Want to keep your prospects moving toward a sale? Don’t make these 11 sales mistakes pointed out by 60+ sales experts.
Sales | Jul 2
Melissa King on June 18, 2021 (last modified on June 16, 2021) • 13 minute read
HubSpot is a hot commodity for many sales teams. In 2021, the software reached more than 100,000 customers.
If you’re one of those users, what are you doing to optimize your workflow? HubSpot’s nifty custom fields help you get the most mileage out of your CRM. But, it can be tricky to figure out which of these fields to add since you have virtually endless possibilities.
We consulted 20+ sales and marketing experts about their favorite custom fields to narrow down your options. They had 13 custom field ideas to share.
Let’s get going.
HubSpot custom fields are extra properties that you add to your CRM contact details. You can set an object type, group, label and description for each custom field.
Here’s how to make your own custom properties:
That’s it! You can have up to 10 custom fields on HubSpot’s free plan and up to 1,000 on any paid plan.
The sales experts we surveyed about custom fields have diverse workflows and backgrounds, with a slight majority of smaller sales teams. More than half of respondents — 58.33% — have a sales team of two to five people.
Most of the experts we consulted use 10 or fewer custom fields. While 41.7% have two to five, another 41.7% have six to 10. Only 16.7% of respondents manage more than 10 custom fields.
These sales pros also had a broad variety of goals in their custom field usage. Contact information, demographic information and contact/user information were the most popular purposes for custom properties.
As you keep those results in mind, take a look at the 13 custom fields respondents recommend for sales teams:
Social media isn’t just there for conversions. It turns out that you can also use it to up your sales game.
“A custom field we take a lot of advantage of is social profile address,” says Kristel Staci of Famoid. “With this simple information, we can then import user data and pull a lot more stats and figures from different social platform APIs, such as users, interests, related accounts and more.”
In other words, a customer’s social profile address can help you find more leads. When you try Staci’s trick with qualified leads, you’ll have a better chance of snagging more qualified leads.
Lead status indicates where a customer’s at in the sales and marketing funnel. No wonder it’s so popular with the sales experts we surveyed.
Online Optimism’s Irene Lopez tells us, “Every organization is different, as is their sales funnel. For us, it was important to customize this field so we have a clear understanding of where certain leads are in our sales funnel. That field includes options like ‘price qualified’, ‘proposal scheduled’ and ‘waiting on a decision’.”
Lopez makes a great point. Lead status goes beyond “warm” and “cold”, and HubSpot’s custom fields empower you to define your sales funnel in-depth.
At The Next Ad, Sanne Kruis tracks a lead’s status by its sales lifecycle stage. Kruis prefers this approach because “You indicate the level of confidence (in other words: level of interest) yourself. So you keep a clear track of the hottest prospects in your sales approach. On the other hand, this also helps you to forecast your sales forecast and revenue growth.”
Paperform’s Vlad Shvets also measures lead status in an innovative way. “One custom field which is indispensable in our process is ‘Relationship Strength’,” Shvets explains. “It’s a dropdown field with three tiers: ‘Strong’, ‘Medium’ and ‘Weak’. It allows us to segment all the partners into groups quickly and consistently work on leveling up those relationships which fall into the ‘Medium’ and ‘Weak’ buckets.”
Travis McGinnis from Vye keeps lead status monitoring straightforward. “The Lead Status property [can] automatically be set to certain values based on sales activities logged in the CRM. We use it to see which leads are new and which are being worked on by sales. In conjunction with Lead Scoring, the sales team is able to prioritize outreach efforts to focus on better leads first and then work down the list from there,” McGinnis states.
No matter how you like to track leads, custom fields related to lead status will add nuance to the process. Try thinking outside the box if your current lead tracking isn’t serving your needs.
Editor’s note: Understand your marketing and sales funnel at a glance with Databox’s HubSpot Marketing + CRM (Marketing + Sales Funnel) dashboard. It pulls data for the full funnel from HubSpot’s CRM and Marketing platforms for your convenience.
