You are smart and talented. You are adept at networking and meeting new people. You are heading down the road to success and you are just waiting to turn the corner. Business is good, but you know it could be better. There are opportunities you are missing and you can’t seem to keep up with all of your contacts.
Now is a good time to take a close look at your contact management system. We all have one, whether it’s stuffing the business cards in the front pocket of your purse or entering contacts into a database. Either way, take a moment to evaluate how you are managing your contacts and determine if your “system” allows you to easily complete these important tasks:
- Enter and view contact information via the Internet: If you don’t have an administrative assistant, then sometimes the only time you may have to enter new contacts is in the evenings at home or at another location away from your office or primary computer. Gaining access to your contacts through the Internet or a handheld device can prove to be very useful.
- Track new business opportunities with contacts or accounts: When you follow up with a new contact and find out that they have a need for your products or services, your contact management system should be able to record information about that opportunity including potential revenue, where you are in the sales process, important dates and notes.
- Send and track email messages: A great way to stay in touch with your contacts is by sending regular email updates, promotions, or newsletters. Most contact management systems will allow you to email your contacts either directly through their system or via a connection to your email software. It would be helpful to determine if your contact management system allows you to filter or group your contacts using different characteristics (i.e. customers vs. prospects), then it will be easier not only to send mass email updates, but to create relevant content for each group. Some systems even allow you to track whether or not your message has been read and which links each recipient selected. This data can help you determine which of your offerings are the most compelling.
- Customize and capture information unique to your clientele: You know your business best. What information do you need to know about clients or prospects to provide better service or complete a sale? When evaluating your contact management system, think about where you are keeping this mission critical information. Are you able to customize some of the fields in your system to track this data along with the client’s other information?
Finally, there are many contact management and customer relationship management systems available; here are a few of my favorites in no particular order:
- Constant Contact
- Google Apps or Gmail: Contacts
- Mail Chimp
- Microsoft Outlook: Business Contact Manager
What system are you using? What do you like best and least?