How do companies and contacts interact? What is the difference?
Less Annoying CRM handles companies and contacts in a different way than some other CRMs. In LACRM, companies and contacts are nearly identical in terms of functionality. The system was designed to accommodate both businesses that work with other businesses and businesses that work with individual customers. For this reason, on a technical level, LACRM handles contacts and companies in exactly the same fashion, storing them as the same kind of record. You can attach notes, pipelines, and events to either type of record, you can add either type of record to a group, and you can list contact info (address, phone, etc.) for either or both kinds of record.
That said, there are a few differences between contacts and companies:
- Company names are unique—you cannot have two company records with the same name. You can have two contacts with the same name.
- Contacts have a “Title” field, while companies have “# of Employees” and “Industry” fields instead.
- Each contact has a “Company” field which is used to link their contact record to a company record. If you enter a company that does not already exist in this field, we will create that company along with the contact and link them together.
We know what you’re thinking: that's nice, but what’s the practical implication of this kind of structure? This allows you greater flexibility in making LACRM work the way your business works, instead of conforming to the way software thinks it should work. If you work mostly with company records and the contacts who work at those companies are mostly an afterthought, you can focus your activity on your companies. If you work mostly with contacts, you can use company records as a way to link together co-workers at a given business, but take your notes and log your activity on the contact records. Whatever makes more sense for you!
Oh, and if you’re using the API, the CreateContact function can actually be used to create contacts or companies. Similarly, any other API function that takes a ContactId parameter will work on either type of record. If you have no idea what any of that means, don't worry about it!
If you ever get confused about the best way to structure your contacts and companies and where best to enter your data, let us know. We'll be happy to talk through your workflow with you and make recommendations on how to set things up.