Lay the proper foundation. Have your data records (Leads and Customers) all in one place; preferably on a .csv spreadsheet file ready for importing. Make sure that the information on that spreadsheet is as accurate as possible. Know what Groups they belong to. Prepare carefully to Import those records into those Groups. There is an age old adage in the computer world; GIGO. Garbage In Garbage Out. Putting the time in before your Import your data will help your CRM sleep well at night.
Know your Workflow or Sales Process. This is where your efforts will be concentrated. A bullet-proof workflow will insure that the necessary Tasks that need to be accomplished in order for you to close the deal are accounted for. Make sure that all of your Workflow Stages have the adequate Tasks and they can be accomplished in the proper timeframe. When setting up the task timelines, find the fine line between couch potato and workaholic. Make sure they are realistic and can be completed.
Create Templates. Your CRM should have the ability to create tons of various Templates. Do it! Create tons of Templates. Tailor your Templates to your business model. Everything that your company sells, offers, or can do, should have Templates describing them. They should be audience specific. Having them at your fingertips when the opportunity strikes will keep your sales gun smoking.
Rely on your Calendar. If you have properly set up your Workflow or Sales Process that include the appropriate tasks, they should be tied to your calendar. In fact, you should also be tied to your calendar. Your Calendar should list all of the Tasks that need to be completed for each Lead you have. They show the appointments you have made. Do you want to be the one to forget a lunch date with Mr./Mrs. CEO? Keep your eye on the prize. Let your CRM work for you. That is what it is there for. You have worked hard to lay the proper foundation, create a bullet-proof workflow, and create your templates. Your careful design should have your calendar singing to you with all of the songs needed to get customer after customer after customer.
You have a Friend. Your CRM vendor should have a program to help you hit the ground running. Take advantage of this. They know their product better than you. They will do all of the startup work for you. They will Import your records, create your Workflow, create Templates, and more important, conduct one on one training. Talk about an excuse free deal. A well designed program should include the Technical Support department initiated follow ups. These will help you get over any humps that you encounter after the training. An important relationship will develop between you and them. These Quick Start programs are your safety nets. They protect your investment and help you realize its value. You don’t need to be a Superman if you know one.