Margo Brown of Wave Productivity specializes in increasing the focus, organization and productivity of entrepreneurs, small business owners, telecommuters, and those working in home offices. Taking a caring and non-judgmental approach, she creates organized systems that fit the unique needs of her clients.
With any contact managment system (CMS) it's all about the ease of use.
If a CMS is cumbersome, you'll fail to use it. Our guest blogger, Chrysa Kefala of Pobuca Connect has a great solutions along with tips to help manage your most important contacts.
Managing contacts is one of the most important and challenging activities in business. Unfortunately, though, there are still a lot of business people, from solopreneurs, or those engaged in small- and medium-sized businesses and corporations that fail to do it efficiently and effectively.
There are various reasons why this happens. Some may want to save money, while others just omit to organize the contacts they make at networking events, internet inquiries and so forth, until they feel overwhelmed by the tons of contacts they have to manage later on.
Like anything you do, spending a few minutes planning in advance what you actually want to do, why and how you will use this system will enable you to go forward, as you can gain 10 – 100X efficiency in the long run.
Let’s start with the basics. What is a Contact Management System(CMS)? How does it differ from a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM)?
Well, a Contact Management System (CMS) is usually a part of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, but in its simplest form is just that - software used to manage contact details and it is a vital need for every organization. Customer Relationship Management is most relevant in the sales organization and helps business people manage sales prospects and clients.
In this article, I want to focus mainly on Contact Management and I will cover CRM in another article.
Contact Management may seem simple but, as I mentioned, many people don’t plan carefully how they will use it and end up in a mess; that is to say scattered contacts across multiple platforms, various contacts for some people and a lot of confusion about which address is right to send out a holiday card, or share information with other team members.
It is needless to say that maintaining and updating accurate email addresses, telephone numbers and addresses is an essential part of a healthy business and an important basis needed for customer service, vendor management and support, prospecting and follow-up.
No follow up – no business!
So, first and foremost – Contact Management software saves precious time.
Let’s examine how:
Undoubtedly, your colleagues and you spend long time saving and frequently updating business contacts on your smartphones. This creates obstacles in the productivity of the fast-paced business environments because your data stays on your phone. It is your data and is not shared. It is also possible that some information is being duplicated when you work with others and they may be capturing the same data. You can easily save time and effort if you use a contact management system that opens up the data you collect and shares it with others seamlessly. It means that entering business cards can easily be shared without opening up your personal address book. Also, important interactions in the organization can be reflected on someone’s profile and when you next contact them you are up-to-date with all activities related to that contact.
Most importantly, the business is not only made up of clients and prospects, but we interact with suppliers and fellow employees, as well. Not to mention that today a lot of people work remotely and constantly need to have all the business contact information at their disposal. That’s why, having access to contact details and any other relevant information saves time, money and effort.
It makes business life easier
Businesses need a software solution that enables employees to store and easily find their co-workers and vendors’ contact information, such as their names, the company they belong, their emails or telephone numbers. I am always impressed and more at ease when the person I am talking to knows who I am when I call him/her thanks to caller ID. When someone from your business network calls you, that is possible with a collective contact management system – even if you don’t have their contact details stored in your address book.
A contact management system manages your contact details in the same way as a sales force automation system or customer relationship management system collects all the activity related to that contact and their status in the sales cycle. This enables you to do rich reporting around your sales process and pipeline and determine your conversion rate for each stage of the sales process. This is valuable because you can have benchmarks set in the organization and see better where you can optimize your sales process and who needs help at each stage. Sales leaders and sales coaches can help the team to further develop their sales team ability to manage time, identify the customers’ problem, present the companies’ value proposition and optimize the conversations with the prospect.
CRM licenses tend to be more expensive because of the increased value they offer but are not always necessary for all members of the team. Using a contact management system along with your CRM system will give you greater access to the whole organization for all types of contacts we describe above and help the sales team manage their pipeline.
Contact Management is cost effective.
