What data should you be collecting in your small business CRM?

Gary Serviss

Updated: Dec 11, 2023 · 5 min read

Man using keyboard inputting data

As an entrepreneur and business leader, you’ve surely heard the term “Big Data.” The topic — and the industries built around it — has been one of the primary forces guiding the world economy for years now.

In fact, the global market around Big Data is projected to generate a whopping $103 billion in annual software and services revenue by the year 2023. What’s more, that number may double by 2027.

So what does Big Data mean to small business? It’s a big question — with many possible answers. The one we want to focus on today involves the type of data you should store in your CRM and how to use it to improve your communications and create deeper customer relationships. To help, we’ve called in small business growth expert Greg Jenkins:

Greg is a contributing member of the Keap Academy team. He is a dedicated long-time member of the Keap community, with a clear passion for small business. Greg is the founder of Monkeypod Marketing where he uses Keap and automation to help entrepreneurs through education, training and community. And he really loves dogs.

With Greg’s help, we’ll cover the four types of data you want to collect in your CRM for small business, within two main stages — initial information and progressive profiling.

Initial information

“A CRM is the bedrock of a small business. It’s where you store all of the relationships you are maintaining. And small business — at the end of the day — is all about maintaining relationships.” - Greg Jenkins, Keap Academy

The data you store in your customer relationship management system (CRM) is crucial to the sales, marketing, customer experience and customer service aspects of your business. By analyzing this data, you can make more informed decisions on your product and service lines, business operations, opportunities for company investment and branding.

Considering this, you want to make sure you’ve captured the most critical prospect and customer information in your small business CRM, like the person’s name and contact information. We like to refer to this data type as “initial information.” Just the basics, just the facts.

Identity data

To accurately identify your contacts and effectively reach out to them, you’ll need to capture identity data in your CRM for small business. When viewing or searching your stored CRM information as a whole, this is likely the information you’ll be seeking first.

Examples of identity data:

  • Name (first and last, ideally)
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
  • Physical mailing address
  • Known social media accounts

Descriptive data

Ideally, you want a little more professional or personal information on your customers and prospects. While this information can help provide a little more insight into the choices they’re likely to make, it still paints a very simple picture. However, these details are quite useful to employ as search filters for contacts of a specific type.

Examples of descriptive data include:

  • Age
  • Education details
  • Job title and career information
  • Family details
  • Organization size
  • Sales process/customer journey stage

Progressive profiling

“The more you know about the existing happy customers you have, the easier it will be to find the next generation of these individuals in the future.” - Greg Jenkins

So where’s the small business CRM data that helps you shape automations, campaigns, content and sales scripts, you ask? Progressive profiling information is exactly what you’re looking for.

Prospect and customer interactions of any type are complex, relying on predictive information that gets to the attitudes, beliefs, preferences and triggers that can mean the difference between a sale or positive customer experience and a relationship that goes nowhere. Over time, this is the sort of information that will grow and change throughout the customer lifecycle.

Quantitative data

These are the relationship milestones and measurable data points you want to store in your CRM for small business — ones that show exactly how and when your contacts have interacted with you. Have they made a purchase? Downloaded some content? Attended a webinar? You’ll want to capture and analyze as much as you can when making decisions about future outreach efforts.

Examples of quantitative data include:

  • Visits to your website (frequency and time on specific pages)
  • Purchases made with average order value
  • Engagement with your social media accounts (likes, shares, etc.)
  • Specific product or service inquiries made
  • Content viewed or downloaded (lead magnets, blogs, white papers)

Qualitative data

Qualitative data refers to your prospect or customer’s state of mind and behaviors when buying from your small business. Attitudes, motivations, past choices and triggers are all a part of this type of profiling and are usually gathered through surveys, feedback and other direct interactions with your team.

Examples of qualitative data include:

  • Level of customer satisfaction (including referrals or reviews)
  • Reasons for making a purchase with you
  • Good feedback for your offerings or sales process (including reasons why)
  • Bad feedback for your offerings or sales process (including reasons why)
  • Comments or interactions on produced content, webinars or workshops

Tools to help improve your small business CRM data

“A good CRM platform, like Keap, can easily encompass the entire customer journey, so you don’t have sales data in one place, email data in another, and your CRM hosted elsewhere. With it all under one roof, you get a holistic view of what your contacts are doing and what your relationships look like.” - Greg Jenkins

Keap Free Trial - We are obviously big fans of a robust CRM and the time-saving automations that can augment and implement the contact information stored there. With that in mind, you may want to try Keap absolutely free for 14 days.

Keap’s Empathy Map Template for Small Businesses - Available on the Miro platform, this tool helps you understand what motivates your target customer to purchase.

How to Create a Customer Journey Map - This exercise allows you to see and understand your small business’s buying process from your customer’s point of view.

Customer targeting: 5 tips for choosing the right customer - What qualities identify your ideal customer? This information should directly influence the contact data you choose to store within your CRM for small business.

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