In this episode, we define structured data and talk about what it means in relation to CRM. It’s important to understand the type of data stored in your CRM, in order to know what you can accomplish with CRM.

00:19 Andy Shore: Hey, everybody welcome back to Clues for the Clueless CRM Marketer. Today, we’re gonna start a conversation talking about the different types of information that you store in your CRM. And we’re gonna start it off with structured information. So what does that even mean?

00:36 Paul Rijnders: Okay, so many CRMs especially traditional CRMs are based on some kind of structured database, meaning that there’s some kind of like SQL or MySql database underneath where there’s tables, and the tables are kind of like spreadsheet where the rows represent the records and the columns would represent the field information. So for instance, maybe column one could be first name… Column one. Let’s say we have a table of contacts, column one is first name, column two is last name, column three is middle name, column four is address, column five is city etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And most CRMs are gonna come with a standard set of default fields, and those would be the things that they think that you’re gonna need. Email address, phone number, or maybe mobile phone, that type of thing, for a contact. Maybe if it’s for an opportunity then… Which would be a different table so to speak or different kind of record so to speak.

01:34 PR: You’d have the opportunity name, what’s the amount of it, what stage is it at, when is it due. In activity it might be what kind of activity is this, when is it supposed to be due, with whom is it with and to what thing is it related to. Is it related to a project or an opportunity or another kind of record etcetera? But those will all be very structured, meaning that before that anyone inputs any kind of information there’s gotta be a space for it. There’s gotta be a column for it. There’s not a free form place for it.

02:04 PR: So then that begs the question, well, what if I do need a free form place for it? Well, since today we’re talking about structured information, never mind there’s other places you can put that in the CRM, but for a CRM that’s based off of an SQL database then probably what you’re gonna want is you’re gonna want some kind of admin to set up some custom fields ahead of time. So, for instance, in Benchmark email when our Benchmark email sales team and support team uses the CRM, they’ve got customer fields that make sense to us. For instance what kind of new marketing plan does that person have? What is the account status? What is their list size? The list kinda goes on. Your business might be different, maybe you have a donut store and you wanna list what is their preferred donut? Maybe you’re an automotive shop and you wanna list the type of car they have, and then what year is it, is another column.

02:57 PR: So anyway the list goes on and on, but what I’m trying to say is that you’re gonna have structured columns so to speak of where that information goes into. So why does it help to have it this way? Well, and again nevermind the conversation of non-SQL database, versus a traditional SQL database, SQL being SQL at least with a SQL database that things gotta fit in their nice little categories ahead of time so that you can create reports on them later on, or you can create views and you can create certain conditions. ‘Cause later on, you might wanna say, “Okay well, I’ve opened up my contacts dashboard, but oh my gosh, I’m looking at 100,000 contacts. Do I really have that many? Well, I just wanna see the contacts that I own that live in the state of Wyoming, whose car is a Toyota and their favorite donut is French Cruller.

03:51 PR: So you put all those conditions in and the conditions can be really kind of a… They all have to be true, right? Or you could have conditions that any one of those can be true. So you might say, “Okay well, the car’s gotta be Toyota but the favorite donut has to be either French Cruller or Chocolate Long John or glazed donut. So any one of those three. So you’ve got kinda have a meets-all condition and meets any condition and then you can have a mix of those two where you could say, “Okay, well then, all of these have to… Conditions have to be met and some of these conditions have to be met.” There’s any number of those possibilities. You could even say, the condition is, “Well, their favorite donut, the letter must start with ‘S’.”

04:35 PR: And what I’m trying to say is this is that when the information is really, really structured, you can ask questions of the database because the database kinda knows what to expect and there’s certain rules for what those queries could be and the database is really good at… And the system is really good at outputting that information because it’s all very, very structured. So I guess what the end of it is, is that when you are setting up your CRM the average kinda figure out what information should go where as much they can so that information can be pulled up really easily later on.

05:07 AS: Yep, and I think one other part of that, and correct me if I’m wrong, is where integrations come in. So if you’ve got sign in forms like you were talking about with how we have in Benchmark or different lead magnets throughout, it’s gonna structure that data in the right format when you connect those other third-party apps to your CRM.

05:24 PR: Oh, gosh. Yeah. Andy that’s an excellent point. Okay, so let’s say for instance you’ve gotta sign up form on Google forms. So we need integration of the CRM with Google forms as we do with Benchmark email and a few other non-Benchmark companies, right? But let’s just say that you say, “All right. Well, in this form, the form calls it first name, but in the CRM we call it… Like I said we also call it first name so you can map first name to first name right? Last name to last name. But then maybe you have something where you say Okay, well we’ve got this form has something that says phone number, in the CRM it says main phone number so let’s map it from here to there. So when you connect to that form there’ll be a mapping process where you see the fields that exist in the CRM and the fields that are incoming from whatever integration you are. And you can say okay look this slot goes with this slot and this goes with this slot. And because things are structures it makes it very, very easy for those things to go together. And it doesn’t mean there’s not other ways of doing things but we’ll get into those later.

06:22 AS: There you go. So thanks everyone for listening and we will get into that other stuff later on if you keep tuning in. Thanks again.