Monday, January 24, 2011

Custom Fields

Over the past few months, we've been getting more and more requests for custom fields. Do we offer them? Yes, as a matter of fact we do. We can add custom fields for you to track whatever data you need that's unique to your business. There's just one catch: you have to ask.

Why? Wouldn't it be faster, for us and for you, if we simply created an admin interface that allows you to add custom fields from the software itself? Perhaps. But speed is not always the goal. We want to make sure that you're using AddressTwo to the best of its ability. Well over half the time, when we enter a conversation about custom fields, we're able to show the customer other ways to track the data that are more intelligent and more efficient. It just takes a little explanation.

  • Last sale date. A customer wanted a field where they could add the last sale date. Of course, this would require manual entry. Every time a sale would close, the account manager must remember to update that field, too. Instead, we demonstrated how to use the Project Manager to track open opportunities and closed sales. By nature, this will record the closed transaction. Viola. Data tracked natively and without manual processes.
  • Newsletter Subscribers. A customer wanted a field to place a simple "X" in if the contact was subscribed for their newsletter. We suggested using a list instead. It's faster and more accurate, and it can be combined with other queries to get detailed subscribers in various industries or who meet other criteria.
  • Upload Batch. A customer wanted to be able to sort out her database by the month that she uploaded the leads. She received new leads in a batch each month and wanted to ability to separate them if needed. Her solution was to add a field for the batch month name. We explained that all accounts have a "created on" date stored, which can be queried and used to easily distinguish one batch from another.
These are just a few examples, but in each case you can see that if we simply opened up the ability to create custom fields to the public, there would be a lot of manual and inefficient work being done. We're glad to consult with our users to make sure they are getting the most out of their AddressTwo investment.

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