57 Ways to Grow Your Business: 14 – Build a Contact Management System

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In this business environment, you need to collect and manage a lot of information about your customers, prospects and referral sources.

To do this, you need a robust contact management system, which will incorporate customer relationship management (CRM). The system allows you to keep regular contact with selected customers, prospects and referral sources with a minimum of effort, and helps you to manage the sales process. Popular programmes include:

  1. Microsoft Contact Manager
  2. com
  3. ACT!
  4. Goldmine
  5. Maximizer

In addition to the obvious function of maintaining names, addresses of companies and contacts, contact management programmes have numerous additional capabilities, including:

  • The ability to tag each name with multiple attributes such as customer type, industry, profession, specialty, size of business, size of town, number of employees, birthday and SIC code
  • The ability to sort and create lists by multiple attributes. For example, your contact management programme could quickly identify everyone in the database who
    • is an estate agent
    • works in a particular city
    • has a specialty in commercial property
  • The ability to do direct mail without mail merging from another programme, since your contact management system has its own word processing system
  • A reminder system that tells you, among other things, when to follow-up on a mail piece – this feature is essential for telemarketing
  • The ability to import mailing lists in various formats
  • A note-taking function that allows you to summarise conversations with a contact. You can also “attach” documents to a name
  • The ability to email via Microsoft Outlook directly from the database
  • Links to popular software programmes such as Microsoft Office and Sage

Many contact management programmes also have popular features such as:

  • Scheduling
  • Phone logs
  • Call reports
  • Personal calendars
  • To-do lists
  • Expense reporting
  • Automatic dialing
  • Customer recognition on inbound calls
  • Automatic email capture
  • Sales pipeline management