Your contacts are the foundations of your success
You’re looking for the perfect contact management software, but you don’t know where to start?
By choosing a smart sales CRM – complete with a host of integrated contact management tools and features – you’ll already have taken a giant step towards success.
Your business is centred on a constant flow of communication between you and your contacts. These contacts are the foundations of your success, and they need to be treated with the care and attention they deserve.
Your contacts need to be organised, in one central location, loaded with all the relevant information, offering access to all associated communication history, and giving sales teams the ability to share ownership and information. Your CRM should be the go-to place for every aspect of a great contact management strategy.
Bad contact management can damage your business
In the same way as making a bad first impression can determine a future relationship, bad contact management can be detrimental to your businesses success.
Poorly designed CRM software is usually little more than a glorified rolodex or pocket address book, without the features you need to manage the ever-increasing number of tasks associated with keeping your prospects and your customers onside.
You need a CRM that’s capable of easily reaching out to your leads and customers in the smartest possible way:
- Be aware of, and have easy access to all their contact details, such as email, telephone, social media accounts, and physical address
- Differentiate your contacts between ‘People’ and ‘Companies’
- Have access to all communication history and file sharing
- Be able to easily filter and segment your contacts in order to facilitate smarter search results
- Avoid duplicates in your contacts at all costs
- Easily collaborate and share contact details among sales teams and colleagues
- Set ownership of your contacts, making sales teams aware of the person responsible for each contact
- Manage contact tasks such as; meetings, phone calls, personal details like birthdays and anniversaries
- Contact information should be fully customisable – based on attributes specific to individual customers
- Call management with your clients should be easy, integrated, and recordable – assisting you and your colleagues with future communications, and sales training
- All contact management tools and features should be easily accessible in one central location
Let’s dig a little deeper and examine five of the key factors to consider when choosing your business contact management software.
1. Let’s get organised
It really should go without saying, but having your contact data organised in a well-defined, easily understandable, fully searchable, and synchronised manner is the first key step to great contact management.
A smart sales CRM should make great contact organisation a process which happens without you even noticing. When migrating or importing contact data, all of your contact’s details, files, and associated history should be automatically stored in the right place.
Your CRM should also be able to separate your contacts between people, and companies, making the whole sales and customer nurturing process far more simplified.
The cards associated with leads, deals, and companies, should contain access to all the information you need in neat, easily-findable, and highly-organised manner.
2. Tracking your contact’s communication history
All communications with your contacts – emails, files which you’ve exchanged, calls, meetings, or simple comments – should be easily recovered using your CRM software. Having access to all historic communication makes sure that you can offer your customer the service they expect.
Your entire contact database should be visible to every member of your sales team. This ensures that when a lead or deal has to be managed, even temporarily by a sales colleague, that all the relevant information is easily accessible.
3. Segmentation and filtering – Cleaning up your act
Having the ability to segment your contacts into a variety of static categories – customer, non-customer, past-customer, etc. – lets sales personnel target specific groups when needed. This targeting can be as simple as providing new or additional marketing information designed to increase the likelihood of a sale, or help to develop a long-term relationship by providing valuable content.
This helps to keep the data in your contact database organised and easily searchable. A good CRM will include a feature which updates your contact’s status when a deal is closed, or the nature of the relationship changes.
4. Collaboration – When it’s good to share
When sales people overlap their attentions on a prospect or customer, the outcome is usually a negative one. Your contacts don’t have the time, or the patience, to relate their needs over and over to members of your sales team. Overlapping also creates frustration, confusion, and mixed messages, none of which are helpful to the whole sales process.
A good CRM contact management strategy should let you nominate a specific owner for any customer’s account, this owner is then visible directly within your CRM contact’s card. You can also nominate ‘collaborators’ who have access to all information associated with the contact, allowing them to spectate the deal, and to add helpful input when necessary.
5. Location – Location – Location
It’s helpful to your entire sales effort to have the ability to build an overall picture of your customers’ geographic locations. This can help you and your team dramatically when planning advertising, marketing, and follow-up campaigns. Your contacts’ physical locations can often make a big difference to a particular sales strategy.
Your CRM, in combination with a geolocation integration like OpenStreetMap, should let you clearly define and pinpoint the locations of your customers, directly from within your contact management software.
This valuable feature can help your sales team plan individual, and combined customer visits, while also creating an overview of travel routes, more effectively and efficiently.
And there’s more…
When managing your contacts it can be really useful to have all the smart CRM tools and features you need to help you close deals faster.
Your telephone – A really useful calling integration like SmartDialer provides you with an CRM based calling feature. A phone integration gives you the power to call your customers directly from their CRM contact’s card, set call reminders, automate call dialing, record calls, and set-up call routing for when you’re away from your phone, or otherwise engaged. One more way to manage your contacts smartly.
Duplicates – Nobody involved in sales likes contact duplication. Duplicates often contain conflicting data which make contact management and interaction almost impossible. A good CRM helps you manage your contacts more effectively by automatically identifying duplicates at the point of import, and letting you take the appropriate action.
Customisation – Being able to customise your contact’s information, in the way that best suits your sales process, is invaluable to smart sales teams. Your CRM should let you fully customise the information applicable to each individual contact, making the contact easier to identify, and target more easily for whatever reason.
Synchronicity – Make sure the right files – pdfs, excel documents, diagrams, charts, etc. – are synchronized and associated with the right contacts, and can be located directly from your CRM contact’s card.
Best contact management practice
A sales CRM – like Teamgate – employs a full array of tools, features, APIs, and integrations, such as; SmartDialer; MailChimp; and Zapier, in order to streamline the whole contact management process from one central location. Automating actions – from targeted emailing to social media interaction, by means of a really smart CRM – helps you to nurture a highly personalised relationship with your customers.
The smarter, and more varied the collection of tools you have to hand, the easier it is to build that relationship.
Manage your contacts to manage your success
Organising your contacts and keeping track of all communications – emails, calls, meetings, etc. – when managed from one central location makes sense.
Communicating with your contacts in a courteous, sensible, and professional manner shows them that your relationship is important to you. This in turn goes a long way towards nurturing a long and lasting business relationship.
Keeping all of these factors in mind while deciding on which contact management software is right for your business will go a long way towards making your decision the right one.
Brendan Harding is an Irish-born content creative living and working in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius. As content creative with Teamgate CRM software his role is to discover new angles for telling interesting, informative, and educational stories from the world of business.