In a nutshell, contact management solutions are designed to increase productivity in an organization by helping you manage contacts more efficiently. Often used in conjunction with email integration and calendar applications, a contact management system provides quick and easy access to account names and contact information.
The main features of the chosen platform should be:
Portability: The ability to save and access your data easily in every device.
Security: The feeling that your data is secure and private.
Accessibility: The ability to reach information in all different kinds of interfaces: keyboard/mouse, touch, chat, voice.
I know there are a number of tools on the market. Instead of giving you a whole list and causing more confusion, I will highlight one tool used not only by Vodafone, which is among the world's top 10 telecommunications companies but also by a number of small organizations.
Pobuca Connect is a simple contact management app, accessible from any device.
With Pobuca Connect, it’s easy to keep all your business internal and external contacts in one place, share them with your colleagues and enhance your business productivity. This contact management app also empowers you to connect faster with both your co-workers and business contacts.
Discover how you can benefit from the 5 competitive advantages of Pobuca Connect:
Organize your contacts: Separate personal from business contacts. Pobuca Connect enables you to keep a neat business address book and avoid any unnecessary mix-up.
Access business contacts everywhere: Search for names or organizations and get all their contact details instantly. Update your business contact lists by scanning business cards or grabbing email signatures and sync all your devices (desktop, mobile, web, outlook) to be automatically updated with the latest info.
Use Pobuca Connect in your cloud ecosystem: Integrate Pobuca Connect with any of your business software or cloud solution, such as O365, CRM, Email marketing tools, Single Sign-on solutions and synchronize your data between your favorite applications and platforms.
Stay secure: Pobuca Connect is fully GDPR-compliant and helps you control who can access and edit any contact information.
Manage your everyday workflow with Pobuca Bot: Your virtual assistant searches and updates all the contact details of your co-workers, business associates and organizations stored in Pobuca Connect.
Last but not least, since time is the only luxury you can’t get back, that’s where a contact management system comes in and figures out the problem. Maybe Pobuca Connect is the app you were looking for in your effort to speed up your business communication!
Ever see the notification when you email box is empty? In Outlook it says “We didn’t find anything to show here.” There are no inbox numbers ticking up into the thousands. And no stress.
One of the most popular questions I receive in trainings is “What can I do about my email inbox? It’s overwhelming. There are too many emails. It’s a stress and it’s a mess." To help with that, here are five actions you can take and a bonus tip at the end.
Create a plan-Some of my clients have created a very important folder where they drag the emails that need a response in 24 or 48 hours. Then work on those first before going through less important emails.
Unsubscribe-We look at all the emails that they could unsubscribe to. What emails do you scroll through that you never read? Yes, those! Unsubscribe to those.
Create Rules-“But what if that email is a newsletter from a client. I can’t unsubscribe!” Maybe not and what you can do is create a rule to send the newsletter to a folder. This way it doesn’t hit your inbox.
Create a goal- one like “I will reduce my incoming email by 30%.” See the two tips above on ways to accomplish that.
Turn off the sound-The ding of every email coming in is a distraction. Turn the pop up windows and notifications in Outlook off. As a gmail user make sure to close the tab.
Learn from your mistakes-Spend a whole afternoon working on email? Never get to those important projects because email takes to much of your time? Figure out ways you can shift your work habits to better support your goals and vision instead of working in the day to day by the seat of your pants.
How can you do that? Join me on September 27 at the Better Business Bureau from 11:30 to 1 for Life Outside the Inbox-Ways You Can Manage Your Emails. Here is the link below to sign up.
Do you struggle on a daily basis with email and can’t get it in control? Coach with Margo Brown. She is a Productivity Coach and Professional Organizer with Wave Productivity. Coaching entrepreneurs, small business owners and business professionals to help them get more focused, organized and productive in their workplace. She serves locally in Arizona valley wide and nationally coaching by phone. If you want to get more productive and organized with your email and your office call 602-677-8275 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.