Ever had your automations kick in at the wrong time? If you hook up your custom fields to the right integrations, you can keep your automations working only when you need them to.
At ESM Inbound, John Kelleher uses an “automation override” field. “We have a number of automations that kick in the moment a proposal is signed, such as welcome emails, creating a project in our project management platform and creating invoices. Sometimes, however, it wouldn’t be appropriate to action all of these automations. This property allows the salesperson to use their professional judgment to prevent certain automations from activating, and our workflows then use if/then logic to determine which actions should and shouldn’t take place,” Kelleher explains.
This setup will enable you to enjoy the convenience of automations while your customer interactions stay organic. The best of both worlds!
By the way, if you use Databox in your automation workflow, check out the 250+ integrations we made for your convenience. Databox has native integrations with HubSpot, but sometimes, you need a few more options.
A customer’s on-page behavior can indicate their preferences and actions during the sales process. Do you have any custom fields that link the two concepts?
Laura Fuentes tells us that the Infinity Dish team uses a “viewer attention rate” custom field. “Viewer attention is incredibly important for our long-term health, as we need to know exactly how long our customers are spending on any given page. This information is a strong indicator for sales and can help determine what’s working well on our site,” Fuentes says.
As Fuentes points out, this tactic will help you evaluate your website’s conversion potential as you determine a customer’s lead strength.
If you work in B2B, you have different customer traits to consider than a B2C business. You’ll need to learn about your clients’ businesses in addition to the clients themselves.
Jasz Rae Digital’s Jasz Joseph tracks customer businesses through a “business type” custom field. “When people select what type of business they have, they are identifying which of your buyer personas they align with. From there, we can send targeted email campaigns that speak directly to their business needs,” Joseph explains.
According to Joseph, this practice helps the team segment audiences and improve their marketing. It could especially come in handy if you work with multiple industries.
In addition to scoping out of a customer’s traits with custom fields like “business type,” you should also consider scoping in with custom fields related to the customer as a person. Two respondents brought up custom fields that help you get to know your customers and provide better service.
At Clever Touch Marketing, Tori Bell counts on a custom fields related to localization, such as location, salutation and language. “Knowing where the client is, if they have offices in multiple cities, how to address or greet them and what language they speak can make all the difference,” Bell affirms. “You address a German client in German and call them Herr or Frau/Fraulein and that is much more likely to elicit a positive response. Knowing if a client has offices in different cities and which ones mean you can reach out to local prospects and invite them to an event or business dinner.”
Explainerd’s Natasha Rei uses custom fields to track a customer’s contact and user information. Why? “We can crosscheck their jobs, salaries, offices and even their technical knowledge about the roles. Using this data, we can sort and filter which leads are [better prospects] than others. As a result, we have a sheet of potential leads that are going to convert into customers,” Rei tells us.
If you field contact forms or requests, you know that it can get difficult to direct people to the right solution. HubSpot custom fields can help with the process.
Spitfire Inbound’s Shiran Sugerman makes sure to ask “Which solution/product are you looking for?” in a form. “When you have multiple service offerings or products, adding a custom field with a multiple select field allows you to easily segment people filling in your forms,” Sugerman explains.
If you decide to add this field to HubSpot, Sugerman has additional advice: “What’s also really key with this field is to include disqualifying options too, like ‘Looking for a job’. This allows you to do two very key things:
This strategy can become incredibly helpful if you have multiple departments managing leads and contacts.
Another popular custom field for HubSpot is “Lead Source.” When you know where your leads are coming from, you’ll understand where to focus your marketing efforts. HubSpot has some built-in lead source tracking options, but custom fields let you get more specific.
“I always encourage our portfolio companies to create a custom HubSpot field for a campaign lead source,” says Drew Beechler of High Alpha. “Yes, HubSpot has its standard Original Source and Original Source Drilldown fields, but oftentimes you will want to have a custom campaign source that you can tag to a lead or deal that goes a bit deeper to track a specific event, content download or referral source that can’t be automatically tagged.”
