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Custom Fields Overview & Use Cases

Morgan Wynnes Updated by Morgan Wynnes

Custom fields are a quick and easy way to track unique data on various entities within Sonar. They allow you to create and store customized, individual pieces of information that Sonar does not have a native place to store within the system. They can be added to newly created or existing entities within Sonar and also provide you the ability to run reports on the customized data fields as well. For example, you could add a custom field to store the date a contract will expire, keep track of serial numbers associated with inventory items assigned to a customer's account, or record whether a customer was brought on as a referral. Below we go over the process of creating a custom field, and also include a walk through of creating some custom fields that are commonly used.

How To Create A Custom Field

To create a custom field, you must first navigate to the Custom Fields screen. You can access this screen through the Settings menu - either by selecting "Custom Fields" from the Settings Dashboard, or clicking "Custom Fields" under the Misc header in the Settings list.

Once you navigate to the Custom Fields screen, click "Create" (circled in the image below) and a Create Custom Field window will appear.

Within the Create Custom Field window there are three main required fields that need to be completed before the custom field can be created.

Name: This is a descriptive name for the custom field.

Entity Type: The type of entity that this custom field will be associated with. This can include Account, Contact, Job, Network Site, or Generic Inventory Assignee.

Type: This defines how the custom field will store the data and what the input format will be. The available options are:

  • Boolean - Appears as a checkbox with true/false values.
  • Date - Presents a date selector with the date in YYYY-MM-DD format.
  • Dropdown - A list of options that you add in yourself. If dropdown is selected as the type, additional fields will appear for the dropdown values to be entered.
  • Text - A free form text field that allows the input of data.

Required: This checkbox allows you to determine whether or not a custom field should be required to be filled out when the entity it is associated with is created.

Unique: This checkbox can enforce that each value input for this custom field must be unique throughout the system.

Once you have successfully created your custom field, it will appear in the list on the Custom Fields screen.

From here, after the field is created, you only have the options to edit or delete it. Clicking "Edit" from the menu above will result in the Edit Custom Field window being displayed where you can edit the Name of the field and toggle the Unique and Required checkboxes to be enabled/disabled. To delete the custom field, simply click the arrow from the menu above, next to "Edit", and select the "Delete" option. A Delete Custom Field window will appear confirming that this is the action you want to take - to confirm, click "Delete".

Custom Fields Reporting

Within Sonar we also have the capability to run reports on the Account custom fields so that you can easily and quickly pull the data stored in those customized fields, if needed. To access the Account Custom Fields report, click "Reports" from the left-hand panel and then "Account Custom Fields" under the Accounts header.

You will then be brought to the Account Custom Fields screen. Once you run a report, the results will be displayed here. By default, no selection is made in the drop down field and therefore there are no results displayed. To run the report, simply select one of the account custom fields from the drop down menu and then click "Run Report".

After running the report, any accounts with data in that particular custom field will be displayed below, and the accounts listed under the Account column will also be clickable - clicking an account from here will open up a sidebar menu for that particular account, with the option of "Manage" which will navigate you into that account.

For example, from the below image you can see that we have run the report for the custom field Account Manager and have clicked on the account for Kayley Adams.

Example Use Cases

Below are a few examples of commonly used custom fields along with an overview of how to set them up within Sonar.

Example Use Case #1: How Did You Hear About Us

For the first example, we are going to create a custom field that will store information regarding where the customer heard about us. We have been implementing different marketing initiatives and want to collect data that we can then use to determine which initiatives and advertisement methods are working and that we should therefore invest more into, and which seem to be the least effective.

We begin by first navigating to the Custom Fields screen and selecting "Create" which will display the Create Custom Field window so that we can fill out the details for this custom field.

We have made the field required, because we want this field to be filled out for any newly created accounts going forward. The field doesn't have to be unique, since customers will have likely heard about us through the same method, so we leave that unchecked.

Our Entity Type is set as Account, because we want this data to be collected when a new account is created. We could have it set to Contact, however there can be multiple contacts on the same account and it is very likely that all contacts on the same account heard about us through the same source. This would create a redundancy, having to collect and fill out the same data for each contact, so we leave it set as Account entity type.

We choose the Type of field to be Text. This could potentially be a dropdown type, however we want to collect as detailed information as possible; this way, if the answer is 'social media' we can further break it down to what specific platform, or if the customer was a referral, we can input which current customer referred them. Since the dropdown field types require preset options, we decide that the Text type makes the most sense for our purposes.

Now that we have determined how this custom field should be set up, we click "Create" and can now begin collecting this information when we add new accounts. After several accounts have been added, with our new required custom field being filled out each time, we now have data that we can run a report on. After navigating to "Account Custom Fields" report from the "Reports" tab on the side panel, we are able to run a report on the How Did You Hear About Us field. We can now see from this report which advertisement methods seem to be working and can use that data for our marketing decisions going forward.

Example Use Case #2: Account Manager

For our next example we are going to create a custom field for the purpose of collecting the name of the Account Manager for every account we add into our system. By knowing which of our employees manages which accounts we can know who to go to if there are any questions regarding an account, and also who to direct the customer to if they call in wishing to speak to them. It also helps us ensure that we have an evenly distributed workload among our account managers, since we can easily run a report on this custom field once it is created that can provide us with the account manager for every account.

First, we navigate to the Custom Fields screen through the "Settings" menu on the left-hand panel. Once we get to this screen, we click "Create" and have the Create Custom Field window displayed.

We choose Account as the "Entity Type", because account managers handle accounts (not individual contacts), and leave the "Unique" box unchecked since multiple accounts can have the same account manager. Since we are refining our processes at the moment and account managers are not always assigned at the same time the account is created, we leave the "Required" box unchecked - otherwise, we would not be able to create the new account without this required field being completed. However, once we have solidified our processes, we can always go back and edit this Account Manager field so that it is required going forward. We set the "Type" as Dropdown for consistency and convenience because we don't want employees having to type in the name of the account manager every time and also want to eliminate the chance of the name being entered incorrectly.

To add options to the dropdown, we click the "+" on the right side of the Create Custom Field window, under the Dropdown Options section (highlighted in image above). Each time you select the "+" a new dropdown list item will appear, and selecting the "-" will result in an option being removed. We have 5 account managers currently, so we list them all here as dropdown options and then click "Create".

Now we have successfully created the Account Manager custom field and can begin filling it out on existing accounts and also as accounts are newly created. Once we have the field filled out for accounts, we can navigate to the Account Custom Fields report screen, available through the "Reports" tab on the side panel, and run the report for the Account Manager field by clicking "Run Report".

From here we can see which account managers are currently assigned to which accounts, and begin to use this data for our business processes.

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Task Templates Overview & Use Cases