How to Use Tags in Your CRM

Posted by David Chism | Fri, Apr 19, 2013

 How to Use Tags in Your CRM
When I expe­ri­enced my first Cus­tomer Rela­tion­ship Man­age­ment (CRM) pro­gram around 2000, I don’t remem­ber ever see­ing or using Tags.” Instead the CRM I start­ed with (ACT!) used Cat­e­gories. Then you were able to mul­ti-cat­e­gories” con­tacts. Fast for­ward a few years, when CRMs went cloud based, com­pa­nies start­ed some­thing new: TAGS. The con­fus­ing part is that many CRMs have sev­er­al things that are relat­ed: Tags, Cat­e­gories and Type. In this post, I’ll focus on Tags, because this is a ques­tion I get asked often.

What is a Tag?

Nut­shell CRM’s web­site does the best job of describ­ing what a tag in a CRM pro­gram is and what it does.
Tags are a way to orga­nize your data in ways that are more cus­tomized to your com­pa­ny. You can gen­er­ate lists of con­tacts, accounts, and leads based on their tags.
A few exam­ples of how I’ve seen tags being used for con­tacts: Design­ers, Archi­tects, Design-Build Firm, Web­site, Google, Do Not Con­tact Again, A+ Client and so forth. 

Avoid the Bad Habit of Using Tags Too Much

It is easy to have fun tag­ging con­tacts. Yet don’t for­get, the search func­tions in many CRM pro­grams today are very pow­er­ful. I find it much more quick to use the search func­tion and a keyword/​phrase and find what I need. My CRM Base and Google Apps, for exam­ple, have key­word rich search­es now. There­fore I’ve avoid­ed spend­ing too much time tag­ging con­tacts. I like the gen­er­al rule for tags, Less is Bet­ter.” So avoid too much tag­ging or you’ll then be hunt­ing through tags to find what you need. I’ve seen this mis­take made in a pro­gram I use called Ever­note. A user will save an arti­cle, a note, a file etc. and then cre­ate a new tag. Pret­ty soon, a user has 100 tags with only a cou­ple items in each tag (which is basi­cal­ly a cat­e­go­ry).

My Favorite Way of Using Tags Today

Keep­ing with my less is bet­ter approach,” here are a few recommendations: 
  1. Cre­ate a short list of tags for your com­pa­ny to use and stick to this plan. Don’t keep mak­ing up new tags, or it will get out of hand. I did this last week for a client using Pipeline Deals. They got into the bad habit of hav­ing lots of tags that they did not need. Each per­son in the com­pa­ny had their idea of what they called a tag! We cre­at­ed a Google Doc­u­ment and shared it with their team of the Mas­ter Tags and Sec­ondary Tags. Now every­one is on the same page and are not allowed to add to the list!
  2. Use tags for very spe­cif­ic pur­pos­es: This might include a mail­ing cam­paign or email list. If you want to send a mail­er to your com­mer­cial clients, have a tag called Com­mer­cial Clients.” If you want to send an email blast to your res­i­den­tial clients only, cre­ate a tag called Res­i­den­tial Clients.” If you don’t want to keep things even more sim­ple, I have a few clients who have a gen­er­al tag Com­mer­cial” and Res­i­den­tial.” Why? Because they don’t want to sep­a­rate out leads and cus­tomers. They want every­one to be includ­ed in a mail­ing or email. It is up to you. 
  3. Small or Tem­po­rary Projects: A man­ag­er of his sales team can use tags and assign them to an office or sales­per­son to fol­low up. So he can have a tag called, Mon­day Fol­low Up List.” He can have a per­son click on that tag each mon­day morn­ing and know which con­tacts to fol­low up on that day. When he or she is fin­ished call­ing, he sim­ply removes the tag from that con­tact. You get the idea.
Tag­ging, if used cor­rect­ly, can be a very help­ful tool to man­age your orga­ni­za­tion. Do You Find Tags Help­ful or a Roy­al Pain? Let me know in the com­ments below how you use, avoid or plan on using tags mov­ing forward.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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