Using CRM software as a library.
The point of most computer systems, and CRM in particular, is to be able to retrieve historic information quickly. If you see your system as a giant library that holds vast amounts of information, which can be accessed with relative ease, then that can leverage that your advantage. If “data is the new oil” then we should start mining. The following are examples of how keeping this information has rescued me from time to time.
CRM software comes to the rescue.
We had a software build that lasted over several years. I had engaged some contractors who had installed a server around a year prior. When it came to installing the next version of the software it wouldn’t load as the server was no longer compatible. I panicked. Was the client going to be lumbered for extra cost because we had not scoped the job properly? If the scope was done was the client made aware? I was not part of the discussion, so I had no records. I contacted the subcontractor and he said it was fine as he had the quote which explained everything, but he could not locate it. I checked through my email, nothing there. Fortunately, the CRM system I was using had email sync which imported in all emails and attachments and link them under the contact persons card. I found the quote but of course it was all “Geek to me” (Dell Tower with 16 gig of Ram with RAID and 750 gig processor) nothing there that said a new server was required upon upgrade. Armed with that document I contacted the client and even though there was nothing specific that covered us, it did jog his memory that he did have that conversation with the subcontractor regarding the expense it had been included in their budget. Saved. Having at least part of the history of the conversation allowed a potentially difficult situation to be smoothed over.
Using CRM software to find new work.
The other time is when several projects I was working on where coming to their fruition. I was looking around for my next contract with not much going for the pickings. I went through all my contacts and nothing was coming through. I then checked my “lost leads” in desperation. I recalled one potential partner that I had not seen for over 5 years and thought give it a shot. All the notes where there and so we met up for a coffee. They had grown substantially from last time we spoke, and he was where grateful for an extra hand. I have had consistent work from them ever since. If I did not have that information readily available, the consequences could have turned out quite differently.
It’s that sort of discipline and diligence that will pay off dividends in the long run and taking advantage of digitising this on-board diary should be the main stay of any business.
About the Author:
Malcolm Ford has over 10 years experience advising companies across the UK on their software requirements. He specialises in CRM software and linking that to existing marketing strategies.