(This is the second part of an ongoing series by Dean La Douceur.)
In the information age, it is your job to manage YOUR information. You need to insure that the data which you need with which to prospect, meet with prospects, send proposals close sales, fulfill orders, bill for remittance and send thank you notes is all organized at your finger tips and able to be accessed by all who need it. Yet, most business professionals I know just dread this idea.
There are few more solitary tasks which a business person must do then key stroke a series of names, addresses, and email addresses into a program. Yet, there are also few more important. When asked about should some one use an email program or a CRM program, I come back to a simple piece of wisdom – use the one which motivates you to work with it.
I once worked at a company which had the CRM software ACT for their account managers to use. If you are familiar with ACT, it can be a powerful solution for managers to forecasting sales, monitoring account activity, assigning leads and looking at the life-cycle of a client. This firm was highly un-tech savvy. The sales manager preferred to write everything out in long hand using spiral note books, and hated even to make copies of things. The president and CEO hated having to bother looking at the computer. The operations manager used a different software for customer fulfillment. At the end of the day, this powerful program was used for little more than an address book for the prospects which each account executive called in to.
I believe that a good data management program is like brushing your teeth or exercise. Doing this daily is the best way to have those phone numbers and email addresses handy when you are prospecting, following up and needing to have discussions with these people. The key is to have a system that you can use. It doesn’t matter how much you like it or don’t. If you won’t use it, it just hogs memory and space on your computer.
So, make your peace with your contact management system. Better yet, schedule 10 to 15 minute sessions two to three times a week with it. You will be glad you did when its time to send out the next newsletter, contact others about a new product line or find someone to refer.