Thursday, August 27, 2015

GoldMine : To Code or Not to Code

We're going to wax philosophical here for a minute. I've done a lot of service this week for clients that like to use "codes". That is, a lot of Activity Codes and Result Codes. I've seen a bazillion of these over the years and two camps emerge; those with too many and those with not enough. Too many and a system is needlessly complex; too few and the system is literally useless. But where do you draw the line?

It's all about segmentation. 
Whenever we use the word "code", we really mean "category". And when we say "category", what we REALLY mean is "segmentation identifier". It's how we know a thing is a thing. We know a Contact Record is a Prospect or Customer because we fill in the "Customer Type" field. We know that something happened in the past because it's in the History Tab, etc.

This may sound trivial, but it is fundamental to any data model design. Segmentation drives list management. Think of how many times you sort by a column in a list. How many times you filter a list based on an identifier!

So, if we're going to use the Activity or Result Code fields on GoldMine calls, we should think about the following;

1. Do I need to sort on it? If I'm looking at a list of Calls, would it help if I could sort it a different way? A good idea might be to use Activity Code to track a "pseudo-stage", like "1ST" for First Introductory Call and "2ND" for Second Followup Call. Those two identifiers could be used to sort a list to see where sales or management should direct their attention.

2. Is it information I can get somewhere else? I see a lot of folks think they need to code calls as "PRO" for Prospect and "CUS" for Customer. Which is handy to have on a Call Report, but it's information already being tracked in Customer Type on the Contact Record. If we need to see that in a list, we can always grab it from there.

3. Don't feel obligated. You wouldn't believe how many "COM"s (for Completed Call) I see in Result Code. The fact that the Call is being Completed into History already segments it as a Completed Call. I almost think this is mostly because when folks start using the Activity Code field, an empty Result Code field looks, well, bare. Like it lacks symmetry. But remember, every code you force an end-user to plug in, the closer they get to overwhelmed.

4. Don't overwhelm end-users. Most of you out there are thinking to yourselves "these codes would be a nice problem to have because I can't get anyone to complete anything". Which may illustrate my point. End users can be resistant, especially to changes which don't obviously benefit them. For example, management forcing salespeople to track Product Model in Result Code for every new business call works better after you show them how to run and sort a list of calls. I see too many data models fail over this deceptively simple-to-address issue.

And, of course, start simple. Think about it, and have fun!

1 comment:

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