What's the difference between custom contact and pipeline fields?

Here at LACRM we understand that customization is important, after all, every business is unique, so shouldn’t your CRM be unique too? But customization can also be challenging to set up -- with different options and locations of custom fields it can be hard to determine which fields should be where. There are a few key differences that can help you decide if you should use a custom contact field or a custom pipeline field to keep track of things.

Custom Contact Fields

Custom contact fields appear as an option on all contact and company records. These fields are meant to track information related to the contact or company specifically, like an Account ID or Spouse Name. And those are just two examples of custom contact fields! You can include any number of other custom contact fields for data you almost always collect about contacts like Height, Gender, or a Child’s Name.

The custom fields will show up when you add, edit, or view your contacts. When you search the system will also check these fields for results, or you can search based on a custom field entry specifically. If you go to the Find a Contact page, you can use the “Filter by specific field” option to search based on a custom field.

Creating a new custom contact field is easy! Simply go to the Custom Contact Fields page, which is also available through the Main Settings page. Click on the “Create a new Custom Field” button, enter the name of the field, and then hit enter! You can add as many custom contact fields as you’d like; however, these custom fields are designed to handle information that you collect for most or all of your contacts only. You don’t need to clutter up the contact with fields you only use sometimes, you can instead stick those details in the “Background Info” field.

Custom Pipeline Fields

Custom pipeline fields, on the other hand, appear only within a specific pipeline. Pipelines are a process tracking tool, and you can learn more about pipelines generally here.

The custom pipeline fields are meant to track information specifically related to the process, like an estimated value, which product/service someone is interested in, lead source, or estimated closing date. And those are just a few examples of custom pipeline fields -- you can also create pipeline fields for any other information you need to track as part of your process!

You can also filter by the custom pipeline fields within your pipeline report. ( Please note: pipeline names are customizable. Lead is the name of a specific pipeline and your account may show other pipeline names). If you go to the Lead Report page, you can use the “Filter by specific field” option to filter by a custom pipeline field. 

Creating a custom pipeline field is simple! Just go to the Custom Pipelines page, and click “Edit” beneath the desired pipeline name. On the lower left side of the next page, click on the gray button “Create a custom field.” Then you can enter a field name, choose the field type, and be sure to hit save! Once you’ve saved the custom pipeline field it will appear as an option on all existing and new pipeline items.

The Big Differences

It can be challenging to keep track of the differences between custom contact and custom pipeline fields. This table shows some of the big differences between the two types of custom fields:

Custom Contact Fields Custom Pipeline Fields
Appearance Contact and Company Records. Within a Pipeline Item.
Filtering Options The "Filter by specific field" option on the Find a Contact page or the Pipeline Report. The "Filter by specific field" option on the Pipeline Report only.
Exporting Options Contact/Company export only (the Export Contacts page or the Export button on the Find a Contact page). Pipeline export only (the Export button on the Pipeline Report page).
Field Type Text fields only at this time. Various field options including Text Box, Dropdown, and Number Field, among others.

Note: The best place to create a custom field depends on the field, and it can be tricky to decide which option is best. If you're confused about the difference between custom contact and custom pipeline fields, let us know! We can help you decide which one to use.

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