Let’s face it, customer relationship management applications can be confusing. There are lists of lead, accounts, contacts, opportunities and – in some cases – other things like products, quotes and orders. Not to mention generating reports, viewing dashboards and perhaps dozens of various functions. It can be overwhelming. With all of these things you can do, we are frequently asked, “where do I begin and how do I start each day with my CRM application?”
The answer is simple … but how you arrive at the simple solution takes some discipline.
Start (and finish) every day in CRM by reviewing and managing your activities. But that will only work if you are doing a good job at being activity centric. So let’s talk for a moment about what activities are (not quite as obvious as it may seem) and how to become activity centric.
Activities are the “glue” that hold everything in CRM together. They are the scheduled meetings, tasks or calls that you need to remember to do. In most CRM systems, activities can link to leads, accounts, contacts, opportunities – or just about anything else that you need to remind yourself to do something with.
Becoming activity centric with your CRM solution means two things:
(1) Whenever you create a new record, decide if there is ever something you need to remember to do to follow-up with it. If so, schedule a follow-up activity. A few examples:
(2) Whenever you are completing an activity in CRM, decide if there is ever a reason why you should continue to follow-up. If so, schedule a follow-up activity. A few examples:
If you follow those two simple rules, then there will always be at least one activity scheduled for every record in CRM that you need to follow-up with. Now you don’t need to religiously review your lead, account, contact and opportunity records every day. Instead, you can just work your list of activities and you’ll be taking care of the most important things. Start your day by looking at your list of activities just like you would use your day planner (remember those?).
One thing that can happen when you’re activity centric in CRM is that you can occasionally schedule an overwhelming number of activities for yourself on a given day. So end each day by reviewing what you have the following day, and move things around as necessary to ensure that you’re taking care of the highest priority follow-up items. That might mean moving some things to another day.
And, of course, sometimes some things slip through the cracks. So it is a good idea to do a weekly review of items like opportunities and accounts to ensure that nothing is missed.
But becoming activity centric in CRM isn’t as easy as it may seem. It takes a lot of self-discipline to stay out of reactionary mode and – when you do – you quickly slip so far behind in your activities that you begin to completely ignore your activity list. Stick with the habits in the same way that you would stick with a daily workout program. It’ll take some practice, and there will be some frustration, but you’ll get there!
We looked at activity management a few other times in these quick tips. Use these links to refresh your memory on those articles:
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