4 CRM Data Types & How To Use Them – Forbes Advisor

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There are four types of customer relationship management (CRM) data: quantitative, qualitative, descriptive and identity. Understanding what specific information falls under these categories and how to use that CRM data effectively is essential to getting the highest return from your CRM investment.

Collecting accurate and complete data is a top priority when using a CRM in your business. Safeguarding personal data, assuring data integrity and structuring data effectively are essential considerations when developing an effective CRM database for your organization.

Identity data includes information necessary to keep in touch with your leads and customers. It’s the most basic information you’ll gather, yet most essential because without it, you cannot maintain a one-to-one relationship with your leads and customers. Examples of identity data include:

Other forms of factual identify data that can be useful to track are organizational account number and date of birth.

The primary purpose of identity data is to give your team easy access to ways to get in touch with customers and leads in your CRM database. Identity data is collected via phone calls, emails, surveys, forms on your website, trade shows or third-party data sellers.

When using identity data in concert with other types of data in your CRM database, you can create highly targeted lists for promotional campaigns or sales initiatives. Identity data should be consistently added and stored in your CRM under well-defined fields that all users understand and where the data can be accurately maintained.

Descriptive data refers to information about your contacts that helps you better understand who they are and what motivates them on a more personal level. Descriptive data includes lifestyle and general interest information such as:

You can use descriptive data to assess whether a person’s stage in life and general interests align with the types of products or services you sell. Understanding details about your contacts allows you to tailor conversations, thus helping you engage with your customers and prospects personally, which makes for stronger relationships.

To track descriptive data, you must create specific fields on your CRM database to place the data you collect. Data can be gathered over time through client conversations or surveys, or by monitoring client activity on social platforms.

Qualitative data refers to the information about your contacts that can’t be quantified but instead speaks to a contact’s attitudes, opinions, level of satisfaction and motivations associated with shopping and buying patterns. While descriptive data describes specific contact traits, qualitative data focuses on contact behavior and feelings.

Qualitative data is often acquired through customer feedback before, during and after a sale. Feedback can be obtained from surveys or satisfaction ratings gathered via phone, email, social media or a company website. Common questions asked when collecting qualitative data include:

Quantitative data includes hard facts that are objectively measured. You can apply quantitative data at an individual or company level.

Quantitative data is numeric; multiple types of raw quantitative data can be used together to form CRM metrics. For example, the total purchase amount (raw data) divided by the number of purchases (raw data) gives you the average purchase amount (a CRM metric).

Here are a few examples of CRM metrics that your quantitative data will help you calculate:

Quantitative data gives you insights into the potential value of pending deals as well as the overall health of your sales pipeline. You can also use quantitative data to measure sales progress, help you better target where to spend your sales and marketing dollars and monitor individual sales and customer rep performance. Quantitative data is also essential for forecasting future sales.

Most CRM platforms come with standard data fields to store and track—such as name, physical address, phone, date of data capture and email address. Not all CRMs have built-in accommodation for all the descriptive, qualitative and quantitative data you want to gather and store.

When choosing CRM software for your business, check out which data fields are standard and which can be added via customization. Depending on your specific needs, you may require a higher level of customization with your CRM so you can better track essential data related to selling signals, including particular customer interests and preferences.

When you need a CRM for your business, you also need a way to gather data for your CRM. Here are some practical ways to collect CRM data:

Working with weak or inaccurate CRM data is like driving down a dark road on a moonless night without your car lights on; it’s dangerous. To run a successful business, you need a clear view of the metrics that signal both business opportunities and weaknesses.

Accurate, complete CRM data is essential for developing strategically solid sales, marketing and customer service plans for your business. Your CRM data will help you spot issues, improve customer satisfaction, optimize the return you net from your sales and marketing investments and lead to more closed deals.

Your CRM data holds a wealth of information that can prove invaluable for delivering stronger customer service and driving sales growth. The secret to using CRM data effectively is learning to spot buyer signals that help you make better sales and marketing decisions.

Here are some of the ways you can use the data in your CRM strategically:

CRM analytics can get a bit complicated, but the actionable data available within a well-managed CRM system can be invaluable for business growth. An effective CRM strategy will help your business thrive.

How data is structured in your CRM will impact how much value you can glean from that data. The best CRM software structures your data via built-in parameters. In a more sophisticated sales operation, though, CRM data structure can get more complicated.

Data accuracy, uniqueness, completeness, uniformity and security are all critical considerations. CRM folders, records and fields must be well-defined and organized to promote usability and support CRM data integrity.

Appropriate data setup, maintenance, cleansing, formatting and data appending/enrichment processes must be established. Quality assurance measures need to be in place to detect and eliminate duplicates and errors and prevent data from being corrupted.

If your organization has a chief information or technology officer, they should be in charge of CRM setup, data structure and integrity. If you don’t have access to an IT pro and your CRM needs are relatively advanced, you may want to hire a data consultant who can help ensure your data is structured and maintained appropriately.

You need to be able to trust the data in your CRM, which is why data integrity is vital. Effective data structure leads to consistent data accessibility, more effective data analytics, seamless CRM integrations and an overall better customer experience.

Marketers, sales professionals and customer service staff rely on CRM data to make crucial business decisions as well as to serve prospects and customers effectively. There are four types of CRM data, and this data must be collected, stored and managed in a way that preserves data accuracy and integrity while allowing for timely access for CRM users.

A customer relationship management, or CRM, is a software platform that helps you organize and manage essential prospect and customer data. Marketers, customer service reps and sales teams within organizations use CRMs to better serve existing customers and to generate new sales.

CRM data is the information that you collect and store in your CRM software. Commonly captured data includes customer or prospect name and contact information, source of lead capture, purchase or inquiry dates, details about sales interactions, contract renewal dates and sales lead scores.

A CRM database is a centralized resource that houses data collected on essential customer and prospect contacts, as well as other specific data such as interactions with contacts. A CRM database keeps track of vital information while making it easy for sales and customer service staff to access data when needed.

A database is a technological vehicle for organizing, storing and managing large amounts of data. A CRM is a type of software for managing customer relationship data. A CRM’s database houses customer information such as name, email, phone number, inquiry and purchase history, and meaningful interactions.

According to an extensive Forbes review, the best CRM software for small business is Zoho CRM. Zoho CRM also topped Forbes’ list of best marketing CRMs. Other highly rated CRMs include monday.com, Zendesk Sell and Insightly.

Janette Novak is a freelance journalist and consultant who specializes in teaching online business and small business marketing. Previously, Janette owned a boutique marketing agency and served as a Chief Marketing Officer for a leading professional training services provider.