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CRM Best Practice #5 - Building Field Name Intelligence and Segmentation

Building intelligence into key fields during the implementation can pay dividends later when performing account maintenance and constructing custom queries.

Establish a clear Account Naming Convention. Possibly the most important field to either build intelligence into or establish clear business rules for new content structure is the account NAME field. Failing to enforce clear construct rules with account names will certainly result in users entering the same account multiple times with slightly different text (e.g. Acme, Acme Inc. and Acme Incorporated). We discovered our duplicate account problem when users indicated they had entered account data and then the data went missing. Of course what actually happened was that the users had entered data into one account record and then unknowingly re-inquired on a slightly different account record variant. Below are a few rules we've found helpful for establishing account names.

  • For company names that begin with the words "The" or "A", omit these words when creating the company name.
  • For company names that use acronyms as their primary name, use the acronym when entering the company name (e.g. IBM, not International Business Machines).
  • For company names that use a person's name, input the company name in first name/last name order (e.g. Brad Johnson Inc., not Johnson, Brad)

Of course when these rules are forgotten, you can use the Aplicor Merge account feature to consolidate multiple records into a single account.

In the SFA module, we have also built-in Account ID Field Intelligence. We've actually constructed the data sets in this field into three fixed length segments in order to export and query in very flexible ways. While I've heard of other organizations creating coding structure within the Type and Categories fields, I tend to think these fields are flexible enough and you don't really benefit that much. I also recognize some organizations use the Account ID field for system integration purposes such as when identifying common or shared accounts between different systems such as the CRM system and an ERP system. However, for companies that have little other purpose for the Account ID field, developing a coding structure may provide additional benefit.

In the Marketing module, I believe the best field to build intelligence and categorization into is the Campaign Name field. Similarly, in the Customer Support module we originally built intelligence into the Incident ID field, however, later removed it as it was a whole lot easier to just add dimensions to the Type field.


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