Here is something I see in the field occasionally; too many codes. Sometimes people can go nuts with them, especially if they are in the throes of the "New Toy" phase. It's incredible; you'll find yourself adding all sorts of crap you never cared about before. I once administrated a GoldMine install with a Reference lookup that literally went off the screen it was so big.
Which, I guess is fine if you need to do any kind of deep or advanced analysis. You could add codes to record a Prospects mood during every phone call and plot it to see the best time to speak with them. Or make a code for every possible reason a Prospect would refuse your business.
I bring up the Phone Call because History is where the trouble can easily start. There are five major ways in which to differentiate a History record;
- Activity Type
The top-level. For the most part, self explanatory. But if you find yourself scheduling/completing a lot of "in house" or administrative activities, consider leveraging the Next Action or Other Action types. For instance, all of my client service is recorded as Next Actions. That doesn't mean I'm not talking to people on the phone. It's simply a very easy way to flag what is billable (administratively important) and what is not.
The slippery slope starts. Remember, when your end user is selecting a Reference, they still haven't even gotten to the Notes part yet. This works best as a general identifier of the context in which the time is being spent. It's okay to have some breadth here; it will be shown on the History Tab and should be informative. An example list could be;
Sales - Cold Call
Sales - 2nd Call
Sales - Paperwork Followup
Service - Warranty
Service - Billable
In this example, there are only a few different Sales and Service "codes"; this makes it reasonable to have everything in the Reference.
- Code and Result
How much information can there possibly be about a Phone Call? Code and Result are just two more levels of differentiation. To make matters worse, they are only three characters long. So you end up with... Codes. You could have a code for every model number of equipment you sell and force everyone to choose the corresponding Code from the pick list. If it's important, that's fine. But-
As always, keep in mind What You Are Doing. What is it that "cares" about Codes? Are there Reports that depend upon them? Do they flag records for administrative processing?
A good, humble Result Code picklist might look like this;
LVM //Left Voice Mail
CFI //Confirmed Product Interest
CNI //Confirmed Not Interested
DNC //Do Not Call Requested
Remember, anything preceded by "//" will be ignored in a picklist item. And also remember at this point we are just dealing with a Phone Call. Other important attributes of the Prospect are probably stored on a different level (i.e. Source, Interest, etc). My advice, keep it simple; expand when required.
Have at it and have fun!