The other day I needed a wrench to tighten a leaky faucet. It promised to be a quick job and it would be one thing checked off the honey-do list. The only real problem was finding the wrench. At my house, there are many places that wrench could be. Maybe it was in the drawer by the computer, or in a cupboard in my office, or on top of the refrigerator (sure, why not?). The only thing I knew for sure was where I wouldn’t find the wrench. I was 100% sure it would not be in my toolbox.
The thing is, the wrench should be in my toolbox, because that is where wrenches go. If I was truly organized with my tools, I would always know where to find them and I would be able to get the job done so much faster. But organization takes a bit of thought and some good habit building.
Which brings me to why your contacts aren’t organized.
If you are like a typical small business, the chances are that you do have a ton of contacts; leads, customers, vendors, friends, past-customers. All of these contacts may be spread out across a diverse landscape of software, from your email address book to your accounting software to your CRM to your brain.
You won’t be surprised when I tell you that your CRM software should be your “toolbox” for all of these contacts. It’s the one piece of software that can bring together diverse information about each of your contacts, and it has the ability to help you finally get and keep your contacts organized. It may not be easy, and you may need to train some new habits for yourself and your team, but if you don’t get your contacts organized, you are hurting your business. This is far more important than delaying getting that leaky faucet fixed!
Being unorganized with your leads will certainly lead to you missing out on sales that should have been yours.
How does this happen? Well, say you are working on a sale via email. You have good back and forth going, but suddenly the lead doesn’t respond. You plan to try them again next week (maybe they are on vacation), but next week comes and your inbox is full of other things.
The lead, on the other hand, was on vacation and missed your last email. They think they never heard back from you and move on to your competitor.
There are hundreds of ways you can lose the thread on a pending sale. Even more so if you aren’t keeping good records. Instead, when a sale looks promising, use a CRM to add a deal and some follow up to-dos. Review all of your pending deals regularly.
Now, I know that you would never do this on purpose. You LOVE your customers. But, if you are not organized, you could forget important details and let certain promises go unfulfilled.
And this annoys people.
This happens most often because important details are not being recorded or passed along. You may make a verbal promise to a lead, but forget to write it down. Or, if you are working as a team, maybe you slip up and don’t pass key details on when you pass a customer along. This all leads to the customer not getting what they want, which is stellar service, fulfilled promises, and smooth interactions with your business.
If you have to ask for details again (when they’ve already given them to the first guy they talked to), you are just adding friction. And if you don’t come through on a promise, you are disappointing your customer. This is why your whole team needs to use a CRM.
Form the habit of taking good notes on phone conversations and saving whole email threads right to your CRM. Be especially on top of adding contact information (call me at this number after 5, not the other one) and promises (sure, we’ll give you a 10% discount, no problem).
To get good at marketing, you need to really understand your customers. Part of the problem for small businesses is that they have several different types of customers, and they don’t want to turn any away.
If you are disorganized with your customer information, it’s harder to see patterns and zero in on good types of people to market to. Do you know how many of each type of customer you have? Do you know how much they spend, on average? This information can help you craft more meaningful and specific marketing.
It’s a good idea to use segments in your marketing efforts. Say you send out emails with special offers. If you are disorganized, you have no choice but to send out general emails to every contact you have. But, if you have contacts organized into segments like location, gender, products purchased, and type, you can send out more specific offers that will perform better, because they are more relevant.
Without segments, your marketing is too general.
With CRM software, you can organize all of your contacts quickly by adopting tags that everyone can use to note like things about contacts. You can also create lists based on things like zip code, last communication date, and custom field information (where you can store what product they purchased, where you met them, or anything, really).
Customers are an essential source for new sales, but you are forgetting about them once you have the sale.
You don’t want to do this.
You have every intention to stay in touch, but every day is busy with new leads, fires to put out, and so much more. Sure, you may occasionally try to reach out to past customers, maybe with a bulk email. But the truth is, those past customers can become just one big lump of potential that you don’t spend a whole lot of time on.
The problem is that you don’t have a way to prioritize them. Not every past customer is the same. Some spent way more money. Some shop at a certain time of year. Some are really active on social networks and could help spread the word about your company.
You should get in the habit of categorizing each and every customer after the sale. Make sure you know important things about them that will help you reach out to them later. Then, you can use your CRM to search out these customers in groups for ongoing engagement, whether that is a helpful newsletter or special offers or birthday cards.
On top of being able to organize marketing to past customers, you are also giving your sales team a leg up when they start to work with those customers again. It may be a different sales person next time, but that won’t matter if you are organized. All of the notes and details from previous sales will be right there in the CRM, not stuck in someone else’s head or email inbox.
Time is the one thing you can’t get more of. And if you are wasting it trying to dig up past conversations with customers, old contracts, or whatever, you are just hurting your business. By not having your contacts organized in one “toolbox”, your CRM, you may find yourself going to great lengths to find important pieces of contact information.
Need to know the last time someone bought from you? Ask the bookkeeper. Sorta remember talking to a lead about delivery time? Search through your inbox for that particular email thread. Wondering what a new customer’s phone number is? Call up the sales rep and have them search through their phone’s address book.
None of this is efficient.
If you counted up all of the time you are wasting on tracking down contact information that you already have somewhere in the business, you may be surprised. If you could change habits on your team, you could get all of this information collected in your CRM. That would save everyone time.
How do you deal with contact disorganization? What are some ways it hurts your business? Let us know in the comments below.
Toolbox photo by skistz