We get that question a lot.


"Hey C5, it's great that we can track emails in our CRM solution with just the click of a button instead of the old copy/paste method that our legacy CRM software required.  But I get a ton of email.  Which emails should I track in CRM?"


It's a simple question that isn't as easy to answer as you may think.  Most people think, "if in doubt ... track it."




Read on for some simple rules of thumb and examples to help you decide which emails you should and, perhaps more importantly, should not, track.


Why Track Email in CRM?


Knowing the answer to "why" makes it a lot easier to know "what" and "when" to track.  In the case of tracking CRM email, the "why" is short and sweet:


Track emails in CRM because they contain valuable information that you may want to reference in the future.


Simple!  But it does get a little more nuanced than that.  "Important" is a term that might have different meanings to different people.  So let's answer another question that may help you get a bit more clarity.


Why Not Track Email in CRM?


There are many very good reasons to not track email in CRM.  This will help you narrow the list of what you want to track even further:


  • Clutter: The more email you put into your CRM solution, the more difficult it is to find that one really important email.  Even with the excellent search tools built into modern CRM solutions, you can end up wading through a long list of junk before you find what you're looking for.  Ever have trouble finding an old email in your Outlook?  Well, the same thing can happen in CRM.  So don't clutter it up!


  • Duplication: If you've already tracked an earlier email in the thread, and the latest email doesn't contain valuable new information, then you don't need to track it.  Also, if the information is already in CRM, you don't need another copy of it in CRM.


  • To Meet Goals: Does your organization incentivize you to show a lot of activity tracking in your CRM solution?  Please - I'm begging you - go tell them that email should not count as part of that metric.  Number of emails tracked is a horrible metric to track.  If you can't convince them, have them call me.


  • TLI: You know what TMI means right?  Too Much Information.  Well, TLI is the opposite - Too Little Information.  Don't track an entire email for one small tidbit of information.  It will take way too much time to find it in the future.  Instead, make a note of the information elsewhere in CRM (such as on an account, contact or opportunity form).


The Golden Rules of Email in CRM


Here's the golden rule that I've seen many successfully live by:


If in doubt, throw it out!


Gosh - isn't that a little bit draconian?  No, not really.  It has become so easy to track emails in CRM, that most of us have become email packrats.  And the clutter is absolutely killing the productivity of customer-facing teams.  It's better to have a little too little in CRM, than a little too much in CRM.


Believe me, the future you will thank the present you if you make the commitment to minimize your email tracking in CRM.



Another item to remember is to always make the subject useful.  In most CRM solutions, you won't see the full body of the email unless you click on it.  So get critical information into the subject so you won't have to click a lot of emails to find what you need.  The golden rule is simple:


Make the subject the subject.


A Few Examples


Let's close with a few examples of what emails might make sense to track and not to track in your CRM solution:





An agreement you made with a customer, such as an approval on an order that will only be captured in an email.

Specifications for an order, but without a commitment to buy.(The information may be important now - but within a few days it will never matter again).

Notes that you will need to refer to when preparing for a future meeting or call - particularly if the notes might be related to multiple future meetings.

Specifications for a custom order.(This may seem important - but those specifications should appear in a formal agreement, and don't need to be remembered in CRM).

Information that someone else on your team may need to reference in order to successfully resolve an issue or win an opportunity.

Information that someone else on your team may need to know about the customer in the future.(Few, if any, are going to look through old emails to find general information about a customer).

Things that may be require for legal purposes, such as enforcing a contract.

Personal information about the individual or company that you want to remember in order to form a better connection with them.This may include likes/dislikes, decision makers, buying process, etc.(Put this on the contact or account form so you can easily find it in the future).

You need to remember that you sent the email at a later date.

Personal remarks made about your coworkers or customer coworkers.(In many cases, CRM solutions are configured to allow a large group to see all emails.Don't let confidential or disrespectful information get out.)