Good CRM Data Entry Practices Everyone Should Follow

With over 20 years experience working with GoldMine, I’ve spent a lot of time helping GoldMine CRM users with their GoldMine data needs, whether it be data imports, data exports, data integration, or data analysis and many other data related needs, one of the things that I often see as a common issue with most GoldMine CRM Systems is what I’ll refer to as “Dirty Data”. Dirty Data is data that has been entered into the CRM system incorrectly, inconsistently or in a way that makes working with the data very difficult.

The following are some of the most common data entry mistakes or bad practices that I have seen most GoldMine users make.

  1. Home, Office and Cell phone numbers entered inconsistantly between the Phone1, Phone2 and Phone3 fields.
  2. Using the Ext1, Ext2, Ext3 fields to indicate what the Phone1, Phone2 and Phone3 field is used for, ie Ext1=Cell, Ext2=Drct, Ext3=Home
  3. Contact field contains multiple names: ie “Bill and Melinda Gates” or “John Doe and Susie Que” etc.
  4. Contact field contains middle names for some records or middle initial but not for all records.
  5. Email addresses entered incorrectly
  6. No or bad use of Email Merge Codes
  7. Additional contacts email addresses added to the GM record without creating an Additional Contact, therefore leading to them being entered as the Primary Contacts Other Email
  8. Using character based fields to store numbers or dates
  9. Not using Record Types
  10. Bad Lookup lists practices

With regards to the above; each one has its own set of best practices for how the data should be entered.

  1. I would recommend changing the Label of Phone1, Phone2, and Phone3 to what each one represents, ie Change Phone1: to Office:, Phone2: to Cell: and Phone3: to Home:, etc. This helps keep the data consistent throughout the CRM System
  2. By relabeling Phone1, Phone2 and Phone3 to Office, Cell and Home you eliminate the need to enter anything other than the Extension in Ext1, Ext2 and Ext3
  3. The Contact field in GoldMine is best used with First name and Last name entry only. GoldMine has a Lastname field and will automatically enter the last word of the Contact field into the Lastname field, but it does not have a Firstname field, for this reason I suggest using the Dear field to store the contacts First name. This can even be setup to automatically happen when a Contact record is created or the Contact field name is updated/changed via the Lookup.ini file in GoldMine.
  4. Entering the contacts middle name or middle initial into the Contact field is not advised. If it is needed, then create a custom field for it and store it there. When trying to integrate your GoldMine data with other systems or move data from GoldMine to other systems you’ll realize that many other systems have a First name and Last name field ONLY and if your GoldMine is setup already with this data stored in that format it makes exporting the data or integrating the data with other systems that much easier.
  5. Incorrectly entered e-mail addresses is something I see quite often. Email addresses with < > around the actual email address, or email addresses missing the @ sign, or the .com at the end, phone numbers entered instead of the email address, website address entered instead of the email address, etc. There is a SQL Query that we can run to get a list of all the “Malformed” email addresses so they can be cleaned up one by one.
  6.  GoldMine utilizes Email Merge Codes in order to target unique/individual email addresses. In GoldMine, E-mail addresses are not fields, they are stored as Details (One-to-Many Relationship). A GoldMine contact record can have 3 different types of Email Addresses, Primary Email Address, Additional Contacts Email Addresses, Primary Contacts Other Email Addresses. If you need to add an Additional Contacts email address to your Newsletter recipient list in GoldMine, you would simply apply an Email Merge Code to that Additional Contacts Email Address. This would allow you to send your Newsletter to just that Additional Contact in the Record vs all Email Addresses associated with the Record. This is a concept MOST GoldMine users do not correctly implement or implement at all and it greatly limits their ability to effectively do Email Marketing with GoldMine CRM.
  7. As mentioned above there are 3 types of E-mail Addresses in GoldMine, Primary, Additionals and Others. If you need to add an email address to GoldMine you first need to ask yourself “What type of email am I adding?”, If its an email addresses that belongs to a contact that is not the primary contact, then you should create an additional contact first and if that additional contact already exists, then you can simply add the email address to the list of existing email addresses and chose the additional contacts name from the drop down list of contacts to associate it with. If its the primary contacts email address then you can add it to the list and ensure you chose the primary contacts name from the list of contacts in the drop down. Only 1 email can be marked as the primary contacts – primary email address, if this new email is not to be the primary then you can just add it and associate it and it will become one of the primary contacts Other emails, if it is to be the primary email address, then ensure you check the checkbox that indicates that it should be.
  8. There are 3 types of fields in GoldMine, Character, Numeric and Date. Character fields are for storing letters and numbers, Numeric is for storing numbers and Date is for storing a Date. Insure you are correctly entering your data into the correct field types. I often find customers who will cut corners and enter 3/3/2020 in a character field vs a Date field, which has a date picker to select the correct date. The problem with using a character field vs a date field for entering dates is that I eventually see data entry issues, some people will enter dates in M/D/YY format while others use M/D/YYYY format and not to mention there is a big difference between a character field type and a date field type. Same issue goes with numbers being entered into character fields. Yes Characters can contain numbers, but if you are explicitly storing numbers, ie the Count of something, then its best to use a Numeric field type.
  9. GoldMine has a great feature known as Record Typing or Record Types and it allows you to identify certain records in GoldMine as a specific/unique type of Contact Record. ie Customer, Prospect, Vendor, Employee, Lead, Former Employee, etc. etc. Each Record Type can have its own unique screen design with its own set of fields displayed to the end user. This can really make your data entry needs much easier.
  10. GoldMine has a Lookup list option next to every field which allows you to specify the options/values that can be entered into the field. You can even force users to enter/select only one of the options listed in the Lookup list, this helps ensure that everyone is entering the correct data and consistently. I see many customers that do not spend the time creating and/or updating their lookup lists.

These are just some of the many data entry issues I have helped our GoldMine CRM users with over the years. If you feel you are struggling with some of the above data entry issues and would like assistance with how to go about cleaning up your data, please contact First Direct Corp. at (800) 935-4386 or visit us online at