When you ask a lead about their source, you can keep the question simple, as Cassandra Leite from New England Foundation Crack Repair demonstrates. “Aside from the customary contact information, the custom field that we ensure is utilized is ‘How did you hear about us?’” Leite states. “This is extremely important for us as a company to track where our marketing efforts are shining vs. where they could use more attention. As a small business, finding out where our customers learn about us is an integral part of our current sustainability as well as insights for moving forward.”
BlueTuskr.com’s Andrew Maff brings up another great point about the benefits of adding a custom field to your lead source tracking options. “When we launch a HubSpot account, we always create a “How Did They Find Us” property. Yes, Original Source is a default but sometimes they actually saw you on Facebook but then Google’d you,” Maff explains.
With so many marketing platforms out there, marketers now have to manage a multi-channel funnel. A custom lead source field will help you account for the complicated nature of modern lead acquisition.
Editor’s note: Lead sources affect customer relationships from acquisition to close. The HubSpot Marketing CLOSE Performance dashboard for Databox tracks lead sources as it monitors closed deals to give you the full perspective.
Do you like to keep your customers moving through the sales funnel with emails? This custom field’s for you.
CreditDonkey’s Ronald Samson uses a “Drip Emailing” field to keep email marketing relevant. “It’s important because it allows us to send drip emails to our customers when they are most likely to convert,” Samson explains. “We can target customers based on the demographic information we have on them like job title, industry and location. And based on the free trial users opted in for (Free Trial, 14-Day Trial, etc.), we can present them specific offers and content relevant to that trial.”
You get to improve your marketing efforts, and your customers get emails that feel useful. It’s a win-win.
Your customers’ use of your product or service influences their future buying behaviors. Why not note those actions in your CRM?
DTransfer is a payment platform, making it critical for marketing and communications manager Nina Smolnikova to evaluate how leads plan to use it. “HubSpot allowed us to collect information about how much money our leads want to send, where they are located, and their target location. The transfer volume custom field played a great deal in evaluating potential clients for us,” Smolnikova says.
Think of customer traits and goals that could affect their suitability as a lead. Could they work as custom fields for better CRM tracking?
Here’s another example of a custom property that connects website behavior with lead potential. Always keep your options open when thinking of custom fields!
The Greenice team doesn’t use many custom fields, but Kateryna Reshetilo has an out-of-the-box property to share. “Among the fields that we do have, I think the most interesting is the ‘Entry page’, it is a page from which a lead has entered our website and started the journey to conversion. It is important, as it shows both what this lead is looking for, as well as which pages bring us leads,” Reshetilo tells us.
Multi-channel marketing pays off when you can organize it well. With so many places for customers to find you, custom fields keep lead tracking manageable.
“My most important custom field is called: ‘Connected through’ with the sub-options set at: “Website, Webform, In Person, Cold Email, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.,” Maurice Hissink from Music-Mindset states. “I created this field to map out which social platform helped to connect with my ideal client. It also helps to determine where you initially started a conversation and is a good indicator for me to determine which platform drives the most valuable clients.”
Thanks to this process, Hissink figured out that LinkedIn generated more leads for Music-Mindset than Facebook and redirected their marketing efforts accordingly.
Take note that Hissink’s options include sources across categories, such as form submissions, in-person contacts and cold emails. Remember to organize your fields in ways that work for your workflow in addition to traditional categories.
HubSpot’s free and lower-tier features are pretty powerful for their price. But, they don’t always cover all of a smaller organization’s needs. Enter: Custom fields.
Katheriin Liibert of Outfunnel uses custom fields to add lead scoring capabilities to HubSpot’s free and Starter plans. “Since HubSpot’s own lead scoring is only available on Professional and Enterprise plans, we have a custom field for lead scores that are calculated by Outfunnel. They are calculated based on leads behavior: page visits and email engagement. Such a lead score helps highlight the hottest leads, so salespeople can sell smarter,” Liibert explains.
While the Outfunnel team has a lead scoring tool available in-house, you have options, too. You can use a third-party tool or implement your own lead scoring system. If you want to try a DIY approach, check out our tips for lead scoring.
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