We have been extremely fortunate to work with some great clients, and solve some tough but ultimately rewarding challenges. Implementing a CRM is often a scary, overwhelming task for many, but if you work with the right team, it becomes much easier to handle. Ultimately, the goal is to create a smooth transition that keeps sensitive data while providing some much-needed automated support via the CRM.
One example of a successful transition is our work with the nonprofit Rise Above CO. Focused on preventing drug use in teens, Rise Above had a substantial network of contacts that needed to be maintained. Unfortunately, the database they used to store contacts for fundraising become unavailable. This meant that they needed find a new home for their data, without losing anything important in the process.
You knew in your bones you could make it on your own as a consultant or subcontractor. You were tired of using your skills as someone else’s employee, so you decided to start your own business.
Now you have mixed feelings. You’re relieved, because now you are your own boss. But perhaps you are also overwhelmed. You might have scared yourself, thinking: How do I get started? How am I going to do this? Help!
Is this you? Well, you’re lucky! Until just a few years ago, small business owners had to get it all done using Microsoft Office and QuickBooks. Now, because of the cloud, all kinds of apps exist to help you manage your business. Some of these apps are available for free, others for a low cost.
I believe small business owners should use apps that talk to each other. Having one centralized database where you can see all the details of your interactions with your clients is a great way to manage your business. Helping small business owners achieve this is why I became a small business CRM (Customer Relationship Manager) coach!
© Can Stock Photo / stevanovicigor
Build a list
Keep in mind: small business is community based. That being said, it is essential that you start tracking the people you meet at each stage of the relationship building process from day one.
Start by building a list of the people you meet while you are out there networking and talking about your business. How do you do that? You might as well start off on the right foot, by using CRM – Customer Relationship Management.
Insightly CRM is a great option for consultants. Why? Because Insightly allows you to manage your contacts, create a sales pipeline to track your potential clients, and track your projects and tasks. And you can get started for free. Can’t beat that.
John is the owner of a Colorado based distribution company. He recently hired Mike to help him with sales. Mike lives in Kansas. With a growing sales team, John wanted more visibility over how sales activities are progressing.
In small organizations, when the sales team hears that now they will have a CRM, their first instinct is to resist, because they worry they will be micromanaged.
This was not a problem in John’s organization. Mike used a CRM in his previous job. He understands that tracking sales activities in CRM would give John visibility over his workload. It would also enable John to be proactive, and take action to support Mike in his role when necessary.
You’re probably reading a lot about how the cloud and software automation continue to make businesses run more efficiently. What you maybe didn’t know is that there are a lot of cloud systems that provide automation for small businesses. These two together add a lot of value to small business owners who use customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.
CRMs have become some of the most useful tools for customer communication, data organization, and automation services.
One CRM like this is the affordable and powerful Insightly, a program we’ve integrated into numerous businesses. We want to tell you a story about how Insightly helped a travel agency in Colorado, Chalets USA, that targets European tourists coming to the U.S. during ski season. This story should give you insight into how automation and the cloud integrate to aid many tasks otherwise taking hours to do.
© Can Stock Photo / swisshippo
If you do any amount of face-to-face networking, you know how business card quickly pile up. Once your wallet or organizer fills up, you dump the business cards you’ve collected in a file or drawer. Or maybe you wait until you have enough cards to wrap them with rubber band and store in a cute box, like this one!
Sure, it’s good to have those cards lying around for when you need to get in touch with a contact. But with so many cards, can you reliably find the contact you’re looking for in a timely manner? Unless you are super organized, it’s tough to find the card you need at the moment you need it.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
Tips to keep your CRM data sharp!
No doubt you’ve heard the old saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Well, it couldn’t be truer when it comes to managing your business data. A cluttered CRM will hinder your business processes and your customer engagement.
You’ve worked hard to get your CRM configured just right for your business! It serves you well, and you’re growing–Congratulations! Now you’ve hired additional people, and they’re all working hard, adding new contacts, new companies, and new opportunities. As you may have already experienced, things can get really messy really fast if you don’t have some processes and guidelines in place to keep your information clean.
CRM Spring Cleaning Steps
We have some tips for you on how to clean and maintain your CRM data. In the spirit of spring, begin now! Moving forward, if you adopt this mindset and establish good habits, from now on spring cleaning won’t be so daunting.