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Relationships are the lifeblood of your business but as your network grows, you can’t remember everything about everyone. Anyone with contact information spread across multiple devices, files, sticky notes, and drawers would benefit from contact management systems or full customer relationship management (CRM) software, which can be used to manage the relationships contributing to the growth of your business.
When setting up a contact management system, don’t start by importing thousands of records from multiple sources. Instead, enter a representative sample of people you’re communicating with to get a feel for how you will manage information for different people, such as:
The 20 people you e-mailed or wrote to on Facebook most recently;
Anyone you invoiced or paid last month;
The first 10 companies returned in a search of your target market.
Ask yourself: "What do I want to get out of it?" There are many systems available and they offer everything from storing address information to tracking lead-generation efforts. List the information you would like to have and prioritize your goals, such as:
Keep contact information for clients updated in one place;
Access contact information from a mobile device;
Track leads and conversations coming from various sources;
Create customized reports.
Some resources to consider are:
SalesTeamTools.com maintains a comprehensive list of systems, with reviews of each;
Small business CRM consultant, and guru Brent Leary publishes information at BrentLeary.com about what the industry is doing to embrace social media;
Search Inside CRM’s directory for small business-focused CRM solutions and ERP companies at insidecrm.com/vendors.
You can use technology to keep your contacts neat and tidy, but ultimately the value of the system depends on you and your team taking the time to incorporate it into your routines. Establishing good habits early will help you enjoy the relationships that are so important to the growth of your business.
Co-Founder and President
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