Manage your contacts effectively – where have all my post-its gone?

Anyone who’s ever worked on any kind of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) task – and, to be honest, that pretty much describes everyone reading this – knows it can be quite a hassle managing all the contacts, deals, callbacks, quotes and whatnots of client communication.

How many times have you scribbled some important note on the closest post-it you could find only to lose sight of it the very next day (or minute, for that matter)? Please raise your hand if you’ve at least once missed out on that follow-up email to a prospect weeks after sending your quote? It looks like we’re voting on something, right? Well, not any more.

Since I joined the team, I’ve had the privilege to use Highrise – a great contact management tool from 37signals which helps me keep track of the entire client communication process with ease. Let’s say I’ve just received an email inquiry from a new prospect. When sending a response, I can instantly Bcc the email to my Highrise dropbox making the communication transparent and easily trackable for myself and, most importantly, for the rest of the team as well.

I’m able to upload and/or import basic contact information about the new client together with her/his picture (sometimes being good with the names simply doesn’t cut it), corporate information, other notes and – yes – even feed the profile with their Twitter updates so I can see what the client is up to in real time.

While some of these features can strike you as purely cosmetic, there are others that really stand out. I can create task lists for each contact (making sure I don’t forget sending that quote or a follow-up email), add pending and any previous deals to them and tag them accordingly.

It happened a couple of times that I’d make a follow-up on a prospect who needed some small Magento tweak a month ago and decided to go with another developer. He had experienced some problems and was very much relieved to hear back from us and ask for our help with a larger deal that we would then land. Who knows if I’d have remembered to make that follow-up had I not created a task two months ago.

Highrise will send out reminders to your email address with daily tasklist and it will let you know without hesitation once some of your tasks are overdue. There’s also a whole bunch of extras and add-ons available so you can really tailor it to your needs.

Of course, there’s no tool in the world that would do everything for you (well, not yet, unfortunately), I still need to set my own tasks, make the callbacks and send out those quotes. However, now it’s all safely in one place and for everyone in my team to see and, if need be, jump in and follow up easily if I’m unavailable.

Plus, it’s environmentally friendly, no more post-its for me so I’ve saved a couple of trees in the process. 🙂

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