It's said that former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had a dossier on everyone he hated. Curb Appeal Renovations has a dossier — far less salacious, perhaps — on everyone who has been a client, might become a client, or has simply had some form of contact with the company, of Keller, Texas.

The result is more targeted marketing, better call screening, and a quicker way to pinpoint who is on the phone, what they might need, and what their relationship with the company is.

Stored in its ACT contact management system, Curb Appeal's database “is up all day long in front of our office manager,” says co-owner Robin Burrill. Whenever the phone rings, the office manager can quickly search it by name. If the company has had any contact with them — marketed to them, talked to them about a job, met them at a networking event, identified them as a good trade contractor — they'll be there. When possible, the files also note the value of the person's home (available on the county appraisal Web site), personal information such as birthday and kids' names, and all correspondence with them, including summaries of phone discussions and documents relevant to their job.

Burrill says that the database was built slowly and continues to grow. The office manager uses a one-page lead sheet to screen potential clients, later keying these gleanings into ACT as well. No lead is insignificant, Burrill says. “Even if we refer it to another company, we still track their information.”