When you start using a new CRM, you need to decide whether you want to start from scratch or import current contacts from various places. There are advantages to both. First, you need to know why you are using the new CRM.
What Are Your Goals for the CRM?
Many people choose CRM software to help them get a better handle on their contacts. You may feel disorganized or overwhelmed with your current system. Maybe you even use a CRM currently, but are finding that it doesn’t help you in they way you think CRM software should.
You need a clear idea of what your new CRM is for. Are you trying to get a snarl of contacts organized and sorted? Or are you trying to build a better system for managing your contact relationships so you can stop missing new opportunities?
Using the CRM to Sort it All Out
If you have a bunch of contacts that you need to stay in touch with, but you have no good way of staying on top of them, then you should consider importing them into your new CRM software. Doing a little clean up first can help. For instance, you don’t need to import a bunch of leads from 2010 that never went anywhere.
When importing contacts, the first step is to find all of them. Maybe you have them all organized in one place, but that’s not usually the case. More likely, you have contacts here and there, some in your email address book, some on a spreadsheet, and probably a bunch in other types of software.
By having next steps and categories, you can do a much better job of organizing contacts
After you import contacts, you should go through them in the CRM software to make sure that all of the information was imported and that you don’t have duplicate contacts. It’s also a very good idea to add a next step for each of your contacts.
To get and stay organized, you should categorize every contact. For instance, add a tag for active or inactive contacts. By having next steps and categories, you can do a much better job of organizing contacts and maintaining healthy relationships.
Building a New CRM Workflow
If your goal is to figure out a better workflow for your contacts, so that you don’t miss important opportunities, it may make more sense to start from scratch. Add new hot leads and customers as they come and focus on building a workflow that will help you stay in touch and meet your goals.
Create a workflow that makes sense for your team
When you are overwhelmed with the sheer number of contacts who need your attention, it can be hard to create a smart workflow. By starting fresh, you can really think through all the steps of your contact relationship, from lead to sale to loyal customer. Bring these contacts into your CRM a few at a time and get a feel for how you interact with them.
Use all of the tools that your CRM gives you to create a workflow that makes sense for your team. In Batchbook, you can really tailor your workflow to the way you work. Custom fields can help you manage projects or a sales pipeline. To-Dos can keep on top of important contact related tasks. Batchbox can help you build a communication history by saving emails right to your contact profile. And lists can be built to show you groups of contacts that fit specific criteria (hot lead call list, anyone?).
Once you have your workflow figured out, you can start feeding in more contacts. But, as with many things, more isn’t always better. At Batchbook, we suggest pruning contacts rather than dumping in boatloads. That way, you can better focus on your most important leads and customers.
Have a Plan
Whether you start fresh or import all of your contacts, it pays to have a plan. A CRM can turn into nothing more than a contact list if you don’t. By thinking through things like how you will keep your contacts organized and what workflow your team should follow, you can start to use your CRM as a powerful tool to actively build better relationships, which in turn will help your business grow.