Drop Down Lookup Basics

One strategic planning move that will go a long way toward standardizing your company’s valuable contact data is populating the lookup lists of fields and activities.  It may take a little while to create the lists and set up the security on them but in the long run you’ll find it invaluable when it comes time to filtering, reporting and really ‘drilling down’ on your data.

Let’s use the field ‘Title’ and the value of Vice President for an example.

By giving the Goldmine user pertinent choices to select from you ensure the data inputted is standardized.  They can choose the value ‘Vice President’ and you don’t have to worry if they’ve shortened it to ‘Vice Pres’ or included the periods in the abbreviation of ‘V.P.’ – you simply train your staff to look at the list and select the appropriate choice.

A F2 lookup list can be used as a form of reference and not necessarily a required choice. Because the moniker of Vice President can many times include another description, we’ve included several choices in the list above.  These begin with the value VP and the rest of the title follows.  In this scenario, you don’t require the Goldmine user to choose from the list.  The list itself illustrates to the Goldmine user how to input a title into the field if it’s not already found in the list.

Using the examples I’ve discussed above, it now makes it easy to create a filter on all Vice President’s in my Contact database.

Using this information, I can design a special mailing or email template and send to only those in my filter in one fast, easy pass. I didn’t have to test for all the iterations of Vice President because it was already thought about ahead of time.

The F2 Lookup List can be a handy tool within activities too.

Populate a list for each type of Reference line or ‘subject’ with the most commonly used values for that particular activity.  For example, when scheduling an appointment to visit a customer to review their account, you may choose a reference from the list a more generic choice of ‘Account View’ and instructing the Goldmine user to type more descriptive items into the notes of the appointment.

Further on this example, you can set up codes that will define more about this appointment.  The Activity Code of CV can represent a ‘Customer Visit’ and when the activity is completed the choice from the list could be as simple as CMP – ‘Completed’.  With these values at your fingertips, the Goldmine user can quickly schedule and complete activities.

With this information inputted correctly, you can drive a report:

You can drive how each of these lists behave and they can all be different depending on their intended usage.  A MASTER user can click the Setup button within the lookup list screen itself.

Most of the time, we suggest to uncheck the boxes for Allow adding, Allow editing and Allow deleting.  If you allow the typical Goldmine user to add to these lists, you can quickly get a list that has grown exponentially with ‘garbage’ data and is no longer valuable to your organization.  The way it’s setup in the example above, a MASTER user is the only one who can add to the list itself to ensure its integrity.

Some fields may be so sensitive they require stringent rules and therefore the box ‘Force valid input’ should be checked and the ‘Allow blank input’ should be unchecked.  With these 2 items checked/unchecked the Goldmine user will not be able to get out of the field without selecting a choice.  Be sure to allow the Goldmine user an appropriate value for the field if none on the list are valid – like Not Applicable or Unknown.  If not, the Goldmine user can just select any option to get out of the field.  At that moment, it could make you question all of the values in the field and could render them all questionable.

There is power in using the Lookup Lists.  With a little planning, execution and training you too can reap their benefits in your organization.