Currency
  • Percentage
  • URL/email
  • Date/time
  • Image

What are validation rules in your CRM?

You can set up validation rules within your fields to minimize the opportunity for human error when inputting data. Validation rules make your forms appear to be ‘smart’ in that the form knows when the data entered doesn’t conform to the standards required. For example, you could create a rule requiring the “@” symbol in an email address field, as all valid email addresses include that character. Should the data entered not include an @, an error message would appear and would preclude the form being successfully submitted.

10 key CRM fields your team can’t live without

In most organizations, a variety of teams leverage the CRM system and its data — each with their own needs and processes. Sales teams use the CRM to manage leads and opportunities as they progress through the sales funnel. Marketing teams use CRM data to build and segment audiences for targeted campaigns. Customer success teams reference account information to manage interactions and resolve issues that may arise.

To support all these different requirements, you need to capture the right data — including contact information, demographics, status updates, and more. Here are 10 key CRM fields that should be included in every CRM to ensure cross-functional success.    

  1.   Contact type. When people are added to your CRM database, it’s important to understand their relationship to your company. The “Contact type” field lets you categorize people in groups (like Customers, Prospects, Partners, Vendors, Employees, etc.) so you can manage each relationship appropriately.
  2.   Lead source. Lead acquisition data is critical for measuring ROI and optimizing lead generation activities. The “Lead source” field captures the origin of each lead, so you know which marketing channels, campaigns, events, ads, or downloads are driving leads most effectively.
  3.   Lead status. The “Lead status” field helps sales teams understand and track the viability of each contact, so they can better tailor their approach. Typical status options include Open, In Progress, Nurture, Unqualified, Dropped, and Hot/Warm/Cold Lead.
  4.   Lifecycle stage. The contacts in your CRM are at various stages of the customer journey. The “Lifecycle stage” field is useful for targeting marketing campaigns, as well as measuring sales and marketing effectiveness. Common options for this field include Contact, Subscriber, Lead, MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead), SQL (Sales Qualified Lead), Opportunity, Customer, and Closed/Lost.
  5.   Organization details. The “Organization details” field is useful for capturing characteristics of a business that go beyond its URL and physical address. For example, knowing a company’s industry or the regions where it operates can help with both targeting and reporting.
  6.   Company size/# of employees. Customizing your sales approach is easier when you understand how many people might be using your product. The “Company size” field can also provide some insight into potential budget and whether a prospect can afford your product.
  7.   Opportunity value. Should your lead become an opportunity, this field is essential. It is used to estimate the deal size. It’s useful for prioritizing opportunities as they get closer to closing and to forecast revenue for the month and/or quarter.
  8.   Probability of winning. As deals near the finish line, you’ll often learn who you’re competing against—which can help to gauge the likelihood of making a sale. This is another field that’s useful for prioritization in the later stages of the sales cycle.
  9.   Contact details. The “Contact details” field is a great place to capture useful bits of information like a person’s supervisor, what language they speak, their preferred nickname or pronouns, personal interests, birthdate, Starbucks order and more. These details can help you get to know your customers and provide more personal service.
  10. Purchase history. Once a sales opportunity is won, the purchase should be recorded in the “Purchase history” field to help target future communications, deliver personalized customer service, and maximize cross-sell/upsell opportunities.

Add custom fields in your CRM to support your business needs

Person doing data entryYour CRM system likely includes at least some of these essential fields out of the box. But don’t worry if you’re missing a few, because you can typically enhance your key CRM fields records by creating custom fields.

Custom fields let you add specialized data points to your CRM records, to manage your sales cycle and support your unique business workflows. You can create custom fields to capture any important detail about a contact, organization, project, event, or campaign. Common examples of custom CRM fields include:

  • Billing ID
  • Initial product interest (if you sell more than one product)
  • Lead score
  • Lead attribution
  • Renewal date
  • Customer demographics
  • Social media profile
  • Business type
  • Marketing group (for targeting nurture campaigns and marketing automation)
  • Communication records
  • Referral information

With custom fields, you can capture more relevant information about your contacts to improve targeting and segmentation. Custom fields can also help to streamline search, filtering, and reporting — and deliver more granular insights.

That said, it’s important to think about scale and long-term needs before you start creating custom fields. A CRM record with too many fields can be overwhelming, and a product drop-down with five items today could grow to 50 or 100 within a year or two. Less is more when it comes to your CRM, so don’t create a new field unless it’s truly needed.

Choose a CRM partner who can help you grow and scale with ease

Insightly CRM is designed to help growing teams build lasting customer relationships using a simple, scalable platform. Insightly CRM comes with all the key CRM fields  you’d expect, and it’s easy to tailor the software to meet your unique business needs.

Unlike other providers, Insightly has developed a simple, intuitive process for adding custom fields to your CRM — without help from your IT team. Depending on the plan you select, you can add up to 200 custom fields per object, with up to 16 different field types. You can even group fields into their own expandable sections, so every CRM record is easy to navigate and digest.

Don’t take our word for it – hear directly from Insightly CRM customers

Having the right fields can turn your CRM into a powerful tool for data analysis — and business success. Here are two real-life customer stories to demonstrate that point:

  1. Local TV Ltd. is the UK’s largest local television network. To accommodate their rapid growth, Local TV needs a data-driven CRM solution that could help them simplify the collection, management, and analysis of client relationship information. Using Insightly CRM’s custom fields, the team at Local TV was finally able to harness customer data across every facet of the organization.

“Custom fields allow us to collect almost any type of data. Insightly’s flexibility makes it possible to store all of our data in one location, use our data to objectively examine our sales and project management processes, and identify important trends,” said Cloe Keefe, Head of Commercial Operations at Local TV Ltd. “Knowledge is power, and that’s what you get from a great CRM with high adoption.”

You can read more about Local TV Ltd.’s CRM transformation here.

  1.   PayProp Limited is an automated rental payment and reconciliation platform used by thousands of rental agencies around the world. As the company expanded globally with sales teams around the world, they needed a CRM system that offered flexible, streamlined lead management and reporting as prospects advanced through the pipeline. With Insightly CRM, PayProp was able to design a sales process that is both scalable and transparent.

“Insightly’s structure fits well with our business model,” said Jason Davis, Regional Sales Manager at PayProp. “Leads, opportunities, and contacts provide flexibility within the sales funnel. And we’ve customized Insightly to track data points that are relevant to our industry.”

Read more about PayProp’s CRM success story here.   

Ready to get started?

Insightly is the only solution that offers simple customization on a shared data platform to deliver a single, unified view of every customer — no matter what your business needs may be. The end result: unprecedented transparency, better decision-making, and a seamless end-to-end customer experience.

Get started with a free trial of Insightly CRM today, or request a personalized demo to see how our simple, scalable solution can help your company achieve its business goals.