Best practice for customer profiles

Hi,

does anyone have a thoughts on how to best set up a client profiling template that can be used by sales reps to document their customers' characteristics and preferences? What I am currently thinking about is how to set up a questionnaire-type screen that helps them cover the 5-10 most important issues when talking to their clients; of course, this should later be usable to target customers with specific needs.

I am a bit wary of doing this just be adding a few custom fields to the contact panel. There is the definite danger of overcrowding the contact panel. It's also wrong process-wise, as people's preferences and characteristics are changing.

If I add some custom fields to the lead/deal panels, I could of course have more and different types of profiles per person, but not every discussion of client preferences is really a "lead" (to somewhere specific), thus impairing performance statistics. Also, filtering for clients' "most recent" preferences will not be trivial as PD filters have SQL functions of the select max(date) family.

Collecting and keeping the data in some third party marketplace app does not look attractive either.

Has anyone been at this junction and would like to share the solution/experience?

best

r*