Custom Views and Segmenting your Customer Data

12 Oct 2020

Custom Views are a way of segmenting your data to present information in manageable chunks. You can think of Custom Views as Reports, albeit with a difference. Reports tend to be something you bring out once a week during a management meeting. A Custom View may display similar information, but it is a live set of data that you work with on a daily basis. 

When it comes to putting data into your system, the temptation may be to pour as much in as possible. After all, with 2TB of data at your disposal, you are not likely to run out of storage space right?! Actually, there is nothing wrong with doing that per se, as long as you are doing so with a plan.

What Is A Custom View?

Each of the modules – Leads, Companies, Contacts, Opportunities, Helpdesk etc. Is likely to contain a wealth of data. A Custom View is where you take that unsorted pile of information, and apply filters.

Let’s imagine you have 10,000 Leads loaded in your CRM system. What you actually need to see is a list of the 450 customer support agents working for SMEs in and around North Yorkshire. Of those 450, you have already assigned 200 to another salesperson, so that leaves 250 in your list. As you can see, the quantity of data is not an issue, as long as you can filter it to return relevant results.

You’ve gone from 10,000 records down to a subset of 250 which is pretty good, but that is still a high volume of Leads to manage.

Form an Orderly Queue

Now that you have got your manageable chunk of data, how are you going to tackle it? Assuming you have your list of Leads that you need to call. Will you start from the bottom of the list, or the top? And how have you determined the order the list is displayed in?

It’s one thing to work out what you want in your list, the next thing to decide is the sort order. This requirement may seem fairly straightforward. You might want to list your open Leads alphabetically by Company Name. But if you think about it, that doesn’t have a great deal of logic to it. Why would “ABC Graphics” need you to contact them before you call “Browns Office Supplies”? What if the person at Browns filled in a Contact Us form a week before the person at ABC? Rather than sorting by alphabet, sorting chronologically, by created date, starts to make more sense.

Here again there’s another question – do you want to see the newest records at the top, or the oldest? Or even more useful – sort them according to when you last communicated with them.

As you can see, what initially feels like an easy question does require a lot of thought. It’s all about getting the most relevant data under the noses of your team when it is at its most valuable.

How is it different to a Report?

The Reports module is a self-contained part of the system, and is often considered something of a management tool. Reports are something that can be generated at regular intervals, and shared at departmental meetings. They can also be sent to customer, or suppliers. Typically, they are snapshots of data from a time period that can be used for analysis. A Custom View is more dynamic. For example, your “To Do” List. At the start of the day when you view this Custom View it contains 12 entries. The number of entries decreases as you complete each task, and this is updated in real-time.

Who Needs What?

A sales person is likely to be much more interested in a list of New Leads than someone in accounts. But another person in sales might be more involved in generating repeat business, so Leads won’t be their focus. Other information will be strictly for management purposes only. As well as being designed to boost productivity, Custom Views also function as a security mechanism. If a person is unable to see certain views, then it restricts access to that subset of data.


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Put those Custom Views to Work

With a huge database of clients, prospects, suppliers and so on, deciding what to do with them can feel like sitting in front of a blank canvas. The potential there is huge, but finding a starting point can feel daunting. To break things down a little, I’m going to consider three aspects: Marketing, Sales and Account Management.


scattergun approach can be bad for a couple of reasons. Firstly, you are likely to irritate your client base by contacting them with irrelevant material. Secondly you may fall foul of GDPR legislation if you are sending unsolicited marketing. Therefore this is where you need to segment and identify specific target audiences. You may have clients that are always early adopters, at the front of the queue whenever you have a new product launch. Other customers may only respond to special offers and discounts. Another possible audience is people that buy less frequently, but become your brand advocates. They might have a limited budget, but definitely help with your marketing and brand credibility.

With each of these audiences, you will want to send them different marketing campaigns. Tags would be a good way of segmenting these groups, and then creating Custom Views gives you an easy way of getting them onto a campaign. In this sense, if you think of audiences and groups used by MailChimp and the like – these views serve a similar function.


When your marketing team has done their job, with a bit of luck you’ll have a nice and busy sales pipeline. Initially you may want access to the same custom views as the marketing people. Seeing the Tags telling you if someone is an early adopter or a bargain hunter will help determine how you deal with them. In the sales pipeline (and beyond) you will also want to keep your sales data segmented. Viewing data by sales stage is an easy way of seeing who is “shopping around” as opposed to who is likely to make a purchase soon. Again, you are likely to take a different approach with customers at different sales stages. Further down the line, you will need an easy way of identifying clients with outstanding sales orders, invoices due for payment, or clients whose recurring invoices need scheduling. 

Account Management 

Some of the above activity such as invoice reminders may fall under the remit of account management. But on a more informal level, it would be useful to see when you last spoke with clients. If you notice you haven’t spoken with someone for a while, it may be time to re-engage. Given that lack of account management or customer success can be a reason for attrition, you should use tools to flag these clients up before it is too late. Once your account managers have done their due diligence, clients can be fed back into the marketing and sales cycle.

Tying up Loose Ends

As soon as you start to store data, you need a way of filtering and presenting. We have looked at a fairly typical customer journey and seen how Custom Views can help there. They are equally important when you are looking at Helpdesk (open vs closed tickets), Event management (past, present and future events), Projects you are due to start next month, and so on. You may even want to make some of these custom views even more obvious and accessible to your team by turning them into a tab.

At the heart of the system, you have individual client records. These could be contacts or companies, depending on whether your focus is on B2B or B2C. From their record, you have easy access to all linked records – activities, opportunities, helpdesk tickets and so on. This single place gives you a full view of all interactions with that client. However, it would be impractical to have to navigate to individual records and then drill into subtabs to see what’s what! Therefore, you should not underestimate the benefit of using Custom Views to show valuable sets of data. It makes the difference between having a data management strategy with clear objectives, rather than a tangled mess.

If you’d like to learn more about custom views, why no see them in action with this Tuesday Tip video.