Creating Custom Fields and Data Forms in Your CRM

A CRM provides valuable benefits for your entire company, giving your sales and marketing teams the customer data and insights they need to engage with the right audience and drive sales. It’s critical to follow certain best practices for managing that data to make sure your team always has the most accurate customer information available. 

One of the best strategies for using your CRM is implementing custom fields and data forms. Customizing fields and data forms ensures you get the information you need into your CRM system so your team can make informed decisions about your leads and customers.  

Read on to learn why custom fields and data forms are so helpful and how to implement them with your CRM!

1. Define custom fields

Although your CRM likely comes with an extensive list of fields out of the box for managing different processes, your organization may need to input, track, and search for more customized information. Using custom fields in your CRM is the solution. 

Creating custom fields in your CRM allows you to tailor your CRM to your organization’s needs. Custom fields ensure your team keeps track of important information about your leads and customers and appropriately records their sales activities within your CRM. 

You can generally create custom fields for a wide range of information, including: 

How to create custom fields

The exact steps for creating custom fields in your CRM depend on which CRM you’re using and your customization options. Here are a few general tips about how to create a custom field and place that field on the appropriate page in your CRM: 

  • Take a look at your CRM’s default fields: Your CRM already comes with several default fields for entering and organizing contact information. Consider what fields already exist in your software and what others to create to get the capabilities you need.  
  • Decide what custom fields you want: The purpose of creating custom fields is to allow your team to keep track of the data that matters most to your business. Consider what information you want to gather in your custom fields, such as customer demographics, the sales activities your team completes as part of their process, company classifications, and engagement metrics. 
  • Create custom fields in your CRM before importing data: It’s generally a good idea to create any custom fields you may need in your CRM before importing new data. The extra step ensures all your data imports smoothly and minimizes the data cleaning you have to perform after the import. 

2. Create data forms 

Online data forms are one of the best methods for collecting customer data. Data forms convert more leads into customers by prompting website visitors to reach out to your team so you can learn how to meet their needs. 

With the right tools, you can easily create custom data forms and embed them in your website to gather the data you want from your customers and leads. Data forms are fully customizable to fit your company’s brand and ask the questions that matter most, whether that’s the size of your lead’s company or the problem they’re struggling to solve. 

Some of the key data points you can collect through data forms includes:

  • People’s names 
  • Company names 
  • Email addresses 
  • Phone numbers
  • Communication preferences
  • And much more!

How to create data forms

Designing and implementing data forms on your site is easy if you use the right tools. Follow these steps for creating data forms for your organization’s website: 

1. Set goals for your forms

It may be tempting to gather as much information as possible from your leads with each form. However, without specific goals, your data forms could become too long and complex, discouraging leads from filling them out. Your team could also gather information that doesn’t help your company meet its objectives and instead clutters your CRM. 

Create a short list of goals you want your data form to achieve to ensure you’re gathering relevant and helpful information from your leads. For example, you may want your forms to encourage leads to upload files, answer a multiple-choice question, provide their email addresses, or describe in detail what’s interesting or bothering them. 

2. Decide where to embed your forms

Online forms live on specific pages on your website, so you can easily gather the information you need from leads depending on their needs. 

Decide where to place each form based on where it will most likely reach its goals. Some of the best places to embed data forms on a website include your customer support page, about page, and website footer.

3. Choose the right form builder

When it comes to actually designing your data forms, selecting the right tools is critical. Research the form builders available to see which ones provide the capabilities your business needs.

Look for a form builder that makes it easy to customize the form’s design and what information you gather through it. It’s also a great idea to use a form builder that connects with and automatically creates new leads in your CRM when someone submits their information.

Need to design eye-catching forms for your website?

Use Nutshell Forms, an easy-to-use form builder that fits right into your CRM.

Try out Nutshell Forms

4. Embed the data forms on your site

Once you’ve designed your data forms, it’s time to set them live on your site. If you don’t have a developer on your team, use a form builder that makes it easy to start collecting customer data. A form builder that connects to your website via an embeddable code can be easily copied and pasted wherever you need it to live.  

5. Track your form’s effectiveness

Is your form’s wording or design leading to more or less form submissions? With a form builder that tracks page visits, submissions, and conversion rates, you can see what’s working and improve what isn’t. 

3. Set up data validation  

Once you create custom fields and data forms for your CRM, you need to set up data validation. Validating the data your teams collect through forms and fields ensures that your information is usable and is critical to keeping your CRM data accurate

Data validation is the process of reviewing your data to ensure it’s up-to-date, complete, and correct after data cleaning is complete. When your team validates your CRM data, they make sure it follows your business’s rules so they can trust it and the insights it provides. 

How to set up data validation

Your CRM may be able to complete some aspects of data validation for your team, but your team should manually handle what it can’t. Here are a few tips for setting up data validation:

  • Create custom data checks: Data validation is all about fixing or removing dirty data. Set up data checks that search for incomplete or inaccurate data in your CRM system. Ensure that data types, ranges, and patterns are all accurate and complete.
  • Require the important information in your data forms: To ensure your team receives complete information from leads when they fill out a form, make specific fields in your forms required. Requiring data like a visitor’s company name or email address ensures the new leads you create from your form submissions contain all the relevant information. 
  • Create a data validation schedule: Data validation should be a regular practice to help your team catch any issues before they use inaccurate data in analytics or decision-making. Decide how frequently you should validate your data and create a schedule to make sure no information falls behind. 
  • Prevent duplicated data from entering your CRM: When it comes to data validation, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To reduce the chance of inputting incomplete data in your CRM, take steps to prevent duplicates from being created

Choose a CRM that makes it easy to gather and validate the data you need

Implementing best practices for managing your CRM data will make your CRM data more useful for your whole team. Using custom fields and data forms enables you to gather the customer and lead information your sales and marketing teams need to make top-notch decisions and transform more leads into customers. 

Having the right CRM is also important for making the most of your data, and Nutshell is the perfect tool for organizing and managing your customer information. 

Nutshell makes it easy for your team to input data into custom fields within the platform and ensure data is up to date. And with Nutshell Forms, you can easily create beautiful and functional forms that collect lead information and give you actionable insights into your site’s visitors. Plus, other powerful features like sales automation, pipeline management, performance tracking, and built-in email marketing tools make Nutshell the best option for companies needing a high-powered CRM system.

Wondering exactly how Nutshell can help your company? Sign up for a free trial to see our features in action, or reach out to our team with any questions!


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