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CRM: Should Be Captured Data Categories Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

Essential data to be captured by CRM systems

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Many of today’s CRM solutions are quite capable of mainta­ining customer contact inform­ation, transa­ction history, conver­sat­ions, and so on—a capability that allows us to provide solid customer service. These core compet­encies are expected, and when we perform them well, we are meeting expect­ations. The goal, however, is to use our CRM solution to exceed customer expect­ations and to connect with them on a personal level.

The more personal details that you can capture through ongoing conver­sations and customer calls or visits, the more opport­unities you’ll uncover to add value. To get an inside view of your clients, here are some key data categories that should be part of every customer profile.

Customer contact inform­ation

This is the basic inform­ation that most companies or organi­zations store and use in their CRM system­s—f­ields like Company, Name, Address and Phone, etc. In this category, you can enhance customer records with additional fields such as Nickname, Birthday, and Hometown.

Business history

Knowing a customer’s profes­sional background can be invaluable for gaining insight. Fields such as Previous Employer, Titles and Positions Held, and Profes­sional or Trade Associ­ations, among others, should be included.

Education and training

Most company databases don’t have any inform­ation related to their clients’ education or advanced training. Fields such as High School, College, College Honors, Degrees, Frater­nit­y/S­oro­rity, Sports, and Military Service with Discharge Rank could all prove useful. You could also capture any training programs that they have partic­ipated in to enhance their education.

Lifestyle inform­ation

This one goes hand in hand with the specia­l-i­nterest category, and it can likewise be very useful. Fields like Hobbies and Recrea­tions, Vacation Spots, Favorite Sports and Teams, Cars, Favorite Restau­rants and Bars, and Favorite Foods can all be included, as can lifestyle choices such as whether they smoke or drink. I enjoy cigars, and when I find a client who enjoys them, it is easy to schedule a meeting at a local cigar bar. (Make sure you read the warning label.)


This category has provided a wealth of inform­ation and insight for me over the years, allowing me to connect with customers on a very personal level. On every call, I’m able to ask how their partner is or what their children are up to, and I can use their names when I do. Relevant fields could include Spouse’s Name and Occupa­tion, Spouse’s Education and Interests, Annive­rsaries and Birthdays (and other important dates), Children’s Names and Ages, Grandc­hil­dren’s Names and Ages, and so forth. People love to talk about their children and especially their grandc­hil­dren, so get specific (activ­ities, achiev­ements, etc.).

Special interests

Here’s another of my favorite catego­ries, as it also allows you to forge a real connec­tion. I always ask this question as I’m leaving clients on the first visit: “When you are not working 60 hours a week, what do you do for fun?” Their response will give you clues as to where you can deliver additional value. Fields like Profes­sional Associ­ations, Service Clubs, Religion, and Political Affili­ations are all useful inform­ation. I have in-depth conver­sations with clients regardless of their views or affili­ations. I don’t judge them; I just listen and try to gain unders­tan­ding. If I’m discussing politics with a client, I’ll ask questions like “Did you see the debate last night?” and “What were your thoughts?” You can talk about any subject without offering agreement by responding with “That’s an intere­sting perspe­ctive.”


The amount of customer detail you need varies by industry; a bank or gym, for example, doesn’t need to capture all these specifics. But a lawyer, an accoun­tant, an insurance agent, a realtor, or anyone who calls on customers would gain a signif­icant edge on the compet­ition by recording these kinds of details.