Organizing leads, contacts, accounts, and companies

Setting up your CRM to handle different kinds of data associated with people and businesses you work with requires considerable forethought. Do not jump into your CRM and set up fields, groups, campaigns, or any major structures without doing your homework first.

Leads and contacts are treated differently by different CRM software platforms.

Traditional CRM tend to separate these as separate objects. To these older crms, contacts, usually, apply to customers while leads have yet to become customers.

This terminology can cause confusion to users and often requires considerable workaround as people can be both.

Modern CRM platforms fully integrated with the rest of your software combined leads and contacts, as they recognize the complexity of the buyer Journey doesn’t make sense for leads and contacts to be separated at such a fundamental level.

Context or people in those people can be customers of run product or service you sell but leads for cross-selling or upselling opportunity. A single contact maybe both, lead and customer at different stages of multiple buyer Journeys. The better you understand those Journeys, the better you understand the people and companies who buy from you.

Create a standardized language within your organization when referring sing contact at the different stages of the buyer Journey. Doing so ensures data is accurately entered into your CRM and during strategic discussions everyone is on the same page.

Accounts and companies are often used synonymously and represent collections of contacts. Everyone working for the same company is part of the same account. Some CRM platforms used company to represent a company or organization as a way to simplify the jargon.

Go through your Market segmentation analysis before you start organizing your CRM. Some CRMs referred to these groups of contacts as campaign and other may tag contacts that share common threads such as all leads leads who have been downloaded from X database.

In addition to grouping by market segment, consider grouping in your contacts according to who has access to them. For example, is salesperson should only be able to see contacts that he is working with. A sales manager should be able to see contacts associated with the sales people who work under her or his, but not necessarily every contacting the CRM.

Contacts, companies, and groups may also have other objects associated with them. Opportunities or potential sales may be attached to individual contacts or to the companies. You may want to start automated marketing campaigns to all members of a group.

If your CRM is combined with the project manager or support ticketing system, you want to see projects and tickets associated with companies as an easy way to view what’s happening in your relationships with that company.

Your CRM should help you identify which contacts within the company are doing what and who the key players are in making the buying decision. Be cognizant of how you use your custom user-defined fields to segment your contacts and companies. You may not need a high-level group separation, if you rely on those custom fields for miniature customization such as mail merging your emails. Be sure to discuss this idea with your CRM vendor it can become complex you may need a specialized integrator partner from your CRM vendor.

Every company organizes contacts and companies differently, as every company has unique segments of how to approach them. Take time to draw out your market segments and processes, and then approached your grouping strategies.